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Symposium ‘Theorising Belief through Monsters and the Supernatural’

The Religion and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University invites you to attend a symposium.

Theorising Belief through Monsters and the Supernatural

Date: Tuesday 6 October

Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Venue: Bankstown Campus, Building 23, Room 23.G.41

RSVP: by 30 September

Ghosts, witches, trolls, demons and other monsters exist in most cultural contexts, and local beliefs in these continue to shape social practice in a number of ways. Often these beliefs coexist with more officialised ideologies and engage with spiritualities, organised religions and faith in complex ways. These dynamics represents a number of theoretical challenges about how belief is constructed and performed socially, and provide ample opportunities for re-thinking the role of belief in social life. Indeed, despite its centrality in all discourses about religion and spirituality, the relationship between belief and social practice is rarely theorised from an empirical basis. In its simplest terms belief is often conceptualised as a particular mental process that occurs in reference to meaningful propositions that may be considered either true or false. While such a definition is adequate in epistemological terms, it ignores many of the aspects of belief that are of particular interest to social and cultural theorists. Not only are there a number of possible relationships between belief, knowledge, thought and social action, but these are also culturally and socially specific. Our contention is that such reflections become particularly immediate in the context of local engagements with the hyper-real or the super-natural. In this symposium we gather social and cultural theorists from various disciplines and seek to theorise belief based on ethnographic and theoretical data about monsters and the supernatural.

This is an open and free event.