PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Denver, CO
November 17-20, 2018

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Kierkegaard, Religion, and Culture Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit seeks to explore the significance of the religious thought and ethics of Kierkegaard for contemporary culture in its various aspects — social, political, ecclesiastical, theological, philosophical, and aesthetic.

Call for Papers: 

We invite papers on the following topics:

• Where is God? – Kierkegaard and the Denigration of Public Discourse
The present age, as Kierkegaard would say, is going badly; so badly, in fact, that what we appear to be witnessing is nothing less than what one might call the self-cannibalization of our democracies. Unsurprisingly, religion, particularly as a discourse of absolute truth and power — or God — is part of this cannibalization. How then, might Kierkegaard help us to understand the activity, the transcendence, of God in an age in which we behold the inequities engendered by racism, sexism, the forces of capitalism, and the denigration of public discourse accompanying these problems? What role does God have in an age where resistance to the deterioration of the values that make us human must find a place? For this session, we invite proposals that address the ways in which drawing on the resources that Kierkegaard provides throughout his authorship allows us to respond to the question “where is God?” as we address the denigration of public discourse in our imperiled, present age. This includes proposals that put Kierkegaard’s insights into conversation with other thinkers more directly concerned with the intersection of religion and politics (e.g., Martin Luther King, Jr., Stanley Hauerwas, Emmanuel Levinas, Richard Rorty, Hannah Arendt, Jürgen Habermas, Martha Nussbaum, Edward Said, Michel Foucault, Cornel West, Judith Butler, Saba Mahmood).

• Kierkegaard and Cinema
Kierkegaard avidly appreciated and thoughtfully critiqued the performative, literary and visual arts such as opera and music, drama and poetry, sculpture and painting, etc. If we take seriously — in all its manifold meanings and variations — his insistence that he was “a kind of poet”, and if we consider the profound artistry required in the production of his authorship, we might also think of him as an artist in his own right, one keenly aware of and able to utilize art forms that were, in his time, considered to be both refined and oriented toward the masses. For this session, we invite papers that seek to extend the Kierkegaardian consideration of art and culture to cinema, an art form that is both refined and popular today. Papers might focus on particularly Kierkegaardian (or anti-Kierkegaardian) films or filmmakers; a Kierkegaardian critique of the art of film; the silence of silent films; the interweaving of word and music in the “talkies”; cinema as mass art; possible Kierkegaardian contributions to the ongoing debate over film authorship (from auteur theory to the death of the author); the significance of cinema for aesthetic, ethical, and/or religious life; the depiction of faith and faithful lives in film; the movie industry, the box office, and “leveling”; the nature of the relationship between films and the lives or “life-views” of their creators (producers, directors, and other filmmakers); or, in general, the presence and importance of, or future potential for, Kierkegaardian themes in cinema.

When we co-sponsor programs, we are happy to follow the practices of the groups with whom we collaborate. If they follow a fully blind process, we do as well.
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
ChairSteering Committee