© Alez Perez

After the first two editions of the International Meeting of ‘What if?...’ World History, we are pleased to announce it will originate the First International Conference of ‘What if?...’ World History (WhatIf’21). This conference presents itself as a forum per excellence to researchers and aficionados of Alternate and Alternative History to exchange ideas and research results of the field, whether as academic subject, or artistic/literary creation.

Alternate /Alternative and Counterfactual History, either from an artistic and literary or academic research point of view, departs from a child-like question: What if?... What if Britain had confronted Germany in 1938 instead of 1942, when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia? What if the Invincible Armada had not sunk? What if steam had surpassed electric machinery and Victorian context was prolonged throughout the twentieth century?

And the possible answers are a reflective, inductive and/or deductive exercise that explores the meaning of the present and the future in all areas of knowledge, either in a systematic or creative manner.

Each year has a theme under the umbrella of Alternate and Alternative History, and the program committee encourages the submission of articles from all over the world that challenge, advance and enlighten the specifics of the theme. For the WhatIf’21 the theme is ‘Gamification and Alternative History’.

The authors and researchers are free to submit abstracts regarding this theme. Nevertheless, one possible leitmotif for approaching the theme ‘Gamification and Alternative History’ could be inspired by how the possibility of facing multiple divergent realities from a historical perspective can be a conduit for gaining self-awareness and conscience building, either from an individual or a collective point of view. The storytelling routes for the perception, and even the definition, of reality, are juxtaposed to this approach, as one can find in the cinematographic title of Akira Kurosawa, ‘Rashomon’, for example. Another material for exploring and understanding this leitmotif is the book ‘All you need is kill’, by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, which was adapted for the 2014 movie ‘Edge of Tomorrow’.

Topics of interest

Notwithstanding, the articles can be from other topics of interest. Suggested topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following topic areas:

All accepted papers will be published on the Hypothesis Historia Periodical, on a special edition regarding the conference proceedings of the First International Conference of ‘What if?...’ World History. This issue will be published in open access and submitted to be indexed in major international bibliographic databases. We are very honoured to have Professor Nelson Zagalo, from the University of Aveiro, as Guest Editor for the special issue of WhatIf’21.

The WhatIf’21 meeting will be held on November 24-26, 2021, as an online event, during the Hypothesis Cultural Week || Dias da História Alternativa – Winepunk & Companhia, promoted by the Invicta Imaginaria and hosted by i2ADS of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto (FBAUP).

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and is located at the river mouth of Douro river and the Atlantic Ocean, on the western shore of the Iberian Peninsulae. It is a major tourist destination, attracting through the culture and tradition of the Douro region, the history of the Cidade Invicta*, the highly appreciated gastronomy (with special emphasis on the famed wine named after the city, as the always filled Port Wine cellars testify) and pleasant climate alike.

Porto, Portugal, by Everaldo Coelho
© Everaldo Coelho

The organizing committee looks forward to welcoming you to an exciting and fruitful conference, with important exchange of ideas and networking to promote research, literature and arts of high quality and meaning.

In case of questions related to the meeting, please contact us at i2ads@fba.up.pt.

*Traditional designation for the city of Porto that can be translated as Unbeaten City


Invited lecturers

Fátima Lambert

What if Maria Graham didn't travel to Brazil in 1821?

Bio: PHD Modern and Contemporary Philosophy – Aesthetics (1998), Faculdade Filosofia Braga/ UCP. Full Professor in Aesthetics and Education - School of Education / Polytechnic of Porto, presenting the lesson: “Anthropology and Iconography of Body” (2000). President of Scientific Board ESE/ P.Porto (1998-2004). She coordinates the research line “Culture, Arts and Education at InED-Center for Research and Innovation in Education of which she was director until 2017. She is a member of several Scientific Committee of Portuguese and international journals. Member of AICA (Portugal). Independent curator, focusing on programming with Brazilian and Portuguese artists. Keynote Speaker, speaker at scientific and cultural events; author of several books, monographs and texts in scientific journals.

Maria João Fonseca

Imagination, Stories and Museum Collections: how Alternative History sustains re-discovering stored knowledge

Abstract: Alternative History can be an interesting departing point to explore facts and the collective memories that have become forgotten, which affects the construction of the shared cultural and historical identity. The symbiosis between literary alternative universes and the collections of Museums can be one of the most productive approaches to this collective memory loss and increase scientific literacy through shared stories.

Bio: With a background in animal biology and biology teaching and a PhD in science education and communication, Maria João is currently Head of Communication at the Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto. She is in charge of general administration and of coordinating and promoting science communication and outreach activities. She has been involved in the design and evaluation of formal and informal educational activities, teacher training, and outreach initiatives for all sorts of audiences. Also, she is currently part of the team responsible for the reconstruction of the Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto.

Nelson Zagalo

Understanding the Construction of Meaning in Alternative Stories through Interactive Narrative

Abstract: An alternative is a variation of a historical decision knot, which allows the knowledge to establish paths for different perspectives of the same event, as is the case of interactive stories. Both interactivity and alternativity, rather than intending to be sheer vehicles of sensorial variation adaptable to individual taste, aim at incrementing the consciousness of their recipients regarding the specific turning-point event that is under discussion. Therefore, their focus is more rooted in the development of shared and collective meaning, resulting in not only a better inner perception of the recipients regarding themselves but also when relating to the event.

Bio: Nelson Zagalo is Associate Professor of Interactive Media at University of Aveiro - Portugal and Scientific Coordinator of DigiMedia - Digital Media and Interaction Research Center. Until September 2017 he was Assistant Professor at University of Minho - Portugal, where he created the scientific laboratory EngageLab. He founded the Portuguese Society for Videogames Sciences, and the Journal of Digital Media & Interaction. He has served as technological and scientific consultant for companies, European and national funding programs, and superior education course accreditation. He has published more than one hundred peer-review papers in journals, books and conferences around the world. He has written the books "Interactive Emotions, from Film to Videogames" (2009), “Videogames in Portugal: History, Technology and Art” (2013), and "Engagement Design. Designing for Interaction Motivations" (2020).

Rosa Ricoy

Let's imagine: Globalization, Gamification and socio-political control of citizens

Abstract: What are the consequences of the State abusing its power, through technology, in the life and rights of the citizens? And how would the present situation be if more states had followed the example of those countries that essayed this approach in recent years? Where do the ethics and public policies should fit in these scenarios?

Bio: Rosa María Ricoy Casas is a Lecturer of Political Science at the University of Vigo (Uvigo) and Teacher with Venia Docendi at the UNED of Lugo. PhD in Law and History from the Uvigo and Degree in Political Science. She was Vice-Dean of Economic Affairs and Infrastructures and Coordinator-Director of the Degree in Public Management and Administration from 2015 to 2018, and Secretary of the Court of Guarantees (Uvigo) from 2011 to 2014. He has taught and lectured at various Universities and Public Entities (INAP, EGAP, FEGAMP, Sorbonne, King's College, Corvinus Budapest, Kielce Poland, Firenze, Sao Paulo, Mar del Plata, etc.) and at outstanding Congresses in Political Science (IPSA, AECPA, APCP, CEISAL, GIGAPP, REPS, etc.). He has received several awards from entities such as the Galician Bar Council, the Alternativas Foundation, USC, or the Spanish Association of Political Science. She is currently Secretary of the Doctorate in Creativity and Social and Sustainable Innovation (CREA) and Coordinator of the Teaching Innovation Group "ODS Cities and Citizenship", and teaches several subjects of Degree, Master and Doctorate related to Political Science, International Relations, Philosophy and Theory of Law, Urban Law, and Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Program Hypothesis Cultural Week || Dias da História Alternativa – Winepunk & Companhia (associated with WhatIf’21)

Note: The official language of the Hypothesis Cultural Week is Portuguese. Events will be live, with online transmission. Registration is free but mandatory at cultura@reit.up.pt.

Jorge Palinhos

Bio: Jorge Palinhos é escritor e dramaturgo. As suas obras já foram apresentadas e/ou editadas em Portugal, Brasil, Espanha, Estados Unidos da América, França, Países Baixos, Bélgica, Alemanha, Suíça e Sérvia, em espaços como o Teatro Nacional São João, o Teatro Meridional, o Teatro Municipal Rivoli e Teatro Municipal Campo Alegre, o Teatro Beursschouwburg, em Bruxelas, o Teatro Schaubühne, em Berlim, o Graham Institute, de Chicago, o SESC de São Paulo, La Comédie de Reims, CDN Orléans, o Teatro Nanterre-Amandiers, em Paris, etc. Foi galardoado com o Prémio Miguel Rovisco 2003 e o Prémio Manuel-Deniz Jacinto 2007, e esteve na short-list do Prémio Luso-Brasileiro de Teatro António José da Silva 2011. As suas peças já foram levadas à cena por Ácaro, Algures, Amanda, Amarelo Silvestre, ArteCanes, Associação Paulista de Autores de Teatro, CENA, Centro de Criatividade da Póvoa de Lanhoso, Comédias do Minho, Corações com Coroas, Esbofeteatro, FJA, O Cão Danado, O Nariz, O Teatrão, Stand-up Tall, Thêatre de la Tête Noire, Teatro Art’Imagem, Teatro das Compras, Teatro Viriato, Terra na Boca, Teatromosca, Um Coletivo, WEL, entre outras. É doutorado em Estudos Culturais com uma tese sobre dramaturgia lusófona contemporânea. Foi dramaturgo e dramaturgista convidado na Capital Europeia da Cultura Guimarães 2012, é dramaturgista da companhia belga Stand-up Tall, investigador residente da companhia Visões Úteis, e docente convidado da Escola Superior Artística do Porto e da Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema.

José Ferraz-Caetano

Bio: José Ferraz-Caetano é Visiting Researcher na Universidade da California - Irvine, Investigador Convidado no Instituto de História Contemporânea, e Investigador no LAQV-REQUIMTE e MIT Portugal. Especializou-se em Física e Química Medicinal ao longo do seu percurso acadêmico, em particular na pesquisa de novas soluções catalíticas na indústria farmacêutica, tendo investigado e publicado em anos recentes igualmente nas áreas da História da Ciência (e.g. Gaming with History: How History of Science can be used as a scientific storytelling tool), História Alternativa (https://www.igi-global.com/chapter/is-misinformation-a-challenge-for-science-students-in-the-digital-era/266560) (e.g. Modeling the Past: Using History of Science to Predict Alternative Scenarios on Science-based Legislation), e Comunicação em Ciência (e.g. Is Misinformation a Challenge for Science Students in the Digital Era?). More info.

Call for Abstracts

Important dates

Abstract Submission: 30 September 30 October 2021

Author Notification: 20 October 3 November 2021

Author Registration Deadline: 30 October 15 November 2021

Meeting: 24-26 November 2021

Cultural Week: 23-25 November 2021 (Rectorate of University of Porto)

Full Manuscript: 17 January 2022

Submission guidelines

We invite authors from all over the world to submit original and unpublished papers, which are not under review in any other journal or meeting. All papers will be double blind peer-reviewed by the scientific committee. The criteria for selection will be originality, significance for the field, methodological soundness and clarity. Priority will be given to multidisciplinary approaches. The review will be according to the instructions of a template file, for homogeneity of criteria, available in Microsoft Word format.

To submit a paper, please fill the submission form.

Submitted papers must be written in English and should be in docx format, according to the instructions of the template file, available in Microsoft Word format.

Initial paper submissions must be between 3500 and 5000 words. Exceptions for this can be authorized only after the reviewing process.

Submissions imply the willingness of at least one author to register, attend the conference, and present the paper.

In order to submit the paper for the special issue of Hypothesis Historia Periodical, you must submit an abstract for oral presentation and, if accepted, present it at the 1st International Conference of ‘What if?...’ World History. If you intend just to submit an abstract for oral presentation, the registration at the submission form will suffice. The template for the abstract proposal is available in Microsoft Word format.

After completing your paper proposal and abstract, submit according to the following guidelines:

  1. Annex the abstract proposal to an email addressed to i2ads@fba.up.pt
  2. Write on the email subject: WhatIf’21 Abstract Submission (First Author’s name)

You will be notified of the reception of your email by the organizing committee.

Registration and Fees

Guidelines and procedures

If you intend to submit an abstract (or more) for the Conference, please do so before registering.

If you just want to participate as an attendee (not as author), just register ASAP.

At least one author of each accepted abstract – the presenter – must register in the Congress (fill out the registration form).

Submitted abstracts with no authors registered in the Conference, will not be included in the Congress site, nor will be eligible for submission to the special issue of Hypothesis Historia Periodical.

If an author intends to present more than one work, the second accepted abstract/papers implies paying the corresponding fee for Early bird registration. No more than two accepted abstracts/papers per author are allowed.


To register, please fill the registration form.

To formalise the registration, please send an email with the confirmation of payment to contabilidade.fbaup@sp.up.pt and i2ads@fba.up.pt.

The payment can be made in person at the FBAUP's Treasurer's Office or by bank transfer to the following account:

Registration will be complete and finished only after WhatIf’21 Organizing Committee sends you the ‘Confirmation’ email.

Please note that an unpaid registration will not be considered as a valid registration unless fully paid and confirmed.

Presentation format

All Round Table Oral Presentations are online. Format will be similar to the one of the Second International Meeting of 'What if?...' World History.


Only registered authors with a paid fee and attendance registered by the Conference Organizing Committee will receive a certificate.

Type of attendee 30th September (EarlyBird) from 30th October from 15th November 20th November d
Student (attendee) a 8 € 10 € 12 € Registration deadline for the events of Hypothesis Cultural Week || Dias da História Alternativa – Winepunk & Companhia
Student (presenter/author) b 15 € 20 € 25 €
Non-student (attendee) a 10 € 12 € 14 €
Non-Student (presenter/author) b 20 € 30 € 45 €
General Public c --- --- ---

a) Fees include entrance in all sessions as active participant, individual and attendee certificate.

b) Fees include entrance in all sessions as active participant, individual presenter certificate (only registered authors with a paid fee and attendance registered by the Conference Organizing Committee will receive a certificate). One registration equals one presenter – if more than an author presents the accepted work it needs to register also), journal processing costs in case of manuscript submission and acceptance for the special edition of the Hypothesis Historia Periodical associated with WhatIf’21. A second accepted abstract will always pay the corresponding fee for Early bird registration.

c) General public can passively attend the conference via youtube but it cannot actively interact in the sessions; the general public is invited to attend and actively participate in the events of the Hypothesis Cultural Week || Dias da História Alternativa – Winepunk & Companhia. Though the events are of free entry, registration is mandatory and participation limited to number of seats.

d) Inscriptions for the Hypothesis Cultural Week || Dias da História Alternativa – Winepunk & Companhia events are mandatory, though the entrance is free.

Cancellation/Refund Policy: In case of cancellation of registration or of the extras, a written notification should be sent to the conference e-mail (i2ads@fba.up.pt) with the subject ‘Cancellation’.

Note: After sending proof of payment, if you wish to cancel the registration, only the amount paid will be refunded, removing the overheads charged by host research center i2ADS. Accounting and the administrative fee of 10% on the return amount.

Insurance: The registration fees do not include insurance of participants against accidents, sickness, cancellation, theft, property damage or loss. Participants are advised to take out adequate personal insurance.

For any questions, please contact i2ads@fba.up.pt.


Hypothesis Cultural Week || Dias da História Alternativa – Winepunk & Companhia

Venue: CASA COMUM, of the Rectorate of the University of Porto (UP)

1st International Conference of ‘What if?...’ World History (WhatIf’21)

Venue: Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto (online)


Organizing Committee

Scientific Committee

Honors Scientific Committee