Books Beyond Boundaries NI Conference: Nationhood, Identity, and Speculative Fiction

15th-16th January 2022, Online

“Culture is the context within which we need to situate the self, for it is only by virtue of the interpretations, orientations and values provided by culture that we can formulate our identities, say ‘who we are’, and ‘where we are coming from.’”

(Benhabib, 2000:18)

From C.S. Lewis to James White, Northern Irish and Irish fiction is best known for its imagined histories, futures, and alternate realities. However, speculative fiction from ethnic minority writers have been notably absent from the literary canon. While the island of Ireland has continued to grow more culturally diverse in the 21st century, there has been little engagement with how the cultural identity of Northern Ireland and Ireland has been transformed through immigration.

The Books Beyond Boundaries NI Conference welcomes presentations, papers, posters, and roundtables which discuss how speculative art shapes our understanding of cultural identity, and/or how Northern Ireland and Ireland can benefit from diversifying and decolonizing our community. In particular, this conference welcomes any of the above, which address:

— Race and Ethnicity in the Northern Irish/Irish Cultural Context

— Ethnic Minority Culture and History in Northern Ireland/Ireland

— Speculative Fiction and Cultural Identity

— Post-humanism and Identity

— Linguistics and Identity in Speculative Discourse

— Modern Art and Futurism

— Digital Intimacy and Fan fiction

— Gender/Sexual Identity and Speculative Fiction

— Alternate Histories and Narratives

— Identity and Speculative Media, i.e., video games, film, anime, graphic novels

— Cultural Anxieties in the Gothic

Proposals should be sent as an abstract of approximately 200-500 words with bio to [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is November 12th, 2021.

Due to the nature of the conference, and Ulster University’s commitment to decolonization and greater accessibility in academia, we particularly welcome proposals from underrepresented communities.