After Disaster: Southeast Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature

deadline for submissions: 
August 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Southeast Conference on Christianity and Literature
contact email: 

Southeast Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature

Theme: After Disaster

Charleston Southern University Charleston, SC

October 26-28, 2023

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Susan Felch, Professor Emerita, Calvin University

My [kitchen, syllabus] is a disaster. [Higher ed, the planet] faces impending disaster. [The responsible party of your choice] bungled the disaster response. We frequently invoke the word “disaster” to convey a sense of magnitude but also to imply events beyond our control. Questions of agency lie embedded in the word’s etymology—maybe it’s the stars’ fault—and yet we seem to believe that human response is possible and perhaps even imperative. Among the many possible responses to various disasters over the millennia, the literary offers the opportunity to slow down, to examine what has happened and what may be salvaged—and to develop and practice Christian virtues.

Conference participants will ponder these themes with keynote speaker Dr. Susan Felch (Renaissance and Reformation scholar and co-author of Teaching and the Christian Imagination). We invite papers that consider literary responses to disasters past, present, and future (the “after” in the conference title is mostly there for assonance). Possible topics include but are not limited to:

•            Lament and other biblical genres depicting and responding to disaster

•            Plague, famine, and fire in literature

•            Cli-fi (climate fiction)

•            Ethical and aesthetic limitations of depicting disaster, whether personal or public

•            Interpreting and/or memorializing disaster in its aftermath

•            Theodicy and other theological responses to disaster

•            Agency in disaster prevention, experience, or response

Other proposals concerning the relationship of Christianity and literature, including panel proposals and creative works, are welcome. Presenters should be members of the Conference on Christianity and Literature by the time of the conference.

Submit abstracts of 250-300 words by August 1, 2023, to Dr. Carissa Turner Smith, Undergraduate students must submit their entire paper for consideration; eligible undergraduate papers will be entered into the national CCL Undergraduate Writing Contest for a cash prize. Graduate students accepted to the conference are encouraged to apply for the CCL Conference Travel Grant.

Schedule information: Participants who arrive early on October 26 are welcome to attend an afternoon pedagogy workshop led by Dr. Felch and to explore Charleston sites in the evening. Conference panels will run in the morning and afternoon on October 27 and 28. Dr. Felch’s keynote address will be in the late afternoon on October 27, followed by a dinner at which the Conference on Christianity and Literature’s 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Dr. Jewel Spears Brooker, T. S. Eliot scholar and Professor Emerita of Literature at Eckerd College.