Play and Protest
University of Kent
24-25 July 2019


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Papers and panels are invited for the bi-annual conference of the Theology, Religion and Popular Culture Network.

The aim of this conference is to explore themes related to play and protest as cultural activities and how these themes resonate within all aspects of popular culture. Special attention will be paid to fandom, film and TV, gaming and music, though any aspect of popular culture’s interface with religion and religious themes will be considered.

The strands that will run throughout the conference are: Play and Protest; Fantasy and Reality; the Religious and the Profane; Gaming and Literature. We welcome submissions that explore a broad range of topics and researchers from diverse backgrounds.

We are interested in papers and panels that explore the following, though this list is by no means exhaustive:

  • Socio-political protest

  • Fandom

  • Cosplay as protest and play

  • The cult of sport

  • Myth and legend within games/video games and their narrative

  • Fantasy as an expression of self and other

  • Science fiction and dystopia

  • Religion and non-religions

  • Play and protest as theological practices

  • Nostalgia and self-exploration

  • Transcendence and protest in music and art

  • Film as a medium for disseminating concepts of play and protest

  • Technology and the new world

  • Graphic novels and comics

  • Popular cultural consumption and/as spirituality

Submission and Deadlines

Short Paper proposals (for 20-minute papers)

Please send a Word file containing:
(1) the title of your paper
(2) A 250-word abstract of what you would deliver
(3) Details of AV requirements (other than data projection for Powerpoint presentations)

Do not include your name or institution in the file. Include your name and institutional affiliation (where appropriate) and the title of your paper in the e-mail you send to accompany your abstract. This will enable anonymous consideration of the paper proposals.

For Panel proposals (for panels lasting up to an hour):

Please send a Word file containing:
(1) The title of your panel session
(2) The name of the chair/convenor of your session
(3) Names and details (50-word biogs of each) of three or four panel participants who would be members of the panel and introduce the discussion
(4) Two or three key questions/issues which your panel session would address.

Note: it will be assumed, in our receiving details of the proposed panel session, that all named participants will have consented to their names being put forward and that they will be committed to attending should the panel be accepted.

We expect to be able to respond to offers by the end of February 2019.
Participants would be expected to book their conference place by the end of April 2019.

All proposals should be sent to:

The deadline for all submissions is Friday 1st February 2019.