Call for Proposals

Ritual Transformations of Consciousness, 2023, May 15–17, 2023

We invite proposals for presentations related to the conference series on the Black Sacred Arts that address topics including but not limited to:

  • Expanding definitions of ritual consciousness such as trance, transformation, spirit possession, copresence, mediumship, ritual mounting, among others
  • Arts, media, and materialities of transformation
  • Sacred arts as experienced transnationally and in digital spaces
  • Decolonization
  • Translating experiences of ritual consciousness, trance, spirit possession, and ecstatic religion
  • Embodiment, neurophysiology, and entrainment
  • Alternative cartographies and the mapping of Black place-making
  • Ritual technologies
  • Arts and ritual speech acts, ecstatic utterances, glossolalia, intoned sermons, mystical language(s)
  • Visualization, the envisioning of transformation, and iconographies of transcendence
  • Sexuality, spirituality, and modalities of transformation
  • Perceptions of consciousness and ontologies of “person”-hood
  • RTC and the ontological turn
  • Ritual practices and folkloric expression

Accepted presenters and performers in attendance will receive an honorarium to help defray the cost of travel to New Haven. In addition, they will be provided hotel accommodations and several meals at the conference.


Abstracts for organized panels as well as individual papers, from advanced graduate students, faculty, and scholars working outside the academy are welcome. Abstracts should be approximately 300 words in length. Individual papers and presentations will be 20 minutes, and organized panels can include 3-4 presenters. When submitting abstracts for an organized panel, please include a panel title and all abstracts together as one submission. We also invite proposals for alternative formats that might incorporate hands-on engagement with artistic and ritual phenomena such as lecture-demonstrations, listening and viewing sessions, and those interested in this mode should describe aspects of format and length in a short abstract. Performers’ abstracts can contain one URL for a multimedia supplement directly related to the presentation.

How to submit abstracts

All abstracts should be submitted by December 1, 2022 at If you are submitting an organized panel, only the panel organizer or chair should submit a PDF containing the panel title and all abstracts. Anyone submitting an abstract will have to open a free account with Submittable before submitting presentation materials. Be prepared to include the following information when submitting an individual or panel abstract:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Affiliation
  • 150-word bio or personal narrative
  • Paper or panel title
  • Paper or panel abstract

Any questions about the conference or abstract submission can be sent to


Abstracts due: December 1, 2022

Announcement of decisions for submissions: January 15, 2023

Conference registration opens (for non-presenters) and schedule announced: February 15, 2023

Program Committee

Melvin Butler, University of Miami

Ambre Dromgoole, Yale University

Steven Friedson, University of North Texas

Elyan Hill, Southern Methodist University

Dorothea Schulz, University of Münster