Imaginal Worlds Conference

Imaginal Worlds Conference October 28, 2016

Dear graduate students,On April 7th, 2017, Columbia University’s Department of Religion will be hosting a conference:

“Imaginal Worlds: Religion in Speculative and Fan Fiction”

Keynote speaker: N.K. Jemisin (2016 Hugo Award Winner)

The graduate students of Columbia University’s Department of Religion invite paper proposals that explore the relationship between religion and imaginal worlds. Contemporary popular culture is riddled with religious allusions and ideations. In science fiction and fantasy literature, comic books and graphic novels, fan fiction and cosplay adaptations, familiar storylines are recursively created through conceptions of the divine and demonic, the miraculous and marvelous, the saintly and heretical. This confluence of evolving imagery and ideas raises questions of how, why, and in what forms audiences intellectually and emotionally inhabit imaginative narrative creations.

Please submit proposals to by December 15, 2016 for papers of up to 20 minutes. Proposals should be approximately 250-300 words in length; please also include the title of your paper, institution, and graduate program.

In this conference, they will interpret “religion” and “imaginal worlds” broadly and welcome papers that encourage dynamic discussion among scholars interested in this emerging topic. In addition to the conspicuously “religious,” they invite papers that explore imaginative rituals, practices, and ideas that haunt the ostensibly “secular” in complex and unexpected ways.

Inquiries can be directed to the organizers at

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