administrator » 1-February-16 12:14:01

Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality
Call for Participation 2016

Wednesday 6th July – Friday 8th July 2016
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

The Kama Sutra; Tantric Yogic; Spiritual BDSM; Christian Erotic Exercises: although religious practice is commonly thought to inhibit sexual expression, many classic religious traditions link eroticism and spirituality in the quest for the divine. For instance, traditional Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Jewish texts all render spiritual awakening in terms of self-abandonment or transcendence that is frequently equated with sexual ecstasy, such as in references to the human bride ravished by the Divine Bridegroom. Contemporary Christian poets, such as Scott Cairns, insist that genuine spirituality is attained only through the “recovery” of the body and its divine secrets. Indeed, mystical experience itself is often expressed in terms of sexual union.

Yet, the ‘sinful’ pleasures of the flesh and the purity of divine love do not always make for easy bed-fellows. All too often, body and spirit are considered in opposition, if not in open conflict with each other, leading to the images of either complete abstinence on the one hand or total indulgence on the other.

This conference aims to create a space for inter-disciplinary explorations of the commonalities of sexuality and spirituality. Topics for possible presentation include, but are not limited to:

~ Intimacy, love, and bodies
~ Sexuality as divine expression
~ Pleasure and the body
~ Desires, yearnings, longings, lusts
~ Sexual acts as spiritual expression
~ Sexuality, spirituality and the religious traditions of the world
~ Exploring sexual and erotic nuances and overtones of traditional religious and liturgical language and experiences
~ Building interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies in sexuality and spirituality
~ Interactions of spirituality with traditional regulations surrounding sexuality
~ Artistic representations of erotic and mystical experiences
~ “Reading between the lines:” Sexual, erotic and mystical substrata of folklore/fairy tales/mythology
~ The “dark night of the soul” as expressions of sexual and erotic longings
~ LGBT explorations of language to describe mystical experience
~ Genealogies of virtues and vices in sexual situations or using gendered language
~ The impact of sexual violence on spiritual experience
~ The impact of spiritual violence on sexual experience
~ (Spiritual) Exercises to overcome sexual trauma
~ The impact of gender on mystical experience and spiritual language
~ Transgender spiritual experience
~ Medieval spiritual guidebooks and contemporary sexual theories/practices
~ BDSM: fetish experience, language and spirituality
~ Trans- and inter-cultural (poetic) descriptions of erotic/mystical experience
~ Religious encounters with “modernity” and secular sexual mores: can they influence the other?
~ Forming social, public and institutional policies
~ Religious advocacy, religious education and research

The Advisory Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, performances, and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings; photographic essays; installations; interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement.

Further details and information can be found at the conference website: … icipation/

Call for Cross-Over Presentations
The Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality project will be meeting at the same time as two other projects: Diaspora and Visual Literacies as Visual Imageries. We welcome submissions which cross the divide between two or even all three project areas. If you would like to be considered for a cross project session, please mark your submission “Crossover Submission”.

What to Send
300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday 26th February 2016.
All submissions be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 11th March 2016.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 3rd June 2016.

Abstracts may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality Abstract Submission

Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs:

Organising Chairs:
Stephen Morris:
Rob Fisher:

This event is part of a new emerging inclusive interdisciplinary research and publishing project which overlaps projects working in the areas of Sexuality and Spirituality. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.

It is anticipated that a number of publishing options will arise from the work of the project generally and from the meeting of Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality stream in particular. Minimally there will be a digital eBook resulting from the conference meeting. Other options, some of which might include digital publications, paperbacks and a journal will be explored during the meeting itself.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation. Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.