VISIONS OF THE AFTERLIFE (online conference)

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
contact email: 


7th December 2023

Online Conference


Call for Papers 

Between Matthew’s description of heaven as a wedding (22 1-14) - most memorably delivered by Jesus in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ - and Jean Paul Sartre’s verdict that “hell is other people,” there is not only a gap of centuries but also cultures and religions.[1] Despite their disparity, however, both conceptualizations render the fundamental human anxiety related to the weighty question of “what comes next?” They point to the necessity of envisaging the unfamiliar through the familiar, thereby taming the terrifying void.

Versions of the afterlife, therefore, are not only related to the need to imagine the hereafter in the sense of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory (for the Catholics), but also to the contemporary notions of “post-theory”, such as post-humanism and the ideas of postmodernism, post-feminism, post-colonialism and post-nationalism.

The aim of this conference organized by the Faculty of English at Adam Mickiewicz University, in Poznan, Poland – and co-hosted with the Faculty of Philosophy, AMU, and the Poznań Chapter of the Agder Academy of Social Sciences and Letters – is to explore and discuss the literal, the literary and the metaphorical meanings of the notion of “the afterlife”. We welcome papers representing the humanities in their conceptualizations and literary reifications of the religious, medical and political “hereafters”.

Literature (British and Irish) / Art

  • Literary narratives on the hereafter across cultures and religions
  • Saints’ lives and visions
  • Theatre and the drama of/on the hereafter
  • Gothic literature and the visions of the afterlife
  • Literary visions and versions of post-apocalyptic reality
  • Artistic representations of the afterlife: Imaging the hereafter
  • The afterlives of theory: post-humanism and the ideas of postmodernism, post-feminism, etc.
  • The afterlives of ideologies, doctrines, political systems as represented in literary works (post-nationalism, post-colonialism, etc.)
  • The afterlives of literary texts and their authors: adaptations, rewritings, etc.

Medical Humanities / Social Sciences (in literary texts; British and Irish literature)

  • The moment of passing
  • The mystery of one’s body shutting down
  • Marketing death and the life after death
  • Out-of-body experience
  • End-of life dreams and visions versus science

Theology / Ethics (in literary texts; British and Irish literature)

  • Versions of the afterlife from the earliest records to contemporary times across cultures and religions
  • Ars moriendi (good endings vs bad endings)
  • Secular / atheist alternatives for life after death

300-400 word abstracts should be sent to BOTH and by 15th July 2023. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by the end of August 2023. There will be no fees for conference participation, but active and passive participants need to register in advance.

[1] Sartre, Jean Paul. Huit-Clos [Przy Drzwiach Zamknietych]. Dramaty: Muchy, Przy Drzwiach Zamkniętych, Ladacznica z Zasadami, Niekrasow, translated by Jerzy Lisowski. Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy 1956.