full name / name of organization:
South Atlantic Modern Language Association
SAMLA Conference, Atlanta, Georgia
SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE ON CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE (SCCL)
Nov. 8-10, 2013
Doubting Faith and Believing Unbelievers (SCCL Special Session)
Issues of religion continue to dominate intellectual, academic, personal, and social environments in the West, particularly in the US. The “New Atheists” (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris) have an aggressive agenda that calls for ongoing efforts to eradicate religious belief through debate and dissemination of information. Websites exist which provide venues through which ex-Christians (and former adherents of other religions as well) can find support, encouragement, and validation. Interestingly, some, though certainly not all, unbelievers demonstrate the same level of what some observers might term dogmatism as fundamentalist believers do. Writers of novels and poems continue to produce works in which the topic of religion plays a significant role. To what extent has “deconversion” surfaced in literatures of the past and present and to what techniques have debunkers of faith resorted in these literatures? How has the depiction of this phenomenon changed (if at all) since the flurry of Victorian instances of loss of faith? How have the reactions of believers evolved or remained static? To what degree has language reflected this issue? Participants may submit papers which identify and analyze current or past poetic and fictive responses to this ongoing struggle, hopefully in light of the contemporary climate. Papers analyzing the intellectual and emotional tension within both believers and unbelievers might be particularly interesting. Contributors may also explore the various roles television, web sites, social media, radio, newspapers, magazines, online news outlets, literary journals, or other media play in this debate. Papers focusing especially on Southern writers are welcome, since the American South still holds the designation of “Bible Belt.” Presenters must be dues-paying members of Conference on Christianity and Literature by the time of the SAMLA Conference. By June 20, 2013, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Lawton Brewer, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, at firstname.lastname@example.org.