Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism

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Posts Tagged ‘Monsters

Call for Abstracts: A ‘SUPERNATURAL’ HISTORY OF CENTRAL EUROPE – 1870 – PRESENT

Call for Abstracts: “A ‘Supernatural’ History of Central Europe, 1870-present”

Editors: Eric Kurlander (Stetson U.) and Monica Black (U. of Tenn., Knoxville)

Deadline: August 1, 2012

Despite the ostensible “disenchantment of the world” proclaimed by Max Weber at the beginning of the twentieth century, Central Europe has a rich modern history of occultism, folklore, paganism, and popular religion. Yet the “supernatural history” of this ethno- culturally diverse region, extending from the Rhine and Baltic in the North and West to the Vistula and Danube in the South and East, has yet to be written. To be sure, the last twenty years have witnessed a renaissance of interest in Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish religious practice since the late-nineteenth century. With the exception a few excellent monographs on occultism and parapsychology, however, historians have been slow to investigate less conventional aspects of the “supernatural” in Modern Central Europe.

We seek abstracts from scholars interested in exploring the new spiritualities, unique metaphysical experiences and practices, and novel explanations of the world that stood somewhere between natural scientific verifiability and the shopworn truths of traditional religion, and which flourished across Central Europe in the wake of the Second Industrial Revolution. We are keen to see submissions that integrate social, political, and cultural history with “supernatural” thinking and practice, broadly conceived. We are especially interested in submissions that will extend their analysis and explorations beyond national boundaries, connecting people, ideas, experiences, and movements interculturally and transnationally.

Obviously, profound complexities inhere in the term “supernatural”—and no less so in terms like “popular religion,” let alone “superstition.” All of these terms bristle with invidious distinctions and reifications imposed by those seeking to draw sharp contrasts between “orthodox” and “heterogeneous” manifestations of religion and between “science” and “popular belief”—which for our purposes might refer to various methods of explaining, knowing, and experiencing the world that somehow draw on the numinous or the metaphysical. Not only has the presence and broad scope of such practices and ideas not yet been fully explored, but they have also not been properly integrated into larger histories of Central European culture, society, and politics—despite the fact that they have from time to time been the cause of considerable friction.

By bringing together scholars from German, Austrian, Hapsburg, and Slavic Studies, we hope to address questions central to the study of Central European politics, culture, and identity in new ways. What meanings can we assign to the renewal of interest in occultism, “pseudo-science,” and folklore studies in the decades around the fin-de-siècle? How does the waxing or waning of these fields relate to questions of war and peace, revolution and reaction, crisis and stability? How have differences between “science” and “pseudo-science” been articulated in various moments and why? How did folklore, occultism, “pseudo-science” and other “supernatural” practices function as alternatives to organized religion at various moments in the Central European past? How was a fascination with the “supernatural” reflected in popular culture and the arts from the nineteenth century to today? What roles have popular superstition and everyday rituals played in Central European attempts to negotiate the trials of the twentieth century? What role did such rituals––“political religion” or otherwise––play in the legitimization of fascism, communism, and other forms of authoritarian politics before and after 1945? What influence did “supernatural” ideas and practices have in generating policies of ethnic cleansing, eugenics, and imperialism, or how can they been seen as a response to those policies? What were the differences East and West of the Iron Curtain after 1945? What are the implications in terms of class, gender, identity, and ethnicity?

Potential topics may include but are not limited to:

Occultism

Pseudo-science” and parapsychology

Séances, spirit media, and communication with the dead

Dowsing

Faith healing

Astrology

Palm reading

Clairvoyance and prophecy

Ghost stories and apparitions

Witchcraft

Homeopathy

New Age

Exorcism

Vampires, werewolves and other monsters

Pagan” religions

The horror genre, science fiction, and “fantastic” in film, art, and literature

If you are interested in contributing an abstract of not more than 500 words for consideration, please send it, along with your CV, to Monica Black (mblack9@utk.edu) and Eric Kurlander (ekurland@stetson.edu) by AUGUST 1, 2012.

MONSTERS & THE MONSTROUS: myths & metaphors of enduring evil

mansfield2

7th Global Conference
Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of
Enduring Evil

Monday 14th September 2009 – Thursday 17th
September 2009
Mansfield College, Oxford

Call for Papers
This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary
project seeks to investigate and explore the
enduring influence and imagery of monsters
and the monstrous on human culture throughout
history. In particular, the project will have a
dual focus with the intention of examining
specific ‘monsters’ as well as assessing the role,
function and consequences of persons, actions or
events identified as ‘monstrous’.
The history and contemporary cultural influences
of monsters and monstrous metaphors will also be
examined.

Papers, reports, work-in-progress and workshops
are invited on issues related to any of the
following themes:

* The monster through history
* Civilization, monsters and the monstrous
* Children, childhood, stories and monsters
* Comedy: funny monsters and/or making fun of
monsters (e.g. Monsters Inc, the Addams Family)
* Making monsters; monstrous births, childhood
* Mutants and mutations and freaks
* Technologies of the monstrous
* Horror, fear and scare
* Do monsters kill because they are monstrous
or are they monstrous because they kill?
* How critical to the definition of monster
is death or the threat of death?
* Human ‘monsters’ and ‘monstrous’ acts? e.g,
perverts, paedophiles and serial killers
* Revolution and monsters
* Enemies (political/social/military) and
monsters
* Iconography of the monstrous
* The popularity of the modern monsters; the
Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein, Vampires, Cannibals
* The monster in literature
* The monster in media (television, cinema,
radio, internet)
* Religious depictions of the monstrous
* Metaphors and the monstrous
* The problematic attraction and admiration
of monsters
* Gothic Monsters

Papers will be accepted which deal solely with
specific monsters. Pre-formed panel proposals are
also encouraged.

The 2009 meeting of Monsters will run alongside
our project on ‘Madness – Probing the Boundaries’
and we anticipate holding sessions in common
between the two projects. We welcome any papers
considering the problems or addressing issues of
Monsters and Madness for joint project
sessions.

Papers will be considered on any related theme.
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday
17th April 2009. If an abstract is accepted for
the conference, a full draft paper should be
submitted by Friday 7th August 2009.

300 word abstracts should be submitted to the
Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word,
WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this
order: author(s), affiliation, email address,
title of abstract, body of abstract.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain
from using any special formatting, characters or
emphasis (such as bold, italics or
underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to
all paper proposals submitted. If you do not
receive a reply from us in a week you should
assume we did not receive your proposal; it might
be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look
for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

Sorcha Ni Fhlainn
Hub Leader
School of English, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
E-mail: snf@inter-disciplinary.net

Rob Fisher
Network Founder & Leader, Inter-Disciplinary.Net
Freeland, Oxfordshire
United Kingdom
E-mail: m7@inter-disciplinary.net

Stephen Morris
Hub Leader
Independent Scholar
New York, USA
USA
E-mail: smmorris58@yahoo.com

The aim of the conference is to bring together
people from different areas and interests to share
ideas and explore various discussions which
are innovative and exciting. All papers accepted
for and presented at this conference are eligible
for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected
papers may be invited to go forward for
development into a themed ISBN hard copy volume.
Some papers may also be invited for inclusion in
the Journal of Monsters and the Monstrous.

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a
not-for-profit network and we are not in a
position at this present time to be able to assist
with conference travel or subsistence.

For further details about the project please visit:
http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/at-the-interface/evil/monsters-and-the-monstrous/

For further details about the conference please visit:
http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/at-the-interface/evil/monsters-and-the-monstrous/call-for-papers/

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The CAMBRIDGE CENTRE for the study of WESTERN ESOTERICISM is independent of any academic or esoteric communities, the directors share an interest in the need for a wider dialogue between scholars and practitioners in the field of Western Esotericism and in the establishment of a secular space in which an interdisciplinary network can thrive.. From 2009 CCWE has operated within Lighthouse editions Limited, a small publishing company Directors: Dr Sophia Wellbeloved, Jeremy Cranswick – see http://gurdjieffbooks.wordpress.com

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