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Call for Papers!

History Students Association Conference 2015

In his seminal essay The Great Cat Massacre, Robert Darnton gave a sage bit of advice to academics who study culture : “When you realize that you are not getting something—a joke, a proverb, a ceremony—that is particularly meaningful to the natives, you can see where to grasp a foreign system of meaning in order to unravel it.”

The monster is a construct and a projection, always interpreting the moment in which it is created. So too we see constructions of self in cultural phenomena as diverse as comic book heroes, ghost stories, fertility rituals, hagiography-even the villainization of the “other” informs the moment in which it enter public consciousness.

It is in this spirit that the 2015 History Students Association Conference at San Francisco State University is seeking papers that explore the intersection between humanity and its constructs.

How does ritual inform mentality? What can the supernatural tell us about historic truth and memory? How can we interpret stories so as to better understand the storyteller? How does politicization shape religious experience? How does the demonization of the other inform cultural fear? What do the fantastic elements interwoven with oral histories help us to discover about cultural norms?

Cross disciplinary submissions from film studies, literature, religious and ethnic studies, art history, and anthropology are encouraged.

Submission Guidelines: Please submit abstracts of 300 words or less to:

Please include the title of the submitted paper, your name, affiliated institution, field of study, and contact information. The deadline for submissions is FEBRUARY 13, 2015. If selected, final papers will be due to your panel chair no later than MID MARCH, 2015. Conference will be held April 25, 2015 at San Francisco State University.

Recent works that resonate with the spirit of the conference include:

Louise White’s monograph published in 2000, Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa serves as a cogent example of how tales of the fantastic can be examined and interpreted to allow us to better understand the mentalities of discursive or liminal groups.

Stefan Goeble’s brilliant book on medievalism published in 2007, The Great War and Medieval Memory: War, Remembrance and Medievalism in Britain and Germany, 1914-1940, looks at how elements of medieval chivalric culture were interpreted in war memorials, interpreting iconography to uncover how communal memory functions in the search for historical continuity in the face of such horrific events.


HSA Conference website:



‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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