CFP: [Religion] Secular Religion: ACLA panel

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

American Comparative Literature Association
"Arrivals and Departures"
Long Beach, CA
April 24-27, 2008
Seminar: "Secular Religion"
While the debate over secularization, which once seemed settled, has been
reopened, there is no question that religion has changed in the modern
age. The needs and desires expressed in religion, and elements that we
recognize from religion â€"- the desire for transcendence, ritual,
symbolism, the search for meaning, etc. â€"- take on new forms in the arts,
popular culture, theory (philosophy, psychology, anthropology, etc),
private life, politics, and other sites. This seminar concerns the
sometimes surprising sites in which we may find religion in nineteenth-
and twentieth-century culture, asking â€" where does religion go and why
does it persist?

If a cultural form does not outwardly resemble religion, what is there in
it that makes it recognizably religious; that is, what do we recognize as
essentially religious? If traditional religious motifs are mobilized for
other interests (political, social, psychological, etc), what is the
effect of that redirection? How may we evaluate these forms of the
religious and particularly, what might ethical inquiry have to say about
them? As this is a topic that is of interest to many theoretical
approaches, we welcome innovative and divergent inquiries into western
and nonwestern cultural forms.

Panel organizer: Amy Smith, Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland

Paper abstracts must be submitted on the ACLA website:

Questions can be emailed to Amy Smith at

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Received on Mon Nov 05 2007 - 10:36:05 EST