CFP: Theatrum Mundi: Faith Representation, and Multicutluralism (SWCCL 2012)

The 2012 South Western Region Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature will be held October 5-6 at Oklahoma Christian University in cooperation with Oklahoma Baptist University. The theme of the conference is “Theatrum Mundi: Faith, Representation, and Multiculturalism.”

The keynote speaker will be Tony Award-winning playwright, David Henry Hwang , who will deliver the 8th annual McBride Lecture for Faith & Literature. Mr. Hwang will also appear, along with members of the editorial board of the journal Ecumenica, on a panel addressing issues of faith in contemporary drama.

Call for Papers: Shakespeare’s famous proclamation that “All the World’s a Stage” is just one among numerous Renaissance assertions of the Theatrum Mundi. In his 1612 Apology for Actors, Thomas Heywood, for instance, argues that

. . . the world a Theater present,
As by the roundnesse it appears most fit,
Built with starre-galleries of hye ascent,
In which Jehove does as spectator sit.

This metaphor gave thinkers in the early modern period and beyond both a means of defending the sacramental value of the stage itself – and of representation more broadly – and a means of conceptualizing God’s relationship to his creation as its author, director, and primary spectator. As we consider this metaphor today, we might consider the implications of the Theatrum Mundi concept for the expanded stage of a global society. Is all the world a stage?

For this conference we seek papers that address questions of representation before the divine. While we are, in keeping with our keynote speaker, especially interested in papers on dramatic literature, faith, and multiculturalism, we are also interested in how non-dramatic texts grapple with God as author, director, and/or audience for the theater of human activity. We will also consider papers more broadly interested in the intersection of Christianity and literature, as well as creative writing dealing with issues of faith.

Email one-paragraph abstracts and session proposals by July 6 to Benjamin Myers.