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Hagiology Seminar

Call for Proposals

We invite papers for the inaugural year of our seminar on Hagiology that examine the question of the current state of the field of “hagiographical” studies. Whereas we are interested in challenging the over-determining nature of this Western, Christian signifier, we are intrigued by what direction this area on inquiry is taking and how best to nurture this into its most useful and advantageous form? Our aim as a seminar is to move hagiographical studies in a more comparative and collaborative direction, and we welcome papers that inquire along those lines from their own fields of interest and with materials that they deem “hagiographical” material.

Presenters may begin with the question of: How is the study of hagiology in your own tradition or field emerging, and what tools, categories, taxonomies, and methods are most useful to its studies? In addition, papers should consider how these local details can be interpreted and put in conversation with other fields and traditions. We hope this panel will facilitate a broader conversation about where hagiographical studies is currently situated and signal where it should go.

The session will be exploratory and collaborative in nature, as it seeks to practice a style of conference preparation and presentation that utilizes comparative practices and innovates along those lines.

Presenters will share their papers with fellow panelists prior to the conference date and participate in a few rounds of collaboration with comparative methods. We hope to help presenters be active in creating the best version of their panel by facilitating cross-cultural and interdisciplinary work, while assessing its value as we proceed. We hope the meta discussion of methodology will comprise a portion of the session.

Statement of Purpose

This seminar is dedicated to exploring the “hagiographical” as a category that transcends the particular contextual boundaries of religious traditions, while functioning as a focused and sustained site of collaboration, pedagogical exploration, and theoretical foundation for better refining the Study of Religion.

It takes up the question of “hagiography,” and, using a comparative method, interrogates its broad analytical utility. By inviting a wide-range of traditions and types of scholarship (textual, materially-oriented, ritually-conceived, oral, historical, and contemporary) into a diverse scholarly conversation and collaborative community, we seek to challenge the normative, Christian rendering of the term.
We place the growing need for cross-fertilization at the center of our methodological approach, building it into our theme and function. Hagiology is an inquiry that has been marked by a range of interpretive strategies and vectors of influence, from early practitioners and emulators, to authors and compilers, to commentators and historians, to societies and contemporary practitioners, to re-imagined historical prominence. It has finally emerged as a dynamic area for comparative studies.
Ultimately, this seminar will foster dialogue among scholars from a range of institutions and intellectual traditions. Its aim is to use the collaborative and comparative methods to resituate hagiology within the current religious studies context, and to explore how this field can best support, articulate, and inform the broader field regarding the importance of doing Hagiology in a productive manner that is commensurate with the prevalence of its material forms.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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