Call for Papers: International Medieval Congress 2020 (Kalamazoo, USA)
Hosted by the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University, the International Congress on Medieval Studies is an annual gathering of around 2,750 scholars interested in medieval studies.
The 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies takes place on the campus of Western Michigan University on 7 May - 10 May 10, 2020.
The congress features more than 550 sessions of papers, panel discussions, roundtables, workshops, demonstrations, performances, and poster sessions. There are also some 100 business meetings and receptions sponsored by learned societies, associations and institutions. The exhibits hall boasts nearly 70 exhibitors, including publishers, used book dealers and purveyors of medieval sundries. The congress lasts three and a half days, extending from Thursday morning, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m., until Sunday at noon.
Below are the details on call for papers for two seperate sessions taking place at the congress.
Psychoactive Ingredients and Intoxication in Medieval Magic
Organiser: Liana Saif (The Warburg Institute)
Deadline for abstract submission: 15 September, 2019
Studies of medieval magic have largely focused on the legitimacy and genealogies of magical theories and practices, and questions of textual and contextual coherence. This session will highlight “microscopic” elements of magical practice; namely, psychoactive ingredients and intoxicants, with the aim to understand the place of these substances in scientific and religious discourses through the study of magical texts, which are situated at the intersection of these “macroscopic” discourses. This session is timely when we consider the current rise of interest in psychedelics and psychoactive ingredients in the scientific and literary spheres, in addition to the current explorations of the notion of “consciousness” in the study of esotericism and occult sciences. Therefore, engaging in a discussion about mind-altering substances in the global “middle ages” fits within a growing academic engagement with this subject.
We invite speakers from all kinds of disciplines who are able to shed light on:
1. How widespread psychoactive ingredients and intoxication are in magical texts.
2. How intoxication and psychedelic experiences are described in these texts.
3. The relationship between ritualistic “set and setting” and these ingredients.
4. The prospects and limits of studying ingredients and experiences in medieval texts and contexts that are classified as “psychedelic” and “mind-altering” according to modern understanding.
5. The role of consuming psychoactive ingredient, intoxicants, and having hallucinations in witchcraft narratives.
6. Devotional and magical experiences under the light of scientific advances in psychedelic research.
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