CfP: Devils and Justified Sinners

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An ONLINE conference on 24th and 25th August 2024 marking the 200th anniversary of James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

The conference is entirely online and is open to scholars and experts from around the world.

In 1824, the Ettrick Shepherd, James Hogg, wrote his The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Its intricate narrative structure, complex interrogation of theological extremism, and unforgettable depiction of the demonic made it a pivotal novel in the development of the British Gothic and a distinct Scottish Gothic tradition. This year’s conference seeks to mark the anniversary of the novel’s publication with a conference exploring three key themes:

1) The theological in the Gothic and horror
2) The demonic in literature, folklore and film
3) Scottish Gothic and horror traditions

We welcome papers focusing on demonic and theological traditions globally. We are particularly interested in increasing the number of papers by speakers from the Global South. We define theology broadly in relation to all religious, spiritual and belief systems across the globe. We also welcome approaches which explore practices merging different religious traditions and elements. We particularly encourage papers which engage with historic theologies, religions and spiritual practices. The demonic should, similarly, be understood broadly and interrogated in relation to evil spirits, entities or forces as defined by and within the religious, spiritual and belief systems with which the speakers are engaging.

Romancing the Gothic seeks to encourage innovative conversations across barriers, bringing together scholarship and research from different countries, traditions, sub-fields and perspectives.

We welcome scholars, researchers and experts from all stages of their career and from every background

What are we looking for?
We welcome:

20 minute papers

10 minute lightning talks

Panels (3-4 papers of 20 minutes with or without a suggested panel chair)

Workshops (cooking, writing, art, music, craft, drama, dance) related to the key themes of the conference

Potential Topics
We welcome papers on a range of topics. The below are suggested areas but we welcome papers from outside these themes.

References to the ‘demonic’ refer to any religious tradition, belief or spiritual practice. We wish to include many different faiths.

The demonic in literature

The demonic in film

The demonic in art

Scottish traditions of the demonic

Histories of the devil

Histories of the demonic

Folklores of the demonic

Representations of the demonic and sexuality

Comparative religious studies of the demonic

Competing conceptions of the demonic

Demonologies (within any religious tradition)

Demonic dreams and other demonic activities


Eblis in literature, folklore and belief


Satanic panics

Gothic theologies

Vampiric theologies

‘Perverse’ theologies in Gothic and horror

Religion in Gothic and horror

Evil angels

Temptation narratives

Salvation narratives in Gothic and horror

Cults and sects in literature, film, and history

Religious extremism in the Gothic/horror

Religion and supernatural literature

Misrepresentation of religion in Gothic and horror literature

The Scottish Gothic and theology

Theologies of horror

Scottish traditions of the Gothic

Modern Scottish horror

The wider work of James Hogg

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

An abstract of 150-250 words should be sent to before 1st March 2024. If you have not written an abstract before, I will be running workshops on abstract writing. Please enquire at the email above. Your abstract should function as a short summary of your paper and demonstrate your expertise in the area. You can also include a short biography (<100 words) but all submissions will be judged solely on the abstract and a biography is not required at this stage.

Accessibility Notes

We want to work with all contributors to make sure that the conference is fully accessible for them. We work entirely online. Subtitles are auto-generated during the conference. Information is provided with alt-text where required and accessibility training is offered to all speakers. For the conference itself, clear information on the timetable, running of the event and what to expect is provided ahead of time. We have a clear code of conduct which is used to maintain a welcoming atmosphere and a comfortable space for all participants. We are explicitly queer friendly and aim to be an inclusive conference for all. If you have any questions, queries or requests at this stage or at a later stage, please do not hesitate to contact me at