W(h)ither the Christian Right?
"W(h)ither the Christian Right?” Papers are invited for a Post45 Contemporaries cluster on the U.S. Christian Right and literature. Recent evidence suggests the evangelical share of the population may be decreasing, but its political power so far has not waned and it is geared for apocalyptic combat. Momentarily defeated but unbowed like their champion President Trump, conservative white Christians have not received much attention in literary studies. This cluster asks questions such as: where are they going / what now / what did we miss? A series of Trump-era books by scholars such as Kristen du Mez, Anthea Butler, Robert P Jones, Sarah Posner, Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry have focused on white evangelicals and their radicalization – all historians or social scientists. But the Christian Right and its authoritarian tendencies have been met with little interest among literary scholars. Why hasn’t literary studies been paying attention to the literature of this demographic that is shaking the country, driving its turn to authoritarianism? Essays might attend to fiction by Christian Right authors, or literature about the Christian Right. Essays are also invited to think about our discipline’s relation to the Christian Right. How does training in strategies of reading and a sense of the literary (complexity, richness, ambiguity, uncertainty, metaphor, etc) help students complicate fundamentalist culture and its reading practices of inerrantism and literalism? How is English, or literature and religion studies specifically, complicit in America’s descent into Christian authoritarianism? Could the Christian Right fiction we didn’t want to read or teach or research – the books that historians and social scientists were reading and teaching and researching – have given us an early warning about and increased understanding of the evangelical imagination? What current theoretical or methodological trends might enable or inhibit increased attention to the Christian Right in literary studies? Papers are invited for a June / July 2022 cluster of Contemporaries; deadline for first drafts is February 28th, 2022; contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for inquiries or submissions.