Making Sacrifices: Visions of Sacrifice in Contemporary Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Nicholas Brooks and Gregor Thuswaldner/Salzburg Institute of Gordon College

CALL FOR PAPERS: for an edited volume Making Sacrifices: Visions of Sacrifice in Contemporary Culture to be published by New Academic Press in 2013. (

Send abstracts for papers in English or German to by March 1st, 2013.

As Italian premier Mario Monti recently did, politicians are increasingly calling on citizens to make sacrifices for the future of their countries. Such public invocations of sacrifice place politicians and their constituents in a state of tension not least because of the difficult and often contradictory connotations of sacrifice. Sacrifice, a concept of religious provenance deeply embedded in contemporary culture, can mean to offer for destruction and to make amends, to hurt and to heal, make whole, or sacred. The many meanings and even oppositions at the heart of sacrifice make it a dangerous and much-fraught concept, as well as a fruitful and powerful one in numerous spheres of contemporary culture.

Papers may approach the concept of sacrifice in contemporary European and American culture (or from the perspective of the origins of these contemporary cultures) from any number of angles. Among others, submissions may consider any of the following questions: In what ways does sacrifice form a key theme in European and/or American literature, art, and thought? How have concepts of sacrifice taken shape in those historical and contemporary situations where sacrifice has become a particularly important, urgent, or contested matter? How have the meanings of sacrifice shifted (and how may they yet shift) as a result of circulating between different spheres of activity? (For example, what meaning is gained, lost, or otherwise changed when a religious notion of sacrifice is transposed into philosophical conceptuality, a political principle, or a key idea of fiscal reform? As for the inverse, what do avowedly religious understandings of sacrifice owe to ancient and modern legal, political, and philosophical invocations of sacrifice?) Finally, how has sacrifice been envisioned within various Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions and how might the notions of sacrifice belonging to these traditions be profitably compared?

The editors invite abstracts for papers that consider sacrifice as a theme important to contemporary European and/or American culture. This volume is an inter-disciplinary effort and we welcome abstracts from scholars working in the fields of literature, philosophy, history, sociology, political science, religious studies, and theology, among others.

Please send abstracts for papers in English or German to by March 1st, 2013. If your abstract is accepted, the deadline for submitting completed papers (5000-7000 words) for consideration will be May 1st, 2013. Decisions on abstracts submitted on or before March 1st, 2013 will be made by March 10, 2013 at which point authors whose abstracts have been accepted will be given the formatting guidelines.