Fly Me To The Moon…Conference #CFP

Fly Me To The Moon…Conference #CFP March 2, 2019

I think you’ll agree that this call for papers is…”out of this world!”

Call for papers
“Fly me to the moon”. The moon in human imagination
University of Genova (Italy)
December 12th-13th 2019

Co-directors: Lara Nicolini, Luca Beltrami, Lara Pagani

From October 2018 through December 2022, NASA will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Program that landed a dozen Americans on the moon between July 1969 and December 1972.

All kind of events, activities, exhibits, seminars dedicated to celebrating the first moon landing are understandably spreading everywhere and we want to join the celebrations in our own way.

The moon has always been a source of mystery and enchantment to people of all times and has lit up our imagination for centuries: : for writers and poets, the moon has been at one moment a beneficent and comforting presence offering refuge in nocturnal and idyllic landscapes, at the next a silent confidante to secret loves, but also a witness of misdeeds, crimes and mysterious adventures, as well as power capable of generating werewolves and creatures of the night. From ancient times to modern Western art and literature, the Moon is a recurring subject of poetry and all sorts of artistic treatments, an inspiration for mythologies and mysticism, the object of scientific inquiries and a crucial destination for science-fiction fantasies. We might say that the attraction our satellite exerts on literature is at least as powerful as its pull on the tides.

The importance of the Moon as a source for the visual arts and literature in all times has long been recognized and although the theme has been explored before, its influence is inexhaustible

An international conference would be -in our view- an excellent opportunity for researchers in many different fields to keep exploring our various images of the Moon and to exchange ideas and share experiences and research methodologies.

The University of Genova, and in particular its Departments of Classics and Italian studies (DAFIST and DIRAAS), invites submissions of articles on the subject of the Moon to be presented at an international conference to be held in Genova on 12-13 December 2019.

The deadline for submission is July 20th 20:17 UTC (date and time when the lunar module Eagle landed on the lunar surface).

Using the Moon as a source of inspiration, we invite scholars of Classical Studies, Medieval and Renaissance culture, Modern and Contemporary Literature, History and Philosophy, Music and Musicology, Cinema and Media Studies, to explore and discuss the many different ways that writers, poets, historians, artists, film makers have tried to capture the image of our satellite.

We welcome submissions from scholars of all seniorities but especially encourage doctoral and advanced students.

Please send a brief curriculum vitae, and a proposal of approximately 500 words to,,

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following topic areas:

  • the Moon in mythology / lunar myths / the Moon and the Poets
  • the Moon in Ancient and Modern Novel and in Scientific literature
  • the Moon in Greek and Roman Literature
  • the Moon in Religion and History of religions
  • the Moon in Linguistic / Sociology etc. / Questioning the Grammar: Genre and Gender of the Moon
  • Science of the Moon / Knowledge and Science about the Moon (from Aristotle to Galileo to NASA)
  • Animals and the Moon
  • Iconography of the Moon (from the ancient times to space-age art) / Moon in Art History / Moon and Moonlight in the visual arts / Lunar landscapes / Visions of the night
  • the Moon in Science fiction, Cinema and media studies (from Verne to Hollywood)
  • Music by Moonlight: the Moon in the Music / Songs about the Moon

Submission guidelines

Authors from all over the world are invited to submit original and unpublished papers, which are not under review for any other conference or journal. All papers will be peer reviewed by the program committee and selected on the basis of their originality, significance, and methodological soundness.

Submitted abstracts can be written in Italian or English (the same goes for the papers).

The length of contributions must be between 4 and 8 pages (about 20/25-minutes papers). Submission implies the willingness of the author to attend the conference and present the paper.

The organizing committee looks forward to welcoming you all to a fruitful conference with open discussions and important networking opportunities.


Submission deadline for abstracts: 20 July 2019

Author notification: 30 September 2019

Conference dates: 12-13 December 2019

Conference venue

Genoa is one of the most beautiful Italian cities and a Mediterranean seaport. It embraces different cultures and traditions from the past, combined in a unique and original architecture. Its vast old town is an intricate maze of narrow alleys extending up to the seafront of the Old Harbour. In the center Medieval buildings coexist with rich Renaissance noble palaces a (UNESCO World Heritage Site), museums and several churches hosting important art masterpieces, in a unique cohesion of past splendor and contemporary everyday life.

For more information and the original call for paper, see

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  • John MacDonald

    Since this is a religion blog, my moon word comes from Matthew 17:15: “σεληνιάζεται: epileptic/luna-tic; or, moonstruck.”

    • An excellent choice!

      • John MacDonald

        It’s an interesting word choice by Matthew (also at 4:24). You seem to get a melding of ideas that the ailment is due to demon possession, but also somehow related to the influence of the moon.

        • It is indeed interesting to ponder what relationship if any ancient people saw between the two. Did the moon make one more susceptible to demons? The reverse? Was one or both a metaphor, or neither? There may be answers to these questions from broader surveys of what ancient literature says about demons and the moon than I’m familiar with…

          • John MacDonald

            I did a little checking, and Dr. Larry Perkins cites J.M.Ross, “Epileptic or Moonstruck?” The Bible Translator 29(1978), 126-128, saying Matthew’s use of the word seems to be the first literary occurrence in antiquity, and that it occurs only later in a treatise by the astrologer Vettius Valens who wrote in the second century A.D.

            This isn’t really helpful, though, since the term might have been common in oral culture and simply not written down until Matthew. Also, this isn’t really helpful in discerning how the ancients understood the effect of the moon on mental stability when combined with demon possession.

            So, I dug a little deeper and found an article on the topic in Scientific American that said:

            “ACROSS THE CENTURIES, many a person has uttered the phrase “There must be a full moon out there” in an attempt to explain weird happenings at night. Indeed, the Roman goddess of the moon bore a name that remains familiar to us today: Luna, prefix of the word “lunatic.” Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder suggested that the brain was the “moistest” organ in the body and thereby most susceptible to the pernicious influences of the moon, which triggers the tides.” See:

            Unfortunately, this still doesn’t help to clarify how being “moonstruck” relates to demon possession?

          • That’s fascinating! It might be worth turning this into a blog post to see if (1) academics and students of the ancient world have anything to share, and (2) grad students and academics might be interested in pursuing research on this if it is an area that has been neglected. Thanks so much for drawing attention to this!