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Call for Papers: Altered Consciousness, 1918-1980

  • 2013-11-16
  • 2013-11-17
  • London
Date of event: 16-17 November 2013
Venue: Queen Mary, University of London, E1 4NS
Closing date for submissions: 14 June 2013
Keynote speaker: Jeffrey Kripal (Rice University)

Call for papers

This meeting will explore the theme of altered consciousness in relation to popular culture, psychology, philosophy, religion, medicine and literature during the period 1918-1980.

Many literary and popular authors and performers during the mid twentieth century represented altered states of consciousness in their work, responding to and participating in research relating to such topics as interplanetary contact, ESP, clairvoyance, telepathy, mind-altering drugs, psychic therapies, spiritualisms, shamanism, erotics, conversion, revivals, somnambulism, precognition, distraction, group mind, multiple personality, hypnotism, lucid dreaming, Vedanta, hysteria and automatism.

What was the continuing legacy of nineteenth-century approaches to mind and spirit? How did work at the fringes of psychiatry and psychology intersect with mind sciences that consolidated their authority during the mid-twentieth century? What are the key interactions between European, North American and non-Western sources? How did investigations cross the borders between arts, sciences, religion, education and the military?

Priority will be given to submissions that show potential for sparking discussion across disciplinary boundaries, and are accessible to a non-specialist audience.

We are especially keen to hear from women contributors, and those whose work extends beyond British and North American contexts.

Please send a talk summary of approx 300 words and author bio of approx 50 words to: by 14 June 2013.

Speakers accepted onto the programme will have 20 minutes to speak.

This event is generously supported by: the British Society for the History of Science, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Centre for the History of the Emotions, and the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London.

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