3rd Global Conference
Hope: Probing the Boundaries
Monday 17th September - Wednesday 19th September 2007
Mansfield College, Oxford
Call for Papers
This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary
conference aims to explore contemporary
definitions, meanings and expressions of hope. In
particular, it will seek to examine the
individual, social, national and international
contexts within which hope emerges as well as its
The theme and the sense of uncertainty pervades
the start of the twenty-first century. Although
young, the past bears witness to the brutality of
genocides, atrocities, terrorism which acts to
counter-balance economic, political, technological
and ecological aspirations. Medicine and
bio-ethics are split between those who foresee the
worst implications for persons and those who
foresee the promise of genetic engineering.
Cultural conflicts likewise offer scope for grave
apprehension or the hopeful anticipation of a
culturally enriched shared world. This project is
committed to the view that now is the time look at
the main spheres in which there seems to be a
pendulum between fear and hopeful expectation,
with a view to thinking out constructive
strategies for exploration.
Papers, workshops and reports are invited on any
of the following possible areas for discussion:
1. Human awareness of the passage of time;
changing attitudes to what H.G. Wells called 'the
shape of things to come'. What are the
possible bases for thinking about the future?
2. Expressions of these attitudes in contemporary
culture ˆ portrayals in art, cinema, literature,
radio, science fiction, theatre, tv
3. The psychological basis of fear of the future.
Why millennial hopes are matched by millennial fears
4. The concept of a new age. Utopian thinkers;
Dystopian visions. The connection with political
movements. What do new agers want? Hedonism and
the simple life. The fear of longevity. The fear
5. Hopelessness, despair, indifference and
resignation. The meaning of life
6. The science of the future. Prediction, risk and
7. The phenomenology of hope. What is this
phenomenon that we call hope? How does it live and
seemingly thrive in difficult times? How is
it sustained? How is it invoked? Is there any
difference between those who seem to be more
hopeful than others?
8. Does hope and the act of hoping/or the
predisposition to hope differ from culture to
culture? What are those variances and what
accounts for them? How is hope differently
instantiated among cultures? What are those
9. The notion of open and closed futures
10. The role and place of religion and religious
11. Risk, possibility and hope.
12. Envisaging possible futures. The question of
choice. Cultivating hope. To boldly go.
These are indicative themes. Papers will be
considered on any related theme; the steering
committee also welcomes pre-formed panel
proposals. 300 word abstracts should be
submitted by Friday 18th May 2007. If an abstract
is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper
should be submitted by Friday 24th August 2007.
300 word abstracts should be submitted to the
Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word,
WordPerfect, PDF or RTF formats.
Dr Phil Fitzsimmons
Faculty of Education
University of Wollongong
Dr Rob Fisher
Priory House, Wroslyn Road
Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR
New York, USA
The conference is part of the 'Probing the
Boundaries' programme of research projects. It
aims to bring together people from different
areas and interests to share ideas and explore
various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
All papers accepted for and presented at this
conference will be published in an ISBN eBook.
Selected papers will be developed for
publication in a themed hard copy volume.
For further details about the project please visit:
For further details about the conference please visit: