Call: The Language of Magic, May 2019

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the language of magic

Call for papers

Pescara: 22th-24th May 2019


The Department of Lingue, Letterature e Culture moderne, University of Chieti-Pescara (Italy) is proud to host the 12th international interdisciplinary conference organized by the ISFNR committee on CHARMS, CHARMERS AND CHARMING.

The conference aims at a cross—disciplinary approach to the study of charms from antiquity to the present day. We therefore welcome proposals from different disciplines, including: literature, folklore, anthropology, linguistics, philology, history, religious studies, history of medicine, etc.

The focus of the conference is on language, we would appreciate papers in the following topics:

  • Charms as texts: meaning, analysis, editions, methods, translations;
  • Multilingual charms: the interplay in the same texts or manuscripts between Latin (or other high languages, such as Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.) and vernacular languages;
  • How to do magic with words: the narrating power of the historiola, performative language, charm instructions, the power of the spoken word, speech acts;
  • Oral and written transmission of charms: textual tradition in a written environment, writing surfaces, the power of the written word, orality, memory, variation;
  • Charms as verbal remedies: interaction with medical and religious texts;
  • The rhetoric of charms: argumentational techniques, belief narratives;
  • What the charms do not say: taboo words, gibberish language, censorship;
  • The alphabets of magic from the antiquity to present age.


Language of the conference: English

Papers should be 20 minutes long with a 10 minute period for questions.

Abstracts due: 1st December 2018.

Send proposals, including a title, an abstract of 200-300 words, and brief biodata to Eleonora Cianci:

No registration fee will be required for the conference. A tour on 25th May will be chargeable.

Categories: CFP