6th Global Conference: Forgiveness (July 2013; Oxford, United Kingdom)

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

6th Global Conference

Saturday 6th July – Monday 8th July 2013
Mansfield College, Oxford

Call for Presentations
Mahatma Gandhi said that 'the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.' It is usually held that Forgiveness is a process (or the result of a process) that involves a change in emotion and attitude regarding an offender. Some scholars view this as an intentional and voluntary process, driven by a deliberate decision to forgive. The process results in decreased motivation to retaliate or maintain estrangement from an offender despite his or her actions, and requires a deliberate — or as Gandhi put it, 'strong' — letting go of negative emotions toward the offender. Theorists differ in the extent to which they believe forgiveness also implies replacing the negative emotions with positive attitudes including benevolence and compassion. There also differ on these questions: When, if ever, should hatred be overcome by sympathy or compassion? What are forgiveness and mercy and to what degree do they require — both conceptually and morally — the overcoming of certain passions and the motivation by other passions? If forgiveness and mercy indeed are moral virtues, what role, if any, should they play in the law?

This interdisciplinary conference project seeks to investigate and explore the nature, significance, and practices of forgiveness. Forgiveness raises a variety of questions that touch on a vast array of academic disciplines — anthropology, psychoanalysis, literature, history, philosophy, psychology, political economy, etc. In cases of significant transgressions, social tensions, and even international conflicts there are questions of what counts as forgiveness and how it moves from the level of individual to community, national and international relationships. This conference will examine full range of this complexity. To encourage innovative trans-disciplinary dialogues, we welcome papers from all disciplines, professions, and vocations.

Presentations, papers, performances, reports and workshops are invited on issues on or broadly related to any of the following themes:

1. Questions of Definition
~ What is forgiveness
~ Are all definitions of forgiveness culturally relative? When or how is it possible to speak of it in universal terms?
~ What sorts of behaviour require people to seek forgiveness?
~ Who can grant forgiveness? Can there be meaningful third party forgiveness?
~ Who benefits from forgiveness and how?
~ Can forgiveness be required of someone? Can it ever be wrong to offer forgiveness?
~ Can we forgive an ongoing evil?

2. Psychological Perspectives
~ The emotional effect of victimization and the role forgiveness can play in either exacerbating or mitigating such feelings
~ The nature of self-forgiveness
~ Barriers to people's ability to forgive transgressors
~ How a willingness (or unwillingness) to forgive can be a measure of self-worth or self-respect
~ What happens after the forgiveness is granted?

3. Legal and Political Perspectives
~ Forgiveness for past crimes of individuals — rehabilitation, second chances, and pardons
~ How forgiveness can play a role in criminal legal proceedings
~ Is there is Marxist notion of forgiveness?
~ Forgiveness as a part of social reconstruction following civil wars or systematic social injustices
~ How forgiveness can be required or granted in relationships between nations
~ Seeking forgiveness on behalf of others: righting historic wrongs
~ Difficulties connected with political forgiveness: collectiveness, performative meaning of forgiveness declarations, etc.

4. Social, Cultural and Literary Perspectives
~ The role forgiveness plays in different cultures
~ Differences in perceptions of the importance of forgiveness in different societies
~ Forgiveness ceremonies as important cultural practices
~ How questions of forgiveness are used in literature
~ Forgiveness in cinema, film, tv, radio and theatre
~ The role of the arts as catalyst or hindrance for actual cases of forgiveness
~ Forgiveness and the media

5. Religion and Forgiveness
~ Distinctions between secular and religious notions of forgiveness
~ The role of forgiveness in religious practices
~ How religious beliefs can promote forgiveness
~ How religions can be barriers to forgiveness
~ Rituals of forgiveness and their importance

6. Issues, Connections and Relations
~ The relationship between forgiveness and restitution
~ The relationship between forgiveness and retribution
~ The relationship between forgiveness and compassion, mercy or pity
~ The relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation
~ The relationship between forgiveness and personal growth

The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals.

What to send:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 8th February 2013. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 10th May 2013. 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, f) up to 10 key words
E-mails should be entitled: FOR6 Abstract Submission.

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.

Joint Organising Chairs:

Charles W. Nuckolls: administrator@utahvalleycommons.com
Rob Fisher: for6@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Probing the Boundaries programme of research projects. It aims 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 will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers maybe invited for development for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s)

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.