4th Global Conference
Hope - Probing the Boundaries
Monday 22nd September - Wednesday 24th September 2008
Mansfield College, Oxford
Call for Papers
This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference aims to explore contemporary definitions, meanings and expressions of hope. In particular, it will seek to examine the individual, social, national and international contexts within which hope emerges as well as its counterpart, hopelessness.
The theme and the sense of uncertainty pervades the start of the twenty-first century. Although young, the past bears witness to the brutality of genocides, atrocities, terrorism which acts to counter-balance economic, political, technological and ecological aspirations. Medicine and bio-ethics are split between those who foresee the worst implications for persons and those who foresee the promise of genetic engineering. Cultural conflicts likewise offer scope for grave apprehension or the hopeful anticipation of a culturally enriched shared world. This project is committed to the view that now is the time look at the main spheres in which there seems to be a pendulum between fear and hopeful expectation, with a view to thinking out constructive strategies for exploration.
Papers, workshops and reports are invited on any of the following possible areas for discussion;
1. Human awareness of the passage of time; changing attitudes to what H.G. Wells called ‘the shape of things to come’. What are the possible bases for thinking about the future?
2. Expressions of these attitudes in contemporary culture – portrayals in art, cinema, literature, radio, science fiction, theatre, tv
3. The psychological basis of fear of the future. Why millennial hopes are matched by millennial fears
4. The concept of a new age. Utopian thinkers; Dystopian visions. The connection with political movements. What do new agers want? Hedonism and the simple life. The fear of longevity. The fear of loneliness
5. Hopelessness, despair, indifference and resignation. The meaning of life
6. The science of the future. Prediction, risk and disaster management
7. The phenomenology of hope. What is this phenomenon that we call hope? How does it live and seemingly thrive in difficult times? How is it sustained? How is it invoked? Is there any difference between those who seem to be more hopeful than others?
8. Does hope and the act of hoping/or the predisposition to hope differ from culture to culture? What are those variances and what accounts for them? How is hope differently instantiated among cultures? What are those instantiations?
9. The notion of open and closed futures
10. The role and place of religion and religious movements.
11. Risk, possibility and hope.
12. Envisaging possible futures. The question of choice. Cultivating hope. To boldly go.
These are indicative themes. Papers are welcome on these and related themes.
Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 18th April 2008. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 8th August 2008.
300 word abstracts should be submitted to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order: author(s), affiliation, email address, title of abstract, body of abstract. Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.
Dr Nancy Mardas Billias
Chair, Department of Philosophy
Coordinator, Leadership Studies
Saint Joseph College
1678 Asylum Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117 USA
Dr Rob Fisher
Priory House, Wroslyn Road
Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR
The conference is part of the ‘Probing the Boundaries’ programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
All papers accepted for and presented at this conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers will be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume.
For further details about the project please visit:
For further details about the conference please visit:
Dr Rob Fisher
Priory House, Wroslyn Road, Oxfordshire. UK.
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