"Heroism and Villainy: Exploring Perceived Binaries in Religion, History, and Pop Culture" - RSGSS Graduate Student Symposium, University of Alberta

RSGSS Graduate Student Symposium
Call for Abstracts


Heroism and Villainy:
Exploring Perceived Binaries in Religion, History, and Pop Culture
University of Alberta
April 27 – 28, 2018
Keynote Speaker: Dr. William Arnal (Regina)

The Religious Studies Graduate Student Society from Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Alberta invites graduate students and undergraduate students from all disciplines to participate in a symposium that explores the theme of heroism and villainy in the study of religion. The motifs of heroine, hero, villainess, and villain are employed in some of the world’s oldest religious and literary traditions and continue to be employed today in historical accounts, the latest popular culture superhero movies, and on current news media programs. Participants are encouraged to submit proposals for papers that reflect on questions such as the following:

• How is the heroine, the hero, or the heroic constructed and presented in ancient religious traditions?
• How is the villainess, the villain, or the villainous constructed and presented in ancient religious traditions?
• How is the heroine, hero, or the heroic constructed and presented in Judaism? Christianity? Islam? Hinduism? Buddhism? Indigenous religions?
• How is the villainess, the villain, or the villainous constructed and presented in Judaism? Christianity? Islam? Hinduism? Buddhism? Indigenous religions?
• How does mythologist Joseph Campbell’s work in A Hero with a Thousand Faces provide a useful frame for discussing heroines, heroes, villainesses, and villains in religious traditions?
• How is the depiction of the heroine, hero, villainess, or villain in historical accounts employing and critiquing religious conceptions of heroism and villainy?
•How is the depiction of the heroine, hero, villainess, or villain in modern popular culture (comics, movies, books) employing and critiquing religious conceptions of heroism and villainy?
• How is the depiction of the heroine, hero, villainess, or villain in modern journalism (print, television, internet) employing and critiquing religious conceptions of heroism and villainy?


Guidelines for submissions: Please submit a 150-word abstract outlining the topic and main focus of the paper by February 28th, 2018. Please plan for 15 minutes of presentation time followed by 5 minutes of discussion. Proposals should include all contact information and institutional affiliation. Please send proposals, as well as any questions, to religious.studies.gss@gmail.com.

Click here to download Symposium Poster (PDF)