2023 Archives of the Impossible Conference

Archives of the Impossible: Transnationalism, Transdisciplinarity, Transcendence

Archives of the Impossible: Transnationalism, Transdisciplinarity, Transcendence

We are going to host a second international conference around our Archives of the Impossible at Rice University, this time explicitly on how to mainstream these questions and materials in the larger academy and our public cultures. The event is entitled "Archives of the Impossible: Transnationalism, Transdisciplinarity, Transcendence.”

The event is scheduled for May 11-13, 2023 at Rice University in Houston, in the same beautiful venue in which we held the first one, Hudspeth Auditorium in the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. This is a two-and-a-half day event, from Thursday afternoon, May 11, to Saturday evening, May 13. It will feature three opening webinars, like last year, in April and May, and, at the conference itself, six plenary speakers from a broad array of areas, two thematic panels (one on a major archival gift from the John E. Mack Institute, and one on the impossible and film), and 14 “flash talks” of 25 minutes each. There are well over 30 experiencers, activists and thinkers speaking here.

I should add that the response to the last event was simply overwhelming. We had over 1,700 people register, about 200 individuals show up in person (during COVID, no less), and, at the moment, over 250,000 views have been noted on YouTube on our Archives of the Impossible playlist. You might have also seen the latest on one of our donors, Jacques Vallée, in this piece in New York Times.

Please read a brief conference statement on the broader project written by one of our gifted PhD students, John Allison. It captures exceptionally well what I hope for these three days and all that comes after. If the impossible becomes possible, it will be because we choose to do this together.



Opening Remarks


  • Woodson Research Center
  • The Rockwell Fund, Department of Religion
  • Chao Center for Asian Studies
  • Humanities Research Center
  • Esalen Institute

All members of the Rice community and public welcome

Pre-Conference Webinars
Plenary Session Speakers
Flash Talk Speakers
Film and the Impossible Panel Discussion Speakers
John E. Mack Gift Panel