3rd Global Conference
Thursday 15th March – Saturday 17th March 2012
Prague, Czech Republic
Bewitched. I Dream of Jeannie. The Exorcist. Charmed. Buffy. Dr. Who. Dracula. Dark Shadows. Twilight and The Twilight Zone.Jimmy Paz.Matthew Swift. Felix Castor. Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton. Harry Dresden. Harry Potter. These are among the more recent characters that fill the shelves of “Urban Fantasy” in local or online bookshops. The novels that constitute the genre are set in cities or gritty inner-cities and contain one or more fantastic elements. Alien races, mythological characters, paranormal beings, and the manipulation of magical forces all appear in these novels. Self-esteem issues and tragic pasts often color or shape the principal characters. Although most often “contemporary,” the tales are sometimes set in the past or future as well. The books and stories demonstrate how magic or the supernatural interact with everyday quotidian life, either changing it forever (as in the *Shadow Saga*) or remaining a hidden force that protects the unknowing residents of the city (as in *The Chamber of Ten*).
This “Urban Fantasy” thread is part of a larger project concerned with Magic and the Supernatural in all its myriad forms. 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.
Papers from any discipline are welcome on any aspect of the Urban Fantasy genre as well as those concerned with Magic and the Supernatural in more general terms or other subheadings. Possible subjects include, but are not limited to, these:
~ Gender and sexual stereotypes/roles in UF stories
~ Updating and rewriting of traditional mythologies in UF
~ Role of / interaction of magic/philosophy/religion in UF
~ Magical practice as religion in UF
~ Changes in UF as reflections of /opposition to contemporary culture
~ Cultural and racial stereotypes in UF
~ Comparison of UF and other fantasy sub-genres
~ Importance of geographic location (ex. London, Salzburg, Venice) in UF
~ Importance of historical accuracy and fidelity in UF
~ Explanations for how “magic” functions/operates in varying UF stories
~ 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 associations 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 30th September 2011. 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 27th January 2012. 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 f) up to 10 key words
E-mails should be entitled: Urban Fantasies Abstract Submission.
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). Please note that a Book of Abstracts is planned for the end of the year.
All accepted abstracts will be included in this publication. 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.
Hub Leader (Evil)
New York, USA
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) or for inclusion in the Perspectives on Evil journal (relaunching 2011).
In preparing your papers, please pay strict attention to the following style sheets