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Utopias Graduate Conference
May 25 - May 26Free
From the global pandemic to activist protests such as #BLM, climate change, workers rights, and the uncovering of unmarked graves at former residential schools across Canada, the events of the past 18+ months have shown an urgent need and desire for new modes of life.
Faced with the struggles of the past 18+ months, many of us are searching for a “new normal” that prioritizes equality, community, kindness, and human rights over colonial-capitalism. Despite these ongoing struggles, we remain hopeful that a better world is possible and where our collectivity matters in producing change and liberation. We are searching for a utopic future while continuing to struggle within a colonial-capitalist system. Against this cultural backdrop, this conference is interested in examining and problematizing the concept of utopia. How might artists, authors, playwrights, and critics reconcile with or problematize the underlying utopic (or perfectly imperfect) nature of the arts, including their “lofty” utopian aspirations? How might they (perhaps reluctantly, complexly) come to terms with projects that envision an equitable future but are nonetheless ethereal or aesthetic? How might utopic variations of the ideal foreground real political praxis? Utopias is looking to embrace the contradictory nature of the utopic by calling for imperfect, incomplete, and unprofessional abstract abstracts – including (but not limited to) papers, experiments, performances, poetry, or visuals that complicate the complicated potential of utopia within the performing arts, literary arts, and beyond.