Literature as Vocation
West Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature
March 12-14, 2020
Azusa Pacific University
Why do we do what we do in the field of literary studies? Why does it matter? To whom? What redemptive or transformative work does literature do? When? Where? How? We invite reflection and conversation about the different kinds of work literature does to and through writers, readers, teachers, thinkers, and scholars. Our topic is intentionally broad as we seek to inspire, encourage, and celebrate the creation, interpretation, and appreciation of literature from any historical period and any genre. Our format is inclusive with panels for professors, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as scholars from multiple disciplines including English, Modern Languages, Theology, Education, Psychology, Science, and Humanities.
Suggested topics include but are not limited to the following:
· the work of re-enchantment: magical realism, refreshment, joy, delight
· the work of transformation: secular/post-secular accounts of religious experience, narratives of conversion and de-conversion, spiritual autobiography
· the work of empathy: emotion and affect, caregiving, accounts of suffering, grief, and illness
· the work of social justice: remembrance, rediscovery, lament, protest, reconciliation, peace
· the work of stewardship: ecology, creation care, apocalypse
E-mail your one-paragraph abstracts and session proposals by December 1, 2019 to Dr. Patricia Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org. Undergraduate students must submit their entire paper for consideration; eligible undergraduate papers will be entered into the national CCL Undergraduate Writing Contest for a cash prize and publication on the CCL website. Graduate students are encouraged to apply for the CCL Travel Grant. For more details on these undergraduate and graduate opportunities, visit https://www.christianityandliterature.com/Awards-and-Grants
Dr. Karen Swallow Prior
Author of Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues (2019) and On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books (2018)
Dr. Tae Sung
California Baptist University
Author of The Spirit and the Gift: A Postsecular Reading of Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James (monograph in progress)
Dr. Ayana Jamieson
Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, founder
Author of “Black Blessings: Toni Cade Bambara and Octavia Butler” (The Feminist Wire)
Regional conferences afford members an opportunity to learn from one another and to build networks of support for their scholarly and professional endeavors. They also offer graduate students an opportunity to gain valuable experience presenting at conferences.
For the themes of past and recent regional conferences, please click on the regions below:
The Art of Spiritual Friendship
Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature
October 16-17, 2020
Dallas Baptist University
Dr. Paul Wadell, Keynote Speaker
Dr. Wadell currently teaches philosophy, Christian ethics, and theology at St. Norbert College. He is the author of The Christian Moral Life—Faithful Discipleship for a Global Society, co-authored with Patricia Lamoureux (2010); The Moral of the Story: Learning from Literature about Human and Divine Love (2003); and Becoming Friends: Worship, Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship (2002), as well as other books.
As Parker Palmer has observed, “The highest form of love is the love that allows for intimacy without the annihilation of difference.” For many, the experience of friendship offers a window into such a love, for though it may occur among lovers and family, as often it is found among those connected by only a shared passion or concern. Friendship, then, is not just a common regard and affection for others, but also a common task and joy. The literature of Christianity offers a rich tradition of reflection upon the many facets of friendship—with God, with our fellow humans, and with the natural world, and the “art of spiritual friendship” may be said to encompass not only the moral and intellectual skill of being friends, but also the cultural works that embody it in print, on stage, and in film.
Suggested topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Literary friendships
- Friendship as a virtue
- Friendship and community
- Friendship as spiritual formation
- Friendship with God through prayer or liturgy
- Monastic friendships
- Love and friendship
- Cultural liturgies and friendship
- Friendship and identity
- Friendship and the natural world
- Eco-criticism and friendship
- Friendship and spirituality in popular media
As always, SWCCL is open to other proposals concerning the relationship of Christianity and literature, including panel proposals.
(Readings of original poetry and fiction will also be considered. Please email for details.)
Send abstracts (200-400 words) via email to email@example.com.
Or mail to: Dr. Philip Mitchell, University Honors Program, Dallas Baptist University, Dallas, TX 75211. ATTN: SWCCL Proposal
Submission deadline: 15 June 2020
This is my Body: Incarnation, Sacrament, and Community in Literature
March 26-28, 2020
Milligan College, Tennessee
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Gary Selby, Author of Pursuing an Earthy Spirituality: C.S. Lewis and Incarnational Faith (IVP Academic, 2019).
Among the images employed in the New Testament scriptures and throughout the history of Christian theology, the body is among the most versatile. From Jesus’ “hard teachings” about “eating the flesh of the Son of Man” to Paul’s discussion of the church as the Body of Christ, from treatises on the incarnation and debates about the nature of the sacrament to demands from the Christian community for justice toward bodies broken by violence and bodies exploited in the service of distorted desires, bodily language and fleshly concern have been inextricable from the Christian imagination. Likewise, writers who embrace or engage the Christian faith in their work have long drawn on these images and themes, crafting a centuries-long literary tradition shaped by and challenged by Christian engagement with the body. The Southeast Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature invites scholars to participate in conversation about the myriad ways that a Christian understanding of the body has come to bear on literature.
Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to, the following: Incarnational poetics; Sacramental themes in literature; Positive and negative images of human community in literature; Literary explorations of asceticism and mortification of the flesh; Discussions of the body in Medieval and Early Modern literature; Works by 20th century authors such as Flannery O’Connor, Madeline L’Engle, Wendell Berry, Denise Levertov, Mary Oliver, Scott Cairns, and others who embrace the possibility of the sacred in fleshly life.
- Incarnational poetics
- Sacramental themes in literature
- Literary explorations of asceticism and mortification of the flesh
- Discussions of the body in Medieval and Early Modern literature
- Works by 20th century authors such as Flannery O'Connor, Madeline L'Engle, Wendell Berry, Denise Levertov, Mary Oliver, Scott Cairns, and others who embrace the possibility of the sacred in fleshly life.
As always, we also invite papers on other themes at the intersection of Christianity and literature, including panel proposals. We also invite graduate and undergraduate submissions.
Please submit abstracts of 200-400 words or other inquiries to Todd Edmondson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submission deadline: December 13, 2019