Call for Proposals: Dune for the 21st Century

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Dune for the 21st Century

This call is to solicit chapter proposals for an edited volume of scholarship about Frank Herbert’s Dune saga.

Project description

Frank Herbert’s Dune is one of the most renowned and best-selling science fiction novels in history, widely regarded as a masterpiece. However, there has been surprisingly little academic scholarship about Dune given its importance to the genre. This collection seeks to ignite a renewed interest in academic approaches to the novel. We are looking for works that will enhance our understanding of the original novel, as well as its sequels. We especially welcome proposals from outside the traditional literary disciplines or that utilize innovative new research methods. Submissions may be critical, but should be constructively so given that readers will most likely also be fans.

With a new two-part film adaptation of Dune directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) coming out in 2020, we believe this volume will be well positioned to serve as a primary point of reference for readers interested in scholarship on Frank Herbert’s masterpiece. We hope to publish this volume in between the first and second installments of the film (approximately mid-2020).

The following is a non-exhaustive list of possible topics and ideas for contributions:

  • Catastrophe studies - Paul’s “terrible purpose” and the Jihad

  • Ecology - the role of resource constraints, such as lack of water

  • Religion - the religions of the Fremen and the Imperium

  • Politics - political themes and the depictions of political leaders

  • Human potential - the Butlerian jihad, eugenics, and body control

  • Altered consciousness - mélange, prescience, and the rite of the Sayyadina

  • Psychology

  • Worldbuilding, language invention, and narratology

  • Character and ethics studies

  • Gender/class/queer and colonialism

  • Science and technology - sandworms, stillsuits, and folding space

  • History of ideas - Dune in its 20th century context

  • Audience reception

  • Adaptations (film, comics, video games, etc.)

Contributor Guidelines

To be considered, submit the following by March 31, 2019:

  • 250-500 word abstract of your proposed chapter;

  • Contact information - name, email address, and any institutional affiliation;

  • Resume/CV for each author/co-author (in any format);

  • Email to: and

Please note: all submissions must represent previously unpublished work and must not be under simultaneous consideration elsewhere.

Selected authors will be notified by April 30, 2019, and will be invited to contribute a first draft of a full-length chapter by September 1, 2019 and a final draft by November 1, 2019. Essays should be between 3,500-5,000 words and conform to MLA style. All chapters will be peer-reviewed by the collection editors and at least one other external reviewer before completion. A book proposal, including accepted abstracts, will be submitted to a publisher once authors have been selected.

A Note about Publication

A major publisher in the field of pop culture studies has expressed interest in Dune for the 21st Century. Once we have a complete list of contributors, we will submit a formal proposal to the publisher and negotiate a contract.

Dominic J. Nardi, PhD ( is a political scientist currently based at George Washington University.

N. Trevor Brierly, MLIS ( is a software engineer and independent scholar of science fiction and fantasy literature.