(Un)Ethical Futures: Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction
15–17 December 2017
Monash University Law Chambers, Melbourne, Australia
Organised by Monash University and the University of Warwick
with funding provided by the Monash Warwick Alliance
Call for submissions
The organisers of the (Un)Ethical Futures conference invite contributions for a special themed issue of Colloquy: Text, Theory, Critique and an edited essay collection, provisionally titled (Un)Ethical Futures: Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction.
Deadline for submissions: 30 April 2018.
Registrations have now closed. Please direct all enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration rates were as follows (in Australian dollars):
full fee $150 | student/concession $95 | Monash/Warwick student $80
full fee $55 | student/concession $35 | Monash/Warwick student $30
Registration fees were charged in order to cover some conference expenses, such as catering, although the support of the Monash Warwick Alliance has allowed us to keep these costs to a minimum.
About the conference
(Un)Ethical Futures was a three-day interdisciplinary conference exploring the ethical concerns of utopia, dystopia and science fiction. As we find the world in a state of significant social and political uncertainty, representations of more (or less) ethical futures can help us understand the impulses driving society today, and our hopes and fears for the future.
The conference engaged with a wide range of disciplines across the humanities, arts, and social sciences, including literary studies, media studies, history, philosophy, and cultural studies. The conference themes also spanned multiple genres and modes, from science fiction (sf) about the near or distant future, to alternative histories about better or worse presents, to fantastic stories about utopian or dystopian societies. The conference’s focus on ethics allowed for a range of topics, including environmental ethics and climate change, human bioethics, animal ethics, the ethical use of technology, ethics of alterity and the ethical treatment of others, as well as related issues of social justice.
The conference featured keynote addresses, interactive workshops and concurrent panels.
Andrew Milner is Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Monash University and Honorary Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick University. His publications include John Milton and the English Revolution (1981), The Road to St Kilda Pier (1984), Cultural Materialism (1993), Class (1999), Re-Imagining Cultural Studies (2002), Contemporary Cultural Theory (2002), Literature, Culture and Society (2005), Tenses of Imagination: Raymond Williams on Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction (2010), Locating Science Fiction (2012) and Again, Dangerous Visions: Essays in Cultural Materialism (forthcoming with E.J. Brill). He also co-edited volumes from three previous Monash conferences on utopia and dystopia.
Jacqueline Dutton is Associate Professor in French Studies at the University of Melbourne. She has published widely on utopian studies, including a chapter on "Non-western" utopian traditions for the Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature (2010) and a book on utopianism in the work of 2008 Nobel Laureate in Literature JMG Le Clézio, Le Chercheur d'or et d'ailleurs: l'utopie de JMG Le Clézio (2003). She is also a leading researcher and writer on French culture and identity, teaching various courses on travel writing, food and wine, cinema, and literature. She is currently writing a cultural history of the Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne wine regions.
Nick Lawrence teaches American literature, world literature and critical theory at the University of Warwick. He is a member of the Warwick Research Collective and co-author of Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature (Liverpool UP), together with forthcoming volumes on keywords in world-literary studies and world culture beyond the novel. His publications include How to Read Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (Pluto) and a range of articles on work and utopia in critical theory, poetry in the post-Bandung era, contemporary graphic narrative and climate change and the neoliberal university. He is currently working on Post-Capitalist Aesthetics, a monograph charting contemporary dystopian landscapes in tandem with cultural prefigurations of a world order beyond the present era of neoliberal capitalism.
Dr Meg Mundell is a novelist, journalist, and Research Fellow in Writing and Literature at Deakin University. Her critically acclaimed first novel Black Glass (Scribe, 2011), a dystopian tale set in a near-future Melbourne, was shortlisted for several awards. Meg’s writing has appeared in Best Australian Stories, The Age, The Guardian, The Monthly, Sydney Morning Herald, Meanjin, Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Book Review and elsewhere. She’s currently finishing her second novel, The Trespassers.
Sascha Morrell studied Arts and Law at the University of Sydney and completed her PhD in English Literature at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College). She is a Lecturer in Literary Studies at Monash University, and has published widely on American and modernist literatures while completing a book project on race, labor, historiography and visual culture in the fiction of William Faulkner, Herman Melville and others. She has a special interest in the appropriation of Haitian history and cultural motifs (including the zombie) in U.S. fiction, theatre and film. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in Australian, British and United States journals and anthologies including Meanjin, Going Down Swinging and The Mays.
Evie Kendal is a lecturer with the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and a PhD candidate in the Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University. She is the author of Equal Opportunity and the Case for State Sponsored Ectogenesis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and has published various articles and book chapters on the representation of reproductive biotechnologies in science fiction.
13–14 December 2017
Conference attendees were invited to attend pre-conference activities at the Monash University Clayton Campus. Most of these were aimed at graduate research students, but some were open to a wider audience. For more information, see the "Pre-conference" page.
These activities were funded by the Monash Postgraduate Association and Monash University’s Literary and Cultural Studies Graduate Research Program, and were free of charge for participants.
Zachary Kendal, Mia Goodwin, Aisling Smith, Evie Kendal, Joshua Bulleid
University of Warwick
Jung Ju Shin, Giulia Champion, Sean Mulcahy, Susannah Heffernan
The conference and pre-conference activities were made possible by the generous support of the organisations and centres below: