Call for Papers

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Submissions requested for Dystopian States of America: Apocalyptic Visions and Warnings in American Literature, Film, and Politics.  This project aims to be an accessible, wide-ranging survey of and reference work on dystopian and apocalyptic themes in literature, film, and popular culture.   According to the publisher:

The set will not only provide insights into some of the most influential and disturbing visions of futuristic dystopia/apocalypse in film and literature, but also provide a gateway through which to examine anxieties and concerns that have roiled American politics and society over the years, such as climate change and other environmental catastrophes,  nuclear proliferation, totalitarianism, technological over-reach (artificial intelligence, genetic engineering), pandemics, cultural decay, racial tensions/competition, and religious extremism.  

This collection is set to be published by ABC-CLIO Publishers in mid-2021.  

Compensation in the form of contributors’ copies will be provided.  


Deadline for Essay Proposals:            Accepted Until June 1, 2019 or when all overview essays are assigned   
Deadline for Essay Drafts:                 January 15, 2020
Deadline for Reference Entries:         December 1, 2019  




Organization & Contents:

Dystopian States of America will be comprised of two main sections: 


  • Five to Seven (5-7) 3,000 word overview essays that will investigate in a critical but accessible way the relationship between cultural visions of dystopia and specific societal anxieties and the political/cultural forces that both drive and respond to those visions and concerns.

    These essays should be written for an educated lay audience (high-school / undergraduate) rather than a strictly academic one. 

    Subjects for overview essays (~3,000 words) include: 
    • totalitarianism
    • war
    • environmental calamity
    • disease / pandemics
    • cultural decline
    • technological overreach
    • social inequality / class conflict
    • racial anxieties / fear of the “other”

Scholars interested in contributing an overview essay should send a 300-400 word proposal and CV to the project editor, Dr. Matthew B Hill @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Proposals will be reviewed as received and essays will be assigned on a rolling basis until June 1, 2019.   Drafts of accepted essays will be due on January 15, 2020.  

 Essays should use Chicago Manual of Style (17th Ed).  


  • Approximately 150-175 reference entries (600-1,500 words) on works of apocalyptic and / or dystopian fiction in a variety of media (literature, film, music, video games). These entries should be written for an educated lay audience (high school / undergraduate) and  should consist of the following:

    • A short overview of the plot of the work;
    • An analysis of the major themes present in the work;
    • A brief discussion of how one or more cultural concerns or anxieties common to dystopian fiction (totalitarianism, war, environmental calamity, disease / pandemics, cultural decline, technological overreach, social inequality / class conflict, racial anxieties / fear of the “other”) are addressed or interrogated in the work.  
    • Any key secondary sources that address the work;
    • List of Requested Reference Entries for Dystopian States of America
    • Reference entries should use the Chicago Manual of Style (17th Ed). 


Scholars interested in contributing reference entries should send an email query and CV to the project editor, Dr. Matthew B Hill (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) indicating which entries they would like to contribute; Dr. Hill will assign entries on a rolling basis until the project is completed. 

Queries will be accepted starting on February 11, 2019, and completed entries will be due from contributors on December 1, 2019.    



Contributors’ copies will be provided based on the level of contribution to the project. 


Overview Essay (3,000 words)

1 contributor copy

1-3 entries (~1,800 words)

Complimentary E-Text

Up to 6 entries 

Complimentary E-Text & 1 contributor copy

7+ entries

Complimentary E-Text & 1 contributor copy; additional contributor copy for every 3 entries (~1,800 words) completed above the initial 6.  (e.g., at the 9th, 12th , 15th, etc.)