MMLA 2022 Popular Culture Permanent Session CFP: Where do we go from Here? Utopian and Dystopian Possibilities in Popular Culture

deadline for submissions: 
April 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

The MMLA 2022 conference call for papers states that “we invite our members to a collective discussion of the role of humanities post-now in an emphatic call for immediate changes to allow a fundamentally different future.” The popular culture panel will address this call by investigating both the dystopian and utopian potential of our new reality as expressed in media and other forms of popular culture.

Questions to consider include: How has popular culture addressed issues presented by the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, the concept of post-truth, life after the pandemic, environmental issues, and other pressing matters? What paths do utopian texts suggest will improve our collective lives? What paths do dystopian texts encourage us to avoid? How have older texts been reinterpreted to address current concerns?

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

-        Dystopian television series’ such as Black Mirror, Dollhouse, and Utopia

-        The adaptation of older stories like The Handmaids Tale for the present cultural moment

-        Dystopian and utopian worlds in Marvel’s multi-verse

-        Utopian movies like Minority Report, In Time, and Her

-        Dystopian movies like The Giver and Blade Runner

-        The Matrix series, both as recent spin-offs and reading the original twenty years later

-        Video games with utopian and dystopian themes

-        How reality tv shows suggest utopian and dystopian possibilities

-        The marketing of utopias and dystopias, from children’s toys to survivalist supplies

Please send proposals of 300 words and a brief biography (100 words max) to Dr. Allene Nichols (arnichols@muw.edu) by April 15, 2022.