Call for Papers: New Approaches to Religion and Literature

by Anna Blanch on June 25, 2010

The Hospitable Text: New Approaches to Religion and Literature
14-16 July 2011
London Notre Dame Centre, UK

Plenary lecturers will include: Julia Reinhard Lupton (UC Irvine) and John Schad (Lancaster University).
Other participants include: Jo Carruthers (Bristol University), Paul Contino (Pepperdine University), John Cox (Hope College), Robert Eaglestone (Royal Holloway, University of London), Mark Eaton (Azusa Pacific University), Peter Hawkins (Yale University), Emma Mason (Warwick University) and Susannah Monta (University of Notre Dame). (With sponsorship from the Conference on Christianity and Literature, Literature and Theology, Religion and Literature, the University of Notre Dame, and the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship.)

Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the relationship between religion and literature, with the broader critical turn to religion in the arts and humanities helping invigorate an interdisciplinary field that has been well served through the work of journals such as Christianity and Literature, Religion and Literature and Literature and Theology. Recognising the importance of talking further about our different approaches to the field, this conference will bring together a wide variety of scholars in order to enable and enrich contemporary explorations of religion and literature.

The theme of our conference is ‘The Hospitable Text’. Contemporary theorists and theologians have paid considerable attention recently to the idea of hospitality, recognising, among other things, the value of actively hosting viewpoints different from our own rather than merely tolerating their presence. With this in mind, papers are invited that address any of the following topics:
– Religious/literary/theological explorations of hospitality
– The relationship between religion and literature
– Literature and religious pluralism/difference
– Dialogism in the novel
– Controversy and literature
– Strangers, guests and visitors in literary texts
– Literary reflections on the Eucharist
– The relationship between the religious and the secular
– Related themes, such as friendship, tolerance, charity and peace.
– Literature and the Bible
– Fundamentalism
– Religious violence
– Hermeneutical conversations
– Communal reading
Papers are not restricted to a particular faith or religious tradition, or to a particular historical period.
Anyone wishing to offer a (20 min) paper at the conference should submit an abstract (max 400 words) and a brief biographical note (max 100 words) by 15 September 2010 to Participants will be notified of their acceptance by 15 October 2010.
While we anticipate that most of the abstracts we receive will be for individual papers, we also welcome proposals for three-paper panels. If you offer a panel, please ensure that (a) the panel is composed of speakers from different institutions, and (b) that is clear whether you are willing for the papers to be considered individually if we do not accept your offer of a panel.
One of the distinctive features of the conference will be a slot devoted to seminars. Running concurrently and led by the people listed below, each seminar will focus on a discussion between the moderator and six-eight people who register in advance and circulate pre-written papers to the other seminar participants before the conference begins. Other attendees at the conference will be invited to audit these seminars.
If you would like to be a participant in one of the seminars listed below, please email by 15 September 2010, indicating the seminar you are interested in and providing us with a short biographical note (100 word max). The seminars will run concurrently so you will only be able to attend one of them; however, if you wish to indicate more than one that you are interested in participating in, please tell us your order of preference.
Seminars include:

Jo Carruthers, Literature, Religion and Place
John Cox, Shakespeare and Faith
Robert Eaglestone, Religion, Literature and Theory
Mark Eaton, American Literature: Religion, Pluralism, Secularism
Peter Hawkins, The Bible and its Literary Afterlife
Emma Mason, Poetry and Forgiveness

You are welcome to offer a paper as well as requesting to participate in a seminar. However, if demand is too high, you may be limited to one or the other. If you apply to give a paper and participate in a seminar, please indicate which you would prefer to do. Participants will be notified of their acceptance by 15 October 2010.
All abstracts, applications to be involved in seminars, and other queries should be addressed to Further details about registration costs, accommodation details and travel arrangements will be available on the website ( in the summer.

Organising committee: Susan Felch (Calvin College), Emily Griesinger (Azusa Pacific University) Mark Knight (Roehampton University), Emma Mason (Warwick University), and Susannah Monta (University of Notre Dame).

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