Manchester Metropolitan University

22 March 2019

Death and the Sacred Symposium

CALL FOR PAPERS: New Deadline for submissions is February 15th, 2019 

This symposium will focus on literature, arts and practice where individuals, groups, artists and writers explore a range of topics and themes deemed sacred and their interaction with death. Across all religions and cultures, death and dying has always loomed over sacred sites, texts, practises and journeys, and death has always commanded ritual and sacred attention. The theme ‘death and the sacred’, therefore, provides a fruitful topic for thinking about how the uniquely ordained, set aside, extraordinary features of particular locations and sites, bodies, practises and belief systems are influenced, reformed and repurposed by death.
Along with considering the sacred nature of death, the symposium will incorporate the contemplation and discussion of such issues as the dialogue between humanity and spirituality in the face of increasing globalisation, materialism, communication, consumerism, science and technology. As part of this quest, it will consider the degree to which the sacred is still tied to religious and theological identity, its seemingly non-religious forms, and whether the sacred is being regenerated or eroded to the point of death in contemporary society. It will consider connected issues such as the relation of the sacred to issues of community, mourning and loss, and it will contemplate the politics and ethics of the sacred in contemporary society.

This interdisciplinary symposium aims to explore, analyse and debate the relationship between death and the sacred in art and narrative.

We are thrilled to be inviting Andrew Michael Hurley (author of The Loney and Devil’s Day and alumni of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Manchester Writing School), Rosie Garland (Author of Vixen, The Night Brother and writer in residence at John Rylands Library) and Jenn Ashworth (Author of A Kind of Intimacy, Cold Light, The Friday Gospels and Fell).

Simon Marsden will give a keynote. Simon Marsden is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Liverpool. His research focuses on intersections of religion and literature from the Romantic era to the present. He is the author of Emily Brontë and the Religious Imagination (2014) and The Theological Turn in Contemporary Gothic Fiction: Holy Ghosts (2018), and has published widely in edited collections and in journals including Literature and Theology and Gothic Studies.

Please submit abstracts/proposals of no more than 300 words to Eleanor Beal, Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University:

Organised by Eleanor Beal. Eleanor Beal is associate Lecturer at Manhester Metropolitan University, researching feminism, religion, theology and the gothic.


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