The Problem with God: Christianity and Literature in Tension
Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA
March 29-30, 2019
An International Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL)
Organizers: Matthew Potts (Harvard Divinity School) and Gregor Thuswaldner (North Park University)
Explorations of the problem of God have not been confined to theology and philosophy alone, but have also been investigated in literary works. Numerous writers in the Western tradition, especially since the dawn of the Enlightenment period, have produced works of art that reveal religious tensions. Unlike philosophers and theologians, however, literary authors have often written about concrete problems literary characters experience with God.What’s more, literary works self-consciously wrestle with language in a way that can uniquely illuminate limits and generate possibilities for theological language. Countless writers from Goethe to Auden and from Dickinson to C. S. Lewis have investigated problems with the Christian God, doctrine, and practices. To this day, religious struggles have proven to be quite productive in literature.
This conference seeks to address religious tensions in works of writers influenced by Christianity.
There are two registration options for this conference:
1. Basic conference registration fee of $125, which includes a Friday evening reception, plus snacks in the morning and afternoon on Saturday.
2. Basic Plus registration fee of $145, which includes the Friday reception, morning and afternoon snacks on Saturday, and a lunch on Saturday as well.
Registration deadline is March 1. Late registration fee will be $50.
Illuminating Darkness: Literature in an Age of Unbelief
April 4-6, 2019
Colorado Christian University
"Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate." Thomas Aquinas
Across the ages, literature has illuminated darkness: the darkness of sinful humanity, the darkness of confusion, the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of separation from God.
God is the agent who seeks to reveal Himself in the midst of darkness and unbelief.
In Psalm 18:28, a prayer of praise for God’s deliverance, David writes, “It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness” (NRSV).
Celebrate with us how literature of various genres, from origins both sacred and secular, illuminates darkness in our age of unbelief.
Keynote Speaker: Jill Peláez Baumgaertner
Jill Peláez Baumgaertner is professor of English Emerita and former dean of Humanities and Theological Studies at Wheaton College (2001-2017), where she also served as Acting Provost in 2018. She received her Ph.D. from Emory University and taught at Valparaiso University.
Dr. Baumgaertner has authored ve collections of poetry, including What Cannot Be Fixed (2014); a textbook on poetry; a book on Flannery O’Connor; and edited the poetry anthology Imago Dei (2012). She has also written lyrics for compositions by Richard Hillert, Carl Schalk, Michael Costello, and Daniel Kellogg.
Dr. Baumgaertner was a Fulbright fellow to Spain, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and is the winner of the White Eagle Coffee Store Press’s poetry chapbook contest, the Goodman Award, an Illinois Arts Council Award, the Illinois Prize of the Rock River Poetry Contest, and the CCL Midwest Poetry Contest.
She currently serves as poetry editor of The Christian Century and is a past president of the Conference on Christianity and Literature.
The website for information and registration for the CCL-- Western Region, April 4-6, 2019, at Colorado Christian University is now live! Click on https://www.ccu.edu/events/2019/04/western-region-meeting/
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:
Revenants: Christ, Time, and the Twenty-First Century
Southeast Conference on Christianity and Literature
June 6-8, 2019
Keynote Speaker: William Tate, Covenant College
Flannery O’Connor’s attribution of a “Christ-haunted” South, the metaphysical revenant that haunts Derrida’s “Of Spirit,” George Steiner’s Real Presences that “rattle about [language] like old rags or ghosts in the attic,” Richard Harries’s 2018 Haunted by Christ: Modern Writers and the Struggle for Faith, the recent currency of postsecular analysis—in these and many more instances a post-Christian literature, critical discourse, and broader culture has long been coming to terms with the terms and continuing claims of its past. This conference seeks to explore and extend that haunting by inviting work that will address a variety of intersections between time, the Christian faith, and the literary enterprise.
Those intersections could include:
--readings of early modern or premodern texts
--readings of texts that redeploy older Christian or Biblical images or language to refresh or undermine the old meanings
--representational strategies of the old in the new, from relics to ghosts to ruins
--negotiations of temporal continuity and discontinuity in authorial, interpretive, and critical traditions
--the passage of time as a component of particular literary characterization
--narrative forms inflected by Christian theology and practice
--Christ’s presence (incarnate, Eucharistic, or otherwise) and time
--revenants and resurrection
--literary and philosophical attempts to escape from time and its implications
Projects finding other ways to engage the relationship between Christianity and literature are also welcome.
Undergraduate participation has become an important part of the SECCL; we expect to feature several undergraduate panels.
Please send 250-word abstracts or any other inquiries to Dr. Chad Schrock, firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to submit an abstract is Friday, March 29, 2019.
The Christian Storyteller
Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature
September 13-14, 2019
University of Dallas
Keynote Speaker: Barbara Nicolosi Harrington
Please submit abstracts of 150-200 words to Bernadette Waterman Ward (email@example.com) by May 30, 2019.