Altered Consciousness, 1918-1980
16-17 November 2013
Queen Mary, University of London, E1 4NS
Closing date for submissions: 14 June 2013
Keynote speaker: Jeffrey Kripal (Rice University)
This meeting will explore the theme of altered consciousness in relation to
popular culture, psychology, philosophy, religion, medicine and literature
during the period 1918-1980.
Many literary and popular authors and performers during the mid twentieth
century represented altered states of consciousness in their work, responding to
and participating in research relating to such topics as interplanetary contact,
ESP, clairvoyance, telepathy, mind-altering drugs, psychic therapies,
spiritualisms, shamanism, erotics, conversion, revivals, somnambulism,
precognition, distraction, group mind, multiple personality, hypnotism, lucid
dreaming, Vedanta, hysteria and automatism.
What was the continuing legacy of nineteenth-century approaches to mind and
spirit? How did work at the fringes of psychiatry and psychology intersect with
mind sciences that consolidated their authority during the mid-twentieth
century? What are the key interactions between European, North American and
non-Western sources? How did investigations cross the borders between arts,
sciences, religion, education and the military?
Priority will be given to submissions that show potential for sparking
discussion across disciplinary boundaries, and are accessible to a
We are especially keen to hear from women contributors, and those whose work
extends beyond British and North American contexts.
Please email a talk summary of approx 300 words and author bio of approx 50
words by 14 June 2013.
Speakers accepted onto the programme will have 20 minutes to speak.
This event is generously supported by: the British Society for the History of
Science, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Centre for the
History of the Emotions, and the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary,
University of London.