"Solemn Geographies & Sacred Places: The Literature of Holy Location"

 5-7 October 2017 Dallas, Texas

 Abilene Christianity University-Dallas Campus 

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Kevin J. Gardner, Baylor University

Kevin J. Gardner is chair of the Department of English at Baylor University and author of Building Jerusalem: Elegies on Parish Churches (Bloomsbury 2016)

Gaston Bachelard in his classic The Poetics of Space remarked that “the space we love is unwilling to remain permanently enclosed.” Instead, beloved places and locations are “felicitous space’ and ‘eulogized space” because “all really inhabited space bears the essence of the notion of time.” This is especially true of sacred places: churches, chapels, abbeys, hermitages, martyrs’ graves, family altars, fountains, monuments, and natural locations. As Bachelard realized, poems, stories, and essays are some of the universal ways that we experience such places and give words to our faith, doubt, love, fear, and mystery. In particular, the literature of Christianity, both by its believers and its skeptics, offers a rich and multi-faceted response to how we participate in holy places and how they give themselves to us in turn. Suggested areas of interest include:

• Literature about Christian churches and other holy places

• How literary works and other art forms respond to sacred places

• Inter-religious literary comparisons regarding locations of faith

• The natural world as sacred space and place

As always, SWCCL is open to other proposals concerning the relationship of Christianity and literature. Send abstracts (400-500 words) via email to Dr. Amanda Himes, at Or mail to Dr. Amanda Himes, John Brown University, 2000 W. University St., Siloam Springs AR 72761.

Submission deadline: Friday, July 7, 2017.



West Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature

May 11-13, 2017

Point Loma Nazarene University

San Diego, CA

Keynote Speakers:

Catherine Kapikian is the founder and director emerita of The Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. The author of Art in the Service of the Sacred, Professor Kapikian will address the interrelationship between theology and the arts. A skilled visual artist, Kapikian will also explore the relationship between literature and the visual arts. More information about her work can be found at

Diane Glancy is a noted playwright, poet, essayist, and fiction writer. Of Cherokee, German, and English descent, Glancy is noted for her work exploring the boundaries between racial and ethnic identities as well as the boundaries between Christian faith and Native American beliefs. A long-time faculty member at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, Glancy has also been a visiting professor at Kenyon College and Azusa Pacific University. She has been invited to both give a public reading and offer theological reflections on her work.

Like many other Christian colleges, Point Loma Nazarene University exists on the boundary of higher education in the United States. Committed to educating students for places of employment and service in the culture of the United States and other modern nation-states, the college is also committed to forming Christian disciples. Teaching in the humanities in this context presents both great challenges and amazing opportunities. Literature is at times embraced and at other times marginalized by both of the university projects—it is sometimes seen as an unneeded luxury for students preparing for employment and a challenge (or even a detriment) to Christian formation. Conference organizers invite projects that explore living and teaching on this border. In addition, Point Loma sits geographically in a large metropolitan city near the border of the United States and Mexico, so conference organizers also invite papers and panels that explore the crossing of borders between national traditions in the humanities, between the sacred and the secular, between sharply proscribed gender roles and greater gender openness, and between traditional disciplines. In the spirit of Christian communion and intellectual dialogue, this conference invites papers, panels, creative presentations, and roundtable discussions regarding the exploration of boundaries and the crossing of borders in all manners. We welcome proposals from a variety of perspectives including, but not limited to, literature, creative writing, faith communities, film, visual arts, philosophy, popular culture, and pedagogy and practice.

POSSIBLE TOPICS INCLUDE ● Exploring the boundary between the sacred and the secular in literature ● Crossing the border between face-to-face pedagogy and on-line teaching in the humanities ● Crossing boundaries in religious traditions (in reading or teaching literature) ● Exploring boundaries between the classroom and service learning, between literature and Christian formation ● Issues related to teaching works in translation ● Reading literature and the Bible in translation ● Crossing the borders between genres ● Adaptation from print to film ● When writers travel—crossing the borders between national traditions in literature ● Exploring gender boundaries ● Christian scholars and queer theory ● Teaching across racial boundaries

E-mail your 250 word abstracts and session proposals by March 1, 2017 to Dr. Karl Martin at Undergraduate students must submit their entire paper for consideration. Graduate students are encouraged to apply for a CCL travel grant; for more details, click here.



Regional conferences have been at the heart of the Conference on Christianity and Literature from the beginning. Those scholarly conferences offer a window into the rich diversity of current scholarship on Christianity and literature. 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 an excellent opportunity for graduate students to gain valuable experience in presenting their research and writing.

For the themes and programs of past and recent regional conferences, please click on the regions below:








“Beauty and Exile: Negotiating, Exchanging, and Redeeming the Challenges”

March 30-April 1, 2017

Grove City College

Grove City, PA

Perhaps “the people of God” are always destined for exile? As if to be found one must first be lost? Geographic and existential, the paradox obtains: we are pilgrims in place, communities of sojourners. Alienating faith from reason, art from religion, and religion from the public square, the modern world has provided little welcome. But our post-secular age is increasingly appreciating how artists of faith have negotiated their precarious cultural positions and expressed beauty and truth in creative and relevant ways. As artist and writer Makoto Fujimura notes, it is precisely in encountering and transforming our suffering into “terrifying beauty” that we “know there is grace at the base of the universe.”  We are pleased to announce that Makoto Fujimura will offer his own ruminations on beauty and exile in his conference plenary address on Thursday evening, March 30. 

For the inaugural conference of the newly formed Eastern region, we seek paper submissions addressing these historical and cultural experiences of beautiful exile and exiled beauty. Papers may explore a range of questions:

  • For writers and poets, how does beauty arise in exile?
  • How are beautiful genres exiled, and possibly restored?
  • How do the aesthetics of language and literature shift among diaspora communities or individuals in exile?
  • What are some definitions of religious exile?
  • What connections (if any) might we draw between martyrdom and beauty?
  • What are various social and cultural causes of exile throughout the history of the church?
  • How have Christian communities and individuals chosen to negotiate their exile and to what effects?
  • How do experiences of marginalization inform our understanding of what is “beautiful”?
  • How does justice emerge in exile? Is there a beauty to justice?
  • What are the aesthetics of non-violence?
  • How do authors and texts adopt the figure of the “exile” or the “stranger” to speak into a particular cultural moment?

We are especially interested in interdisciplinary treatments of beauty and exile, and we invite submissions from kindred spirits in art, music, history, political science, biblical and religious studies, philosophy, and communication studies. 

Proposals from graduate and undergraduate students are most welcome. Presenters (other than undergraduate students) should be members in good standing of the Conference on Christianity and Literature.

Please send 400-500 word proposals or completed papers via email to Dr. Kristen Waha, ( Please note: Undergraduate proposals should be sent to Dr. Andrew Harvey, ( The submission deadline is January 20, 2017.



"See Rock City: The Power of Place as Origin, Home, or Destination"

April 6-8, 2017 

Covenant College 

Lookout Mountain, GA

The 2017 meeting of the Southeast Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature (SECCL) will be held at Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, GA—just up the mountain from Rock City!—on April 6-8, 2017.

Travelers in our region are accustomed to passing signs inviting them to “See Rock City.” The familiar signs provoke reactions ranging from nostalgia through tolerance to annoyance at the interruption of the landscape. Each of these reactions registers a sense of place and the importance place has for human beings. SECCL invites the submission of papers exploring the literary power of place understood or experienced as origin, home, or destination. Appropriate submissions might include papers on Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which feature Rock City; they might also consider Wendell Berry’s Port William, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, Robert Frost’s New England, Shakespeare’s London (or his Venice); or they might focus on a journey such as Abraham’s or Odysseus’s or Bilbo Baggins’s “there and back again.”

Proposals from undergraduates and proposals for projects exploring other intersections between faith and literature are also welcome. Presenters should be members in good standing with the Conference on Christianity and Literature.

Please send 400-500 word abstracts or completed papers (preferably via email) to Dr. William Tate. The deadline to submit an abstract is Friday, January 20, 2017. (Completed papers will be due by Friday, February 24.) For further information contact Dr. Tate at