December 6, 2019

Call For Proposals: The Utopia/Dystopia Project: A Writing Workshop, UNLV School of Law, Feb. 13-14, 2020 @UNLVLaw @elmacdowell @ljewel

The Utopia/Dystopia Project: A Writing Workshop 
February 13-14, 2020
William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas

There is no end / To what a living world / Will demand of you.
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower 

In these days of hate politics and urgent need, there is a great need for countervailing narratives and envisioning. The Utopia/Dystopia Project seeks to engage the legal imagination with utopian and dystopian art forms to decolonize mental space, reframe critical consciousness, and engender deep resistance. Project organizers believe that this art has much to teach the legal academy about understanding contemporary politics and re-organizing and re-envisioning what comes next. Popular utopian and dystopian narratives may illuminate truth and sharpen our vision. Indeed, the most critical articulations of these genres struggle with basic questions while expressing alternative visions of what could be. Speculative texts urge us to think from a different perspective than the ones we normally occupy, to live differently than we are, and to dissent from the status quo. They teach us to resist against what scares or enrages us, and to build and engender what we hope for and love. They show us that alternative possibilities for empathy, recognition, and joy may be as near as the next frame or the turn of a page. 

This Workshop follows the powerful Utopia/Dystopia Project Conference held at Tulane University School of Law in April 2019, and panels at critical legal conferences in 2018-19. Guiding questions addressed at these events included: What is law? What is justice? What are our obligations to one another? What is sacred? What is profane? What is a person? What is gender? What is sex? What is race? Must our answers be linear, inevitable, binary? Participants also engaged questions about ethics, power, and the realm of the political: How should we treat one another? What does it mean to live a good or just life? How does power structure our interactions and inevitabilities in our lives? Could power structures be other than they appear to be? How? What institutions shape our life chances/choices? What does it mean to belong or to exclude? What is self,  community, nation, other? 

Please join us for an intimate workshop to support the development of a rich, interdisciplinary legal scholarship that engages these themes. This Workshop will continue this vital dialogue with a focus on developing the participants’ ideas and scholarship toward the goal of publication. Participants will share working drafts before the Workshop and receive intensive feedback at the Workshop, as well as participate in discussions of cross-cutting ideas and issues, in a supportive environment. 

We are seeking proposals for participation. 
Participation may include academic and artistic written materials that engage socio-legal themes, storytelling in the critical race theory tradition, and speculative, utopian and/or dystopian materials, themes, or ideas. Proposals of 250-500 words should be emailed to by Dec. 19, 2019 and include the author’s resume. Selected participants will be notified by Dec. 27. 
Working drafts will be due Jan. 24, 2020. Inquiries may be sent to Elizabeth MacDowell or another organizing committee member: Cyra Akila Choudhury, FSU College of Law;  Atiba R. Ellis, Marquette University Law School; Anthony Farley, Albany Law School; Marc-Tizoc González, St. Thomas University School of Law; Lucy Jewel, University of Tennessee College of Law; Brant Lee, University of Akron School of Law; Saru Matambanadzo, Tulane University Law School; Christian B. Sundquist, Albany Law School; and Matthew Titolo, West Virginia University College of Law.

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