Gdańsk, 5-8 July 2017
Faculty of Languages, University of Gdańsk
European Solidarity Centre
Historical Museum of the City of Gdańsk
Solidarity, being an important element of contemporary social and political thought, constitutes an indispensable part of every utopian project as well as the basic condition for successful opposition against all kinds of dystopia and totalitarianism. Postmodern concepts of utopian solidarity do not envisage radical marginalisation of controversial minority discourses for “the common good“, as was often the case in the earlier periods. On the contrary, at present the utopian projects of a better world readily incorporate differences and differentiations into their framework. Aiming to reduce antagonisms through appreciation rather than obliteration of diversities, the utopian projects collide, however, with the yearning for cultural homogeneity and traditional group solidarity, recurrently restored even in most advanced societies.
The rise of the mass social movement of “Solidarity” in Gdańsk in August 1980, with its legendary leader and future Polish President Lech Wałęsa, initiated a series of events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the restructuring of the social, political and economic landscape of the world with both utopian and dystopian implications. As the 18th International Conference of the Utopian Studies Society/Europe will be held literally on the site where “Solidarity” – the first free workers’ union in communist Eastern Europe – was born, we hope that it will provide an occasion for lively exchanges of ideas on:
- the definition and function of solidarity in contemporary socio-political thought;
- the role of solidarity in intentional communities and utopianism in general;
- the theme of solidarity in utopian literature, visual media (cinema, television, comics, graphic novels), interactive media (computer & video games), etc.;
- the historic role of Polish “Solidarity” as part of the (e)utopian project of restoring European unity in the post-Cold War world and its representations in literature, cinema, and mass media.
Papers on any other aspects of utopias and utopianism are also welcome, including:
- representations of utopia and dystopia in all of the aforementioned contexts (literature, art, television, new media, etc.).
The main language of the conference is English. Panels in other languages will also be accepted.
Proposals are invited in the following formats: (1) 20-minute papers (abstracts of circ. 300 words) or (2) panels of 3-4 papers (please provide the topic and description of the panel, the names of the corresponding author and other participants, and abstracts of all contributions). All submissions should also include e-mail address and contact phone number.
Please send all proposals and correspondence to conference secretary dr Justyna Galant at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for the proposals is 15th April 2017. Confirmations of acceptance will be sent by 20th April 2017.
|by 1st June 2017||after 1st June 2017|
|Fee without conference dinner**||€140||€160|
* Full conference fee includes coffee breaks; wine reception (Wednesday); two lunches (Thursday and Friday); and conference dinner (Thursday); as well as publication of selected papers.
** Concessionary rate includes all of the above except for conference dinner.
Please note that by registering for the conference the delegates are agreeing to pay a membership fee of 50 PLN to join the Society. The fee, not included in the conference fee, goes directly to the Utopian Studies Society-Europe and allows us to fund grants for young utopian scholars. As the fee will be collected at the event, please make sure you have the 50 PLN in cash ready at the conference registration.
Further conference details will be updated at solidarityandutopia2017.wordpress.com and in social media under the hashtags #USS2017 and #USSE2017.
Artur Blaim (University of Gdańsk)
Ludmiła Gruszewska-Blaim (University of Gdańsk)