Monday, 11 June 2012

Wanted: Old Gods

Preternature Volume 3:2. Old Gods and Ancient Ones [Call for Papers]

Call them pagan or ancient, earth-based or demonic, or by names like Hekate, Isis, Poseidon, Ereshkigal, Loki, and Anath, the Old Gods have been topics of energetic scholarly discussion, literary recreation, and artistic depiction for decades. As supplanted as they might seem to historians, the Old Gods live on and capture our imagination. Contextualized in archaeological study, sensationalized by filmmakers, and rendered in new costumes and flesh by artists, Old Gods continue, components of the flexible mythologies that make up shared cultural references. They are used across literature, graphic novels, television series, cinema, and MMORPGs to tell and enact narratives. As they had in ancient landscapes, the Old Gods now make up part of a dynamic belief systems and figure in new forms of ritual invocations.

This issue of Preternature especially welcomes scholars whose work focuses on the new uses of ancient Asian, Babylonian, Canaanite, Egyptian, Greek, Mesoamerican, Norse, and Slavic Gods. It also welcomes contributions, from any discipline, that highlight the cultural, literary, dramatic, religious, magical, or historical significance of any of the ancient gods in their own contexts, as a part of "paganisms," and as a part of contemporary popular cultures. We welcome synthetic overviews of Sarapis veneration in Ephesus or the cult of Mithras as much as feminist critiques of representations of goddesses in graphic novels. Analyses of new ritualizations of Old Gods in specific neopaganism groups are welcome as well. Ultimately, we are interested in how the ancient gods are maintained, in various media and in scholarly discussion, in this modern era.

Contributions should be roughly 8,000 - 12,000 words, including all documentation and critical apparatus, and adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (style 1, employing endnotes). Contributions must be submitted through the Preternature CMS. Final submissions are due March 31, 2013.

Queries about journal scope and submissions can be made to the Editor, Dr. Kirsten C. Uszkalo. Queries concerning books to be reviewed can be made to the Book Reviews Editor, Dr. Richard Raiswell.

Preternature is a bi-annual publication, published through Penn State Press, and available in print or electronically through JSTOR, Project Muse, and as a Kindle e-book.


Friday, 8 June 2012

'Vampire' Corpses Found In Bulgaria

Ancient 'Vampire' Bodies Found In Bulgaria

Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed centuries-old skeletons with iron rods through their chests - believed to have been victims of an old anti-vampire ritual.
According to Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the National History Museum in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, two skeletons from the Middle Ages have been discovered near the Black Sea town of Sozopol.
"These two skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice which was common in some Bulgarian villages up until the first decade of the 20th century," said Mr Dimitrov.

Widespread superstition led to iron rods being hammered through the chest bones and hearts of those who did evil during their lifetimes for fear they would return after death to feast on the blood of the living.

Vampire burial to be displayed in National Museum of History in Sofia

Sozopol. The vampire burial unearthed in the seaside city of Sozopol will be displayed in the National Museum of History in Sofia due to the keen interest in Bulgaria and abroad, museum director Bozhidar Dimitrov told FOCUS News Agency.

The vampire will be displayed in about ten days when the special glass case in which it will be laid is ready.

'Vampire' graves may bring hordes to Bulgaria

The discovery of the graves of suspected vampires in Bulgaria may turn into a tourism gold mine, according to local news reports. [...] Headlines of the latest find have piqued interest in the U.S., Europe and Asia, the report said, and tour operators are fielding inquiries about what it called "vampire vacations."

Already, people were lining up at the excavation site at the monastery of St. Nicolas the Wonderworker, the Sofia News Agency reported.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Goth Tech Conference CFP

CFP: International Gothic Association Biennial Conference 2013

Gothic Technologies/Gothic Techniques Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association
August 5 – 8, 2013
University of Surrey, United Kingdom

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Professor Roger Luckhurst (Birkbeck College, University of London), Professor Fred Botting (Kingston University), other Keynotes TBA

Recent Gothic studies have foregrounded a plethora of technologies associated with Gothic literary and cultural production. Its presence is witnessed in how techno-science has contributed to the proliferation of the Gothic: the publishing and print culture disseminating Gothic texts, eighteenth-century architectural innovations, the on-line gaming and virtual Goth communities, the special effects of Gothic-horror cinema. One question raised by these new developments concerns the extent to which they generate new Gothic techniques. How does technology generate a new Gothic aesthetic? We are particularly interested in addressing how Gothic technologies have, in a general sense, produced and perpetuated ideologies and influenced the politics of cultural practice. However, we also want to reconsider the whole idea of what we mean by a Gothic ‘technique’ which arguably underpins these new formations of the Gothic. To that end we invite papers that question not only what we might constitute a Gothic aesthetic from the eighteenth century to the present day, but how that is witnessed in various forms such as the Female Gothic, models of the sublime, sensation fiction, cyberpunk as well as the various non-text based media that the Gothic has infiltrated. We also invite proposals which address how various critical theories help us to evaluate either these new technological trends or critically transform our understanding of the intellectual space occupied by earlier Gothic forms. Papers which explore the place of science, writing, and the subject are thus very welcome. We thus seek to explore how Gothic technologies/Gothic techniques textualize identities and construct communities within a complex network of power relations in local, national, transnational and global contexts. Papers exploring any aspect of Gothic technologies/Gothic techniques in writing, film and other media are welcome. Topics could include, but are not limited to, the following:

 • Gothic Architecture and Technology • Printing, Publishing and Gothic Disseminations • Terror, Terrorism, Technology • The techniques of philosophy – the sublime • Colonizing Technology and Postcolonial Gothics • Technology of Monsters • Gothic Art • Enlightenment Gothic and Science • War, Violence, Technology • (Neo)Victorian Gothic • Gothic poetry • Gothic Bodies: Modifications, Mutations, Transformations • Weird Science, Mad Scientists • Staging the Gothic • B-movies, Laughter and Comic Gothic • Demonic Technologies / Demonizing Technology • Theorising the Gothic • Gothic Geography – mapping the Gothic • Cloning, Duplicating, Doubling • Hybrids, Cyborgs and Transgression • Digital Gothics and Uncanny Media

Abstracts (350 words max.) for 20 minute papers may be submitted to . The submission deadline is February 1, 2013. We also welcome submissions for panels (consisting of three papers) that address specific topics.

See: International Gothic Association

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The International Gothic Association

Yes, there is an International Gothic Association! It's an academic society for the study of everything Gothic with a peer-reviewed journal Gothic Studies. According to their website:

The International Gothic Association unites teachers, scholars, students, artists, writers and performers from around the world who are interested in any aspect of gothic culture: fiction, drama, poetry, art, film, music, architecture, popular culture and technology. It promotes the study and dissemination of information on gothic culture from the mid eighteenth century to the contemporary moment. The only association of its kind, the IGA is the academic centre for people interested in an analysis of the gothic.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Hekatean Curse Tablets

Black Magic Revealed in Two Ancient Curses

Date: 22 May 2012
At a time when black magic was relatively common, two curses involving snakes were cast, one targeting a senator and the other an animal doctor, says a Spanish researcher who has just deciphered the 1,600-year-old curses. Both curses feature a depiction of a deity, possibly the Greek goddess Hekate, with serpents coming out of her hair, possibly meant to strike at the victims. Both curses contain Greek invocations similar to examples known to call upon Hekate.
Read the story at

Friday, 1 June 2012

Vampire Autopsies

What happens when you cut open a vampire? Read this analysis of the 18th century vampire epidemic and the medical experts who examined the undead corpses in the Fortean Times, issue 288 (Special, 2012). Visit: Fortean Times

For back issues of Fortean Times call +44 (0)844 844 0049