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CFP: Interdisciplinary conference in Turku, Finland: Images of Afterlife

CFP: Interdisciplinary conference: Images of Afterlife

22–24 October 2014, University of Turku, Finland

Images of death and afterlife are rich and manifold in various religious
contexts, as well as in artistic, media and other symbolic expressions.
Representations of afterlife reflect cultural values, fears and hopes. In
the contemporary West collective religious representations are challenged
and completed by individual conceptions and beliefs, which, in turn, derive
from various cultural sources. How has afterlife – the life and existence
of souls and minds (or bodies) after death – been imagined in different
contexts and how is it imagined today? What are the contexts in which these
images are expressed? Where do afterlife conceptions come from and what is
their significance in the societies of the living?

The interdisciplinary conference Images of Afterlife aims to discuss the
cultural imagery of death and afterlife from various perspectives, such as
anthropology, history, linguistics, religious studies, arts studies, social
sciences, health care, psychology and psychiatry, in various cultural and
historical contexts. We welcome a broad spectrum of papers, which
illustrate and analyze theoretical approaches to cultural representations
as well as to individual experiences of death and afterlife. The
representations can include stories, beliefs, conceptions, customs and
rituals, as well as works of art and literature. We are also interested in
various methodologies that can be applied in the study of the images,
including multidisciplinary methodologies.

Topics for papers may include but are not limited to:

o Religious and spiritual images of afterlife
o Images of afterlife in art
o Mythic topographies of the otherworld
o Secular conceptions of afterlife
o Afterlife conceptions as sources of comfort and hope
o Beliefs about persistence of the mind after death
o Mind, soul and consciousness
o “Good” and “bad” death
o Suicide and afterlife
o Euthanasia
o Organ transplantation
o Death, afterlife and multiculturalism in health care
o Agency in afterlife
o Marginalized discourses of afterlife
o Interaction with the spaces and agents of the afterlife
o Spirits, souls, ghosts, wraiths, apparitions, revenants
o Near-death experiences and deathbed visions
o Afterlife: popular (pseudo-scientific) discourses vs. legitimized

The conference is organized by the research project Mind and the Other – An
Interdisciplinary Study on the Interactions of Multiple Realities (funded
by the Academy of Finland) in collaboration with the Finnish Death Studies

The invited keynote lecturers are:

Professor Altti Kuusamo, Art History, University of Turku
Professor Eija-Liisa Ahtila, The Academy of Fine Arts (tbc)
Professor Emerita Margaret Lock, Social Studies of Medicine, McGill
University (tbc)
Professor Samuel Scheffler, Philosophy, New York University (tbc)
Professor Jussi Kotkavirta, Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä (tbc)

Those who wish to present a paper in the conference are kindly requested to
send an abstract of no more than 300 words (in .rtf, .doc or .docx format)
to by February 28, 2014. Please send with the
abstract your name, affiliation, contact information and field of
specialization. Notices of acceptance will be sent by April 30, 2014.

Further information about the conference, social programme, travel and
accommodation in Turku will be soon available on our web page


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