I write in the afterglow of the 16th biennial ISRCL conference in Copenhagen (19-21 October). Those who had the fortune of attending – 120 of you in total, representing an impressively global spectrum – will know what a splendid event it was, from the opening plenary to final panel sessions on the Sunday. This year furthered the high standards of previous incarnations, and we owe a great many thanks again to Nils Petersen and his team at the Faculty of Theology in the University of Copenhagen (Lars Sandbeck, Therese Bering Solten, and Kristoffer Garne, among others) for their exceptional organisation from beginning to end. I think all will attest to the stimulating discussions generated across the various formats, whether thirty-nine sessions under fourteen panels, three plenary lectures, a roundtable discussion, an “encyclopaedic” presentation, mealtimes, or afterhours socialising. Questions of cultural transition, angled through presence, absence, and memory, were given a full work over, and I think everyone felt enriched by the diversity and interdisciplinarity that guided each panel and marked the conference as a whole. We hope the energy and provocations our conversations induced will carry through to your respective institutions and subsequent research pursuits.
Panel convenors will soon be asked to put forward sessional papers of exceptional quality they felt captured the conference theme particularly well. From these, the journal Literature and Theology will draw out a top list of six or seven, spanning the range of themes and panels, which will then feature in a special issue of Volume 27. Keep an eye out for this issue sometime next year.
Many of you who attended Copenhagen took photos, I know. We did not have an official photographer recording the event throughout, but if you find good quality photos on your camera/phone/device that you don’t mind passing on for public consumption, please do send us these. We’ll compile a series for the website, along with other conference details, including contact information for all participants. Send in the first instance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next conference in 2014 will return to the UK. We have not yet secured a venue, but we do have several possibilities that came forward after our Society business meeting. Please put aside time in Sept./Oct. of that year now, so we can ensure strong continuity from conference to conference, and increase our representation from around the globe.
Thanks again to all who participated in Copenhagen. We trust you are still basking in its memory.
International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture
Literature and Theology: An International Journal of Religion, Theory and Culture