Call for Presentations

5th Global Conference


Saturday 1st November – Monday 3rd November 2014
Prague, Czech Republic

Due to the extraordinarily serendipitous confluence of research agendas amongst the submissions for this year’s Making Sense of Dying and Death, and Making Sense of Suffering projects, we have decided to convene both projects together in November. The intimate, overlapping, and amplifying inter-disciplinary connection between this years submissions for both events was so compelling that we decided to host an unprecedented single convocation with a very select group of delegates. Consequently we are re-titling our conference for this year, Making Sense of: Suffering, Dying and Death and it will convene between Saturday 1st November – Monday 3rd November 2014. For updated information and details please follow this link: Making Sense of: Suffering, Dying and Death

Call for Presentations:
This inter- and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to explore if, or to what extent, meaning can be found in suffering. During the course of living our lives, we are invariably forced to stop and question why we suffer – be it through illness, pain, loss, grief or the multitude of distressing circumstances which we encounter. Problems arise in a variety of contexts and due to a bewildering variety of conditions. And because our lives are constant streams of experience, the nature of suffering and consequently the “meaning” of such suffering continually varies and changes.

The conference theme this year seeks submissions that explore how suffering discloses something about the nature of persons, the relationship between persons and their bodies, the goals of medicine, the relationship between persons and their communities, and/or the place of “spirit” in the lives of individuals. Furthermore, submissions that strive to reconcile the relationship between pain and suffering are also encouraged (i.e., all pain does not equal suffering, and yet certainly pain can be associated with suffering). This call for papers also specifically solicits submissions that consider clinical ways to treat, assess, or otherwise respond to the suffering of patients and/or their families.

The conference aims to raise and assess a variety of questions related to the nature of suffering, the origins of suffering, the meaning of suffering, explanations for suffering and responding to suffering. Papers, presentations and pre-formed panels are invited on any of the following themes identified below.

Submissions in the form of papers, presentations and pre-formed panels are invited on any of the following additional core conference themes listed below:

I. What is Suffering?
▪ Defining “suffering.” What is “suffering”? How do we approach “suffering”?
▪ Is suffering unique or exclusive to human beings?
▪ Non-human suffering
▪ Categories of suffering. Suffering as – a problem; a condition; an expression; an experience; a position of powerlessness; a consequence of meaninglessness; a result of affliction.

II. The Roots of Suffering
▪ The origins of suffering
▪ Suffering as universal; as international; as national; as local; as particular
▪ Suffering and history
▪ The contexts and conditions of suffering
▪ Producing suffering

III. The Meaning of Suffering
▪ Suffering and meaning
▪ Suffering and language
▪ What is at stake when dealing with suffering?
▪ The “limits” of suffering
▪ The dangers of suffering

IV. Explaining Suffering
▪ Suffering and explanation
▪ Theories of suffering: the work of the disciplines
▪ Theories of suffering: the work of the professions
▪ Theories of suffering: the work of the vocations
▪ Silence and suffering

V. Suffering and Practice
▪ Suffering, apathy and indifference
▪ Alleviating suffering
▪ Practices causing, prolonging, truncating, overcoming, relieving or resolving suffering
▪ Suffering, hope and despair

VI. Suffering and Religion
▪ Suffering from the perspective of religious traditions
▪ Suffering and sacred texts
▪ Portraits of suffering and sufferers
▪ Suffering and “redemption”
▪ Suffering and atheism

VII. Representing Suffering
▪ Suffering and representation
▪ Suffering in literature
▪ Suffering in the media
▪ Suffering in tv, film, theatre and radio
▪ Suffering in cybercultures

VIII. Confronting Suffering
▪ Meaning, suffering and action
▪ Overcoming suffering
▪ Should suffering be overcome?
▪ Case studies
▪ Practice(s), resolution(s), settlement

In order to support and encourage inter-disciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between these groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between The Erotic, Revolt and Revolution, Making Sense of Suffering and Truth and Truthfulness.

What to Send
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 27th June 2014. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 19th September 2014. Abstracts should be submitted to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats, following this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Suffering 5 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
Nate Hinerman:
Rob Fisher:

The conference is part of the Making Sense Of: series of research projects, which in turn belong to the Probing the Boundaries programmes of Inter-Disciplinary.Net. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore discussions which are innovative and challenging. 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.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.