Conference: The Bible, Narrative, and Modernity

Location: Notre Dame Conference Center (McKenna Hall)

The Bible, Narrative, and Modernity
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The Bible, Narrative, and Modernity joins an already rich interdisciplinary project at Notre Dame that seeks to reimagine the relationship between Religion and Literature. Focusing on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this symposium seeks to upend the common characterization of this period as increasingly secular. The presiding critical commonplace holds that Asiatic archaeological research, widespread developments in geology across the continent that culminated in Darwinian evolutionary biology, and, perhaps most importantly, the importation of German biblical criticism precipitated a crisis of faith that rapidly transformed European society—particularly in Britain—into a primarily secular body over the course of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries. Favoring a secular narrative of middle-class emergence, nationalism, and the aesthetics of realism, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary scholars have embraced and reasserted this dominant narrative. By examining the Bible as narrative and the role it plays in shaping eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, this symposium challenges this common narrative of secularization, while exploring a range of religion and literature methodologies in the scholarship of these two periods.

In service of this goal, we have invited Dr. Misty Anderson from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Dr. Timothy Larsen from Wheaton College to give keynote lectures, lead grad student workshops, and participate on faculty roundtables over the course of two days. Each day will feature three components: (1) a keynote lecture, (2) a workshop, and (3) a faculty roundtable. The keynotes provide space for our expert speakers to address the three pillars of the symposium (the bible, narrative, and modernity). The workshops will address our guests’ works-in-progress and are intended to facilitate discussion not only of the work itself, but also of the craft of interdisciplinary research and writing. The workshops are restricted to graduate students and geared toward English, Literature, History and Theology PhD candidates. The roundtables will bring together our guests and core faculty here at Notre Dame to discuss [a] religion and literature methodology and [b] religion and literature pedagogy.

Sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies with additional support from Religion and Literature (journal), Nineteenth-Century Contexts (journal), and the Department of English.


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