Royal Geographical Society, London, 3rd-4th October 2015
The figure of the hero is a matter of great cultural debate at the present time, in British contexts and beyond. Recent conflicts; natural disasters; ambitious expeditions; Olympic and Paralympic events – all have forged potential hero figures, renewing centuries-old discussions about just who, or what, a hero might be. This two-day conference will draw together academics from a wide variety of disciplines, alongside archivists, curators and librarians, plus colleagues from the commercial and charity sectors. It will foster conversations about hero figures past and present, considering their emergence or creation, their relationship with their fans or ‘worshippers’ in their own communities and/or further afield and, if relevant, the shifting fortunes of their reputations. We ask whether heroes emerge through deeds, character or morality, or whether they are created. We ponder the value of heroes to particular communities in the forging of their group identity. We trace the shaping and maintenance of heroic reputations in texts, art practice, oral culture and curatorship. Across the scope of the conference we seek to ask: who were, or are our heroes, and how/why could or should future heroes be selected or permitted to emerge?
The conference will include the launch of the exhibition ‘Heroes of Exploration,’ which draws attention to heroic records in the collections of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), with a particular focus on heroism in mountain and Polar environments.
The organisers invite proposals for papers or panels. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 20 July 2015.
Further information and details of how to submit an abstract are available here.