Call for Papers: Messengers from the Stars (Deadline 15 May 2018)

Call for Papers: Messengers from the Stars (Deadline 15 May 2018)

Science Fiction and Fantasy International Conference

Messengers from the Stars: Episode V – “Fragments of Humanity”

School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon

November 29-30, 2018


Science Fiction and Fantasy objects are a permanent part of today’s cultural industry.  From the margins to mainstream culture, their ubiquity demands critical debate beyond the preconception of pop culture made for mass entertainment. The University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES) invites you to take part in the 5th International Conference Messengers From the Stars: On Science Fiction and Fantasy to be held at the School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, on November 29-30, 2018. This year Episode V will focus on the theme “Fragments of Humanity.”

Since its very beginning, Fantasy and SF have questioned essential notions such as: “What does it mean to be human?”; “What are the boundaries of humanity?”; “Are we more or less human than our ancestors?”, among others. These recurrent themes emerged in 18th– and 19th-century writing, namely in the Gothic novel and in works such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) or in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), a book which celebrates its 200th birthday in 2018. Inspired by these pioneering texts and fed by advances in technology, such issues have become more and more complex in Fantasy and SF literature, cinema, TV series, comics and graphic novels, music, and other art forms. What is happening to the human body? Are we still human or are we becoming something else? Are we still whole or fragmented? Are we human, post-human, metahuman and/or transhuman? How can hybrids and monsters allow us to reflect on notions of self and identity? Must we redefine those notions? In that case, what is the role of A.I. in this redefinition? What is the impact of our fragmented humanity on our social environment? What may be the consequences in current and future cultures and their religious belief systems and creeds?

We welcome papers of 20 minutes as well as joint proposals for thematic panels consisting of 3 to 4 participants. Postgraduate and undergraduate students are also welcomed to participate.

Topics may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Artificial Intelligence;
  • Ecocriticism;
  • Fantasy and SF;
  • Fantasy, SF and ethics;
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (and later adaptations/reinterpretations of the novel);
  • Monsters and Monstrosity;
  • Post-Humanism and Transhumanism;
  • The Self, Humanity and Identity;
  • The Other;
  • Utopias/Dystopias;
  • Vampires, zombies, werewolves and other undead bodies.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Filipe Furtado – Full Professor (Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas – Universidade Nova de Lisboa) and author of A Construção do Fantástico na Narrativa (The Construction of the Fantastic in Narrative)

Mike Carey – British writer of comic books, novels, and films. He is the author of the acclaimed novel the Girl with All the Gifts (2014) which was adapted on screen in 2016. His most recent novel, published in April 2017, is The Boy On the Bridge, a stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Girl With All the Gifts.


Individual papers, as well as thematic panel proposals, should have 250 words maximum and be sent to along with a short biographical note (100 words maximum) by May 15, 2018.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by June 4, 2018.

Working Languages: Portuguese and English


Early bird registration:  June 4 –14 September

80 € / Students: 40 €

Late bird registration: 14 September – 19 October

100 € / Students: 70 €


  • Only after proof of payment is registration effectively considered.
  • Participants are responsible for their own travelling arrangements and accommodation.
  • Undergraduate and post-graduate students must send proof of student status with their registration.
  • All sessions are free. However, participants who are not presenting (or co-authoring) and wish to have access to the conference materials and coffee breaks can benefit from a special registration rate: 20€. Registration: June 4 – 26 November.

[1] The fee includes attendance at all sessions, conference material, coffee breaks and a certificate of participation.


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