Follow Us

Send us your news and events!

Mail them to
(No attachments!)

Subscribe to our News & Events Blog

Follow us on Twitter

“Holy Crap! Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Cultures”

Holy Crap! Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Cultures

28–29 August 2014, Helsinki, Finland

Call for Papers and Sessions

Holy Crap! is an international conference organised by the Finnish Youth Research Society and Network, focusing on the interrelations between popular culture, youth and the sacred. The conference aims at interrogating understandings of popular and youth cultures in relation to the contested phenomena of (post)secularisation, re-enchantment and the emergence of alternative spiritualities.

Seeking to analyse the social and cultural changes accompanying these phenomena, the conference will facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue between youth studies, cultural studies, religious studies and the broader social sciences.

Recent years have seen a growing interest in ”re-scripting the sacred”
through popular culture. Although ”youth” as an age-based category has lost its privileged status within such studies of popular culture, young people remain vital (sub)cultural agents. There has also been renewed interest in the ubiquitous contestations and ambiguities around the notion of the ”popular” in light of the increasing commodification and standardisation of culture, the opposition this engenders, and the cultural drift into virtual worlds.

Holy Crap! locates itself at the intersection of these three contested concepts, seeking to re-examine and re-evaluate the dynamics within and between cultural phenomena prefixed with ”popular”, ”sacred” and ”youth”.

The conference organisers invite proposals for either complete 90 minute sessions or individual 30 minute presentations. The general theme of the conference may be approached from within any discipline or methodology. Suitable topics include, but are not limited to:

Discourses: the mythologies of popular and youth cultures, histories and invented traditions, freedom of speech and expression, contesting authenticity, transcendence and transgression, consolation and affect;

Identities: the intersections of the popular/sacred/youth dynamics with class, (dis)ability, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, subcultural belonging and community, nationalism and the sanctification of race;

Ideologies: questioning religious tenets, political doctrines, consumerism and economies of pleasure, value and moral judgments, the (post)modern and the (post)secular;

Institutions: families, congregations, denominations, corporations, educational institutions, gangs, (neo)tribes, subcultures, municipalities and the state;

Materials and technologies: ecologies, media, art, symbols, shrines, memorials, actions, practices, rituals, pilgrimage, stardom, fandom and authorship, web 2.0 and 3.0, virtual religions and virtual worlds;

Theories and methodologies: evidence and authority, interdisciplinary methodologies, theology and secular scholarship, critical theories of religion, reconceptualising key concepts.

The proposals should be submitted via email, preferably as an attachment in doc/pdf/rtf format, to Research Coordinator Antti-Ville Kärjä ( no later than 15 January 2014. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by Friday 31 January 2014.

Proposals should include the following information:

name(s) and affiliation(s) of the presenter(s);
the title of the presentation/session;
an abstract of no more than 200 words for a 30 minute presentation or 500 words for a 90 minute session.

Keynote speakers

Carolyn Marvin, PhD, is the Frances Yates Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication. Her work centers around the relationship between cultural discourses and what they run up against or are limited by, including the human body, material space, and social boundaries. She also has an interest in the related areas of ritual communication and freedom of expression. (Please visit Professor Marvin’s website for more information.)

Other speakers to be announced later.

The tentative academic programme of the conference

Thursday 28 August
9:00–10:15 Opening and keynote address
10:30–12:00 Parallel sessions
13:30–15:00 Parallel sessions
15:30–17:00 Parallel sessions
17:30–18:30 Keynote address

Friday 29 August
9:00–10:00 Keynote address
10:30–12:00 Parallel sessions
13:30–15:00 Parallel sessions
15:30–16:30 Keynote address
16:30–17:00 Concluding discussion
Information about Organisers

This conference is a collaborative initiative of the Finnish Youth Research Society & Network, Departments of Comparative Religion at the University of Helsinki, the University of Turku (website only in
Finnish) and Ã…bo Akademi University, in cooperation with the Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies, the International Institute for Popular Culture (Turku) and the Finnish Society for Cultural Studies.