CFP: Special Issue of Literature and Theology: An International Journal of Religion, Theory and Culture (OUP)

Call for Papers

Special Issue of Literature and Theology: An International Journal of Religion, Theory and Culture(OUP) 

‘Postcolonial women’s writing and material religion: new directions’ 

Edited by Fiona Darroch and Alison Jasper (expected publication date March 2021)

A trend in expressions of materiality, or ‘material religion’/ ‘material culture’ has emerged within (the contested parameters of) postcolonial women’s writing. Everyday objects are imbued with meaning; they carry their own stories or capture history; they migrate with their owners and become a treasured symbol of survival and hope, or loss and grief. The detailed description of the everyday and the mundane is an act of resistance in itself: it challenges imperial tropes, such as the use of metaphor, and patriarchal tropes such as the ways in which Western culture and academic practice maintain women as the guardians of the everyday. 

We welcome articles that explore the ways in which postcolonial women writers challenge imperial/patriarchal tropes by engaging with the ‘everyday’.  We are interested in articles that combine current scholarship in materiality/material religion/’thing theory’ with readings of women’s writing defined as postcolonial. We also welcome work that challenges the limitations of the category ‘postcolonial’ in itself; is this still a valid category?  As well as engaging with the complexity of the term ‘postcolonial’, we will also engage with the parameters of the term ‘religion’ as an invention of European modernity, and a colonial and imperial descriptive tool which controls our perception of people’s behaviour in relation to the Christian west (‘we are religious but they are superstitious’, or, in more contemporary terms, ‘they are religious and backward, we are secular and progressive’). How do we continue to use this term alongside the reading of postcolonial literature? Writers frequently carve out descriptive and analytical spaces for something-we-might-describe-as-religion. We would argue that it is creative writers who push and play with the boundaries of categories such as ‘religion’, and ‘spiritual’, in an act of resistance, and in many ways have always been doing this in relation to materiality and capturing meaning in the mundane. We therefore welcome papers that bring together readings of materiality and postcolonial women’s writing that play with the established boundaries and interfaces of, for example, ‘religion and politics’ ‘theology and literature’, ‘material theology’, ‘the materiality of liturgy and practice’, ‘spirituality and economics’, and therefore start to formulate new tools of, and possibilities for, postcolonial critical inquiry. This call has an added urgency in the current Euro-American political climate of the Trump administration and Brexit negotiations where the fantasised imperialistic construction of borders, continues to perpetuate enforced migration and ways of being in the world.

Fiona Darroch (

Alison Jasper (

Please submit full articles of 5500-8000 words by March 31st 2020 to be considered for inclusion in the Special Issue (attending to Literature and Theology style guidelines found at: If you would like any more information, or to note your interest, please contact