Call For Papers: “Of Fairy-stories, Fantasy and Myth” Gonzaga/Whitworth Seminar on Faith, Film and Philosophy

I thought this event might be of interest to HogPro regulars:

Call for Papers: Faith, Film and Philosophy– “Of Fairy-stories, Fantasy and Myth”

October 11th & 12th, 2013

Gonzaga University’s Faith and Reason Institute and Whitworth University’s Weyerhaeuser Center for Faith and Learning are pleased to announce their Seventh Annual Seminar on Faith, Film and Philosophy, entitled “Of Fairy-stories, Fantasy and Myth.”

The past decade has seen film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, as well as three of C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia,” and, most recently, Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Although the immediate inspiration for our seminar is the release of the first part of Peter Jackson’s cinematic treatment of The Hobbit, our interest is neither solely nor primarily in Jackson’s films. Instead, we wish to explore a variety of cinematic treatments of myth, fairy-story, and fantasy, and to explore philosophical and religious questions raised by such films.

The Star Wars saga, the various incarnations of the world of Star Trek, the imaginative world of Pan’s Labyrinth, the Narnia films, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Wrath of the Titans, How to Train Your Dragon, Arrietty, Ponyo, Hugo, Shrek, Knowing, The Road, After Earth…. These are but some of the films that fall within the purview of our seminar. Even apart from the content of these films, the genres touched upon in our title raise very general questions about art, reality, meaning, and truth.

For example, is film an appropriate art form for mythopoesis? What is the nature of the reality portrayed in these films? What truth, if any, can films of this sort explore or convey?

Possible topics for seminar papers include the following, although proposals on other topics or questions of relevance are certainly welcome and encouraged.

• What constitutes a literary fantasy?
• What motivates literary fantasies? Is there a psychological payoff? If so, what is it?
• What is the underlying neurological basis for fantasy? Why do we fantasize in the first place and what evolutionary value might this have?
• Gender identity in fantasy and science fiction.
• Social functions of fantasy literature, including political functions.
• Cinematic treatments of sexual fantasies.
• Revenge fantasies.
• Heroic figures and our fantasies of being like them. (What do Iron Man and I have in common?)
• Fantasies of the end of the world, their characteristics and functions.
• Fantasies and reality: since most fantasies are never realized in actuality, why do we keep having them?
• What’s the difference between a fantasy, whether literary and filmic and outright hallucination or delusion?
• Criticisms of the work of Peter Jackson.
• Epistemological issues: what can be known by means of a fantasy that might not be known otherwise?

• The Life of Pi as fantasy.

• Fantasy and possible worlds.

We are particularly interested in popular films from the last 20 years, although the program committee will certainly consider exceptions to the 20-year rule.

Seminar sessions will take place on Friday (October 11th) and Saturday (October 12th). Public lectures and other events associated with the seminar will take place in the days leading up to the seminar. One of the public lectures will be on the evening of October 11th, when one of our invited speakers will give a keynote address. The invited speakers include Michael Foley (Baylor University), Richard McClelland (Gonzaga University), and Katherin Rogers (University of Delaware). These invited speakers will also participate as resident “experts” during the seminar discussions.

Proposals not longer than two pages (double-spaced), and in Word format, should be submitted electronically to Dr. Brian Clayton at clayton@gem.gonzaga.edu no later than 30 June 2013, and should include title, author(s), institutional affiliation (if any), mailing address, email address, and the text of the proposal. The seminar organizers will send acceptances by 8 July 2013.

The seminar and its associated public events are part of a series of jointly-sponsored programs focused on “Faith, Reason and Popular Culture.” The conviction behind these programs is that if Christian institutions of higher learning are to respond properly to their charge to be places where faith seeks understanding, then they must engage contemporary popular culture. Film is among the most powerful and important forms of popular culture. Thus, the seminar organizers seek scholars who will engage in two days of discussion investigating issues of faith and philosophical import raised by contemporary popular film. Presenters need not have any formal academic appointment.

For further information please contact Dr. Brian Clayton, Director, Gonzaga University Faith and Reason Institute at clayton@gem.gonzaga.edu.

Shut up, ladies?

A writer friend of mine sent me this link to another female writer’s blog, where she has a post about the disrespect female writers get compared to men, from both genders.  Given that the bulk of Hogpro posts are about series authored by women (Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, and I hope that Divergent will eventually get equal time!), I thought it would be interesting to discuss.  Hey, she starts with Jane Austen…

So, what do you think?  Does the “Shut up, ladies” phenomenon exist?  If so, is the Hogpro site a refuge from it?  If anything, we have the opposite problem…  while some great YA male-authored series have been brought up here (Percy Jackson, Chaos Walking) they never have sparked quite the same level of discussion as the “chick lit.”

A Zip to the Marshland: The significance of Tris’s high flying adventure.

When I compared the slide down the Chicago zip line to the swing of the Dauntless faction from stability to instability, it was an afterthought to my previous posts on personality theory. But I have recently had occasion to look through that scene in more depth and I have concluded that the significance of that outing is far greater than I realized.

Usual spoiler warnings apply. But if you haven’t read these books already, you really should! [Read more…]

Life Imitates Art: Hunger Games Pods to Pleasant Parks

If you remember your Hunger Games Trivia well, the arena sites are converted into tourist attractions afterwards. That is apparently also happening in the state park where the Games scenes were filmed.

Elizabeth, have you considered a part time job as a tour guide?

If you can tear yourself away from “Casual Vacancy”…

I’d love to hear some responses to this recent column in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  I expect our Headmaster has a different take on the Twilight series.

I will be the first to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of Twilight…  my main motivation for reading it was to appreciate John’s Spotlight book more. And unlike Harry, Hunger Games and Divergent (all of which get a mention in the Chron article as well!) I never felt a need to re-visit Bella’s tale.

But the column is well worth discussing.