Literature and Political Theology
This panel sponsored by the Rutgers University Medieval-Renaissance Colloquium aims to reflect on how devotional literature shapes the political landscapes of early modern Europe. Political theology has demonstrated how religious institutions and practices have shaped arguments about political authority and the emergent modern state. In early modern literary studies, scholars such as Julia Lupton, Victoria Kahn, and Graham Hammill have begun to open up new questions about devotional literature’s place in shaping the public institutions – distinct from both church and state – that make up civil society. How do religious institutions create and shape spaces for witnessing, political debate, and collective action? How does consideration of literary form shape or challenge narratives of secularization and emergent liberalization in seventeenth-century civil society? Protestantism, especially in its more radical forms, has long been associated with varying degrees of emphasis on inwardness, private forms of devotion, and anti-ceremonialism. How might we use devotional literature to understand the tensions between forms of publicity and civic engagement on the one hand, and the emphasis on individual conscience on the other?
Suggested topics include:
- Devotional poetics
- forms of public and private devotion
- the aesthetics of ceremony and ritual
- religious pluralism and toleration debates
- the politics of biblical hermeneutics
- faith and reason in public discourse and theological argument
Please send an abstract (max. 150 words) and a CV (max. 300 words) to Stephanie Hunt (email@example.com) and Thomas Fulton (firstname.lastname@example.org) by June 3, 2015.