[Msa-discuss] CFP: Religion, Secularism and Nationhood, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, April 3-4 2009

Zia Miric christabel.limbo at gmail.com
Sun Dec 14 15:16:14 EST 2008

*Call for Papers*

* *

*Religion, Secularism and Nationhood*

*April 3-4, 2009*

*University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign*

*The British Modernities Group,* in conjunction with the University of
Illinois Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and the Illinois Program
for Research in the Humanities, invites submissions from diverse
disciplinary backgrounds and methodological orientations for our annual
graduate student conference, this year themed "*Religion, Secularism and
Nationhood." *The conference will open with a keynote address by Gauri
Viswanathan of Columbia University.

In response to the changing articulations of religious subjectivity and
religious communities in the so-called post-secular world, it is crucial to
heed the double aspect of religion as a "scrupulous observance," in Jean-Luc
Nancy's words, and as the means of social cohesion. As a wide range of
scholars have suggested, this "religious turn" also calls for critical
interventions in narratives of secularization and nationhood. Edward Said's
deployment of "secularism" as an epistemological category to critique
nationalism and Benedict Anderson's comparison of national ceremonies and
religious rituals emphasize ties between religion, secularism and
nationhood. This graduate conference will engage this critical trend by
focusing on how religious controversies circumscribe national identity in
"Greater Britain" (including transnational and international formations) in
textual cultural production from the eighteenth century to the present
moment. It will also investigate religion's central role in colonial
expansion and in establishing and questioning cultural difference.

Possible topics for consideration include but are not limited to:

   - secularization, progress and modernity
   - religion, nationalism and community
   - pluralism and tolerance
   - knowledge and faith
   - empire and the unassimilable "Other"
   - political theology and public religions
   - alternative religious histories
   - conversion, historicity and secrecy

This plenary-style conference is designed to facilitate dialogue between
panels, participants, and attendees.  To that end, panelists are strongly
encouraged to attend the full conference, scheduled late Friday and all day
Saturday.  Presenters will be expected to submit their papers to their
panel's faculty respondent by March 14, 2009.

Please send 300-word abstracts for individual 15-minute papers to *
modernities at gmail.com.*  *The deadline for abstract submissions is February
15, 2009. *Accepted applicants will be notified by February 20, 2009.  In
the body of the e-mail, please include the following information:  name,
university and departmental affiliation(s), level of graduate study, and
title of paper.
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