We, humans, spend one-third of our lives sleeping, but academic research so far has tended to prioritize the various activities people engage in when they are awake. In this conference, we want to focus instead on the culture of dreams and dreaming in any geographical location or historical period. We welcome contributions from different disciplines and value both empirical analyses and theoretical, conceptual or methodological approaches to the study of dreams.
Studies of sleep and dreaming within psychology and medicine have shown that peaceful, energizing sleep is vital for personal wellbeing and for public health, but dreams can also have a significant role in the cultural life of different periods and locations. Moreover, agonizing, tormenting dreams that cause strong negative emotional responses – nightmares or bad dreams – are often connected to conditions that prevail in the dreamers’ societal and cultural world. Dreaming has often been seen as a universal phenomenon, but dream narratives, meanings are given to dreams and even the content of dreams are culturally and historically contingent.