CFP: [Victorian] Religion & Modernity (NAVSA, 4/7/08; 11/14-16, 2008)

full name / name of organization: 
Bryan B. Rasmussen
contact email: 

CFP: Religion and Modernity
NAVSA 2008: The Arts and Culture in Victorian Britain
Yale University, New Haven, CT, Nov. 14-16, 2008

Victorian culture has long been considered the laboratory of modern social
science. This panel, however, explores religion’s role in shaping Victorian
modernity, considering to what degree we, as scholars of the period, have
subscribed to Victorians’ own social scientific notions about progress, in
particular those thatâ€"-following Comte, Durkheim, and Weberâ€"-posit religion
as a pre-rational stage on the way to more mature social development.
Historian Frank Prochaska, discussing the context of evangelicalism, has
reminded us recently that for Victorians, spirituality was a way to
organize experience: it was not just a discourse but “something that
actually happens to people.” Prochaska challenges scholars to consider
spirituality in what other scholars have called its “experiential
contexts”â€"-that is, spirituality as more than merely a private,
“otherworldly, passive repository of beliefs” (Bharucha, Viswanathan), and
thus “immune or inherently resistant to critical analysis” (Masuzawa). The
challenge is to rethink spirituality as Victorians themselves saw it: as “a
knowledge-producing activity” (Asad) not always incompatible with secular

To this end, this panel seeks to address the following questions: How firm
is the religion/social science divide in the nineteenth century? How has
religion interacted with new secular technologies of knowledge? How might
spirituality containâ€"alongside or against social scienceâ€"the conceptual
materials for cultural and social understanding? And what opportunities for
synthesis did Victorians see between religion and science? Papers from
scholars working in any discipline are welcome, but special consideration
will be given to those that bring an interdisciplinary perspective.

Please send 500 word abstract and short vitae with complete contact
information by April 7, 2008, to Bryan B. Rasmussen (
 Inquiries welcome. Papers not selected for this panel will be
automatically considered for inclusion in the conference's Open Panels.

For further info see NAVSA conference website at

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Received on Tue Mar 04 2008 - 15:14:23 EST