The Return of the Text: A Conference on the Cultural Value of Close Reading, Sept. 26-28, 2013

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Le Moyne College Religion and Literature Forum
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Keynote Speakers: Branka Arsic, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University Mitchell Breitwieser, English, U.C. Berkeley Charles Mathewes, Religion, University of Virginia Steven Justice, English, U.C. Berkeley Albrecht Diem, History, Syracuse University ---with a special reading and group discussion of Finnegan's Wake led by John Bishop

In recent decades, the study of religion and the study of literature have similarly turned from emphasis on texts to emphasis on the reception of texts. Scholars in both fields have sought to recreate contexts and audiences by means of which texts should be understood. While this work has invaluably expanded our ability to comprehend wide ranges of religious and literary thought and practice, it has also encouraged a disregard for the very sources that have helped shape the respective fields of study. The idea seems to be that texts have nothing in themselves to reveal but are only what we make of them. Rather than view texts as objects that merely reflect culture, this forum will consider whether and how texts participate in culture. This calls for discussion of the role of close reading in cultural formation.

We invite all manner of papers that explore the conference's broad theme. Topics include but are not limited to: source studies; textual production and/ as cultural production; literary theory; digital texts; new formalism; textual studies and religious traditions; defining religious experience; ethics of reading; genre studies and/as cultural studies; narrative and narrative theory; oral features of written texts; orality and literacy; philosophy of religion; literary features of religious texts; religious features of literary texts; and, perhaps most importantly, implications for pedagogy.

**We invite papers from scholars from all disciplines and intellectual orientations.** Send 300-500 word proposals to: Dr. Jennifer Gurley, Department of English, Le Moyne College ( and Dr. William Robert, Department of Religion, Syracuse University ( Please label your file "LMRL: Last Name" and use that file name as the subject heading of your email.

Deadline for submission: March 1, 2013 Notification: April 1, 2013 Note: Participants will be invited to submit full-length essays for possible inclusion in an anthology entitled The Return of the Text.