#CFP Worldbuilding and Religion at #AARSBL18

#CFP Worldbuilding and Religion at #AARSBL18 February 11, 2018

This call for papers for the AAR annual meeting in November is worth sharing here, falling as it does at the intersection of religion and science fiction:

Transposition of Religious and Theological Concepts Through Worldbuilding

I am working to organize a panel proposal for this year’s American Academy of Religion conference for the Religion and Science Fiction Unit. In particular, I am looking for fellow panelists interested in presenting papers on the topic “Transposition of Religious and Theological Concepts Through Worldbuilding.” If you are interested, I would need your 1,000-word proposal and 150-word abstract by February 23rd so that I can draft a cohesive 1,000-word panel proposal before the final deadline. Please reach out to me if you are interested. When authors, filmmakers, videogame designers and other sf creators engage in elaborate worldmaking, they often transform, adapt, translate, recombine, and transpose concepts from historical religions, theologies, and worldviews. Your proposal might look at a single work or artist, a class of works that engage in a similar type of “transposition,” a variety of ways a particular worldview has been transposed into sf, and so on. If you would like to correspond more about potential ideas, please feel free to contact me.

Another that will be of interest to many of the same people is this one:

Fictional Religions (in Film, Literature, and Other Media)

I am organizing a panel in response to this year’s call for papers from the Religion and Popular Culture Unit of the American Academy of Religion. In particular, I am responding to the call for papers on the topic of “Fictional Religions in Film, Literature, and Other Media.” The creation of fictional worldviews is a fascinating aspect of robust worldmaking and mythopoesis, and the phenomenon suggests all sorts of interesting questions about the relationship between artistic creativity and the religious imagination, the dis- or re-enchanted qualities of the secular, the role of mass media in forming our worldviews, ways of life, and identities, and other issues. You might propose a paper on a particular fictional or invented religion by a specific writer, filmmaker, or other artist, or you might reflect more broadly on a class of fictional worldviews, their relationship to fiction-based religions and fandoms, the cognitive, social, economic, or political conditions that enable the phenomenon, or the phenomenon in general. If you are interesting in joining me in submitting a panel proposal, please contact me by February 23rd with your 1,000-word proposal and 150-word abstract because I will need time to draft a 1,000-word proposal that links the different papers together into a cohesive panel.

The contact person for both is Nathan Frederickson. If you are interested in these sorts of calls for papers, then the ReligionCFP Tumblr and the UPenn call for papers websites are both ones that you might want to subscribe to.

Of related interest, there will be a conference about religion and film in Toronto in May.

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  • John MacDonald

    Speaking of new scholarship, Bart Ehrman’s new book is out. It’s called “The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World, Feb 13, 2018.” Here it is: https://www.amazon.com/Triumph-Christianity-Forbidden-Religion-Swept/dp/1501136704/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518555592&sr=8-1&keywords=bart+ehrman

    Talking about it on his blog, Ehrman writes:

    “What Paul preached that day on the Areopagus eventually triumphed over everything that stood below me in the Agora and above me on the Acropolis. It overwhelmed both the temple of Hephaestus and the Parthenon. No one, except, probably, Paul himself, would have predicted it. Yet it happened: Christianity eventually took over Western Civilization.”

    I’ve ordered the book and it should be here tomorrow. I have high expectations. Of course, by virtue of the absurd, I restrict my reading habits to only reading history books that expound the most improbable of conspiracy theories, and menus that are numerology codes for ancient Templar Treasures, so I am assuming Ehrman’s book will be steeped in cryptic codes and brow furrowing esoterica.