2nd Global Conference
Wednesday 13th March – Friday 15th March 2013
Not every culture recognises the notion of sin but all of them recognise the idea of a religious or spiritual transgression. All or nearly all the ‘Christian’ vices-virtues were those espoused by Greek-Roman philosophers first and are, therefore, not exclusively Christian in the origin. The Judaic idea of ‘sin’ varies considerably across time and the accountability of society/group vs. individual fluctuates as well. Also, the (Latin) idea of sin as ‘transgression’ or ‘breaking of the (divine) law’ is at variance with the (Greek) idea of sin as ‘missing the mark’ and ‘mistake/error.’
The idea of virtues likewise does not seem to be universal, though all offer guidelines to what they consider ‘right living. Actions that violate rules of morality and the guidelines concerning virtuous living have been the foundations of every culture across centuries.
However, due to civilisational progress and secularisation, the ideas and definitions behind the variously understood concepts of ‘sin’, ‘vice’ and ‘virtue’ have changed. For instance, in Christian culture the traditional list of the Church Fathers was unofficially updated to include social sins prevalent in what is called the era of ‘unstoppable globalisation’ and these DO not necessarily embrace Christians only.
Thus, apart from the familiar: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth, which individuals were to test their conscience for, the Roman Catholic Church now cautions the whole of humanity inter alia about: Genetic modification and human experimentations; Polluting the environment; Social injustice; Causing poverty; Paedophilia, contraception, abortion; Taking drugs; and Financial gluttony. Not only are the ‘new sins’ not necessarily Christian in nature but they seem inter- and transcultural, disregarding religious persuasion. It seems no longer the matter of individual transgression that has spiritual repercussions, but rather the sin whose subject is the entire, global and transcultural society. Furthermore, the question that arises is whether the notions of virtue are changing their meaning in the commercially-driven ‘dog-eat-dog’ modern world as well, and whether to be ‘good’ or ‘virtuous’ means the same for all cultures.
Are we then to talk about a completely new culture-blind hamartiology or new schematization of virtues? What are the real changes between medieval and today’s religious/moral doctrines preached across the modern world and its diverse cultural make-up? What about non-Christian cultures with different categories of religious/spiritual transgressions? May one actually still talk about ‘sin’ at all or is it an obsolete word in a multicultural world? Are all Western Christian sins, vices and virtues recognised and shared by other cultures as well?
This interdisciplinary conference seeks a new, provocative, intercultural perspective on some enduring truths concerning virtues and vices, sins and transgressions. Do we need a new list of moral commandments in the globalised, multicultural 21st century? Should they be religious or secular in nature? Who are these aimed at? And, finally, is it possible, reaching back to the origins of humanity, to find common denominators between religious/spiritual definitions of vices and virtues of all belief systems? Can discussions of ‘sin’ not introduce theology and religion into the contemporary discussion?
We are inviting scholars, theologians, anthropologists, artists, teachers, psychologists, therapists, philosophers, teachers of ethics, etc. to present papers, reports, works of art, work-in-progress, workshops and pre-formed panels on issues related but not limited to the following themes:
- The genealogy of the idea of sin or religious transgression around the world
- Anthropology of transgression
- Sinful/Transgressive actions, evil thoughts, religious taboos in Christian and non-Christian cultures
- What are the pre-Islam Arabic ideas of sin? How do these influence Islamic thought and how do they shape or not shape fundamentalist Islamic political thought?
- Lexicon of sinfulness/transgression and virtuousness in Christian and non-Christian cultures
- Social functions of sins and virtues
- Modern sins and vices: Individual and social; religious and secular; intercultural
- Social ‘sins’: ‘Institutional’ and ‘structural’; their social ramifications
- ‘-isms’ in religious and spiritual discourse
- Communal versus individual sins/transgressions: Do societies sin? How are societies
- policing them?
- The concept of sin or spiritual transgression/deviation and philosophy
- The notions of ‘sins’, vices and virtues on the political arena (secular morality or no morality)
- Psychology of sin (‘sinful’ or ‘abnormal’?; the concept of sin after Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud)
- Emotions and moral decision-making
- How to represent evil and morality in art: Representation of sins and sinners, vices, transgressions and virtues in art, literature, movies in Christian and non-Christian cultures
- Genderisation of sins, vices and virtues in Christian and non-Christian cultures
- Ideology of sin/religious transgression and technological progress: G/god or the Machine; ‘sins’ of productive necessity
- Theologies and Nature: Environmental studies and the notions of ‘sin’, transgression and virtue
- Sins/Vices and/in the Media (ie adveritising)
- Medieval crusades and modern (holy) wars
- Sinless, non-transgressive life in 21st century: Possibility or wishful thinking?
- Fear of the confessional or ‘McDonald-isation’ of spiritual life; is confession needed at all?
- Public and penitential practices across the ages and cultures
- Punishment for sin/transgression and rewarding virtue across the ages and cultures: individual and collective
- Visions of Hell, Paradise and other afterlife Realms across cultures
- Virtues in the modern times; virtues in a modern man
What to Send
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 12th October 2012. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper of no more than 3000 words should be submitted by Friday 18th January 2013. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both 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
E-mails should be entitled: Sins and Virtues 2 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). 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.
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.
If you like this project you may also like: Apocalypse, Environmental Justice and Global Citizenship, Evil, Women and the Feminine, Femininities and Masculinities, Forgiveness, Monsters and the Monstrous, Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness, The Erotic, Villains and Villainy