Literature and Criticism after Secularism, ACLA Seminar, April 1-4, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Thomas Dancer, U of Wisconsin Madison; Jack Dudley, U of Wisconsin Madison

Much scholarship on modern and contemporary literature has taken it as an article of faith that writers either turned away from or actively rejected religion. While this "narrative of secularization," to use Pericles Lewis' terms, still holds sway in literary studies, the fields of critical theory, political science, and sociology have increasingly interrogated the categories "secular" and "religious," as in the work of Charles Taylor, Hent de Vries, William E. Connolly, Talal Asad, and Slavoj Žižek. Such work has generated the new category, "post-secular," which examines the anxieties and absences in secular imaginaries, philosophies, and politics. This work also challenges the "secular" as the unconscious norm of intellectual practice.

Our moment, then, sees criticism and intellectual discourse as facing a public sphere that can no longer be understood to privilege the values of secularism. Papers contributed to this seminar will engage this moment by exploring the long historical entanglement of secularism, religion, and the post-secular, while following recent developments that aim to recuperate or refashion "secularity" in a way more consistent with an open, pluralistic public space.

Please submit proposals through the conference website

Deadline to submit proposals: November 13, 2009

Please contact the seminar organizers with any questions.