2nd Global Conference Making Sense of: Suffering
Wednesday 9th November - Friday 11th November 2011
Prague, Czech Republic

Call for Papers:

This inter- and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to explore if, or to what extent, meaning can be found in suffering. During the course of living our lives, we are invariably forced to stop and question why we suffer – be it through illness, pain, loss, grief or the multitude of distressing circumstances which we encounter. Problems arise in a variety of contexts and due to a bewildering variety of conditions. And because our lives are constant streams of experience, the nature of suffering and consequently the 'meaning' of such suffering continually varies and  hanges. The conference aims to raise and assess a variety of questions related to the nature of suffering, the origins of suffering, the 'meaning' of suffering, explanations for suffering and responding to suffering. Papers, workshops, presentations and pre-formed panels are invited on any of the following themes:

I. What is Suffering?

• Defining 'suffering'. What is 'suffering'?
How do we approach ’suffering’?
• Is suffering unique or exclusive to human beings?
• Non-human suffering
• Categories of suffering. Suffering as – a problem; a condition; an expression; an experience; a position of powerlessness; a consequence of meaninglessness; a result of affliction.

II. The Roots of Suffering

• The origins of suffering
• Suffering as universal; as international; as national; as local; as particular
• Suffering and history
• The contexts and conditions of suffering
• Producing suffering

III. The Meaning of Suffering

• Suffering and meaning
• Suffering and language
• What is at stake when dealing with suffering?
• The 'limits' of suffering
• The dangers of suffering
IV. Explaining Suffering

• Suffering and explanation
• Theories of suffering: the work of the disciplines
• Theories of suffering: the work of the professions
• Theories of suffering: the work of the vocations
• Silence and suffering

V. Suffering and Practice

• Suffering, apathy and indifference
• Alleviating suffering
• Practices causing, prolonging, truncating, overcoming, relieving or resolving suffering
• Suffering, hope and despair

VI. Suffering and Religion

• Suffering from the perspective of religious traditions
• Suffering and sacred texts
• Portraits of suffering and sufferers
• Suffering and 'redemption'
• Suffering and atheism

VII. Representing Suffering

• Suffering and representation
• Suffering in literature
• Suffering in the media
• Suffering in tv, film, theatre and radio
• Suffering in cybercultures

VIII. Confronting Suffering

• Meaning, suffering and action
• Overcoming suffering
• Should suffering be overcome?
• Case studies
• Practice(s), resolution(s), settlement

Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 17th June 2011. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 23rd September 2011.

300 word abstracts should be submitted to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract

E-mails should be entitled: Suffering Abstract Submission
Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs
Nate Hinerman
Nursing/Theology and Religious Studies
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, USA
Rob Fisher
Network Leader
Freeland, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

The conference is part of the Making Sense Of: series of research projects, which in turn belong to the Probing the Boundaries programmes of Inter-Disciplinary.Net. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests
to share ideas and explore discussions which are innovative and challenging. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference are eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be invited to go forward for development into a themed ISBN hard copy volume.

For further details about the project please visit

For further details about the conference please visit