We would like to draw your attention to an upcoming workshop on Chinese religious poetry, to be held 2-3 December 2016 at Princeton University. Participants will include six graduate students and six early-career faculty members from North America.
In this workshop, both “religion” and “poetry” will be broadly defined. Although research on all cultural and historical traditions are welcome, the workshop encourages projects relating to experimental and digital methodologies. Case studies and broad theoretical reflection reaching beyond Sinological topics will be given equal emphasis.
Please refer to the full CFP here:
We would like to call your attention to three recently published books on religion and literature.
Published by Oxford University Press in the centenary year of Shakespeare’s death, Unsettled Toleration: Religious Difference on the Shakespearean Stage by Brian Walsh investigates how Shakespeare and his contemporaries grappled with religious conflicts on the stage in the wake the Reformation. The book includes readings of both the canonical plays and those that have received less critical attention.
Secular Scriptures: Modern Theological Poetics in the Wake of Dante by William Francke explores the secularization of religious themes and motifs in Western European Literature. Using Dante as a starting point, the book constructs a trajectory of religious-poetic revelation that includes authors such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Baudelaire and Emily Dickinson.
Legible Religion: Books, Gods, and Rituals in Roman Culture by Duncan MacRae tackles an intriguing question in the study of religion and literature: namely, what is the significance of books in a religion without scripture? The book provides extensive discussions on the role of writing and reading in ancient Roman cult, while offering a thought-provoking comparison with Rabbinic literature and culture.
We would like to draw your attention to a virtual special issue of Literature and Theology, published by Oxford Journals. The issue, edited by Anna Fisk, is entitled “LGBT History, Literature and Queer Theology.” It marks the UK LGBT History Month, which this year has adopted the theme, “Religion, Belief and Philosophy.”
The articles contained in this virtual issue are drawn from the Literature and Theology archive which explore themes of sexuality at the intersection of religion and literature. According to the journal website, the aim of LGBT History Month is “to celebrate the often-marginalized role of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in history” and “to challenge homophobia and identify the prejudice and oppression that LGBT people experience both in the past and the present.” Read more…
The Gospel According to David Foster Wallace:
Boredom and Addiction in an Age of Distraction
The publication of a new book on religion and literature, focusing on a contemporary writer, once again attests to the relevance of this field of study. In The Gospel According to David Foster Wallace: Boredom and Addiction in an Age of Distraction, Adam S. Miller selects key scenes from David Foster Wallace’s novels Infinite Jest and The Pale King, and gives insightful interpretations of their religious implications within the context of twenty-first-century American culture.
According to the publisher, “Wallace suggests that the practice of prayer (regardless of belief in God), the patient application of attention to things that seem ordinary and boring, and the internalization of clichés may be the antidote to much of what ails us in the 21st century.”
Please let us introduce you to a new member:
Annett Martini is a scholar of Jewish Studies. She received her PhD from the Freie Universität Berlin with a study on Yosef Gikatilla’s Sefer ha-niqqud (critical edition of the original Hebrew version and of Flavius Mithridates’ Latin translation) and is currently working as a research and teaching assistant (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) at the Institute for Jewish Studies at Freie Universität Berlin.
Her research interests include Jewish philosophy and mysticism in the Middle Ages and in early modernity, and Christian kabbalah. Her current book project deals with Jewish and Christian conceptions of writing as a holy activity with a special emphasis on the dynamics of ritual practice, changes and interactions. An important aspect of the study will be the reflection of ritual writing within literature – both religious and secular.
In 2014 an international cohort of scholars formed the group “Religion, Ethics, and Literature,” which became a new research committee of the ICLA (International Comparative Literature Association). According to the ICLA website, the committee’s goal is “to identify points at which literature intersected with religion and ethics and to speculate on why these intersections offered productive areas of inquiry.”
The research committee has since posted call-for-papers for two upcoming major conferences on comparative literature. For the March 2016 ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association) at Harvard University, it will organize the panel “The Subject Positions of Religion, Ethics, and Literature.” For the July 2016 ICLA conference at the University of Vienna, the research committee has three panel streams accepted. They are “The Ineffability of Language and Mystic Utterances,” “Secular Literary Texts and Sacred Exegesis,” and “The Text as Being: Ontologies of Redemption, Repair, and Regret.”
For more information, please visit the committee’s page on ICLA’s website: