CFP – The Fantasy of Social Justice

Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
March 11-12, 2016

The Fantasy of Social Justice
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Farah Mendlesohn, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

What is social justice? How do we understand it within literary, gender and cultural studies, history, and the political sciences, as well as from psychological and pedagogical perspectives? Is social justice a possibility, or simply a fantasy carried on through human history? We encourage applicants to talk about their interpretation of social justice.

Social justice is an enormously broad and continuously relevant issue, but difficult to define and pin down, as it belongs to almost every discipline. This conference seeks to explore the existing fantasies our society has about justice. Beyond that, we would like to examine how fantasy literature, one of the most popular literary genres nowadays, can contribute to the dialog on racial, cultural, gender and class discrimination.

We aim to bring together scholars, graduate students as well as faculty members, activists, and story tellers from North America and overseas in order to observe the range of perspectives on social justice within the humanities and social sciences. We invite participants to create a unique interdisciplinary dialog on equality, discrimination and social change within and outside of the academy, with the ambition to strengthen interdisciplinary research and connect a wide variety of scholars.


  • Imagining social justice
  • Alterity, inequality and social justice
  • Class, race, gender, identity problematics and the contemporary understanding of justice
  • The historical evolution of the concept of social justice
  • The place of social justice in the environmental discourse
  • The dialog on social justice in fantastic and fantasy literature
  • Social changes that are discussed and cultivated in fantastic literature
  • Fantasy literature as a tool for raising awareness about social justice
  • Apocalyptic and dystopian novels and their unique way of exploring social justice issues
  • The consumption of fantasy literature as the most popular genre of the 21st century
  • Children’s/Young adult’s understanding and concern with social justice
  • Pedagogical implication of using literature to talk about social justice

This conference will include one panel plus keynote address on Friday and three additional panels on Saturday. Each presentation should take no longer than 20 min, followed by discussion and question time. Aside from regular presentations we encourage a presentation-response format, where a presentation will be addressed by a 15 min response by a faculty member. Please let us know if you would be interested in receiving a direct response to your paper and we will put you in touch with a UBC faculty member from a similar field. If you would like to write a response yourself, please indicate this in your email. Throughout the event participants will be provided with coffee and refreshments, as well as lunch on Saturday. This conference is being generously sponsored by the graduate residential college “Green College,” and the Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies at UBC.

Please send a 250-350 word abstract along with a biographical statement (word.doc), to by November 15, 2015. Selected participants will be notified by November 30, 2015.

You can find further information about the hosting department at, and the conference venue at

Note: Limited housing is available with UBC students upon request, please inquire if interested.