Challenging Cultures of Death

Here is a new call for papers:
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Challenging Cultures of Death:
Mercy Not Sacrifice

The Center for Gender and Women's Studies, Trinity College Dublin, and the Institute for Feminism and Religion invite proposals for contributions to our forthcoming event:

Challenging Cultures of Death: A cross-cultural dialogue imagining a political and symbolic world based on life not death: mercy not sacrifice.


The language of sacrifice and martyrdom, international and ecumenical, permeates religious and political discourse and has been culturally elaborated in countless ways. Some theorists argue that the totem secret of our societies is that we periodically send out our young to die, thereby replenishing our political identities. The Reformers and Counter-Reformers challenged sacrifice, but now the sacrifice to end all sacrifices manifests as the war to end all wars.

Keynote Speakers

Bracha L. Ettinger
Griselda Pollock
Anne Primavesi
Peggy Reeves Sanday
Genevieve Vaughan

Venue: Trinity College, Dublin.
Date: November 2 (Friday) through November 4 (Sunday), 2007.

Call for Papers

A multi-disciplinary event, we aim to bring diverse approaches to our deliberations under the following headings: Theory, Resistance, and Theology. Priority will be given to those taking a multi-disciplinary synchronic perspective, and taking imaginative approaches to presenting that maximize pre-event preparation (making papers available in advance) and interactive modes of engagement with participants. We also hope to balance incisive critique with concrete strategies for practical action.


Given the violent history of the 20th century, the threats facing humanity and the Earth, and the resurgence of violent religious fundamentalisms in the 21st century, Enlightenment optimism toward the social order has now largely collapsed. Post-modernist thinkers variously interrogate the libidinal economy (Lyotard), the sacrificial social contract (Kristeva), biopolitics (Nietzsche, Foucault, Agamben), the culture of the death drives (Lacan, Irigaray), and the violence of mourning (Klein, Fornari, Butler).

Invited proposals

· Proposals invited from any of the above perspectives that address the question: Challenging cultures of death: mercy not sacrifice.
· That investigate the potential of the Matrixial Sphere (Bracha Ettinger).


In the most despotic regimes, isolated individuals (Bonhoeffer, Weil, Berrigans, Day, Gandhi, Mandela, Starhawk, Aung San Suu Kyi), as well as many conscientious objectors, have resisted cultural imperatives. What enables them to resist?

Invited Proposals

· That investigate resistance from the perspective of group psychology (political or psychoanalytic).
· That investigate disciplinary or spiritual practices that enable resistance.
· That investigate the effects of parenting and violence.


The main Abrahamic faiths often represent their founding acts through narratives of sacrifice. How does this relate to the cultural valorization of death in combat, or martyrdom?

Invited Proposals

· That interrogate feminist, womanist and post-colonial approaches to the political implications of sacrificial theories and theologies.
· That investigate current critiques of sacrifice (Girard, Irigaray, Kristeva, Maccoby, Koenigsberg).

Directions: Participants wishing to present a contributed paper are invited to submit online a 200 to 300 words abstract for consideration by the conference committees. Abstracts should be sent by August 31st. All those submitting proposals will be informed of the conference committee's decisions by September 30th 2007 (at the latest).

Please read the procedures for papers before submitting.

Who Should Attend?

We hope to attract feminist theorists and activists committed to cultural critique. Contributors should aim to make their work accessible to a wide variety of participants at the event and, where appropriate, in potentially publishable form later.


Individual Papers

Individual papers should last no more than 20 minutes and your proposal should include the following.

1. Title.
2. Abstract.
3. Biography.
4. Institutional or other affiliation and address.
5. Audio visual Requirements (If any).

Full Sessions

If you wish to organize a full session on a particular theme, the proposal should include the information (above) for each contributor. Each session should include a moderator, and three presenters. Sessions should last for 90 minutes in total.


Workshops last 90 minutes. Proposers should submit the following:

1. Workshop title.
2. Rationale for workshop.
3. Biography.
4. Institutional affiliation and address.
5. AV requirements.

E-mail proposals to ChallengingDeath@ideologiesofwar.com

Closing date for submission of proposals: August 31st 2007. We will process proposals received in advance to facilitate travelling arrangements.


August 31st, 2007: Paper, Workshops, Session proposals.
September 15th, 2007: Notification of acceptance (at the latest).
October 1st, 2007: Reception of full papers and registration.

Papers will be accepted only from full registrants.

To download the registration form as a Word Document please go to:

Conference Procedures

Presenters: Intending presenters should ideally aim to provide papers in advance (by October 1st - even in draft form) to be placed on our website for registrants to read in advance. Our time together is limited, and should be spent summarizing (briefly, for about five minutes), and then discussing the papers, rather than reading them.

There are no limits on the length of the online papers, but bear in mind that to encourage participants to read them in advance, they should be kept short and presented attractively.

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