The Third Symposium on Mythology: Allegorical Interpretations, Cultural Responses and Human Experience￼
Beginning from the early civilizations, mythical images have been engraved in the human mind, albeit often unconsciously. Individuals and societies alike ask questions about themselves and sometimes find answers in the remote past (Ritchie 2017). Most of these stories might now seem irrational and irrelevant to some, yet they offer valuable insights to understand the social and cultural fabric of ancient societies. One of the strategies to explore these societies have been giving the texts an allegorical interpretation, which was to apply ‘a metaphoric mode of understanding’ to the stories that do not have ‘metaphorical language’ (Gibbs 2011). This strategy has long been used in the interpretation of myths, such as Homeric poems, religious texts, such as the Old Testament, and modern novels, such as Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm (Ritchie 2017). Metaphorical stories and allegories still shape our discourse on the topics like climate change, gender inequality, and racism.
Daily experiences of modern societies, not unlike their ancient counterparts, are also shaped by the mythical discourse. Both as an individual and as a society, human experience is not only associated with its immediate physical and social environment. Humans also experience events in the context of allegorical narratives and metaphorical stories. The allegorical narratives from both the distant and near past have been influencing the political ideology of societies and reinforcing the cultural responses to particular facts and events. In his seminal work Mythologies, Roland Barthes showed how the instruments of mass culture transformed the mere objects of everyday life into symbols and how a mythologist can decipher these symbolic meanings (Leak 1994). Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex was such a transforming book deciphering the complex and oppressive myths about female identity (Le Doeuff & Dow 2010). In the political sphere, Edward Said’s Orientalism criticized the concept of Eurocentric History and deciphered the myths of colonialism about ‘the Orient’ (Young 2004).
The Third Symposium on Mythology: Allegorical Interpretations, Cultural Responses and Human Experience welcomes submissions from academics, intellectuals, and students working on myths, culture, and politics. Alongside the papers analysing ancient and modern myths, their role in understanding cultures, the relationship between myth, history, and philosophy, this year we especially encourage papers focusing on how the allegorical discourses have reinforced the established gender roles and identities throughout history, how femininity represented in stories and myths, and how these myths have affected women experience in everyday life.
Gibbs, Roland. (2011). The allegorical impulse. Metaphor and Symbol, 26, 121–130.
Le Doeuff, Michèle and Dow, Suzanne. 2010. Beauvoir the Mythoclast. Paragraph, 33, 1, 90-104.
Leak, Andrew. (1994). Barthes, Mythologies. London: Grant and Cutler.
Ritchie, David. (2017). Metaphorical Stories in Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Young, Robert. (2004). White Mythologies (2nd ed.). Routledge.