Literary Geographies – Space, Place, and Environments

Biola University

La Mirada, CA

April 7-9, 2022


“All theology is rooted in geography.”

—Eugene H. Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant: an Exploration in Vocational Holiness


Eugene Peterson’s statement highlights how our spiritual lives are rooted in the material reality of our daily lives. Keeping in mind how Christ transforms not only individual hearts but also entire neighborhoods—and remaining attentive to how literature documents and shapes that transformation—we invite papers that address textual representations of space/place, environment, ecological endangerment, displacement, and rootedness. How do these ideas shape individual and communal identities? How do embodied experiences of being in particular places affect our orientation toward the world and understanding of human flourishing? What does it mean to cultivate a meaningful relationship to place? How does the discourse around immigration and citizenship help us think about the effects of displacement and emplacement? How do literary texts illuminate what our response should be toward the environmental crisis? And what does it mean to think of place and environment not merely as backdrops to our lives but as agents and interlocutors?

Potential topics / methods might include:

  • Neighbors and neighborhoods (shared, communal or different identities)
  • Geocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies
  • Ecological footprints and the relationship between nature and culture
  • Literary representations of disaster—fires, floods, earthquakes, drought
  • Reflections on how Christian scholars occupy particular space(s) in the academy or elsewhere
  • Literary representations of embodiment/embodied identities


E-mail your one-paragraph abstracts for an individual presentation or a one-paragraph abstract for a group panel by December 20, 2021 to Chris Davidson at 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



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:









Gathering: Christianity, Race, and Justice

Keynote: Willie James Jennings (Yale University)

Midwest Regional Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature

June 23-24, 2021

Online Conference


Willie James Jennings, author of The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race, has recently released After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging, which seeks to reframe higher education by "turning attention to the original trajectory of a God who has ended hostility and has drawn all of creation into a reconciliation . . . one that aims to re-create us, reforming us as those who enact gathering and who gesture communion with our very existence."  What parts do literature, writing, and teaching play in such a vision? How do justice, race, and faith intersect in literature? In our creative work? In our teaching?  This conference gathers under the conditions of a global pandemic that prevent physical proximity.  It no less, however, allows us to reflect in scholarly and creative ways on the concept of gathering, given the realities of injustice that have been prominent on the global, political, social, and religious stage in the past year.  This conference will involve traditional panels; roundtables; peer-review panels with pre-circulated papers, shorter presentations and substantive feedback; creative readings; and student panels.   Scholars at all stages of their inquiry into matters of Christianity, race, and justice in literature, writing, and teaching are welcome.


Possible topics include the following: 


pedagogy and race in Christian higher education

the Christian imagination of race in literature

raced bodies and the body of Christ in literature

mestizaje theology and literary form

anti-racism, faith, and literature

writing and literature pedagogy and contemporary realities of injustice

the cross and the lynching tree

prophetic textual traditions of race and faith 

repudiations of Christianity in literary accounts of race

critique and post-critique of literature, race, and faith

race, place, and faith

the ethics of minority/majority as categories for literature

political rhetoric of race and faith

faith and protest literature

minjung theology and literature

literature and repair/reparations

whiteness and Christianity in literature

majority world theological readings of literature

(con)textualized theology of race

indigenous literatures' imaginations of faith

modernity and the theological formulation of race 

the Christian literary marketplace and diverse books

literature of law and order, policing, justice 


As always, the Midwest CCL is open to other proposals concerning the relationship of Christianity and literature, including panel proposals.  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. 


Send abstracts (200-400 words) via email to by May 15, 2021. Panel proposals welcome. Abstracts should indicate a preference for either traditional panels or peer-review (pre-circulated papers) panels.