CFP applications close soon - "What If?": Reading Worlds of Possibility

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
The University of Sydney

June 14-15, 2018 | The University of Sydney, Australia

Academic work is not always thought of as a process of discovery so much as labouring over something that already has a foregone conclusion or endpoint. However at the upcoming conference, ‘“What If?”: Reading Worlds of Possibility’, we would like to invert this notion, to explore the ideas of possibility and play in academic work. This conference seeks to pose questions such as: How might we imagine things to be? How could things have turned out? What if something had gone differently? At this interdisciplinary conference organised by English literature postgraduates at the University of Sydney, we seek work that engages with potentiality and possibility, and new and inventive perspectives. We invite rereadings and reimaginings, as well as new research at early or late stages of development.

Possible proposals could consider, but are not limited to:

  • Rereading from a non-traditional perspective, field, or focus

  • Rereading history

  • Rereading recent and/or neglected texts

  • Reading beyond Anglophone literature(s)

  • Reimagining canonical works, authors, etc.

  • Reimagining literary criticism

  • Reimagining (non-)literary forms or genres

  • Exploring fictional imaginations of alternative futures

  • Exploring archives of possibility

  • Exploring literary and linguistic edges or margins

We welcome proposals from Honours students, postgraduate students, and Early Career researchers in any discipline. However, we speak most directly to English studies, comparative literary studies, screen studies, theatre and performance studies, history, and philosophy.

We encourage pre-formed panels comprising of three twenty-minute papers. However, individual papers will also be considered.

If proposing a panel please send a single email including:

  • Full name, institutional affiliation, paper title, 250-word abstract, and up to 200-word author bio for each delegate’s paper

  • An overall title for the panel

  • Optional: a prospective chair for the panel (if you do not elect someone, or your choice is/becomes unavailable, we will organise an alternative chair)

If proposing an individual paper:

  • Full name, institutional affiliation, title, 250-word abstract, and up to 200-word author bio

Please send all proposals to with the subject line ‘“What If?” Proposal’ by April 30, 2018.

Graduate travel bursaries will be available for some conference delegates based outside the Sydney region. Those who wish to be considered should notify us in their email.

This CFP and further conference information can also be viewed at or on Twitter.