4th Global Conference
Forgiveness - Probing the Boundaries
Wednesday 20th July 2011 – Friday 22nd July 2011
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom
Call for Papers
This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference project seeks to investigate and explore the nature, significance, and practices of forgiveness. Asking for or granting forgiveness can often be a routine part of everyday life, but the nature of forgiveness as a personal, social and even international practice can be quite complex. The acts of stating an apology and asking for forgiveness have also become part of a spectacle: moments of national significance to break with past wrongs. Forgiveness raises a wide variety of questions that touch on a vast array of academic disciplines. In cases of significant transgressions, social tensions, and even international conflicts the questions of what counts as forgiveness and how it moves from the level of individual to community, national and international relationships. This conference will look at the full range of this complexity. To encourage innovative trans-disciplinary dialogues, we warmly welcome papers from all disciplines, professions and vocations.
Papers, presentations, reports and workshops are invited on issues on or broadly related to any of the following themes:
1. Questions of Definition
~ What is forgiveness?
~ What sorts of behaviour require people to seek forgiveness?
~ Who can grant forgiveness? Can there be meaningful third party forgiveness?
~ Who benefits from forgiveness and how?
~ Can forgiveness be required of someone? Can it ever be wrong to offer forgiveness?
~ Can we forgive an ongoing evil?
2. Psychological Perspectives
~ The emotional effect of victimization and the role forgiveness can play in either exacerbating or mitigating such feelings
~ The nature of self-forgiveness
~ Barriers to people’s ability to forgive transgressors
~ How a willingness (or unwillingness) to forgive can be a measure of self-worth or self-respect
~ Issues related to the psychological burden of not forgiving
~ What happens after the forgiveness is granted?
3. Legal and Political Perspectives
~ Forgiveness for past crimes of individuals – rehabilitation, second chances, and pardons
~ How forgiveness can play a role in criminal legal proceedings
~ Forgiveness as a part of social reconstruction following civil wars or systematic social injustices
~ How forgiveness can be required or granted in relationships between nations
~ Seeking forgiveness on behalf of others: righting historic wrongs
~ Difficulties connected with political forgiveness: collectiveness, performative meaning of forgiveness declarations, etc.
4. Social, Cultural and Literary Perspectives
~ The role forgiveness plays in different cultures
~ Differences in perceptions of the importance of forgiveness in different societies
~ Forgiveness ceremonies as important cultural practices
~ How questions of forgiveness are used in literature
~ Forgiveness in cinema, film, tv, radio and theatre
~ The role of the arts as catalyst or hindrance for actual cases of forgiveness
~ Forgiveness and the media
5. Religion and Forgiveness
~ Distinctions between secular and religious notions of forgiveness
~ The role of forgiveness in religious practices
~ How religious beliefs can promote forgiveness
~ How religions can be barriers to forgiveness
~ Rituals of forgiveness and their importance
6. Issues, Connections and Relations
- The relationship between forgiveness and restitution
- The relationship between forgiveness and retribution
- The relationship between forgiveness and compassion, mercy or pity
- The relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation
- The relationship between forgiveness and personal growth
Papers on any other topic related to the theme will also be considered.
The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Papers will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 14th January 2011. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 27th May 2011. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract
E-mails should be entitled: FOR4 Abstract Submission.
Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and 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.
Joint Organising Chairs:
Institute of Sociology,
Network Founder and Leader
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 maybe invited for development for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s).
For further details about the project please visit:
For further details about the conference please visit:
Dr Rob Fisher
Priory House, Wroslyn Road,
Freeland, Oxfordshire, OX29 8HR, UK
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