CFP: [Theory] Religion, The Secular, and Literary Studies (NeMLA 2009; Boston)

full name / name of organization: 
Sean Dempsey
contact email: 

"Religion, the Secular, and Literary Studies"

40th Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
February 26 - March 1, 2009
Hyatt Regency - Boston, Massachusetts

Recently, work by a variety of authors has challenged assumptions about secularization, and
called into question the binary opposition of secular vs. religious, as well as the
"disenchantment" thesis--the idea that the whole world would become progressively more
secular as globalization and western education spread its reach. These recent shifts in thinking
about secularization have occurred largely because prior predictions have not panned out: if
anything the world seems to be getting more religious. This panel seeks to explore the
implications these recent reevaluations of secularization have for literary studies.

In a recent article, Michael Kaufmann explored "how continual acts of redefining the relationship
between the secular and the religious map onto related acts of redefining what it means to be a
professional scholar of literary studies." Therefore, it would follow that the current secularization
debates may have significant implications for how we define literary studies in the future. One
thing I hope to explore in this panel is whether our interrogation of the shifting relations
between the secular and the religious within literary texts can help us decide what the future of
literary studies should be.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

*The formation of the secular as it relates to romanticism, modernism, postmodernism
*Literary representations of established faiths within a secular age
*Secularity and the concepts of the sublime, transcendence, and/or surplus
*Literature and secularization
*Literature and the Psychotheology of Everyday Life
*Intersections of literature and theology/religion/theory
*Post-secular literary theory
*Theoretical implications of the renewed interest in religion

Abstracts of 250-500 words should be emailed to Sean Dempsey at no later
than September 15, 2008.
Questions or queries are welcomed before the deadline.

Deadline: September 15, 2008

Please include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any)

For the complete Call for Papers for the 2009 Convention (posted in June), please visit Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA panel;
however, panelists can only present one paper. Convention participants may present at a paper
session panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

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Received on Tue Jun 03 2008 - 15:30:00 EDT