CFP: Religion, Myth, and Reason in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures

Religion, Myth, and Reason in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures

The Catholic University of America

Date: April 23, 2016
Location: Washington, D.C.
Keynote Address: “In Search of the Sacred Book: Religion and the Novel in One Hundred Years of Solitude,” Aníbal González-Pérez (Yale University)
Deadline: February 29, 2016

The Call for Papers that follows was provided by the conference organizing committee. Find out more about the conference, including registration information, on their website.

The idea of modernity as an emancipatory force leading the individual to dispel the influence of the unknown through the sole power of reason, progress, and technique has often situated the interest in religious and mythical thinking in the realms of mere superstition and primitiveness. A fundamental critique of modernity has, in turn, dismissed the absolute validity of the ideals championed by the Enlightenment as being themselves generators of myths and horror. As Horkheimer and Adorno famously put it, “myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology.” A more nuanced and dynamic understanding of how modernity and reason, on the one hand, and religion and myth, on the other, intersect with each other can shed new light on the way culture shapes our perception of reality. As John C. Lyden says when referring to the influence of popular culture and media in our daily life today, sometimes “we fail to acknowledge the extent to which modern people base their worldviews and ethics upon sources we do not usually label ‘religious,’” an observation that applies not only to popular culture, but to other domains of human imagination and knowledge.

The Hispanic world presents a particular case in the interaction between religion and myth, given the continuing presence of competing forces emanating from the realms of both the secular and the sacred. This conference aims at exploring how textual and visual culture in the Spanish-speaking world has understood the relationship between reason and faith, progress and myth, in a variety of historical periods, from Medieval and Pre-Colonial times to the Present. We would like to invite presentations that touch on topics such as (but not limited to):

  • Remembering the sacred: history and memory
  • Nation, empire: religion and myth in colonial / post-colonial perspective
  • Reading native-American traditions, classical myths and biblical figures in Hispanic culture
  • Oral and written folklore in the Hispanic world
  • Secularizing / Re-sacralizing culture
  • The ethics of writing and reading
  • The sacred role of the intellectual /author
  • Locating spaces of the secular and the sacred: city, country, text
  • Conflict, trauma, religion, and myth
  • Gender-based readings of religious and mythical narratives
  • Religion and myth in popular culture and media
  • The fantastic and the sacred
  • Horror and the Sublime
  • Old, Modern, and Post-modern Saints
  • Iconoclasm and anti-clericalism

Keynote Address

In Search of the Sacred Book: Religion and the Novel in One Hundred Years of Solitude Aníbal González-Pérez

Aníbal González-Pérez (Puerto Rico, 1956) is Professor of Modern Latin American Literature in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Yale University, and founder and general editor of the “Bucknell Studies in Latin American Literature and Theory” Series of Bucknell University Press. He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and has authored several books of literary criticism, including A Companion to Spanish American Modernismo (2007), Love and Politics in the Contemporary Spanish American Novel (2010), and Redentores by Manuel Zeno Gandía (critical edition, 2010). Prof. González Pérez has just completed a book on religion and the novel in contemporary Spanish American literature.

Submission of Proposals

Presentations will be made by graduate students, in either English or Spanish, lasting approximately 20 minutes (7-8 pages double-spaced). The proposals, which are to consist of an abstract of 200-250 words in PDF or Word format not including the name of the presenter, must be sent by January 31, 2016 to Said proposals should be accompanied by the following information in the body of the message: name of the presenter, title of the paper containing three to five key words, institutional affiliation, telephone number, address, and a brief professional biography.

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