Company of Wolves

OGOM: ‘The Company of Wolves’: Sociality, Animality, and Subjectivity in Literary and Cultural Narratives—Werewolves, Shapeshifters, and Feral Humans

University of Hertfordshire, September 3-5, 2015

*Full Programme- click here*

* Booking now open – click here *

wolvesposter3Wolves have long been the archetypal enemy of human company, preying on the unguarded boundaries of civilisation, threatening the pastoral of ideal sociality and figuring as sexual predators. Yet, in their way, with their complex pack interactions, they have served as a model for society. Lately, this ancient enemy has been rehabilitated and reappraised, and rewilding projects have attempted to admit them more closely into our lives. Our company with wolves has inspired fiction from Ovid, through Perrault and the Grimms’ narrators, to Bram Stoker and Kipling; and, more recently, to Angela Carter, Neil Jordan, Anne Rice, Marcus Sedgwick and Glen Duncan.

The Open Graves, Open Minds Project was initiated in 2010 with the Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture conference and reconvened for the Bram Stoker Centenary Symposium in 2012. We turn our attention now to creatures not strictly undead but which haunt the peripheries of the vampire—werewolves and shapeshifters. Such beings have served in narrative fiction to question what humanity is; weres tend to reveal the complex affinities and differences between our existence as linguistic, social subjects and our physiological continuity with other animals. They also draw our attention to questions of hierarchy and sexuality, to the instinctive, and to what extent our conceptions of these are ideological.

Werewolves, along with vampires, have recently become humanised, even romanticised, as identity politics became mainstream and the Other assimilated. The ancient paradigm of Beauty and the Beast lives on in paranormal romance. And just as the vampire figure both conditions the shape of the subgenres it dwells in and draws other genres into its sphere, so fictions about werewolves, wild humans, and human-animal relationships also invoke questions of genre and intertextuality. Thus, we are also interested in other narratives and discourses such as beast fables, taxonomies, human metamorphoses, and stories of feral children and those raised by animals which question the boundaries between animal and human. Amidst concerns about our relationship with nature, in a culture informed by Romanticism and a post-Enlightenment doubt about the centrality of humanity, contemporary fictions often turn to the animal, and to transitions between animal and human (particularly the werewolf and kindred figures) to interrogate what is special about our species. In her werewolf paranormal romance, Shiver, the YA author Maggie Stiefvater quotes Rilke: ‘even the most clever of animals see that we are not surely at home in our interpreted world’. This perhaps captures our amphibious nature and raises the kind of questions we are interested in.

The conference will explore human social existence and its animal substrate, and the intersection between the human and the wolfishly bestial as expressed in narrative media from a variety of epochs and cultures. It will provide an interdisciplinary forum for the development of innovative and creative research and examine the cultural significance of these themes in all their various manifestations. As with the initial OGOM conference, from which emerged a book and a special issue journal, there will be the opportunity for delegates’ presentations to be published.

The programme features a number of eminent keynote and plenary speakers: Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, educationalist, writer, broadcaster, commentator, Governor of the British Film Institute and former Chairman of the Arts Council, will be speaking on ‘Inside the Bloody Chamber: Angela Carter’s Wolves’. Prof. Garry Marvin will present on ‘Cultural Images of the Wolf and the Wolves’s Re-emergence in Europe’, Dr Catherine Spooner on ‘Wearing the Wolf’, Dr Stacey Abbott on ‘The Sound of the Cinematic Werewolf’, Dr Sam George on ‘Wolf Children’, and Dr Bill Hughes on ‘Werewolves and Paranormal Romance’. There will be contributions too from the field of fiction, including prize winning novelist Marcus Sedgwick.

There are over  fifty papers from international scholars including OGOM PhD students, Kaja Franck and Matt Beresford, who will present papers on their current research involving werewolves. Delegates will have the opportunity to visit unique places associated with our theme, and to actually ‘walk with wolves’. There will be werewolf theatricals and games and David Annwyn Jones will stage a lycanthropic lantern-of-fear show projected from an antique magic lantern. Be very afraid!

1802_philipdore_phantasmagoria_magic-lantern_c

Quick Links:

Keynote Speakers

International Delegates: Biogs, Papers and Abstracts

Visits and Special Events

Registration and Payment

For more information, contact Dr Sam George at s.george@herts.ac.uk.

Click here for details of the current Open Graves, Open Minds Book

Advertisements

18 Responses to Company of Wolves

  1. Pingback: Fairy Tales, Wolf Children and Victorian Fairy Art | Open Graves, Open Minds

  2. Pingback: Company of Wolves Conference Meeting | Open Graves, Open Minds

  3. Pingback: Inside the Bloody Chamber : A Preview | Open Graves, Open Minds

  4. Pingback: Company of Wolves Conference, 3rd-5th September 2015 | The Gothic Imagination

  5. Pingback: OGOM Company of Wolves Poster | Open Graves, Open Minds

  6. Pingback: Company of Wolves: one of the most talked about social justice issues of the day | Open Graves, Open Minds

  7. Pingback: 99.9% of all the species that have ever lived are now extinct | Open Graves, Open Minds

  8. Pingback: Company of Wolves: one of the most talked about social justice issues of the day | Wolf Is My Soul

  9. Pingback: “Werewolves, not Swearwolves” – A Lycanthropic sequel to ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ | Open Graves, Open Minds

  10. Pingback: Company of Wolves Conference Announced – The Spooky Isles

  11. Pingback: The Howl Truth: Press coverage for OGOM Company of Wolves | Open Graves, Open Minds

  12. Pingback: There’s a Conference in the U.K. All About Werewolves Next Month | Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

  13. Pingback: OGOM Company of Wolves: Booking closes 1st September | Open Graves, Open Minds

  14. Pingback: The Company of Wolves (Part 1) • Nick Stead - Author

  15. Pingback: The Return of the Wolves | Open Graves, Open Minds

  16. Pingback: Nick Stead: The Company of Wolves | Open Graves, Open Minds

  17. Pingback: CFA: OGOM Company of Wolves Book and Journal issue | Open Graves, Open Minds

  18. Pingback: Bloody and Monstrous Flowers: These Tulips Should Be Behind Bars | Open Graves, Open Minds

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s