Mask and Identity conference: October 2021


Featured image::

Mask and Identity conference: October 2021



The conference titled “Mask and Identity in a Transcultural Perspective” will be held on October 25-26, 2021 at the University of Hradec Kralove. The conference is organized by MUNI ARTS, the Centre for Early Medieval Studies, in cooperation with the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies of the Faculty of Education of the University of Hradec Kralove.

Topic of the conference

The phenomenon of masks appears across various cultures, mostly in conjunction with rituals which help to self-define a community and its individuals. However, these numerous cultural forms of the mask must be unified by a kind of a unifying factor. Afterall, whenever we come across a mask, we can identify it as a mask without a hint of hesitation. Veiling and revealing is then related to self-expression and self-understanding: “A mask can hide what the face reveals, but it can also reveal what the face hides. (Oosten 1994)

A mask can be immaterial. Behind an “imaginary mask”, you can hide your mental or psychological mood. In a figurative sense, the mask can thus become a state of mind. The meaning of masks can be therefore grasped from the psychoanalytic, philosophical, anthropological, artistic, as well as historical approaches. The key questions are: What do masks represent? What is their purpose? And how did they come into being?

Although the forms of masks vary from culture to culture, their basic features remain the same. In a vast majority of cases, masks are tied to a human face. They either represent a human face or are associated with it. Masks are either created as its overlay or replacement, or as a substitute for it. Masks emphasize and mix the basic differences between human beings and animals, between human beings and gods, or between human beings and inanimate objects.

The conference wants to focus on a specific field of interest: How are masks effectively becoming vectors for expressing the identity of a modern individual in their culture? From the point of view of arts, which are based on the display of images-masks, they can be a stimulating inspiration for the visual thematization (films, photographs, artworks) of identity and mask. From the point of view of transculturality, masks can represent the dialectical relationship of partners based on a willingness to understand each other, or to build bridges respectively. From the point of view of history, the use of a mask may be relevant in historical circumstances.

The submitted papers are to analyse the phenomenon of masks from anthropological, transcultural, sociological, historical, historical-artistic, aesthetic and other perspectives.

Preliminary programme

The link to the programme: subject to change; the data have not been updated yet, the conference has been postponed to October 25 – 26, 2021