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Deadline extended: Images of Afterlife, conference in Turku, Finland

CFP (DEADLINE EXTENDED): Interdisciplinary conference: Images of Afterlife

Posted on March 4, 2014

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:

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

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

The confirmed keynote lecturers are:

Professor Tony Walter, Death Studies, University of Bath

Professor Jussi Kotkavirta, Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä

Professor Altti Kuusamo, Art History, University of Turku

The language of the conference is English. 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 April 13, 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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