CFP: Between, Behind, and Beyond Good and Evil in Contemporary Cultures (Essay Collection; 01/15/18)

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Gregor Thuswaldner

This proposed essay collection, which will be published as the second installment in the Salzburg Institute of Religion, Culture and the Arts’ Symphilologus book series, focuses on theoretical concepts and lived ideals of the good as well as manifestations of evil through the prism of literature, philosophy, art history, theology, ethics, and cultural studies.

In a letter from 1802 to his friend Friedrich Schiller, the German poet Goethe described the plot of his tragedy Iphigenie auf Tauris, as “devilishly human.” This paradoxical phrase is also applicable beyond the evil deeds described in Goethe’s classic work. Manifestations of the “devilishly human” occur frequently within cultures. Evil rarely shows up in some pure, abstract, or readily recognizable shape but rather appears in human form. How does the human and evil fit together? Is man inherently evil? How does evil reveal itself in contemporary cultures? At the same time, notions of the good and the good life remain strong in contemporary cultures.


Questions essays might address:

  • Do transcultural, universally valid conceptions of good and evil exist?
  • How can good and evil be measured (if at all), and how do we evaluate or validate good and bad deeds or a good or bad life?
  • What constitutes a good or bad human being?
  • Is the good or bad life necessarily something extraordinary, something that stands out, or can average actions or lives be counted good or evil? And what about normativity itself?
  • What art forms or styles allow the good or evil to appear?
  • Can art render the good or evil banal or turn it into kitsch?
  • What art forms may obscure or distort the good and/or evil?
  • Does the ugly, disproportionate, suffering, or violence have place within the good or evil?

We invite abstracts from colleagues working in various academic fields (including cultural studies, sociology, art history, philosophy, literary studies, history, political science, religious studies, Judaic studies, Islamic studies, and theology). Please submit proposals of 250 to 500 words that address the theme of good and/or evil in contemporary cultures and a brief bio in either English or German via email to all three editors:

Dr. Armin Eidherr

Dr. Gregor Thuswaldner

Dr. Jens Zimmermann


Deadline for abstracts: January 15, 2018

This essay collection will be published as the second volume of the Salzburg Institute of Religion, Culture and the Arts Symphilologus series published with New Academic Press in Vienna. Vol 1 is now available