Humanities, Special Issue, “Seen and Unseen: The Folklore of Secrecy“
Échéance des propositions : 20 septembre 2023
The notion of what is seen but not well understood without esoteric knowledge—as well as what is unseen and only detectable and comprehended by the initiated few—informs various popular beliefs and narratives, including secret societies, lost cities, hidden treasures, elusive monsters, covert rituals, subliminal messages, mysteries of aliens, fairies, ghostly apparitions, and the veiled manifestations of the gods themselves! These legends, cryptic memes, cryptid claims, wonder tales, and beliefs of fantastical, magical, occult, and political intrigue have shaped visions of the ancient as well as the modern world. We face today not only new vectors of so-called disinformation and potentially dangerous consequences of divergent and disruptive beliefs, but also vivid creations and traditions of speculative mystery, regardless, perhaps, of baleful or benign intent.
In the contemporary moment, it is not simply that visible hopes and anxieties of everyday life and divisive politics are driving the invention and proliferation of popular lore; we also have the role of a vital invisible world. Pervasive memes of apocalyptic spiritual forces, rising belief in ghosts, newsworthy regional legends (the release of Tamamo-no-Ma in Japan from the killing stone), and boosts to socio-political action because of supernatural belief (Huldufólk lore nurturing environmentalism in Iceland) stimulate and renew the living matrix of contemporary folklore of the unseen or the obscurely understood.
Please submit your articles exploring the ways that different communities are engaging folklorically with the concept of secrets, and how those secrets connect to meaningful layers of identity and experiential truth. Finished essays must be at least 5000 words and are due by 20 September 2023. Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words, together with a short bibliography of primary and critical texts, to Dr. Jason Harris at email@example.com.