Supernatural Connections: An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference

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Type: 
Conference
Date: 
April 4, 2020 to April 5, 2020
Location: 
Portugal
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Humanities, World History / Studies

As a constant and chilling presence in individual lives and the popular imagination, the supernatural, as a cultural phenomenon, is prone to repeated revivals and resurrections. Like some uncanny revenant, the supernatural re-emerges at crucial historical moments, often transforming to reflect the concerns of its epoch. Recent times have seen a sharp rise in occult practice amongst millennials, many of whom have rejected more traditional spiritual systems in favour of Wicca, witchcraft and astrology. The past two decades have also witnessed a proliferation of supernatural fiction, encompassing everything from populist works like Supernatural (2005 – present), Twilight (2008-2012), The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018 – present) and Siempre Bruja (2019) to critically-acclaimed texts like The Babadook (2014), The Witch (2015) Under the Shadow (2016) and Suspiria (2018). The reawakening of interest in the supernatural poses a wealth of questions about why the occult has once again seized hold of the popular imagination, while, at the same time, gesturing backwards to earlier eruptions of supernaturalism (witch trials, outbreaks of demonic possession, the nineteenth-century vogue for Spiritualism, the New-Age occultism of the 1960s and ‘70s).

But what does the current preoccupation with the supernatural say about contemporary societies, particularly in relation to issues of gender, sexuality and identity, socio-political anxieties, historical and personal trauma? Why does the supernatural provide such a potent vehicle for grappling with those issues? Why are some expressions of the supernatural more culturally acceptable than others? To what extent does the supernatural play a positive role in society, and to what extent does it provide a convenient scapegoat for the real-world dark impulses of human beings?

The Supernatural Connections conference seeks to provide a platform for exploring these questions from inclusive interdisciplinary perspectives by opening up new avenues of research and new conversations about the supernatural through papers, performances and panels focusing on any aspect of this complex, multifaceted topic with a view to forming an innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.. The conference organisers are particularly interested in incorporating papers/ presentations from a diverse range of disciplines, including, but not limited to, literary and cultural studies, film studies, theology, psychology, the social and natural sciences, history, philosophy, sociology, education and anthropology. We also enthusiastically welcome submissions from practitioners, artists, writers, curators and others.

Key Topics
Potential topics may address any of the following topics; however, we are open to any submission that investigates the supernatural:

~ Critiques and defences of the supernatural and related belief systems
~ Comparisons between contemporary and historical understandings of the supernatural
~ How creative practice shapes our perception of the supernatural (e.g. film, television, videogames, music, theatre, literature, art, etc.)
~ Impact of cultural, national, regional identity on perceptions of the supernatural
~ Ideological implications of the supernatural: how the supernatural reflects and informs political anxieties and general attitudes about the human body, race, gender, sexuality, class and nationality
~ Interface between science, technology and the supernatural
~ Commodifying the supernatural (dark tourism, spiritualists/fortune-tellers, etc.)
~ Supernaturalism and Indigenous cultures
~ Physiological/neurological perspectives on the supernatural
~ Impact of beliefs in the supernatural on everyday practices, and the implications of these practices
~ Interface between education and belief in the supernatural
~ Health, wellness and supernatural beliefs
~ Analyses of case studies of supernatural occurrences

What To Send
The aim of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc. Creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate are particularly encouraged. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.

At the end of the conference we will be exploring ways in which we can develop the discussions and dialogues in new and sustainable inclusive interdisciplinary directions, including research, workshops and publications which will help us make sense of the topics discussed during the meeting.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 8th November 2019. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chairs.

All submissions will be at least double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team, The Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that 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 22nd November 2019.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 21st February 2020.

Abstracts and proposals 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 the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) type of proposal e.g. paper presentation, workshop, panel, film, performance, etc, f) body of proposal, g) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Supernatural Connections Submission

Where To Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:

Miranda Corcoran: miranda@progressiveconnexions.net
Len Capuli (Project Administrator): lisbonsupernatural@progressiveconnexions.net

What’s so Special About a Progressive Connexions Event?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.

A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.

A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.

An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.

An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.

Ethos
Progressive Connexions 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 or proposal for presentation.

Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.

Please send all enquiries to: lisbonsupernatural@progressiveconnexions.net

For further details and information please visit the conference web page: http://www.progressiveconnexions.net/interdisciplinary-projects/evil/the-supernatural/conferences/

Sponsored by: Progressive Connexions

Contact Info: 

Miranda Corcoranmiranda@progressiveconnexions.net
Len Capuli (Project Administrator): lisbonsupernatural@progressiveconnexions.net