Getting ready for the present: new global dystopian imaginaries and public engagement

Responsabile scientifico: Paola Scrolavezza


Transcultural and transmedial dialogues between Japanese, Latin American, British and Anglo American cultures

Project Code: 2022ZTES8N_001

Start date: 17/10/2023

End date: 16/10/2025

CUP: J53D23013720006

Financed by the European Union - NextGenerationEU through the Italian Ministry of University and Research under PNRR - Mission 4 Component 2, Investment 1.1

Short project description

The PRIN 2022 project “Getting ready for the present: new global dystopian imaginaries and public engagement. Transcultural and transmedial dialogues between Japanese, Latin American, British and Angloamerican cultures”, funded by the European Union - Next Generation EU, stems from a careful observation and analysis of new trends within the thoroughly diverse context of cultural and entertainment production, along with a desire to explore the different ways through which new narratives and new media can open up unprecedented, introspective, and at the same time global perspectives on the changes affecting contemporary societies in their continuous evolution and transformation.

Developed by two research units (the first at the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures of the University of Bologna, and the second at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Modern Cultures of the University of Turin), the project focuses on the analysis of the new dystopian and (post)apocalyptic narrative forms in the Japanese and Latin American cultural context, in relation to canonical Anglo-American production. The new dystopias, as apocalyptic ‘unveiling’, present themselves as a powerful critical tool to analyse and rethink contemporary societies. In this role, they shine a spotlight on issues such as inclusion, sustainability, climate crisis; intersecting utopianism, feminism, postcolonialism and the more recent debate on post-humanism.

The research adopts a multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and transmedial critical approach, which stems from the application of classical theories of formal and structural analysis of texts and then embraces the most recent methods of investigation developed within Cultural and Postcolonial Studies, Visual and Media Studies, Reception Studies, Global Fiction, eco-feminism, World Literature, exploring the dialogue between different cultural productions and assessing the effectiveness of dystopias as a tool for interpreting social and political contexts.



Among the aims of the project is the valorisation of the dialogic relationship that links dystopian and (post)apocalyptic Japanese/Latin American with the Anglo-American narrative production through mutual contaminations, re-mediations and transmedia adaptations. The project thus begins by focusing on those “peripheral” areas, which are demonstrating more than others vitality and capacity for renewal with respect to the 21st century Anglo-American production, considered canonical for the field of study both for reasons of cultural tradition and cultural (neo)imperialism. The oscillation between centre and periphery, and between advanced capitalist countries and subaltern countries makes it possible to embrace themes with global reverberations also through visual and media transpositions and remediations.

In particular, within these geographies, the aim is to investigate how literature and other forms of cultural and creative imagination become a tool capable of providing and stimulating crucial reflections on time and the post-catastrophe world of the environmental crisis, as well as promoting greater awareness and above all the emergence of a culture of change.

The ultimate goal of the project is therefore to understand the socio-cultural-political impact of such multimedia/transmedia narratives – an influence that is capable of building global communities, affiliations and movements.


Expected Outcomes

Among the expected results is the verification of the effectiveness of dystopian production as a tool for interpreting current societies, taking also into account the appropriation of the genre by forms of social, cultural and political resistance. To what extent can dystopian and (post)apocalyptic narratives still be considered a tool capable of understanding our societies? Can they anticipate possible scenarios, and think about a transition towards the future capable of supporting the co-creation of a common vision and paths of innovation?

The results will be disseminated through a dedicated website, scientific meetings, training courses for schools, and cultural events open to the public (theatre performances, online and on-site exhibitions) that will take advantage of the articulated network of territorial and institutional realities of the two research units (University of Bologna and University of Turin).