The paranormal has always exerted a particular 'pull', triggering in some an urge to explore and explain and in others a more emotional or even spiritual reaction. Discussions about and enjoyment of a rich mixture of topics and experiences grouped under the umbrella term 'paranormal cultures' are becoming increasingly popular and mainstream. An abundance of media coverage, television and cinema entertainment and an ever growing interest in supernatural phenomena, ghosts, UFOs, psychic powers, astrology and other forms of alternative knowledges on the Internet testifies to a willingness to explore the 'paranormal' and the extraordinary in our everyday lives.
This conference seeks to open up discussions about the anxieties, desires and engagements with the paranormal discourse, in popular culture, literature and visual culture as well as in everyday life, and across historical periods. The recent increase in popularity of all things paranormal across literature, art and popular culture suggests not only a reinvigorated interest in notions of the paranormal but possibly also new functions and pleasures of these fascinations, pursuits that scholars need to engage with, and we hope the conference will be a stimulating starting point for such engagements. Conversations across disciplines, from Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Media Studies, History, to Art History will be addressing questions such as: What is the influence of the paranormal on our personal and social lives? What can researching a society's engagements with the paranormal and alternative knowledges tell us about a culture? How should the recent increase in popularisation of the paranormal be interpreted?
All of these conversations and more will spill over into lunch and coffee breaks and no doubt into the wine reception at the end of the programme. And for the curious and courageous we have also arranged for a Ghost Walk in the Lanes, central Brighton in the evening [limited spaces available].
Prof John Harvey (Aberystwyth)
Dr Anita Biressi and Prof Heather Nunn (Roehampton)
Speakers from Sussex include: Prof Sally R Munt (Director of the Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies) Dr Alie Bird (Anthropology) Dr Olu Jenzen (English and Cultural Studies) Dr Tatiana Kontou (English) Dr Jon Mitchell (Anthropology) Dr Pam Thurschwell (English)
Conference fee: £40 (£15 unwaged and students)includes lunch and refreshments. Organisers: Prof Sally R. Munt and Dr Olu Jenzen To register please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Closing date for registrations: 24 May 2010 For programme and further information visit our website: www.sussex.ac.uk/sccs