Revelry and Reverance

deadline for submissions: 
January 5, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Southern Humanities Council, Executive Dir.
contact email: 

Revelry and Reverence

Baton Rouge Marriott, Baton Rouge, LA, January 30-Feb 1, 2020




Mikhail Bakhtin says, “The principle of laughter and the carnival spirit on which the grotesque is based destroys this limited seriousness and all pretense of an extra-temporal meaning and unconditional value of necessity. It frees human consciousness, thought, and imagination for new potentialities. For this reason, great changes, even in the field of science, are always preceded by a certain carnival consciousness that prepares the way.” Euripides, in The Bacchae, reminds us that there can be, must be, a space for the irrational within ordered time and space for society to thrive, suggesting that there is a tyranny in excessive order. The irrational is “life’s liberating force.” And yet, it is in the very midst of an excessive celebration of life’s revelry, that Hildegaard of Bingen says we find life’s meaning, a reverence of and for being.  “We shall awaken from our dullness and rise vigorously toward justice. If we fall in love with creation deeper and deeper, we will respond to its endangerment with passion.” And Emily Dickinson echoes, profoundly, Hildegaard of Bingen’s comment. “The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”

The Southern Humanities Council Conference invites proposals for papers on any aspect of the theme “Revelry and Reverence.” The topic is interdisciplinary and invites proposals from all disciplines and areas of study, as well as creative pieces including but not limited to performance, music, art, and literature. (Please note that the name of our organization simply reflects its having been founded in the U.S. south; no presenter is expected to present anything “southern,” though southern topics are also welcomed. Conference attendees come from all over the United States and Canada.) Submit proposals of 300-500 words through our website at (preferred), or to Mark Ledbetter at Proposals are due by December 15, 2019. Topics are not limited to but may address any of the following areas, and may integrate the theme in trans-disciplinary or interdisciplinary ways, that is, the paper may address the theme from particular perspectives OR a paper may address the integration of two or more dimensions of the theme.


Possible topics may include but are not limited to any aspect or combination of “Revelry and Reverence” and . . .

Carnival, Sacred, Profane, and/or Mundane Space and/or Time, Resistance, Revolution, Celebration, Eroticism, Ecstasy, Obsession, Literature,
Art History,
The Visible/Invisible, Dis/Ability,
Nostalgia/Melancholia, Memory Dependence/Interdependence, Theatre/Drama (theory and live performance), Dance, Childhood,
Gender Race/Ethnicity, Sex/Sexuality,
Social Class, Religion/Spirituality, Music (theory and live performance),
Cinema, Culture, Education/Educative, Geography/ies, Philosophy,
Character, Friendship,
Sense of Self, Psychology, Metaphor, Community Performance, Travel,
Folk History,
Imagination, Human/Animal/Machine,  the Symbolic, New Media, Hospitality,
 Love, Pleasure/Desire, Sociology, Cultural differences . . .