Call for Papers: VERBAL CHARMS AND NARRATIVE GENRES in Budapest (8-10 Dec, 2017)

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A three-day international conference

8–10 December 2017, Friday–Sunday

 at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Research Centre for the Humanities, 1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán u.4.


Organized by:

International Society for Folk Narrative Research – Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming

International Society for Folk Narrative Research – Belief Narrative Network Committee

East–West” Research Group (ERC project № 324214: Vernacular religion on the boundary of Eastern and Western Christianity: continuity, changes and interaction)


Call for papers

     We have the honour of inviting you to our international conference, and would be honoured if you contributed to its success by sharing your research findings. The conference is the 11th event within the series organized by the ISFNR Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming, and the first event organized together with the ISFNR Belief Narrative Network Committee, in which scholars working on both territories will meet to exchange ideas from an interdisciplinary perspective. We would be very happy to meet folklorists, anthropologists, medievalists, literary historians and historians of religion, researchers working in the fields of ethnopsychiatry and the history of medicine, as well as representatives from scholars working in Germanic, Slavic, Baltic, Byzantine, Balkan etc. studies. Through collaboration we would like to conduct a parallel examination of Eastern and Western European folklore from the Middle Ages to the present, and also to examine phenomena from Christian and non-Christian, elite and popular, literary and oral traditions.

We welcome proposals in the following topics:

1. Verbal charms in the context of narrative genres

  • Charms in the wider context of folk belief narratives
  • Belief narratives, saint legends and myths as charms
  • Belief narratives, saint legends and myths as amulet texts
  • Belief narratives, saint legends and myths as historiolas of charms
  • Verbal charms incorporated in belief narratives, fairy tales, epic songs etc.
  • Etiological legends of charms, charmers and charming
  • Etiological legends of a charm-text incorporated in the same charm-type (e.g. in Lilith Charm)

2. Verbal charms and belief narratives – comparative aspect

  • Interconnection between charms and belief narratives
  • How particular personages and themes of belief narratives operate in charms and vice versa (saints, demons, witch, Satan, other world, etc.)
  • In what different ways do belief narratives and verbal charms evoke the supernatural?
  • Ritual contacts with the other world in charms and belief narratives

3. Belief narratives about charmers and charming

  • Belief narratives about learning/inheriting verbal charms
  • Belief narratives about the use of verbal charms (prescriptions,  taboos, etc.)
  • Belief narratives about healers and about healing with verbal charms
  • Belief narratives about diviners and divining using verbal divination methods
  • Belief narratives about midwives and childbirth – in connection with verbal charms
  • Belief narratives about any other magical practices using verbal charms (love magic, treasure hunting, theft magic etc.)
  • Charmers in witch-trials; belief narratives about charms and charmers in the court discourses of witchcraft accusations

4. A panel dedicated to the "Dreifrauensegen" and legends about three women (fate women, three healing women etc.)

5. A panel dedicated to baby stealing and killing demons, and the charms against them (Lilith Charm, Sisynnios Charm, Diebsegen etc.). Also legends about them (changeling legends etc.)


The language of the conference will be English; the projected length of the talks is 20 minutes. There will not be any registration fee, but the costs of accommodation and meals will have to be covered individually.

Please send your application by email to Éva Pócs (, or to Mirjam Mencej (  including your details and an abstract of 10-15 line by no later than May 1st 2017.


We look forward to hearing from you,

best regards,

  Éva Pócs (professor emeritus)                             Mirjam Mencej (professor) 
  PI of the “East-West” ERC project                         President of the ISFNR Belief Narrative Network