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Vernacular Religion, Folk Belief, and Traditions of the Supernatural
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3/23/2015 to 3/28/2015

When: 3/23/2015
Adam Grydehøj

Although often associated with rural locations, folk belief is a truly global phenomenon. Traditions of the supernatural are equally at home in crowded cities and on distant farmsteads, and supernatural experiences have been subjected to different theories and explanations depending on their cultural contexts. This conference will explore these explanations as well as investigate how traditions can be compared across cultures. The conference places special (though not exclusive) focus on urban traditions and on comparisons between supernatural narratives belonging to religion, folk belief, science, and entertainment.
The 2014 conference in this series took place in the remote and windswept islands of Shetland, Scotland. The 2015 conference moves across the globe to the tropical island city-state of Macau, a special administrative region of China and the most densely populated territory on Earth (nearly 600,000 people in just 30 km²).
On 23–25 March, delegates will speak with local tradition bearers in Macau and visit sites of legendary and religious significance. The Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site—a living mix of Chinese and Portuguese colonial cultural influences—is home to numerous Catholic, Taoist, and Buddhist shrines, churches, and temples. Yet move away from central Macau’s busy markets and winding alleys, and you will come to temples of capital and consumerism: for Macau—called the "Las Vegas of the East"—is also the site of some of the world’s largest and most glamorous casinos, where tourists engage in different traditions of the supernatural.
On 26–27 March, delegates will have the chance to give academic presentations in association with the conference "The Supernatural in Literature and Film." On 28 March, delegates can participate in a post-conference tour of beautiful Lantau Island (Hong Kong), site of Tai O fishing village and the world’s largest seated bronze Buddha.
The deadline for abstracts is 30 August 2014. To learn more, visit the conference website at

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American Folklore Society
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