Tuesday, 17 August 2010

2nd Global Conference: Magic and the Supernatural

Thursday 17th March - Saturday 19th March 2011

Prague, Czech Republic

Bewitched. I Dream of Jeannie. The Exorcist. Charmed. Buffy. Dr. Who. Dracula. Dark Shadows. Twilight and The Twilight Zone. Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton. Dresden Files. Harry Potter. The fascination and appeal of magic and supernatural entities pervades societies and cultures. The continuing appeal of these characters is a testimony to how they shape our daydreams and our nightmares, as well as how we yearn for something that is "more" or "beyond" what we can see-touch-taste-feel. Children still avoid stepping on cracks, lovers pluck petals from a daisy, cards are dealt and tea leaves read.

A belief in magic as a means of influencing the world seems to have been common in all cultures. Some of these beliefs crossed over into nascent religions, influencing rites and religious celebrations. Over time, religiously-based supernatural events ("miracles") acquired their own flavour, separating themselves from standard magic. Some modern religions such as the Neopaganisms embrace connections to magic, while others retain only echoes of their distant origins.

This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary project seeks to examine issues surrounding the role and use of magic in a wide variety of societies and cultures over the course of human history. People with access to magic or knowledge of the supernatural will also be examined.

Papers, presentations, reports and workshops are invited on issues on or broadly related to any of the following themes:

  • Magic as "paranormal", anything alleged to exist that is not explainable by any present laws of science
  • the distinctions between "magic" and "religion" and "science"
  • Magical thinking and the equation of coincidence with causality
  • Folk magic and "traditional" systems of magic
  • "Magick" and "Wicca" as religious systems in modern society
  • Witchcraft in the European context
  • "Witchcraft" and animism in African or Asian contexts
  • Magic as illusion, stagecraft, sleight-of-hand
  • Magic in modern literature (ex. Harry Potter, Harry Dresden, the saga of Middle Earth, the Chronicles of Narnia, etc.) and in traditional literatures (folk or fairy tales, legends, mythologies, etc.)
  • Magic in art and the depiction of magical creatures, practices or practitioners
  • the association of magic with the "monstrous" or "evil"; does one imply the presence of the other?
  • the portrayal of magic, magical creatures, and magical practices or practitioners on television and in film
  • the roles or uses of magic in video games, on-line communities, role-playing games, subcultural formations and identities
  • the similarities and differences of magical creatures across societies and time periods
  • the interplay of "magic" and "religion" as well as "science"
  • the "sciences" of demonology and angelology
  • the role of divination or prophecy in societies or religions
  • the use of "natural" vs. "supernatural" explanations for world events
  • Magic and the supernatural as coping mechanisms for individuals and societies

The Steering Group also welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 1st October 2010. All submissions are minimally double blind peer reviewed where appropriate. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 4th February 2011. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs:

Stephen Morris
Hub Leader (Evil)
Independent Scholar
New York, USA

Sorcha Ni Fhlainn
Hub Leader (Evil)
School of English, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Rob Fisher
Network Founder and Network Leader
Freeland, Oxfordshire, UK

The conference is part of the 'At the Interface' programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.

All papers accepted for and presented at this conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers maybe invited for development for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s).

For further details about the project please click here.

For further details about the conference please click here.

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