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Arts, Literature, and Religion Unit

Call for Proposals

This year the Arts, Literature and Religion Unit solicits proposals for the following topics, but also welcomes proposals for any papers or preferably pre-formed panels related to any aspect of Arts, Literature and Religion:

  1. Performing Religion: Theater and Dance. Contact

  2. U2 / Irish spirituality & popular music (co-sponsored with Religion and Music Unit). Contact

  3. Displaying Religion in Public: Boston Case Studies. Contact

  4. Transcendentalists.Contact

  5. Pedagogy session. Contact

  6. The Art, Literature and Religion of Videogames. Contact

  7. The relationships between art, literature, and religion in India and China. Contact

  8. The Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts four hundred years ago, in 1620. We welcome proposals that explore the artistic, literary, and religious dimensions of that arrival, with particular interest in papers that focus on the experience of indigenous peoples during and after this encounter. Contact

  9. The (After)lives of Religion and Literature”—Despite its declared demise, interest in the intersections of the literary and the study of religion is having a renaissance. What accounts for this recent development and what are its key thematics? How has the relationship between religious and literary studies been configured in different historical and cultural/religious contexts? What does it herald for notions of truth, credibility, critique, secularity, and fiction? For various practices of reading, the circulation of texts, and the shuffling of authoritative and vernacular genres? For possible co-sponsorship with the Cultural History of the Study of Religion unit. Contact

  10. Literary Representations of Exile: Keeping in mind Edward Said’s definition of exile as “the unhealable rift force between a human being and a native place,” this panel will explore literary and artistic works in which the experience of geographical displacement is rendered in religious terms. We welcome proposals dealing with all religious traditions and historical periods. Discussions may also involve, without being limited to, issues of race, politics, and identity. Contact

  11. Expressions of religion in post-communist countries: Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, this panel will discuss the ways in which religion, coined by Karl Marx as “the opium of the people,” finds expression in twenty-first century artistic and literary works produced in post-communist or post-socialist countries of Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Proposals may address all forms of art, literature, media, and performance. Contact

  12. Bodies as Art. This call seeks papers that discuss bodies to be a medium for artistic expression in different religions and regions. In other words, bodies narrate and negotiate. Papers can employ any theoretical framework to discuss bodies as art. Contact

  13. Religion, Literature and the City in South Asia (potential 3-way co-sponsorship with the Space, Place and Religion Unit and the Religion in South Asia Unit). The panel explores the various ways in which religions in urban South Asia are (re)presented in modern literature, particularly regarding spatiality, representations of space, space as an agent in modern urban life. Contact

  14. Screening the End: Wastelands, Doomsdays, and Ecological Collapse in Film and Literature. In so far as the apocalyptic event is an unveiling or moment of revelation (ἀποκάλυψις), this panel seeks papers that consider moments of revelation, rupture, and obfuscation in apocalyptic media. What is screened; what remains veiled; and what is uncovered in literary and filmic depictions of the apocalypse? Contact

  15. Meet the Artist. Contact

  16. Meet the Author. Contact

  17. Open Call

Statement of Purpose

This Unit seeks to engage the critical issues at the intersection of religion, literature, and the arts. We are concerned with both the aesthetic dimensions of religion and the religious dimensions of literature and the arts, including the visual, performative, written, and verbal arts. Approaches to these two avenues of concern are interdisciplinary and varied, including both traditional methodologies — theological, hermeneutical, and comparative approaches associated with the history of religions — and emerging methodologies, those that emerge from poststructuralism, studies in material culture, and cultural studies.


  • Zhange Ni, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
  • Pamela D. Winfield, Elon University
    1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023

Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members

Review Process Comments

I would like to change this next year so that "proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members at all times.". Thanks.