>LITERATURE AND THE POST-SECULAR
>Proposed Seminar for the 2003 annual meeting of the
>American Comparative Literature Association
>Cal State San Marcos in North San Diego County
>April 4-6, 2003
>Ethics, theology, and metaphysics have been addressed
>recently by radically diverse writers including
>Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Zizek, John D. Caputo, John
>Milbank and the Radical Orthodoxy Group, Charles
>Winquist, Gianni Vattimo, Emmanuel Levinas, Georges
>Bataille, and Paul Ricoeur. Meanwhile, a debate about
>the possibility of a truly postmodern theology is
>raging in religous studies. This post-secular turn, or
>return, to metaphysics, secular/negative theology,
>theology, and spirituality in numerous cultural arenas
>is having a direct influence on literary studies, as
>Ph.D. candidates in literature programs defend
>dissertations about literature and spirituality in
>increasing numbers. But how specifically do these
>the post-secular cross over into literary studies?
>What are the borders and boundaries between literary
>study and post-secular philosophy?
>Questions this seminar will address include the
>* What is the relation between literature and
>theology, secular or sacred? How does a focus on
>theology and/or ethics open new territories for
>literary study, particularly in the contemporary
>period? What do we gain by returning to the sacred or
>secular sacred in literary study? What do we lose?
>* Is there a post-secular literature as well as a
>post-secular theory, and what would this literature
>look like? Was postmodernism theological without our
>* How is current theory about the post-secular being
>imported into literary studies?
>* How are assertions of value in current discussions
>of literature and ethics and/or spirituality similar
>to and different from pre-formalist critical notions
>of value (and the political implications of such)
>embedded in concepts such as artistic vision, the
>visionary sublime, the truth of beauty, or the artist
>* Why is theology surfacing in literary studies now,
>after more than fifty years of formalist, marxist,
>poststructuralist, and postmodern theory? What
>cultural moment is precipitating the theoretical turn?
>Has the sacred already been caught in the secular
>* How can a post-secular theory accommodate a world
>literature radically diverse in terms of politics,
>cultural and social values, and understandings of the
>sacred? Will an ethical or post-secular theoretical
>view necessarily war with a historical study of
>* How theological is the literature classroom? How
>post-secular should it be?
>* Should we start with ethics/post-secular theology
>and work out to literature, or start with the
>literature and work out to ethics/post-secular
>theology? What do the writers say? What literature
>prompts these questions?
>While seminar papers may reference literary texts,
>papers should not be readings of individual stories or
>novels but rather should address the larger idea of
>how borders and boundaries between literature and
>post-secular philosophies are being, or should be,
>Proposals should run no longer than 500 words and
>should include name and affiliation of applicant and a
>1-paragraph professional bio.
>Deadline for proposals: July 30, 2002
>EMAIL PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS PREFERRED: send to
><[log in to unmask]>.
>Send proposals snailmail to:
>Amy J. Elias, Associate Professor of English
>4648 Clairmont Ave
>Birmingham, AL 35222