CFP: Madness - Probing the Boundaries (September, 2011; Oxford, United Kingdom)
4th Global Conference
Madness: Probing the Boundaries
Tuesday 27th September – Thursday 29th September 2011
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom
This inter-disciplinary research conference seeks to explore issues of madness across historical periods and within cultural, political and social contexts. We are also interested in exploring the place of madness in persons and interpersonal relationships and across a range of critical perspectives. Seeking to encourage innovative inter, multi and post disciplinary dialogues, we warmly welcome papers from all disciplines, professions and vocations which struggle to understand the place of madness in the constitution of persons, relationships and the complex interlacing of self and other.
In particular papers, workshops, presentations and pre-formed panel proposals are invited on any of the following themes:
1. The Value of Madness or Why is it that We Need Madness?
~ Critical explorations: beyond madness/sanity/insanity
~ Continuity and difference: always with us yet never quite the same
~ Repetition and novelty: the incessant emergence and re-emergence of madness
~ Profound attraction and desire; fear of the abyss and the radical unknown
~ Naming, defining and understanding the elusive
2. The Passion of Madness or Madness and the Emotions
~ Love as madness; uncontrollable passion; unrestrainable love
~ Passion and love as a remaking of life and self
~ Gender and madness; the feminine and the masculine
~ Anger, resentment, revenge, hate, evil
~ I would rather vomit, thank you; revulsion, badness and refusing to comply
3. The Boundaries of Madness or Resisting Normality
~ Madness, sanity and the insane
~ Being out of your mind, crazy, deranged … yet, perfectly sane
~ Deviating from the normal; defining the self against the normal
~ Control, self-control and the pull of the abyss
~ When the insane becomes normal; when evil reins social life
4. Lunatics and the Asylum or Power and the Politics of Madness
~ The social allure and fear of madness; the institutions of confining mad people
~ Servicing normality by castigating the insane and marginalizing lunatics
~ Medicine, psychiatry, psychology, law and the constructions of madness; madness as illness
~ Contributions of the social sciences to the making and the critique of the making of madness
~ Representations, explanations and the critique of madness from the humanities and the arts
5. Creativity, Critique and Cutting Edge
~ Madness as genius, outstanding, out of the ordinary, spectacularly brilliant
~ The art of madness; the science of madness
~ Music, painting, dance, theatre: it is crazy to think of art without madness
~ The language and communication of madness: who can translate?
~ Creation as an unfolding of madness
6. Unrestrained and Boundless or The Liberating Promise of Madness
~ Metaphors of feeling free, unrestrained, capable, lifted from reality
~ Madness as clear-sightedness, as opening up possibilities, as re-visioning of the world
~ The future, the prophetic, the unknown; the epic, the heroic and the tragic
~ The unreachable and untouchable knowledge of madness
~ The insanity of not loving madness
7. Lessons for Self and Other or Lessons for Life about and from Madness
~ Cultural and social constructions of madness; images of the mad, crazy, insane, lunatic, abnormal
~ What is real? Who defines reality? Learning from madness how to cope with reality
~ Recognising madness in oneself; relativising madness in others
~ Love, intimacy, care and the small spaces of madness
~ Critical and ethical implosions of normality and normalness; sane in insane places and insane in sane places
Papers will be accepted which deal with related areas and themes.
The 2011 meeting of Madness will run alongside the third of our projects on Strangers, Aliens and Foreigners and we anticipate holding sessions in common between the two projects. We welcome any papers or panels considering the problems or addressing issues that cross both projects.
Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 25th March 2011. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 22nd July 2011.
300 word abstracts should be submitted to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract
E-mails should be entitled: Madness Abstract Submission
Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.
* Gonzalo Araoz
Project Leader, Inter-Disciplinary.Net and University of Cumbria, Cumbria, United Kingdom
* Maria Vaccarella
Hub Leader, Making Sense Of:, Inter-Disciplinary.Net and Marie Curie Research Fellow, King's College, London
* Rob Fisher
Network Founder and Network Leader, Inter-Disciplinary.Net, Freeland, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
The conference is part of the 'Making Sense Of:' series of research projects. The aim of the conference is to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference are eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be invited to go forward for development into a themed ISBN hard copy volume.
For further details about the project, please visit
For further details about the conference, please visit