This has been the first Newsletter for some time, and as I write we all feel still the terrible sense of shock and loss after the events of the past few weeks. The future, too, is threatening and dark. It seems to me that this is all the more reason for those of us concerned not only with religious studies, but questions about the role of literature and art within contemporary culture to redouble our efforts, seeking for the affirmation of positive values in a world so threatened by violence and thoughts of vengeance.
The Society has not been idle. First of all, we are now busily working on plans for the next conference to be held in the University College of Ripon and York St. John, York, England from 12-15 September 2002. Details of this are already on the website, and these will be updated regularly from now on. the title of the Conference is ‘Ethics and Responsibility: Theology, Literature and Film;, and papers are invited in a series of panels being organized under that general theme. Note that bursaries may be available for graduate students, and we intend to publish a selection of the papers in a conference volume in due course.
Members of the Society continue to enjoy reduced rate subscription to the journal Literature and Theology, and please email me (D.Jasper@divinity.gla.ac.uk ) if you wish to take up this offer. The journal is now established as one of the major international voices in discussions on religion, literature and culture. Each year a special issue is produced–the most recent being on Queer Theory, published this month.
The journal has close links with a number of other publications with similar interests, and in particular we have recently developed an exchange with the journal of the Korean Society of Literature and Religion, published from Chonnam University, Korea. We are also establishing links with the American Religion and Literature Society (ARLS), which hold regular conferences and meetings. If you are interested in hearing more of this, contact Catherine Rogers at Savannah State University, who is the President of ARLS (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
In previous Newsletters I have tried to identify one recently published book which may be or particular interest to members of the Society either in research or teaching. This time it is definitely a teaching resource, and it is Alister E McGrath’s Christian Literature: An Anthology (Blackwell, 2001). This volume, large in size and scope, has excellent guides for students and provides a valuable introduction to an enormous range of literature over two thousand years. If you have any books which you would especially like to draw our attention to, please get in touch with us. Finally the Society is established to promote connections and conversations. Please do write in with any thoughts or suggestions you may have. We are particularly interested in posting news of your publications and conferences. We can even sometimes hlep in the promotion or even the running of meetings and conferences. We look forward to hearing from you.
Professor David Jasper
University of Glasgow, Scotland