CFP: 5th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Surrealism (Houston, 9–11 Nov 2023)

In 2023, Houston will host the fifth annual convening of the International Society for the Study of Surrealism (ISSS), and its first in-person gathering since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the success of the previous conferences in Bucknell, Pennsylvania (2018), and Exeter, England (2019), and that of the virtual conferences in 2021 and 2022, we invite proposals on any topic related to Surrealism in its various incarnations.

Deadline: 1 Apr 2023

We understand Surrealism in the broadest terms, seeking to attend to its history and widespread influence in contemporary writing, art, philosophy, film, political thought, and popular culture. We are interested in the full range of media across all geographical locations and within all relevant temporal frames. Our goal is to promote new directions in surrealist research, bringing surrealist groups and tendencies across continents and archipelagos into conversation.

Bolstered by recent scholarship and the conference’s location in Houston (one of the most diverse cities in the United States and a gateway to Latin America), Surrealisms 2023: Houston especially welcomes papers or panels on Surrealism in the Americas. Related topics might include Latin American and Archipelagic Surrealisms; Surrealism and the Black Diaspora; collecting Surrealism in North America; Surrealism’s regional legacy in cities like Chicago, Houston, and Mexico City; untrained artists across cultures; and Surrealism in American art of the 1960s. We invite submissions from all disciplines, including art history, architecture, literary history, film studies, poetics, politics, museology, and periodical studies.

Please upload a proposal to no later than April 1. We warmly welcome proposals for:

– Individual presentations (20-minutes), which should include a 250-word abstract along with the presenter’s name, title, affiliation, and a brief biography.

– Pre-organized panels and roundtables. Pre-organized panels might include 3-4 presentations (20-25 minutes each); roundtables might feature 5-6 speakers who give short presentations. In each case, please include an additional paragraph describing the theme and proposed title of the panel or roundtable.

– Other alternative format panels

We encourage submissions from graduate students for whom surrealism is central to their research. ISSS may provide some modest travel funding for graduate students.

We welcome submissions from artists, filmmakers, poets, and writers interested in discussing their practice in the scholarly context of a workshop or roundtable.

The conference supports and welcomes submissions in French and Spanish; however, please note that these must include a précis or translation in English. (The presentations may be delivered in English, French, or Spanish.)

An individual may present on a maximum of one panel, plus one roundtable or workshop, in order to ensure space for a full range of delegates and discussion.

The majority of the conference sessions will be held on-site at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which recently opened a new building to display its international collections of modern and contemporary art. The conference program will also offer a number of auxiliary activities, including an evening museum reception. Guided visits of the Menil Collection, including its landmark Surrealism galleries and the recently opened Menil Drawing Institute, will be made available. Please check frequently, as it will be continually updated with further details, including logistical and travel information.

Please contact with questions.

Notification by May 15, 2023

Conference Coordinators:

Natalie Dupêcher, The Menil Collection

Sandra Zalman, University of Houston

Caroline Goeser, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Graham Bader, Rice University

Jointly organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Menil Collection; The University of Houston; and Rice University

For more information, visit: