[Msa-discuss] CFP Reminder: Religion, Secularism and Nationhood (Graduate Conference)

Brandon Jernigan jernigan at illinois.edu
Mon Feb 2 13:28:22 EST 2009

A cordial reminder of our graduate conference's upcoming deadline (Feb 15):*

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 <mailto: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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