Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Attending to the Other

The Faculty of Theology at Oxford University are hosting the 2010 biennial International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture from 23rd - 26th September, at St. Catherine's College (where I went in 2007), on the topic of "Attending to the Other: Critical Theory and Spiritual Practice."

The full registration fee is a hefty £385 (+ compulsory ISRLC membership, £10)! But the keynote speakers are Amy Hollywood (Harvard University) - check out her Sensible Ecstacy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History, which I used in my medieval lesbian studies period - Toril Moi (Duke University) - Sexual/Textual Politics - Paul Fiddes (University of Oxford), and Graham Ward (University of Manchester), which explains it! The good news is that there are bursaries to contribute towards these costs for postgrad students and (what I may well be by then, as I'm for sure not going to still be doing my thesis) unemployed academics!!! Who knows, I may even be an employed academic and not need the help!!! Yeah, right.

Anyway, there are several panels being convened for this conference, including one by the Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion. The conference organisers invite short papers for these panels (20 mins paper, 10 mins Q&A), and ask for proposals (title and 500 word abstracts) to be sent to the convenor of the panel for which it seems most appropriate. The deadline is March 30 2010. The call for papers includes the information about panels, as well as details of who to submit proposals to. There are quite a few panels, so I'm only going to post details about the ones I'm most interested in. For details about the others download a Word doc from here.

Modern Theology (panel leader: Trevor Hart; abstracts to "Reponsible handling of Christianity's doctrinal commitments today demands that they be revisited in the light of critical theory and its particular insights and claims, an engagement in which we might reasonably anticipate insights and questions flowing in both directions. This panel will concentrate on such encounters, welcoming papers that will seek to relate concrete doctrinal loci constructively to the central concerns and claims of critical theory. Topics might fall within areas such as the following:
  • Christology (e.g. history, particularity, universality; the body, crucifixion and resurrection; kenosis and the other; the divine image, imaging and incarnation)
  • Trinity (e.g. otherness, mystery and apophasis; perichoresis and the boundaries of personhood)
  • Creation (e.g. gift, givens, openness, and the place of human poiesis; ‘reality’ as divine donation and human construct)
  • Revelation (e.g. language, analogy, metaphor, imagination; re-enchantment, experience, nature and culture; scripture, inspiration and authority)
  • Redemption (e.g. sin, evil, guilt, notions of atonement, reconciliation and forgiveness)
  • Worship (e.g. liturgy, sacraments, ritual, embodied performance, meaning and presence)
  • Church (e.g. tradition, continuity and interruption; community, truth and meaning; encountering Christ in the body; the church as ‘habitus’)
  • Eschatology (e.g. hope, promise and the shape of the self; hope as imagination; apocalypse and deconstruction)

Proposals on any relevant topic are welcomed."

Continental Philosophy of Religion (panel leaders: Steven Shakespare and Patrice Haynes; abstracts to and "This panel invites submissions which consider the turn to religion in recent continental philosophy and the implications this has for understandings of religion, reason and spiritual practice. If philosophy is called, driven or solicited to think its other, does this mean that philosophy itself is compelled by a religious dynamic? A particular focus will be on the debate around theological and dialectical accounts of materialism. What kind of thinking does justice to the passion of reason, the integrity of matter and the injunctions of ethical and political commitment? Relevant thinkers and themes might include:

  • Jean-Luc Nancy,
  • Radical Orthodoxy,
  • Slavoj Žižek,
  • Grace Jantzen,
  • phenomenology (Henry, Chrétien, Lacoste, Marion),
  • speculative realism/materialism.
However, other relevant submissions will be considered.
The panel is being convened by the Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion."

I might submit an abstract to the Modern Theology panel that focuses on the ways in which UK emerging church milieu participants (particularly collectives) are "attending to the other" in the creation of ecclesial spaces (the church and worship streams of this panel). I'm working at the moment on the concluding sections of chapter six of my thesis, which use Derrida (particularly Of Hospitality and "Eating Well" in Points) and Badiou (Saint Paul) to argue for a Pauline ecclesiology of literally "attending to the other." As I complete my thesis, then, I'll be playing with the idea of presenting something at this conference.


Anonymous said...

Ye gods £385!!!! why do these conferences cost so much? Who can afford to go to them unless they are being sponsored?


Katharine Moody said...

I know! Took my breath away a bit too!!!