Literature of / about the Christian Right
Special Issue of Christianity & Literature
“Literature of / about the Christian Right”
Guest Editor: Christopher Douglas (University of Victoria)
The Times ‘best-seller’ list was misleading. Evangelical books were often outselling the Times’ best-sellers. But the paper did not bother to count sales in religious bookstores. The people hurt most weren’t evangelical authors (our books sold anyway); rather, the losers were Democratic Party leaders and other liberal readers of the ‘paper of record’ who were blindsided by subsequent events. The Times’ readers were not given a heads-up about what was going on ‘out there.’
– Frank Schaeffer, Crazy for God
This call for papers seeks essays on literature which is either produced by or engages with the Religious Right, especially as Christian evangelicalism and fundamentalism. As apostate Christian Right leader Frank Schaeffer’s words above suggest, there was something unexpected and unrecognizable about the surprising return of politically muscular conservative Christianity in the last half century – especially given secularization theory’s assurances about waning religious energy in modernity. This special issue seeks to explore the intersection of literature and the Christian Right in two directions: first, through what we might call serious or mainstream literature’s engagement with this strong public religious formation, and second, through literary texts from within this tradition, texts that in some sense speak for and to this movement.
This special issue is animated by the ongoing debates about secularism and postsecularism in literary criticism – including the bracketing of “strong religion” in John McClure’s Partial Faiths and Amy Hungerford’s emphasis upon “belief in belief” in Postmodern Belief, the recent special issue in Christianity & Literature engaging the secular and the literary (and other such special issues), and by Christopher Douglas’s recent book If God Meant to Interfere: American Literature and the Rise of the Christian Right (2016). We seek essays that interrogate the forms, aesthetics, politics, theologies, and ethical commitments of literature that is in some sense about the Christian Right. How does this literature articulate or confront its object? What are its modes of intersection with other popular or serious literary genres, and what are its literary antecedents? What are the relevant contexts and social movements – feminism, Civil Rights, the Cold War, the sexual revolution, postmodernism, multiculturalism, LGBTQ rights, neoliberalism, identity politics, the end of history, the clash of civilizations – necessary for understanding literature by and about the Christian Right? What kinds of faithfulness, constancy, heresy or apostasy do we find therein? What does its near-absence in literary studies today mean for our profession and discipline, for the field of religion and literature and the postsecular turn itself? Essays on Christian Right literature that move beyond the Left Behind series especially welcome.
Full-length essays (8,000 words) and shorter (4,000 word) “think” pieces are both welcome. Deadline: January 15, 2019. Contact: Christopher Douglas, Professor of English, University of Victoria firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit at: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/christlit (please indicate in the field on the 4th page of the submission process that asks “Is this manuscript a candidate for a special issue?” that it is for the Literature of / about the Christian Right issue). Inquiries about this special issue can be made to email@example.com.