Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism

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UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO: Science and the Occult in the Near and Middle East

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The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

Graduate Students’Association presents

The 17th Annual Graduate Symposium

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March 14-15, 2013 

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Open Call for Papers

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Deadline for Submissions: January 13, 2013 

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The Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations Graduate Students Association of the University of Toronto invites proposals for the 17th Annual Graduate Symposium to be held on March 14-15, 2013. Since 1997, the NMCGSA Symposium has provided the opportunity for promising graduate students to share their original research with the broader scholarly community in a conference-like forum, and to publish their presentations as proceedings. By annually bringing together specialists in archaeology, history, anthropology, comparative literature, religion, art, philosophy, and political science, the symposium provides a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary discourse focused on the study of the Near and Middle East. The 2013 symposium aims to highlight this diversity in order to foster communication and exchange across disciplinary boundaries. While we encourage submissions that are related to the topics of science and the occult, we are nevertheless open to any variety of topics that pertain to the realm of Near and Middle Eastern Studies. kkk Submitting a Paper: Presenters are asked to submit an abstract of 250 words by e-mail attachment no later than January 13, 2013. Submissions should also include the following information in the body of the email: presenters name, program (M.A, Ph.D.), year of study, research focus, university and department, complete address, telephone number, email address, title of paper, and audio-visual requirements. We highly encourage the submission of panel proposals as it will increase the chances of acceptance. kkk Presentations must not exceed 20 minutes. The abstracts will be reviewed by committee and presenters will be informed of their acceptance no later than January 27, 2013. For purposes of anonymous adjudication, please do NOT include your name or other identification on the abstract attachment. kkk If your paper is being submitted as part of a proposed panel or considered under a specific theme, please include the panel title or the proposed theme under the title of the paper on the abstract. kkk Please send us your submissions via the following e-mail address: nmcgsasymposium@gmail.com kkk Arshavez Mozafari Ph.D. Candidate (IV) Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations University of Torontoa.mozafari@utoronto.ca    

AFTERLIFE: University of Bristol: 18th Postgraduate Religion and Theology Conference

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8 & 9 March 2013

Keynote speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton

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This conference brings together postgraduates and early-career academics working on the study of religions from a variety of perspectives and disciplines, creating a space for them to share their work and to further encourage research and collaboration within the University of Bristol (the host institution), and among members of other universities within the South West region and beyond.

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The conference has a long history of drawing together postgraduate students and their supervisors from universities in the surrounding area and beyond. Last year saw us expand to a record number of participating speakers, delegates, and partner institutions. Forty-nine papers, divided in seventeen sessions, were presented by postgraduate students and early career academics, from eighteen universities. Almost one hundred delegates attended at least part of the conference. A session for undergraduate papers was also held, with notable success.
Although we encourage applications that directly address the theme of the conference ‘Afterlife’, in all its interpretations, contributions are welcome from all disciplines and areas related to the study of religions: theology, history, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, literature, art, music.

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Presentations will be grouped in panels, each consisting of three 20-minute papers followed by a 30-minute period for questions and discussion. Panels will be chaired by lecturers from Bristol and other partner universities.

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We are also accepting submissions for research posters. Displayed in the conference common room, these will allow further communication of research. A prize will be awarded to the poster voted best by the conference participants. Guidelines of the preparation of posters and a sample poster presentation can be found on the conference’s website. Please note that an applicant may submit a poster as well as a paper and that both may be accepted, on the condition that they cover different topics.

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Please submit abstracts for papers and/or posters through our University’s ‘Stop Shop’ page at: http://shop.bris.ac.uk/browse/product.asp?catid=521&modid=1&compid=1

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The deadline for submitting proposals will be 12:00 noon on Tuesday 15 January 2013.

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Kindly note that the organisers are not in a position to assist anyone with visas, and will not consider or accept abstracts from those who require assistance with visas.
Registration for the conference will open at 12:00 noon on 22 January 2013 and will include refreshments and lunch on both days. Early registration is free for members of partner institutions and £10 for participants from other institutions or for those who are unaffiliated. Please note that all registrations received after 12 noon, Friday 8 February, will incur a £10 late registration fee.
A limited amount of financial assistance may be available to presenters of papers and/or posters. The assistance may be used towards defraying travel or accommodation expenses, or the early registration fee for participants from non-partner institutions. Application details will be posted in late January 2013 on the conference website.

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Optional social events will be held on both evenings of the conference.

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For more information and registration, please visit: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/gradschool/conferences/thrs/

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And join us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pgRTconference and on Twitter at: @pgRTconference

Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven – Belgium: call for papers

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CALL FOR PAPERS

Deadline: 1 December 2012

Conference

Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

16 – 17 – 18 May 2013

In the contemporary Western European world traditional, institutionalized religions are losing ground, while alternative religions, literature and the arts, film and media, as well as commercial enterprises are offering alternatives. Old concepts, symbols and rituals are translated into new forms. This is a recurrent phenomenon: as sensitivities change throughout the ages, the ways to express this changed “interiority” change and result in new manifestations of spirituality.

This multi- and interdisciplinary Conference on Aesthetics and Spirituality looks at how, both in the past and the present, people devise(d) new ways of conceiving and manifesting interiority. In order to look at the forms “interiority” has received throughout the ages we use different approaches: literature, cultural studies, theology, art (iconography/iconology), history (of ideas) and architecture, anthropology, political sciences/sociology, psychology, philosophy…

How do exteriority and interiority relate? What does it mean to be in a place, to be at home in the world or with oneself (cf Pierre Nora,Les lieux de mémoire)? How can urban planning, public and private buildings, furniture and other material things, clothes, prescribed attitudes, etc. be conducive to interiorization (conscious or unconscious reflections, contemplation)? Or, conversely, how can material factors repress interiority (cf repressive political systems)? In order to imagine a topology of interiority that would draw on an inter-disciplinary field of studies and research we invite papers on the different kinds of language which translate outside to inside and vice versa.

If interiority is a question of presence and orientation we need to look at

(a) Bodily expressions: a religious community prescribed a certain body language which could bring about a spirituality (cf. nineteenth-century feminine congregations focusing on nursing, weaving and embroidering); manifold forms of biblical spirituality (Schneider et al) inspire the body, while psychology of religion and psychoanalysis develop ways of reading religious bodies (Vergote, Lacan, Vasse, Moyaert et al).

(b) Expressions through things, images (iconology), words:

-changes in the attitude to relics, books, icons, devotional cards, rosaries, …

-different links between theology, art and literature produce different forms: the “bondieuserie” in France (1850s) differed from Pre-Raphaelite depictions of the divine (criticized by Dickens), or from the Pilgrim’s Movement in Flanders; after the Great War Benedictine spirituality was revived, while Franciscan spirituality brought a new attention for nature and animals in literature; 21st-century ecocriticism brings a new attitude to representations of nature, as do gender studies to aspects of spirituality …

(c) Changes in Ritual, as a means to link physical and metaphysical aspects of experience: which forms of ritual are depicted, developed, in contemporaryl iterature, to mark forgiveness, reconciliation, or other transitions (to adulthood, married life, divorce, healing from sickness, death,…) Which theories of performativity are used in liturgy these days? Which kind of poetics are used in contemporary prayer? How do contemporary political symbols (fail to) develop? (Cf. prevalence of Christian symbols in commemorations of British army casualties et al). Can ritual help in conflict situations, and how are new rituals validated? How do religious institutions relate to the secularization?

(d) Contributions relating to or focusing on Irish topics will be especially welcomed.

Are Celtic symbols still known, used, adapted? How does Irish urbanization, architecture, make space for interiority? How is “interiority” conceived at all in contemporary art and philosophy? Which places, moments, figures, phenomena, concepts, does contemporary film, drama, poetry, fiction, art, hold in special reverence? Does nature (stone, plant, animal) still harbour something sacred, and if so, how? Do angels still figure?

Are there still references to the Jewish, Greek, Christian stories? Is twentiethcentury and contemporary art, literature and film reacting or indifferent to this tradition, does it translate archaic symbols (animals and trees, food and drink, textile and books, home and travel, …) into new forms, or does it divest these old icons of their symbolism?

The conference is hosted by the KU Leuven, the Faculties of the Arts, Theology and KADOC (Interfaculty Institute of the KU Leuven for Documentation and Research for Religion, Culture and Society) in cooperation with the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies (LCIS).

It will take place in the newly refurbished Irish college in Leuven (the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe). The Scientific Committee consists of Barbara Baert (KU Leuven, Arts), Reimund Bieringer (KU Leuven, Theology), Ralph De Koninck (Université Catholique de Louvain, Arts), Jan De Maeyer (KADOC, KU Leuven, History/Heritage), Borbala Farago (Central European University Budapest, Gender Studies), Veerle Fraeters (U Antwerpen, Literature), Christine Göttler (Universität Bern, Arts), Hedwig Schwall (KU Leuven/Kortrijk, Literature), Paul Vandenbroeck (KU Leuven/ Anthropology/Social sciences), Henrik von Aachen (University of Bergen, Norway, Arts)

Papers should not exceed 2500-3000 words (20 minutes’ delivery). Proposals for papers (250 words) and a short biography should be sent by e-mail to

Hedwig Schwall , Hedwig.schwall@arts.kuleuven.be

You will be notified by 20 December.

More information about the conference will be posted on www.irishstudies.kuleuven.be/

Conference University of Aberdeen: SECOND SIGHT AND PROPHECY

Conference University of Aberdeen

14-16 June 2013

 

Conference organised by the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, and the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen; sponsored by the Folklore Society

This interdisciplinary conference welcomes participants from a range of academic disciplines including History, Folklore, Anthropology, Divinity and Sociology whose research interests cover a wide range of topics exploring varying methods used by different cultures (both now and in the past) to look into the future and the rationale for so doing. The future has always held a fascination for humankind especially in times of tribulation and this is worthy of academic discussion in light of the changes affecting so many of us in our current global context. The role in culture of seers and prophets, by whatever name they are known, and the use of rituals, drugs and sacred sites, etc. will be examined.

Abstracts of 300 words are invited on any of the following or related topics.

These should be submitted by 15 November 2012 to the conference convenor, Dr Alex Sutherland, History Department, University of Aberdeen;

 a.m.sutherland@abdn.ac.uk mailto:a.m.sutherland@abdn.ac.uk

Papers might address:

Astrology and its rationale(s) for predicting the future.

Biblical prophecy as depicted in the arts.

Divination in any form.

English attitudes to second sight.

Healing wells.

How modern scientists have appropriated the persona of the prophet or visionary seer.

Landscape and prophecy in art.

Old Norse and later Scandinavian sources on prophecy.

Popular Catholic belief in prophecy before and after the Reformation.

Prophecy in Native American tribes.

Prophetic utterances by the courts, commoners, and the church.

Reading the future in the landscape of settlements.

Renaissance science and astrology.

Sami shamanism.

Second sight and prophecy in Scottish Gaeldom.

Second sight and prophecy in the Viking world.

Second sight in Gaelic traditions as they survived and evolved in Nova Scotian communities.

Seers and seeresses in medieval Icelandic saga literature.

The early Islamic world & its connections with astrology.

The role of prophecies, visions and dreams in poetry and allegorical tales.

The role of prophecy in the origins of Islam, in the pre-Islamic Arabian environment

The use of sites, dreams and ancestors for prophecies by indigenous peoples.

Visual and verbal imagery of natural objects as coded language for the use of entheogens to attain divine / prophetic knowledge.

Welsh prophetic poetry.

When prophecy fails.

GHost: call for papers/ PRESENTATIONS/ PERFORMANCE


Call For Papers/ Presentations/ Performance: 

Hosting 6: “Absence – Haunted Landscapes”

Hosting 7: “Presence – Manifesting Ghosts

GHost invites proposals for papers, presentations, or performances of 30 minutes exploring the desire and attempt to materialise what is absent via the medium of haunted landscapes or through the manifestation of a ghost. We would like to hear from researchers within all fields – anthropology, art history, cultural studies, film studies, history, science, law, literary studies, parapsychology, psychology, philosophy etc. as well as practising artists.

The Hostings will take place in the Court Room, University of London, Senate House between 6.30 – 9.00pm on the 29th February and 14th March.

Please send a (working) title and an abstract of approximately 300 words, also include which Hosting you are submitting to and, if applicable, one or two pictures.  

Send these to Sarah Sparkes at: ghost.hostings@gmail.com 

More about GHost:

http://www.host-a-ghost.blogspot.com

http://www.ghost.hostings.co.uk

Deadline for submissions of proposals: 13th January 2012

Hostings 6: Absence – Haunted Landscapes

The Key Of Solomon, a medieval grimoire instructs magicians to seek out “places that lie concealed, distant and removed from the haunts of men. Wherefore desolate and uninhabited regions are most appropriate, such as the borders of lakes, forests, dark and obscure places, old and deserted houses, whither rarely and scarce ever men do come, mountains, caves, caverns, grottos, gardens, orchards…”

Could it be that this instruction suggests a common topography of the haunted landscape that such venues operate as amplifiers for achieving rapport with the dead? Perhaps it is the absence of life and the nature of our own loneliness that in fact haunts the landscape? Are places of tragedy imbued with spirits of their victims or is this just a romantic engagement, an imaginative association with a past event? Is it possible to use a particular landscapes to facilitate the experience of paranormal phenomena – in this respect can landscape serve like the séance room for the natural channelling of the spirit of place, or the dead souls of its past? Moreover, have artists and writers intuitively apprehended these landscapes to manifest a haunted aesthetic?

GHost invites submissions exploring these or other ideas associated with the Haunted Landscape.

Hostings 7: Presence – Manifesting Ghosts

Ghost Seance has the potential to summon spirits at any given location and time although 3:00 a.m. usually produces the best results.” (Taken from a website advertising a séance app. for smart phones)

Writers, psychical investigators, mediums, parapsychologists, illusionists, artists all have manifested ghosts in their own way. The writers mind conjures up ghostly apparitions, pinning down their fleeting forms with words. In the darkened séance room both psychical investigator and audience witness phenomena produced by the medium. Whether witnessed by believer or sceptic, the spirit announces itself, with a common ghostly language: wraps, moving furniture, unexplained scents, temperature changes, phosphorescent lights etc. In more recent times visual and auditory ephemera has been described and captured by paranormal investigators with the help of technological devices. This new language of the ghostly reappears in the haunted aesthetics of films such as Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape and in the work of contemporary artists such as Susan Hiller. When attempting to document ghosts, is it us or the ghosts who are controlling the means by which we describe and measure their presence?

GHost invites submissions exploring ghost-makers; their means, methods and their reasons for manifesting ghosts.

About GHost

GHost is a visual arts and creative research project which explores the various roles ghosts play in contemporary culture by bringing artists, writers, curators, researchers and others together. In homage to Duchamp’s wordplay “A guest + a host = a ghost”, we take on and explore the various roles of ghosts, guests and hosts in our activities. The project has been running since 2008 and we have organised exhibitions, performance nights and so-called Hostings, seminar-style workshops which serve as a forum for exchange between thinkers and makers, audience and practitioners. As a research project, GHost blurs the boundaries between the diverse research groups and audiences that exist for the paranormal and hosts events in which these groups can explore their various beliefs. As a visual arts project, GHost explores the illusionary power of art and artists to create what could be seen as a ‘haunted aesthetic’. Visual art exhibitions have been hosted by a John Soane church in East London, at the London Art Fair and the Folkestone Triennial Fringe while the Hostings have been held at Senate House, University of London.

GHost has been organising Hostings in association with the IGRS, School of Advanced Study, University of London since 2009.

http://www.host-a-ghost.blogspot.com

http://www.ghost.hostings.co.uk

BODY: SOUL: SPIRITS & SUPERNATURAL COMMUNICATION

BODY: SOUL: SPIRITS & SUPERNATURAL COMMUNICATION

International Conference

Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pécs, Hungary

18th-20th May 2012, Friday to Sunday

Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of Pécs University

The Folklore Department of the Hungarian Ethnographic Society, &

ISFNR Belief Narrative Research Network

CALL FOR PAPERS

June 1st 2011

This conference will be the ninth in a row of events launched by the Hungarian organisers in 1993 under the heading “concepts of religious ethnology in an interdisciplinary approach”. To date this has resulted in eight publications. The primary objective we declared at the outset of the project is still valid today: to approach various concepts of religious ethnology and to survey the latest findings from the angle of folklore studies, anthropology, religious studies, cultural history, psychiatry, literary studies etc.; as well as to create an interdisciplinary discourse to find the solution to our various scientific problems. Participants at the conference will include academics from all parts of Europe to give us an even closer view of current European research areas.

Each of the topics mentioned in the title deserves investigation in its own right; however, at this conference our main aim is to capture the set of connections which exist around these three topics. Thus we need to explore the ties between different notions of the soul, communicational techniques and functions and the spiritual world which is supposed to decode such communication. We would also welcome papers which investigate the role of notions of the soul and the spirit world in the everyday life, religion and mentality of various communities. On the other hand, we would like to explore the narrative traditions surrounding each of our themes: narrative metaphors for notions of the soul and for supernatural communication, their representations in folklore, literature, the arts and academic literature, as well as the ways in which beliefs and narratives are related.

As regards notions of the soul, folklore research has presented a rather simplistic account in the past, insofar as they reduced the topic, at least with regard to Christian Europe, to something like “the Christian duality of body and soul versus the remnants of the mythological legacy of the different peoples”. The latter mainly refers to representations of the free soul/shadow soul, alter ego or second body as well as their traces in literature and folklore. E.g. in a Hungarian respect this mainly meant exploring the “shamanistic” legacy of the nation’s archaic pre-Christian religion, while in Greek literature and philosophy they were discovering remains of Thracian or Iranian shamanism, etc. Besides this simple pattern, research sometimes came face to face with the more nuanced notions of the soul held by certain non-Christian and even non-European peoples, e.g. the rich ancient Greek literary, philosophical and linguistic heritage or Germanic mediaeval data (or, in the Hungarian context, the varied material of the Ob-Ugrian linguistic relatives), which were mainly examined by linguists, literary scholars, researchers of religion, theologians and philosophers (e.g. Erwin Rohde, Jan Bremmer, Hans-Peter Hasenfratz, Régis Boyer, Claude Lecouteux, etc.). It barely occurred to anthropologists studying similar subjects abroad to look around their own neighbourhood.

Research conducted by linguists and historians of religion about notions of the soul, the free soul or the alter ego which breaks away from the body, have attained considerable results in Europe, but rarely if ever have scholars looked into the role of these notions in the everyday religiosity of a community, and in the communication with the supernatural. As regards the exploration of Christian visions, both religious studies and anthropology have made serious advances in the last few decades, particularly as regards investigations into the religious and social role of visions in the Middle Ages and the modern period (pl. Ernst Benz, Peter Dinzelbacher, Jean-Claude Schmitt, Claude Lecouteux, most recently William Christian, Galia Valtchinova and many others). At the same time, many other forms of communication have remained unexplored, nor do we see clearly regarding the boundaries and interconnections of various systems of communication (e.g. shamanism, spirit possession, Christian visions, mediumism, etc.) with each other and with different notions of the soul.

Therefore we believe that the time has come to gain a somewhat more nuanced picture of the notions of the soul held by the peoples of Europe, in the above indicated context of connections. It would be desirable to form clear ideas about the extent to which the notions of the soul used by various religions and denominations were known, the local interpretations that existed, the special “popular” notions and representations of the soul which might differ from or only partially converge with the former; as well as alternative traditions that have been preserved alongside Christianity and survived in folklore collections, literary and linguistic relics or have merged with Christianity. (Naturally, Christian notions are also far from being homogeneous and have been changing along the constantly shifting ideas and boundaries of monism/dualism/trialism and also in relation to the various eschatological and resurrection dogmas which are in themselves also in constant change. At the same time they have helped sustain popular and non-Christian traditions.) We are not necessarily implying here the existence of a unified and clearly outlined notion of the soul or several, clearly delineated souls with different functions – it is more to do with the (frequently merging) representations of different ideas and notions as they appear in mentality, way of thinking, folklore or literature.

It is this rich and varied array of phenomena that needs to be mapped out for each nation and culture, including their terminology, cultural and social context, linguistic metaphors, visual representations and meaning, with regard to a people or a geographic unit or local society, preferably in the context of the above described connections, meaning the role they play in sacred communication.

A few possible points to anchor this vast and varied material may be the following.

1. Concepts of the soul

Life soul, selbst, psyché. life force (vitalstoff) as a body-soul immanently present in the body, the ‘inside’ (thymos) which is clearly connected to some part of the body (head, brain, heart, liver, kidneys etc.), it resides there and is associated with bodily functions (breathing, breath, blood circulation, sperm). The soul related to some natural element or phenomenon such as the wind blowing (duše), fog, water. Functions related to various notions/terms for the soul (life force, mental concepts, breathing, movement) etc.

The free soul, external soul, mirror or shadow soul, double ( alter ego, double, harm, fylgja etc.) as the seat of life force, as the depository of communication with the supernatural. It is outside the body either constantly or temporarily, it breaks away from the soul in dreams, in a trance etc. Living and dead, bodily and spiritual variants. Their connection with the soul which lives on after death and with mortal spirits. Its formations (human, animal, mirror image, light, foggy figure). It is only observable in certain situations, at certain times, before death; appears only in dreams or visions. An invisible protector, companion (guardian angel), a fate soul which determines destiny or prophecies the future. It is an emotional and intellectual tie with the alter ego of oneself or others (mara/Mahr/mora phenomena). Accompanying, guarding, helping and initiating spirits interpreted as formal variants of the free soul.

Narrative traditions related to notions of the soul, motifs in stories and legends for the free soul, shadow soul, external soul, as well as departure from the body, the soul departing in sleep, narrative metaphors for transformation, metamorphosis, for turning into a soul (flight, invisibility, becoming small, entering through the keyhole, travelling in a small object, walking on the water, turning into an animal etc.).

Special creatures who have a free soul or an alter ego since birth – two-souled creatures, double beings, shapeshifters: werewolves and mara/mora/Mahr/Alp/lidérc beings, vampires, witches and magicians.

2. Body and soul – death, life after death, spirits of the dead

Death of an individual: death of the body and/or soul, the bodily and spiritual existence of the dead. Dead body (drying out, turning to dust, whether the soil will or will not admit it). Bodies living on, living dead bodies. Half-living or revived bodies, possessed dead bodies. What (sort of soul) dies along with the body, what survives the body. Souls living on in dead bodies and in bones.

Deathbed – with ancestors and relatives appearing, coming to take the soul. Companions of the soul (angels, saints, demons). The soul at the moment of death, which soul dies. Whether and how it leaves the body, where it goes, what shape it takes (breath, blood, fog, tiny man, tiny angel, naked baby, bee, bird etc.). Linguistic metaphors for the departure of the body. The place where the departing soul resides, its different stages, periods, dates of departure. Gradual death, bodily functions which persist temporarily after death, gradual departure. Transitory places, transitory existence: dead persons with no status who have not found a final place of rest, souls roaming in a liminal existence.

Souls and spirits in the other world, up, down, in heaven, in the underworld, in the woods, on the mountain, on an island, under water. The spirit of the dead in the other world – bodily and spiritual attributes and manifestations. Personal judgement and resurrection, resurrected body and/or soul – the fate of the body and/or soul in the meantime; souls in purgatory. Transition between different other worlds. Last judgement, the final destiny of the soul after resurrection.

Souls remaining in the soil, in the body, in the cemetery (in or around the grave), in the house, with the family; the dead of the family in the house, around the hearth, the soul of the ancestor in the wall, around the hearth, under the doorstep – in an animal form (house snake, talašom etc., ‘building sacrifices’). The spirit of the dead person in the likeness, statue, magical object (talisman, stoicheion). Dead people turned into guardian spirits of the family or the individual, ‘evil dead’ assaulting the family or the community.

Mythical beings fused or merged with the dead: fairies; ill-intentioned dead turned into demons; ‘two-souled creatures’ – people who have alter egos or living and dead variants (witches, magicians, vampires), demons. Spiritual beings which are half human or a transition between human and spirit – ‘light shadowed ones’, ‘wind-men’ (storm magicians, stuha, zduhać, płanetnyk, chmurnik); fairies.

Spirits of the dead or possessing dead who return to the human community, to earth, who appear to humans (in a dream, trance, in an earthly setting as ghosts, in ’a bodily form’, individually or in a group), helping or assaulting humans, snatching them to death, hoping that they would influence their otherworldly destiny or demanding offerings. Occasions, time and purpose for returning/appearance; times and places of the dead on earth.

3. Supernatural communication – in the context of the body-soul and spirits

General, spontaneous, lay forms and professionals who use certain bodily/spiritual capacities, birth traits (they have a special soul, alter ego or peculiar guardian spirits etc, and communicate with a unique spirit world or other worlds).

Communication with the dead, with spirits of the dead, with demons of storm clouds, ‘walking with the fairies’ etc. Forms and functions of such communication (assaults by the dead, snatching the living for ‘initiation’, possession by the dead, poltergeist phenomena). Communication with dead people or spirits who appear in dreams. Communication through alter egos/doubles of the living. Lay and professional communication with the dead, with spirits through a double who had broken away from the person: horizontal, earthly travels of the double. Double beings, creatures with two souls and shapeshifters communicating between the worlds of nature and culture (werewolf), and between the human world and the night world of the dead and demons through their demonic alter egos: mora, Mahr, witch, strigoi, vampire etc. Helping spirits as the unique manifestations of the alter ego.

Techniques of the communication. Communication in a trance – inducing a trance, relevant techniques (spontaneous transe, self-suggestion, meditation, objects inducing a trance such as a mirror, water etc). The state of the body and the soul in a transe. Seers and fortune tellers reporting in a transe about their journey int he other world.

Ritual communication, symbolic and trance-inducing rites (fasting, St. Lucy’s stool, magic circle, magic wand, walking around the grave of the dead and the ‘places of the fairies’, beating them with the wand). Ritual invocation of the dead and of fairies, rites for acquiring spirit helpers or invoking the dead.

Spontaneous and professional, ritually induced activity of mediums. The clairvoyant as a medium possessed by the dead. The role of music, dance and turning round in inducing trance; ritual possession by the dead or by fairies (healing societies: rusalia, rusalje, căluşari, etc.).

Journeys’ of the free soul – with companions, helping souls or spirits or without; the free soul rises out of the body, elevates itself, looks back and sees the body or the earth; falling in a tunnel, crossing the water in a vehicle, rising with the vapours into a storm cloud; flying in dream to a ’fairy heaven’; turning into an animal and thus joining the demonic werewolf troupe; travelling to a witches’ Sabbath on the back of animals, or of objects or metamorphosed into an animal; flying to the fairy other world with a troupe of fairies, making music and dancing etc.

Battles of the soul in dream or trance, against hostile harming spirits, storm souls in storm clouds, against assaulting werewolf demons, between good and bad – healing and harmful – spirits (in a possession trance); night battles (in a dream or trance) against the assaults of the dead or demons.

Narrative tradition, linguistic metaphors and textual representations of trance experiences and soul journeys, of communication through alter egos, of being snatched by the dead and of journeys to the other world, accounts of such experience, motifs in tales, legends and literature; folklore and literary motifs of journeys to the other world; narrative traditions of fairy other worlds and witches’ Sabbaths.

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Papers are welcome without restrictions on methodology or on the time and place of their subject matter as long as they use a theoretical approach in folklore studies, anthropology, cultural history, sociology etc. We also welcome comparative historical or textual philological analyses or presentations of research findings based on archive work or field work either in our outside of Europe, as well as analyses of religious phenomena from the perspective of religious anthropology, history of religion, theology etc. Mere descriptions of material are acceptable only if they considerably enhance our knowledge about a particular field.

The conference will be bilingual (Hungarian and English), and might take place in parallel sections, preferably in alternate time periods. (In such a case foreign participants will be offered optional cultural events or excursions for the duration of Hungarian papers.)

We request applicants to submit applications with an abstract of 10-15 sentences before August 20th 2011 on the form attached. The full text of the papers should be submitted no later than April 30th 2012 in order to leave sufficient time for circulating and printing.

Although publication of the proceedings of our last conference (Magical and Sacred Medical World) in English are still not forthcoming, we are not giving up hope and will do everything for the material of this conference to appear in both languages. While the Hungarian publication seems almost guaranteed, we are making efforts to secure an English version, too.

Costs for participants are presently being calculated, and organisers will do their best to keep costs manageable. (Should we fail to secure sponsorship, costs for three days and three or four nights, including food and accommodation but excluding travel costs, are expected to be around EUR 200.)

The maximum number of papers to be accepted for presentation is 50. Should there be more applicants than this, we will be forced to select among presenters. However, we shall not limit the number of non-presenting participants. We also reserve the right to reject papers for thematic discrepancy or other reasons.

Please, submit applications to the address below (by e-mail or post).

Professor Emeritus Éva Pócs

PTE Néprajz-Kulturális Antropológia Tanszék

7624 Pécs, Rókus u. 2.

e-mail: pocse@chello.hu

Application form for the conference Body, Soul and Supernatural Communication (Pécs, 18th-20th May 2012)

Name:

Occupation, position, title, employer:

Postal address:

Telephone:

E-mail:

Title of paper:

Language of paper:

Abstract (10-15 sentences):

YALE UNIVERSITY: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR RELIGIOUS STUDIES

 

Yale University Department of Religious Studies

intends to make a tenure-track appointment in the field of religious studies beginning July 1, 2012, at the rank of Assistant Professor. Applications are invited and welcome from scholars with research specialties in the anthropology, history, philosophy, or sociology of religions or a tradition-specific field of study, who also possess demonstrated teaching proficiency in methods and theory in the study of religion.

Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Yale values diversity among its students, staff, and faculty and strongly welcomes applications from women and underrepresented minorities. A letter of application describing your research, a c.v., a two-page dissertation abstract, a chapter-length writing sample, a syllabus for an introductory undergraduate course, “Introduction to Religion,” and three letters of reference should be submitted on-line at https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/Yale/RLST

Materials may be sent to:

Methods and Theory Search, Religious Studies, Yale University, P.O. Box

208287, New Haven, CT 06520-8287

or by e-mail to

rosemary.carrion@yale.edu

The review of applications will begin October 20, 2011. Preliminary interviews will be held at the AAR annual meeting in San Francisco, Nov 19-22, 2011.

 

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