Monday, 7 February 2011

CFP: 3rd Global Conference: Heroes and Villains: Justice and Punishment

Saturday 10th September - Monday 12th September 2011

Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Papers

A villain (also known in film and literature as the "bad guy", "black hat", or "heavy") is an "evil" character in a story, whether a historical narrative or, especially, a work of fiction. The villain usually is the antagonist, the character who tends to have a negative effect on other characters. A femae villain is sometimes called a villainess (often to differentiate her from a male villain). Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines villain as "a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or a crime; scoundrel; or a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency in the plot".

Indicative themes for research and development will include (but are not limited to):

  • How do we define a villainous act?
  • What is a villainous act? How do we define it?
  • When we look at actions which are deemed and judged to be right/wrong, good/bad, how are such actions classified?
  • What is a crime?
  • How are crimes classified?
  • What disciplines are needed to uncover, discover and identify a crime?
  • How do we define crime scenes, ex. Scenes of atrocity, "crimes against humanity"?
  • What do we learn about our view of "crime" via the depiction of forensic investigations of crime scenes?
  • How does the idea of a criminal "underworld" which exists beneath, underneath, below the everyday world influence us?
  • Why are villains more intriguing/interesting/attractive than heroes?
  • How is the perception of crime and villainy shaped by space, place AND time?
  • Does villainy belong to the realm of the night?
  • Does villainy belong under cover of darkness?
  • Does criminality and villainy depend on being hidden or concealed?
  • Who are the people charged with doing the investigation, detection, sleuthing?
  • What do villains do and why do they do it?
  • What tools/skills do they have/use?
  • Does the villain create the person who catches him/her - i.e. a nemesis?
  • Does the existence of a villain create the need for a hero?
  • What kind of personality/character traits/deviance creates a villain?
  • What is the nature of the criminal mind?
  • Is it differentiated from the minds of those who do good?
  • What is the character of the heroic mind?
  • Why do good? Why be a hero?
  • Why side with/dispense justice?
  • Why do we have 'criminal' psychology?
  • Why don't we have 'goody two-shoes' psychology?
  • How do notions of responsibility and diminished responsibility factor into the debate?
  • How is crime defined by punishment?
  • What are the causes of crime/villainy?
  • What are the consequences of crime/villainy?
  • How does fear define crime/villainy?
  • Can villains actually be heroes?
  • Can villains be portrayed as sympathetic or gain our sympathy?
  • Is the villain sometimes on the side of right? Can criminality be an attempt at social justice against unjust regimes?
  • Are heroes made villainous by blind allegiances to moral codes?
  • Must 'justice' involve 'punishment' of the villain?
  • Is punishment of the criminal required by 'justice'?
  • How does the punishment of the hero increase his heroism or the lack of punishment increase the villainy of the villain?
  • How does the depiction of heroes/villains evolve?
  • How does such a depiction shape or reflect society?

Papers will be accepted which deal with related areas and themes.

The 2011 meeting of Heroes and Villains: Justice and Punishment will run alongside our project on The Patient and we anticipate holding sessions in common between the two projects. We welcome any papers considering the problems or addressing the issues that straddle these two themes.

Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 25th March 2011. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 22nd July 2011.

300 word abstracts should be submitted to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order:

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

Emails should be entitled: Villains Abstract Submission

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using 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

Sorcha Ni Fhlainn
Evil Hub Leader, Inter-Disciplinary.Net
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Rob Fisher
Network Founder and Network Leader
Inter-Disciplinary.Net, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

The conference is part of the 'At the Interface' series of research projects. The aim of the conference is 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 are eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be invited to go forward for development into a themed ISBN hard copy volume.

For further details about the project please click here.

For further details about the conference please click here.

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