Power in Dystopia: Boston University Romance Studies Graduate Conference

deadline for submissions: 
February 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Boston University Department of Romance Studies
contact email: 




Boston University Romance Studies Graduate Student Conference

April 28th, 2018

Keynote Speaker: Jorge Olivera Castillo 

Call for Papers: 

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” (Toni Morrison)

In times when humans are faced with more questions than answers, and when the battle for equality in race, gender and socio-economic status seems to lead nowhere, the work of artists attempts to give meaning to dystopia. The aim of this conference, “Power in Dystopia,” is to put into conversation literature from all centuries and genres where dystopia is either the result of oppression and abuse of power, or where dystopia has the potential of giving way to new forms of power struggles. Ultimately, does literature have the power to reclaim dystopia in an attempt to ‘heal civilizations’? We invite papers tackling this question through the following possible topics:

  • Speculative literature
  • Heterotopias
  • Subversion
  • Failed states
  • Authoritarian regimes
  • Modes of resistance
  • Ecocriticism
  • Revolutions

Please submit abstracts of 200-250 words for individual presentation or panel proposals (including a brief description of each presentations) to rsgsabu@gmail.com. We welcome papers in English, French, or Spanish. The deadline for submission is January 15th. Submission decisions will be sent out no later than February 1st. 

Our keynote speaker, Jorge Olivera Castillo, is a Cuban journalist and poet. His defiant work has led to imprisonment and exile from his home country and he currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island as a member of the Scholars at Risk program at Brown University.