CfP: Scientific Utopias in Soviet Union: Fiction, science and power (1917-1991)

Deadline: 30 November 2015
Open to: anyone with a keen interest in the human and social sciences
Venue: 23-24 September 2016, Paris, France


The call for papers for the conference  “Scientific Utopias in Soviet Union: Fiction, science and power (1917-1991)” has been opened. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, history of science has made significant progress. One topic however was disregarded: scientific utopia, fascinating and intriguing, because situated on the border between literature and science. Scientific utopia, as social utopia, offers an imaginary model for a new type of society and wishes to facilitate its realization. This conference aims to understand how fiction, thanks to its heuristic function, managed to participate in the transformation of scientific activity and reconfigure science and power relation.

First of all, participants will focus on the relation between fiction and science, in order to explore how literature and film have taken over and readapted some of the concepts based on scientific discoveries and, conversely, how science used the imagery proposed by fiction to sustain its discourse, challenge its findings or launch the brand new experiments. This double movement is clearly mediated by power. This is why the conference will be attentive to the social command and the mechanisms of censorship at work. Through this relation between fiction, science and power the idea of progress and its meaning during this period will be also explored.

This conference addresses all the disciplines in the humanities and social sciences (history, sociology, philosophy, literature studies, etc.). Every field of Soviet science, the best known as well as the most marginal, are to be examined. All works of fiction can be analyzed, as long as they fall within literature or cinema. The working languages of the conference are French, English and Russian.


The conference is opened to anyone with a keen interest in the human and social sciences with particular focus on scientific utopias in Soviet Union. Following topics are eligible for papers:

  • Scientific concepts and discoveries in fiction

    • variety of imagery proposed by scientific utopias;
    • discoveries and innovations at the heart of this imagery;
    • meanings given to the idea of progress;
    • fears and concerns expressed by scientific utopias.
  • Scientific utopias and science:

    • the role of fiction in scientific thinking and controversies;
    • the role of fiction in the reconfiguration of relations between scientific disciplines;
    • scientific ethics with regard to scientific utopias;
    • the use of scientific utopias in order to obtain recognition of a project by authorities or a scientific institution.
  • Scientific utopias tested by the society:
    • spreading of scientific utopias and its audience;
    • scientific utopias and popularization of knowledge and techniques;
    • scientific utopias and power, the role of censorship.


The costs for accommodation, meals and travel for successful candidates are covered by organizers.

How to apply?

The deadline for applications is 30 November 2015. If you are interested in presenting a paper at this conference, please send a 300 word-long abstract and a short bio to the following e-mail address:

For more information please contact

Leave a Reply