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utopia conference

Deadline Extended: Call for Papers: Utopia and Democracy

Call for Papers

24th Conference of the Utopian Studies Society/Europe

UTOPIA AND DEMOCRACY

3-5 July 2024

Democracy Institute of the Central European University

Budapest, 15 Nádor Street.

 

As historian Péter Hanák argues, Central Europe is a region where reality and utopia have always mingled. The multifaceted relationship between reality and utopia is at the very center of the 24th Annual Conference of the Utopian Studies Society/Europe, that will take place in the heart of Central Europe – in Budapest.

Taking its cue from our host in Budapest, Central European University’s Democracy Institute, this year’s event is titled Utopia and Democracy. We welcome all interested speakers who aim to enrich the intellectual history of the concept of democracy by drawing attention to its relationship with various forms of utopianism, whether literary, political, philosophical or practical. The history/interpretation of the concepts of both utopia and democracy have been changing in the past centuries, and there are a number of significant common points in their developments, though the production of scholarly works in this field has been sporadic. Speakers are thus invited to reflect on how elements of democratic societies have been endorsed and/or criticised by utopias, or to address their role in the depictions of ideal social and political structures.

Beyond the legal and political aspects of democratic societies, the organizers of this event encourage the perception of democracy in broader terms as a form of socialization (to use Miguel Abensour’s term). Aspects of democratic societies, such as equality, the rule of law, the separation of powers, freedom of expression, commitment to the common good, solidarity, plurality of opinions, respect for the human dignity of the other (especially the political opponent), threats to democratic structures, etc., are among the topics that we believe determine our contemporary discussion of the relationship between democracy and utopia.

While we particularly welcome topics related to (East) Central Europe, presentations and papers will not be restricted to only these suggested topics, and as usual, we welcome all papers and presentations related to utopia or dystopia, in the realms of history (of ideas), literature, politics, the social sciences, architecture or other relevant scholarly or artistic fields, also if they extend beyond the topic of democracy.

We invite proposals for individual 20-minute papers, fully formed panel sessions with 3 or 4 speakers addressing a shared topic, as well as workshops or roundtables on any theme related to the broad topic of utopianism. If you would like to engage with this year’s Democracy and Utopia theme, you might address the following topics:

  • Democratic structures and utopian social or literary imaginaries
  • Utopian and political literature
  • Utopia and the rule of law
  • Minoritarian (sexual, racial, natural) utopian/dystopian imaginaries
  • Utopia, democracy, and gender
  • The potential for queer utopias in contemporary democratic societies (especially papers honoring the 15th anniversary of José Esteban Muñoz’s field-establishing work “Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity”)
  • The democratic elements of utopias/dystopias in contemporary popular culture
  • The democratization of utopias/dystopias and environmental humanities
  • Utopianism and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe
     

The official language of the conference is English, but panels in languages other than English are also welcome, subject to minimum enrolment.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Professor Nicole Pohl (Oxford Brookes University)

Professor Nathalie Vanfasse (Aix-Marseille University)

Professor György Majtényi (Eszterházy Károly Catholic University, Eger, Hungary)

PROPOSALS

Individual Papers

If you want to propose an individual 20-minute paper, please submit a 300-400-word abstract together with a paper title and three keywords. The speaker’s name, their academic affiliation (if applicable), an email address, and a short biography (maximum 100 words), together with a short statement on whether or not they would be willing to chair a session should also be submitted.

Please use this form for an individual paper proposal: Download Form

Panels (3-4 participants)

To propose a panel (with minimum 3, maximum 4 participants), the chair should submit a 400-word abstract for the panel, accompanied by the title of the panel, as well as the titles of each individual paper, and three keywords for the panel. The names of all the panel presenters, their academic affiliations, email addresses, and short biographies (maximum 100 words); and the name and affiliation of the panel chair and respondent (if any) should also be included in the list. If you want us to assign a chair for your panel session, please indicate this for us. If applicable, please also include any access or scheduling requirements in your submission.

Please use this form for a panel proposal: Download Form

Creative activities
As we are aware that many utopian thinkers and practitioners do not necessarily want to present their work in the traditional academic format, we would be more than happy to accommodate different forms of engaging with the broad topic of utopianism, such as
performances, temporary exhibitions, or any other type of creative/artistic activities (in accordance with our spatial and financial limitations). If you wish to present your work in this manner, and you find that the registration form does not fully correspond to your ideas/concepts, please contact us at: usse2024@ceu.edu, and we will try our best to provide an opportunity to present your project. 

Please use this form for creative/artistic activities: Download Form

 

You will be kindly asked to fill in all sections of the forms, save the form as a Word document, and email the form to usse2024@ceu.edu, with the subject heading ‘USSE2024: [Your Name] Abstract’ by February 22,2024.  (The deadline has been extended from January 31).

Confirmation of acceptance will be sent out by 29th February, 2024.

As we are aware that many utopian thinkers and practitioners do not necessarily want to present their work in the traditional academic format, we would be more than happy to accommodate different forms of engaging with the broad topic of utopianism, such as performances, temporary exhibitions, or any other type of creative/artistic activities (in accordance with our spatial and financial limitations). If you wish to present your work in this manner, and you find that the registration form does not fully correspond to your ideas/concepts, please contact us at: usse2024@ceu.edu, and we will try our best to provide an opportunity to present your project.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION

24th USS/E CONFERENCE FEE:

  • In-Person Conference Participation Fee – 140 EUR
  • Online Participation Fee – 30 EUR
  • In-Person Conference Fee for junior scholars - 80 EUR
    (this reduced fee is offered to the first 30 MA students, PhD students and early-career researchers without a permanent/stable position to register) - Sorry, quota for reduced fee has been filled up, full fee applies for all new applicants.

USS/E SOCIETY FEE:

Please note that the USS/E membership fee of 20 EUR, which entitles you to the annual membership in the Society, is separate from the Conference fee and is the Society’s only source of funding travel grants for utopian scholars and covering the costs of current expenses (such as bank account, USS/E website). It is not possible to participate in a USS/E Conference without paying the Society Fee. Members of the USS/E accept the regulations of the society (https://utopian-studies-europe.org/constitution-and-regulation/ ) and particularly our ECR/EDI statement (https://utopian-studies-europe.org/ecr-edi-statement/ )The membership fee should be paid until 30th April 2024.

TRAVEL GRANTS

As in previous years, a limited number of USS/E travel grants for in-person participation will be available for doctoral students and junior scholars. Details are available here.

Host Committee:

Czigányik Zsolt, Iva Dimovska, Daryna Koryagina (CEU Democracy Institute, “Democracy in East Central European utopianism” research group)

Academic Committee:

Éva Antal, Vera Benczik, Gregory Claeys, Justyna Galant, Marta Komsta, Csaba Maczelka, Sándor Hites, Károly Pintér, Ádám Takács

For more information, visit the conference website.

The conference is supported by Central European University’s Democracy Institute and the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

 

Image credit: Arquepoetica/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Deed
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