The Death of God in Contemp Fiction (ALA Symp: God & the Amer Writer, TX, 2/26-28); due 9/15/14

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Society for Contemporary Literature
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The Society for Contemporary Literature, a group dedicated to the study of literature of the last 25 years, invites 300-word abstracts for presentations at the God & the American Writer Symposium of the American Literature Assoc. We encourage scholars to think broadly about culture and its relationship to the divine in contemporary literature.

In his recent book Culture and the Death of God, Terry Eagleton argues that the Enlightenment never set out to do away with the almighty, that Idealism, Romanticism, and Nationalism all failed to replace him, and that Nietzsche was only able to imagine the death of God because he also envisioned the death of man. Postmodernism of the late 20th century, Eagleton contends, may prove to be the definitive moment in which culture distanced itself from God, but the resurgent fundamentalisms and new atheisms of the post-9/11 era currently obscure critical hindsight.

These developments raise questions, such as the following, that we urge scholars to explore in this panel:

• How have writers of the last decade figured the relationship between God and culture?
• Are there significant differences between how contemporary writers and writers of previous generations represent God?
• Is postmodernism truly as irreligious as Eagleton and others suggest, or do John McClure's and Amy Hungerford's recent studies revise our understanding of postmodernism and religion?
• How does genre affect the representation of God in contemporary literature?
• Do contemporary writers seem more or less disposed to the influences of their personal faiths?
• Must the idea of the human die in order for the concept of God to follow suit?
• What is the role of post-secularism in contemporary literature?
• How has 9/11 and its aftermath changed Americans' conceptualization of the role of religion?

Please send 300-word abstracts and one-paragraph bio statements to Karen Weekes ( by Sept 15, 2014; submissions should be sent via email with the subject line "SCL God Symposium abstract." Note that scholars are limited to one 15-minute presentation at this conference and that no audio-visual equipment will be available. Notifications will be sent by Oct 15 in order to allow submission to the general CFP by its deadline.

Find out more about the conference at