Tag Archives: belief

CFP: Living in a Magical World: Inner Lives, 1300–1900, St Anne’s College, Oxford, 17–19 September 2018

conference_cfp_5Call for Papers: Living in a Magical World: Inner Lives, 1300–1900, St Anne’s College, Oxford, 17–19 September 2018
Deadline: Friday 12 January 2018

Historians have learned to regard the supernatural as integral to past lives. No longer are magical and occult beliefs anachronistically condescended to as mere ‘superstitions’, entertained only by a credulous minority and for the most part ancillary to temporal existence. Instead, the near-constant presence of unseen yet powerful forces – both benevolent and malign, and across domestic, communal, and cosmic environments – now seems central to a subtle and pervasive worldview held by sane, intelligent people whose outlook on the universe was no less sophisticated or coherent than our own. At the same time, supernatural beliefs were unstable, inconsistent, and contested.

Taking this insight as its starting point, this conference will explore the meanings, practices, and everyday consequences of living in a magical world, with special reference to its complex relationship to the inner lives of our forebears, from the late medieval to the modern period. We invite papers from all geographical contexts and disciplinary perspectives, and from researchers at all stages of their careers, that relate the history of magic, witchcraft, ghosts, and other supernatural phenomena to the following themes and research questions:

  • The history of selfhood, personal identity, phenomenology, and subjectivity;
  • The history of the emotions, and the significance of feeling states – insofar as we can ever recover them – for understanding and appreciating past experiences and interiorities;
  • And the extent to which interactions with occult realms and unseen worlds – which often engendered powerful feelings of anger, terror, and grief, but also of wonder, hope, and security – are privileged sites for understanding past emotional repertoires and experiences and, in turn, inner lives.

We hope that the assembled papers will shed new light on the role of the supernatural encounter in shaping the textures and meanings of lived experience over an unprecedentedly wide variety of time periods, national boundaries, and spatial and perceptual dimensions (from courtrooms, households, and urban and rural landscapes to dreamscapes, memory, and fantasy). Publication of an edited collection and/or journal special issue featuring a selection of the papers will be considered, while the conference will also incorporate a drinks reception at and private view of the project’s associated exhibition on the history of witchcraft and magic at the Ashmolean Museum. Provisionally entitled Spellbound: Thinking Magically, Past and Present, this will show from 6 September 2018 to 6 January 2019.

To propose a twenty-minute paper, please send a title and abstract of no more than 300 words, together with a short academic CV, to james.r.brown@uea.ac.uk by Friday 12 January 2018. Please also direct any queries to James in the first instance.

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Conference: Intertwined Worlds: 10th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age

Conference: Intertwined Worlds: 10th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age, Free Library of Philadelphia/University of Pennsylvania Libraries, November 2-4, 2017

In partnership with the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies (SIMS) at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries is pleased to announce the 10th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age.

Despite the linguistic and cultural complexity of many regions of the premodern world, religion supplies the basis of a strong material and textual cohesion that both crosses and intertwines boundaries between communities. This symposium will highlight the confluence of expressions of belief, ritual, and social engagement emerging in technologies and traditions of the world’s manuscript cultures, often beyond a single religious context. It will consider common themes and practices of textual, artistic, literary, and iconographic production in religious life across time and geography, from ancient precedents to modern reception and dissemination in the digital age.

The program will begin Thursday evening at 5:00 pm on November 2nd, 2017, at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library, with a keynote lecture by Phyllis Granoff, Yale University. The symposium will continue November 3rd-4th at the Kislak Center of Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.

Speakers include:

  • Iqbal Akhtar, Florida International University
  • Paul Dilley, University of Iowa
  • Ellen Gough, Emory University
  • Thibaud d’Hubert, University of Chicago
  • Zsuzsanna Gulácsi, Northern Arizona University
  • Ayesha Irani, University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • Shazia Jagot, University of Surrey
  • Samantha Kelly, Rutgers University
  • Jinah Kim, Harvard University
  • Gila Prebor, Bar-Ilan University
  • Michael Pregill, Boston University
  • Michael Stanley-Baker, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
  • Columba Stewart, Hill Museum & Monastic Library and Saint John’s University
  • Justine Walden, University of Toronto
  • Tyler Williams, University of Chicago
  • Saymon Zakaria, Bangla Academy, Dhaka
  • Maayan Zhitomirsky-Geffet, Bar-Ilan University

Click here for program and abstracts.


Registration fee will be $35 ($10 for students with valid student ID). Registration open now until Nov 3, 2017. Click here to register. Walk-in registrations will be accepted for a fee of $45 ($15 for students with valid student ID) to be paid in cash.

The symposium is made possible with the generous support of the Center for Ancient Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

For more information on the Schoenberg Symposium Series, click here.