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Call Text:

This year the Arts, Literature and Religion Unit solicits proposals for the following topics, but also welcomes proposals for any papers or preferably pre-formed panels related to any aspect of Arts, Literature and Religion. We are hoping for a rich slate of panels that display a wide range of religious expression, using varied media (including the performing arts) that span geographical locales and the premodern, modern, and contemporary periods. The ALR is also committed to diversity, and we want to encourage potential presenters and panel organizers to propose topics that will attract a wide audience and that are explicitly and deliberately inclusive of racial and ethnic identities, gender identities and sexual orientations, socio-economic / class status, varied types of academic appointments (e.g. graduate students, contingent faculty, early, mid-, late-career professors, international colleagues, and independent scholars) at a variety of institutional types. The presidential theme this year is "Religion, Poverty and Inequality: Contemplating Our Collective Futures” and we welcome proposals on this topic in addition to any and all proposals.

For 2021, Arts, Literature, and Religion Unit will hold three deferred sessions from 2020:
1) Whose Rooster: A Roundtable on Thoreau, Melville, and Transcendentalist Environmental Politics
2) Performing Race, Religion and the Secular
3) Visions of the End: Wastelands, Doomsdays, and Ecological Collapse in Art and Literature

Call For Papers:
1) The Literature of Ted Chiang – for a potential co-sponsored panel with the Science Fiction and Religion Unit and Religion and Popular Culture. We solicit proposals that engage the work of Ted Chiang in tandem with theories or tropes of religion and/or science fiction. We are receptive to a wide range of critical approaches that engage any of Chiang’s novels, short stories or collections
2) Theology, Literature, and the Arts: Proposals may include but are not limited to: Literary and artistic approaches to theological works, theological analysis of literary texts and art, rituals and art, music and theology. For potential co-sponsorship with the Comparative Theology Unit. Contact: Gloria Maité Hernández ghernandez@wcupa.edu
3) Women and Revelation in India, China, and Tibet: We would like to organize a panel that explores the central role of narrative (especially hagiography) in the process of building a community, and the key role of women (divine, human, and everything in between) play in the writing, transmission, and alteration of revelatory literature. The focus will be on the historical literature of China, India, and Tibet, and compare the shared modes of textual production in these regions. Please contact Jue Liang (liangj@denison.edu) or Jonathan Pettit (jeep@hawaii.edu) if you are interested in contributing or have any questions. (Possible co-sponsorship with Comparative Studies in Religion Unit, Tibetan and Himalayan Religions, and Women and Religion Unit.)
4) Indigenous women’s literature as ceremony / as medicine. Contact: Ken Derry ken.derry@utoronto.ca
5) Religious Exile in Arts and Literature (accepting new and re-submission of 2020 proposals)
6) Religious Art and Literature in post-Communist countries (accepting new and re-submission of 2020 proposals)
7) Religion in the literature of plague and pandemic
8) Religious representations of poverty in art and literature (to fit the 2021 theme)
9) Open Call: Contact Pamela Winfield pwinfield@elon.edu

Mission Statement:

This Unit seeks to engage the critical issues at the intersection of religion, literature, and the arts. We are concerned with both the aesthetic dimensions of religion and the religious dimensions of literature and the arts, including the visual, performative, written, and verbal arts. Approaches to these two avenues of concern are interdisciplinary and varied, including both traditional methodologies — theological, hermeneutical, and comparative approaches associated with the history of religions — and emerging methodologies, those that emerge from poststructuralism, studies in material culture, and cultural studies.

Method of Submission:




Gloria Maité Hernández, ghernandez@wcupa.edu


Steering Committee:

Lisa M. Allen, lallen@itc.edu

Elizabeth Dodd, bdodd@sarum.ac.uk

M. Cooper Harriss, charriss@indiana.edu

Rachel Lindsey, rachel.lindsey@slu.edu

George Pati, george.pati@valpo.edu

S. Brent Plate, splate@hamilton.edu

Matthew Potts, mpotts@hds.harvard.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 5 – Three 2-hour sessions and three 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2023