1st Global Conference: Making Sense Of Pain (February 2010: Sydney, Australia)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Rob Fisher/Inter-Disciplinary.Net

1st Global Conference
Making Sense Of: Pain

Wednesday 17th February - Friday 19th February 2010
The Women's College, Sydney, Australia

in association with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Call for Papers
Pain is an inevitable aspect of the experience of all sentient beings. Many, if not all, fields of human activity have the potential to occasion pain - and much of what we do as individuals and/or collectivities involves our efforts to prevent, ameliorate, cure or avoid pain. Nonetheless, despite the unpleasantness and sometimes the agony of the experience of pain, we are also capable of enduring it. Depending on the context, we may do so willingly.

Yet there is also the dark side of pain: humans are capable of inflicting it and at times do so intentionally, for gain or enjoyment; they can also hurt others through carelessness and disregard of their needs and comfort.

This interdisciplinary conference provides a forum for inquiry into the vicissitudes of pain: its nature and existential significance, and the many ways in which pain plays a part in our lives. Of particular concern, too, are the biological, social and interpersonal circumstances within which our reactions to pain occur.

The following themes are suggested as guides to the formulation of topics for papers and workshops.

I. Elaborations on Pain
Pain in history
Pain and philosophy
Pain and literature and drama
Pain and faith
Pain in visual art
Pain in music

II Pain and Evolution

III Pain and Personality

IV Pain in Work and Business

V Inflicting Pain
Torture; how is it possible?
Pain and sins of omission

VI Pain and Emotion
Suffering, fear and hope
Compassion and abhorrence

VII Pain Tolerance and the Meaning of Pain
Toward a desired end, eg
- childbirth
- cosmetic work (surgery, waxing)
- in performance, as in sport, music or dancing

VIII Different Perspectives on Pain
The understanding of pain by sufferers, carers, and professionals
- eg in intractable pain of terminal disease
- chronic pain
- trauma, eg burns
- "aches and pains"

IX Practices, Philosophies and Dilemmas of Pain Relief
Political (macro and micro)

V. Communication and Pain
Issues in conversations about pain
- about one's own pain
Issues in conversations about the pain of others (in medicine, law, etc)
Problems in expressing and 'reading' pain
- in words
- in body language
Using and interpreting metaphors of pain
- heartache, pain-in-the-neck (and elsewhere), gut-wrenching, burning desire, wounding remark
Silences about pain - when and why?

Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 14th August 2009. If your paper is accepted for presentation at the conference, an 8 page draft paper should be submitted by Friday 15th January 2010.

300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and 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.

Organising Chairs
Mira Crouch
School if Social Science and International Studies The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Email: miracrouch@optusnet.com.au

Maria Vaccarella
Marie-Curie Research Fellow, King's College, London
Hub Leader, Inter-Disciplinary.Net
Email: maria.vaccarella@inter-disciplinary.net

Rob Fisher
Priory House, Wroslyn Road
Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR
Email: pains@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Making Sense Of: Hub series of ongoing research and publications projects conferences, run within the Probing the Boundaries domain which aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore innovative and challenging routes of intellectual and academic exploration.

All papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume.

For further details about the project please visit:

For further details about the conference please visit: