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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 christopher.davidson@biola.edu. 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.

 

REGIONAL CONFERENCES

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.

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UPCOMING CONFERENCES

SOUTHWEST

The Art of Spiritual Friendship
Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature
October 16-17, 2020
ONLINE, hosted by 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 philipm@dbu.edu.

Or mail to: Dr. Philip Mitchell, University Honors Program, Dallas Baptist University, Dallas, TX 75211. ATTN: SWCCL Proposal

Extended submission deadline: 30 July 2020