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MC: Worlding and Unworlding


May 12, 2022 from 02:00 to 06:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)


GCSC (SR 109)

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The scholarship into how fictions construct worlds have grown rapidly in the past decade, expanding the original work in possible (fictional) worlds. Ideas of narrative fabric, consistency, amplitude, and world-feeling have opened up the worldbuilding debate.

Simultaneously, there is also a strand of fiction that does not attempt to build worlds; worlds are placed under erasure and their ontological status is challenged. Following Leibniz’s logic of compossibility, this talk will focus on fictional worlds that are incompossible — that cannot exist, yet do. I will propose the term unworlding to understand this phenomenon.

This masterclass will be of interest to everyone working on the phenomenon on storyworlds, possible worlds, and worldbuilding. The masterclass will also place worldbuilding theory in a debate with unnatural narratology, and so will be of interest to narratologists.



Christiansen, Steen Ledet. “Unworlding and Disquiet in Annihilation,” New Cinematic Weird: Atmospheres and Worldings. Lexington Books, 2021.

Christiansen, Steen Ledet. “Unworlding in Nameless: The Negation of World-building,” Imagining the Possible 2, 2022. (Forthcoming)

Hayot, Eric. “On Literary Worlds,” Modern Language Quarterly 2011: 72, no. 2. 129-161.

Wolf, Mark J.P. “Worlds within the World.” Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation. Routledge, 2012.

Yacavone, Daniel. “Cineaesthetic World-Feeling and Immersion,” Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema. Columbia University Press, 2015


// Prof. Dr. Steen Ledet Christiansen (Aalborg University, Denmark)