Words Made Flesh - MLA Special Session, January 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Amy Hondronicols
contact email: 

In an arguably postsecular world, how are theological concepts such as incarnation, deification, and the sacred engaged and transformed? Are such considerations productive for literary studies?

A number of disciplines have exhibited a turn towards, or a return to, theology in this already secular age. This turn may be without belief; however, instead of treating faith as a crisis, the focus is on the actions, structures, performance and logic of theology. There is a theoretical interest in the possibility of engaging actions and concepts that are theological in structure and origin, but not necessarily religious in content. In a more readily apparent way, one can see the persistence of theological power systems as a model in political structures. To understand the Judeo-Christian basis of western culture, aesthetics and philosophy is to begin to renegotiate how the present day exploits and transforms this inheritance. This panel, proposed for the January 2011 MLA convention, asks how an understanding of theological principles can aid the study of ideas and the study of aesthetics.

Possible topics:
-theories of incarnation, embodiment and materiality;
-the nature of creation, artistic and godly;
-icons and the religious aspects of images;
-the Word and literature;
-location and demarcation of the sacred;
-the possibility of theological aesthetics;
-analyses of the texts of Jean-Luc Marion, Jean-Luc Nancy, Marie-José Mondzain, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard and others.

Please submit abstracts, no longer than one page, by March 8, 2010 to Amy Hondronicols at ahondron@uwo.ca. Include a brief biography or CV indicating your research interests and current work. The MLA convention takes place January 6-9, 2011, in Los Angeles. Participants must be members of the MLA by April 7th, 2010. For more information see www.mla.org/convention.