The Supernatural Conference will take place in Budapest, Hungary from Friday, March 11th to Sunday, March 13, 2016.
Call for Participation
From vengeful gods and goddesses and witches to poltergeists and hauntings, to demonic possession and the accompany exorcism rituals, the human imagination has been captivated for millennia by the power of forces that operate outside the laws of nature and the relationship between humans and the spirit world. Over time, the supernatural has served as a basis for titillating audiences and generating fear. The supernatural has served as a useful means of explaining complicated natural processes in terms humans understand. As history’s famous witch-hunts have demonstrated, the supernatural is also a potent weapon for exerting control over individuals whose behaviour or appearance fail to confirm to the ‘norms’ of the community. Conversely, the supernatural can also provide a means of expressing minority beliefs in a way that challenges the power of mainstream organized religions. The supernatural offers a source of personal comfort in the face of grief by providing assurance that a departed loved one is watching over us. However, as the long line of supernatural hoaxes reveal, however, this longing to believe in the afterlife can enable schemes designed to manipulate and swindle vulnerable people.
But just what purpose does the supernatural serve in 21st century societies? Is it a throwback to the irrational, superstitious and archaic beliefs of a so-called primitive era, or is it a reminder that there is more to existence than the ‘truths’ revealed by the sciences? The Supernatural interdisciplinary research and publishing event aims to interrogate and investigate the supernatural from a variety of perspectives in order to understand the uses and meanings of the supernatural across time and cultures. Subjects for presentation include, but are not limited to, the following:
The Supernatural in Theory and Practice
- Shifting perspectives of what is supernatural over time and across cultures
- Non-Western perspectives on the supernatural
- What attitudes toward the supernatural suggest about human perceptions of the boundaries between worlds
- Ancestor worship and the cultures in which this tradition is practiced
- Witchcraft, voodoo and the cultures where these traditions are practiced
- Satanism and cultural perceptions of this belief system
- Reasons behind the enduring fascination with supernatural evil, including philosophical, theological and anthropological perspectives on this question
- Relationship between the supernatural and magic
- Religious traditions and the supernatural (supernatural aspects of faith and belief, attitudes of faith traditions toward the supernatural, how clergy respond to individuals who report supernatural experiences, etc.)
The Supernatural and Real Life
- Socially accepted forms of supernatural belief and the factors that make some beliefs more acceptable than others
- Harms and benefits of believing in the supernatural
- Relationship between the supernatural and cruelty
- Apocalyptic supernatural evil events or characters and the significance of millenarianism
- Characteristics of supernatural entities and the significance of their difference from/similarity to human traits
- Relationship between the supernatural and social power/ideologies (e.g. witchcraft as pretext for dealing with non-conforming women, using the supernatural to engage with physical enemies, etc.)
- Legal/legislative approaches to restricting or enabling supernatural belief (limits of religious freedom principles, state-sanctioned punishment of witches, etc.)
- Medical/clinical perspectives on belief in the supernatural: the neuroscience behind (dis)belief, clinical responses to individuals who report supernatural experiences
- Science and the supernatural: using science to (dis)prove supernatural occurrences
- Technologies that facilitate/measure/prove engagement with the paranormal/occult
- Future of the supernatural in a world increasingly driven by science and reason
- Analyses of reports of supernatural encounters: common conventions of reports, style and mode of recounting experience, impact of titillation versus simple reporting of events in the reports of these encounters
- How the function and/or interpretation of a report of supernatural evil changes over time or across cultures
- Impact of oral traditions, artistic renderings and generic conventions on the telling and reception of accounts involving supernatural encounters
- How the reception of reports of the supernatural is influenced by the experience of listening versus reading or viewing
- Emotional and intellectual pleasures associated with the supernatural: pleasures of fear and titillation, etc.
- Comedic interpretations of supernatural evil: haunted houses in amusement parks, horror movie spoofs, etc
- Supernatural in film, television (including reality series like Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters), theatre, music, art and literature—and how they differ from more ‘traditional’ accounts
- Supernatural spaces: spaces associated with evil and the economic benefits/tourism implications of such connections
- Hoaxes, frauds and swindles
Supernatural and live performance
- Curated film screenings
- Performances (dramatic staging, dance, music)
- Art installations
Call for Cross-Over Presentations
The Supernatural project will be meeting at the same time as a project on Trauma and another project on Loss. The organizers welcome submissions which cross the divide between both project areas. If you would like to be considered for a cross project session, please mark your submission "Crossover Submission”.
Further details and information can be found at the project web site:
What to Send
300-word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday, October 2, 2015. All submissions be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team and the Advisory Board. By the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 16th October 2015. If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 5th February 2016.
Abstracts may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: The Supernatural Abstract Submission
Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs:
Stephen Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Fisher: email@example.com
This event is an inclusive interdisciplinary research and publishing project. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
There will be an eBook resulting from the conference meeting. It is also anticipated that a number of other publishing options will arise from the work of the project generally and from the meeting of The Supernatural stream in particular. Other options, some of which might include digital publications, paperbacks and a journal will be explored during the meeting itself.
Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation. Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and are thus not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.
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