An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference, December 1-2, 2018, Vienna, Austria @ProgConnex


Via Thom Giddens, Co-Director, Centre for Law and Culture, St. Mary’s University @thomgiddens:

Evil Women: Women and Evil, an Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference, December 1-December 2, 2018, Vienna, Austria. Submit proposals by June 8, 2018. Here’s a description of the conference.


Few things capture the human imagination as much as evil, a notoriously slippery concept that enjoys universal recognition yet defies easy definition. As a term which is frequently used in relation to people who commit appalling crimes, it provides a useful means of describing unimaginable wickedness and is bandied about in popular culture (particularly by the tabloid press) as a way of explaining behaviours which defy belief. Evil is something ‘more than’ doing something morally wrong, ‘more than’ simply committing a crime, ‘more than’ an act of senseless slaughter. Defining that ‘more than’ is difficult: it is precisely this elusive quality which seems to make an act, or a person, evil.
In many cultures, women have been long suspected as the source of sundry human miseries, however basic to society they may be. While ideals of purity and dedication to family have been exalted and feminine beauty lauded, women have been viewed as embodying sinister forces of evil. Mistrusted as seductive and beguiling, women are often thought of as vengeful, manipulative and even malevolent. In grappling with our understanding of what it is to be ‘evil’, the project aims to shine a spotlight on this dark area of the human condition and explore the possible sources of the fear and resentment of women.
Women are not expected to behave in aberrant or illegal ways and we will consider the structural and systemic reasons for the heightened interest, repulsion, condemnation – and even hatred – that feminine transgression generates. Women are condemned not only for what they do but also for what they fail to do; those who harbour, lie for and couple with nefarious men are seen to have failed in their duty as gatekeepers of male morality. Where women themselves are accused of evil they are typically judged more harshly than their male counterparts, as evil acts committed by women are seen to transgress not just legal and moral boundaries but also those imposed by gender.
Against this backdrop, this conference will explore the various conjunctions between evil, women and the feminine. We invite participants to explore evil women/women and evil from the full range of disciplinary, professional and social perspectives. The aim is to generate an inclusive dialogue involving researchers, practitioners, artists, activists, legal professionals, clinicians, social workers, representatives from the voluntary sector, individuals whose lives have been impacted by feminine evil and others with an interest in the field. Topics for discussion include, but are not restricted to:

  • Representations of women and evil in popular culture, literature and history
  • Historical and changing definitions of what constitutes evil behaviour in women
  • Legal, social and cultural responses to evil women
  • Postnatal depression and postpuerperal psychosis
  • Motherhood, matricide and infanticide
  • The intersectionality of feminine evil
  • Mental illness and personality disorders
  • The sexualization of female violence – foxy boxing, video games, film and television
  • How women respond to evil
  • Violence, hysteria and the ‘wandering womb’
  • ‘Mean girl’ school cliques
  • Temptresses, tricksters and tarts
  • Wicked stepmothers and evil queens
  • Menstruation: women and blood
  • Female myths and icons – Delilah, Lilith, Medea, Medusa, Clytemnestra, the Harpies and the Femme Fatale
  • Vampires, witches and sirens

We particularly welcome creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations, and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate.
More information here



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