Weird Tools and Strange Investigations

full name / name of organization: 
Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies in the Preternatural | http://preternature.org
contact email: 
kirsten@uszkalo.com

Weird Tools and Strange Investigations

Objects of all sorts have a long history of serving as bridges to the preternatural world, whether that be in terms of some intrinsic power, or as things possessed or haunted. The shaman’s beads, the saint’s bones, the astrologer’s charts, the conjurer’s circle, the scryer’s stone, the spiritualists’ crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija boards and even holy books, all might be used in particular contexts as instruments to experience or investigate the world beyond the natural either directly or vicariously. By the same token, these objects might also be imbued with uncanny power in their own right. For those who employed them, such objects helped communicate with ethereal beings or harness their power to worldly ends. But it is also clear from the narratives constructed around them that this was a double-edged sword, for haunted or possessed objects could prove difficult to control, even dangerous, coming eventually to wield power over the user.

This issue of Preternature invites contributions that explore the relationship between objects, users and the preternatural world. How were objects construed? In what social, political and cultural contexts were they deployed, and how did the ways they were used help construct experience? How were these instruments related to crucial issues of proof and persuasion?

Abstracts of 500 words are due July 15, 2011; final papers will be due September 15, 2011. Contributions should usually be 8,000 - 12,000 words, including all documentation and critical apparatus. If accepted for publication, manuscripts will be required to adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (style 1, employing footnotes).

Preternature also welcomes original editions or translations of texts related to the topic that have not otherwise been made available in recent editions or in English.

Queries about submissions, queries concerning books to be reviewed, or requests to review individual titles may be made to the Editors:

Peter Dendle
Department of English,
The Pennsylvania State University (Mont Alto)
pjd11@psu.edu

Kirsten C. Uszkalo
Department of English
Simon Fraser University
Kirsten@uszkalo.com

Inquiries about book reviews should be sent to:

Richard Raiswell
Department of History
University of Prince Edward Island
rraiswell@upei.ca

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classical_studies
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
eighteenth_century
film_and_television
interdisciplinary
journals_and_collections_of_essays
medieval
popular_culture
religion
renaissance
romantic
science_and_culture
theatre
victorian