What is personhood? This is a complex question that requires appeals to various ways of thinking about the world – religion, philosophy, law, and history are all called upon, along with science, to provide clarification of the question. The ways we think about what a person is reveal our concerns about ourselves and what we regard as the most important and problematic aspects of life. What we think about personhood, therefore, says as much about the individual, society, or religious orientation that crafts the definition as it does about the object of inquiry.
Since ancient Rome, where persona referred to the mask worn on stage by an actor, practice and transformation have been associated with questions of personhood. Especially in a religious context, where rituals possess the power to change and transform those persons and things that play a role, the notion of personhood can be used positively and negatively to define participation, hierarchy, and meaning.
Related to the main theme, there will be a special session devoted to the question of trauma.
The Fifth Annual Graduate Students’ Conference sponsored by McGill Centre for Research on Religion is scheduled for 19-20 October 2012. The conference Steering Committee invite submissions of proposals for 20-minute conference presentations from emerging scholars whose research pertains to any aspect of this theme. While the academic study of religion will provide a major point of departure for our shared thinking about personhood, practice, and transformation, we warmly welcome and encourage submissions from students of all disciplines.
Please see the website for the full call for papers and to submit an abstract.
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