Friday, March 29


(All conference events will be held in Andover Hall, Harvard Divinity School)

1-3 pm: Registration

Andover Hall Lobby


3-4:30 pm: Concurrent Panel Session I

Sperry Room

Authenticity: The Problem with God and the Problem of Self-Truth


Caleb Spencer (Azusa Pacific University), Moderator


“Authenticity is not everything: why I won’t teach Updike” Christina Bieber-Lake (Wheaton College), Panelist


"Whither can the heart go from the heart": Sonnets, Sincerity, and Selfhood in Katie Ford's If You Have to Go Anthony Domestico (Purchase College), Panelist


"Tragic Circumstances in Milton's Samson Agonistes: Sinning with Sincerity" Matthew Smith, (Azusa Pacific University), Panelist


Lee Oser (College of the Holy Cross), Respondent


Andover 102

The Poetics of Belief


Jack Dudley (Mount St. Mary’s University), Moderator


“The God My Typewriter Believes In”: Anne Sexton’s Kenotic Constructions, Lacey Jones (Yale University)


A Form of Belief: The Prayer Lyrics of Elizabeth Jennings and Louise Glück, Jeremy Stevens (Columbia University)


The Aesthetics of Conversion in T. S. Eliot’s Ash-Wednesday, Michael Joshua Sutherlin (University of Tennessee – Knoxville)


Andover 103

Language and Its Limits


Clare King’oo (University of Connecticut), Moderator


Excess at the Limit of Words in John Donne’s “Resurrection, imperfect,” Thomas Breedlove (Baylor University)


“Holy Places are Dark Places”:The Limits of Religious Language in Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, Brent Little (Sacred Heart University)


Real Presence: The Word of God and Chaucer’s Pardoner, Chad Schrock (Lee University)


The Problem of God-talk: How Can Writers Write if Words are Exhausted?, Lamar Nisly (Bluffton University)


Pfeiffer Room



Mark S. M. Scott (Thorneloe University at Laurentian, Canada), Moderator


Accepting an Unjust, Suffering God: Dorothy L. Sayers’s Airman in The Just Vengeance, Holly Spofford (Baylor University)


Wordsworth’s Eco-theological Shipwreck Theodicy, Alicia McCartney (Baylor University)


Reason, Love, and Poetry in Eliot’s Wartime Quartets, Jewel Spears Brooker (Eckerd College)


Ron Rash’s Christocentric Theodicy: A Kingdom-Oriented Reading of The World Made Straight, Martha Greene Eads (Eastern Mennonite University)


4:45-6:00 pm: Special Plenary Session and Awards Presentation

Special Guests:

Kathleen Norris, Winner of the Conference on Christianity and Literature Lifetime Achievement Award

Michael O’Siadhail, Winner of the Conference on Christianity and Literature Book of the Year Award

Sperry Room


5:45-7:00 pm: Reception

Andover Hall Lobby


Saturday, March 30


9:00-10:30 am: Concurrent Panel Session II


Sperry Room

Reading, Writing, and the Sacred


William Gonch (University of Maryland), Moderator


“Step Away from the Tree, Eve, with Your Hands Up.” Playfulness as Critique of Scripture in the Fiction of Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman, Lois Wilson (University of Edinburgh)


Affirm and Protest: Reading as Sacred Practice in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, Kerry Hasler-Brooks, Messiah College


Atoning for the Author in Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Sweet Tooth, Charles Pastoor (John Brown University)


Post-Critique and the Process of the Text, Susan M Felch (Calvin College)


Andover 102

The Christ Haunted South I: Revelations


Brent Little (Sacred Heart University), Moderator


Distortion that Reveals: Baptism in Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away, Christine Payson (Tufts University)


The Problem of Naming God in Walker Percy’s Works, Dan Ritchie and Kelsey Widman (Bethel University)


The Problem with a White Male God in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Patricia Andujo (Azusa Pacific University)


Finding and Losing the Bible in Faulkner’s The Hamlet, Robert Donahoo (Sam Houston State University)


Andover 103

The Problem of the Postsecular I: Searching for God


David Mahan (Yale University), Moderator


Agonistic Communion in Erdrich’s The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, or, How to Read the Postsecular, Cynthia R. Wallace (St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, Canada)


Reader on Fire: Evangelical Reading for Jesus and Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire, Tiffany Eberle Kriner (Wheaton College)


From Fragment to Phial: Tolkien and the Problem with God, Michael Tomko (Villanova University)


Pfeiffer Room

The Poetics of Faith


Lori Branch (University of Iowa), Moderator


Wrestling Jacob and the Angel of God in the Poetics of Christina Rossetti and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Esther T. Hu (Boston University)


“Church Going” or “Churchgoing”? Marilyn Nelson’s Response to Philip Larkin, Brent Newsom (Oklahoma Baptist University)


“‘I can’t trust God to be unmerciful’: Jonah in modern / contemporary poetry, Jacob Stratman (John Brown University)


Arnold’s Anticipatory Plagiarism: The “Sea of Faith” as a Response to Spiritual Denial, Matthew Wickman (Brigham Young University)


10:30-10:45 am: Break

Andover Hall Lobby


10:45pm -12:15 pm: Concurrent Panel Session III


Sperry Room

Postsecular Affects


Edward Upton (Valparaiso University), Moderator


The Transformation of Secular Affect in James Wood’s The Book Against God, Lori Branch (University of Iowa)


Postsecular Affects: John Updike and the Aesthetics of Unbelief, Mark Eaton (Azusa Pacific University)


Belief and Political Affect in Louise Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God, Scott Dill (Case Western Reserve University)


Andrew Tate (Lancaster University, UK), Respondent


Andover 102

The Christ Haunted South II: Secular Pressures


Robert Donahoo (Sam Houston State University), Moderator


Reading Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood in a Secular Age, George Piggford (Stonehill College)


“The Space between Our Selves: Walker Percy’s Confessional Dialectic and Suffering Secularization” Nathan Valle (Liberty University)


Faith in the Ruins: Images of Redemption in Walker Percy's Fiction, Bo Helmich (Independent Scholar)


Andover 103

The Problem of the Postsecular II: Resisting Weak Faith


David Smith (East Carolina University), Moderator


Willa Cather, Recalcitrant Postsecularist: Secularity, Religion, and Form in Death Comes for the Archbishop, William Gonch (University of Maryland)


“It Was as if My Mind Were Having a Garage Sale”: Post-Secular Epiphany in David Foster Wallace’s Short Fiction, Dennis Kinlaw (Houston Baptist University)


American Gods: Towards a Post-secular Supernatural Imaginary, Ben Crace (American University of Kuwait)

Faith in Elie Wiesel’s Night, Caroline Driscol (University of South Carolina)


Pfeiffer Room

Readings of 19th Century American Lit


Jewel Spears Brooker (Eckerd College), Moderator

Hope Leslie: A Letter from Sedgwick to American Christians, Cortney Delhomme (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)


Can These Dry Stones Live? Fossilized Faith in Melville's Clarel, Carissa Turner Smith (Charleston Southern University)


Conditions of Grace: The Impossibility of the Gift in Herman Melville, Tae Sung (California Baptist University)


The Question of Beauty in Nicholas Boyle’s Sacred and Secular Scriptures, Thomas F. Haddox (University of Tennessee—Knoxville)


Andover 118

French Literature in the 20th century


Patricia Andujo (Azusa Pacific University), Moderator


The Augustinianism of Albert Camus’ The Plague, Gene Fendt (University of Nebraska, Kearney)


“A Well-Nigh Filthy Ecstasy:” Sacrilege and Sacrament in George’s Bataille’s Story of the Eye, Mac Loftin (Harvard University)


Camus and the Absent God: Memory and Post-Secularity in The Fall, Richard Schaefer (SUNY Plattsburgh)


12:15 pm-1:15 pm: Lunch

Braun Room, with lunch registration ticket

or off site


1:15 pm-2:45 pm: Concurrent Panel Session IV


Sperry Room

Shaping a Christian Poetics for the 21st Century


Mac Loftin (Harvard University), Moderator


David Mahan, (Yale Divinity School)


Jack Dudley (Mount St. Mary’s University)


Devon Abts, (King’s College London)


Andover 102

The Problem of the Postsecular III: Limning the limits


Esther T. Hu (Boston University), Moderator


Distrusting the Word: E. L. Doctorow’s Postsecular City of God, Ben Sammons (Wingate University)


Shattered Reality and the Negotiation of Faith in the Victorian Realist Novel, Megan Lease (Boston College)


TRANSFORM: “Creating a Space for Secular/Sacred Worship in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, Mary McCampbell (Lee University)


Andover 103

Reconstructing Christianity


Alicia McCartney (Baylor University), Moderator


Tightropes & Global Intimacies in Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin, Brandi Estey-Burtt (Dalhousie University)


De-stabilized Sexuality beyond “Redemption”: A Close Reading of A Certain Woman by Arishima Takeo, Haruka Umetsu Cho (Harvard Divinity School)


Marilynne Robinson’s Theopoetics and the Problem of Pluralism, Jordan Carson (Baylor University)


Pfeiffer Room

Creation and the Natural Order


Michael Tomko (Villanova University), Moderator


“The Sense of Loss”: Eschatology, Grief, and the Queer State of Nature in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, Caleb Murray (Brown University)


Endō Shūsaku’s Process Panentheism, Darren J. N. Middleton (Texas Christian University)


Worlds of Words: An Exploration of Creators and Creations in Miguel de Unamuno’s Fiction, Keith Schaefer (Monmouth University)


Andover 118

Problems with God in Early Modern English Literature


Carissa Turner Smith (Charleston Southern University), Moderator


Shaftesbury, Fielding, and the Question of Right Ridicule, Holly Wiegand (Boston University)


Milton’s Problem with (Calvin’s) God, Jeremy Larson (Regent University)


Measure for Measure and the Holy Trinity, Emily Bryan (Sacred Heart University)


2:45-3 pm: Break

Andover Hall Lobby


3-4:30 pm: Concurrent Panel Session V


Andover 102

Problems with God in Medieval literatures


Mark Eaton (Azusa Pacific University), Moderator


Affective Theodicy: Julian of Norwich, Lyric Memoir and Divine Comfort, Ian DeWeese-Boyd (Gordon College)


Tension and Attunement in Vernacular Mystical Poetics: Jacopone and Hadejwich, Alexander Hampton (University of Toronto)


“I must divide my will”: Bernardine duplicity and the crusading knight in the songs of Jaufr Rudel, Adam Horn (Columbia University)


‘How May It Be That Thou Wolt Suffren Innocentz to Spille’: Voluntarist Faith and Doubt in Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale, Monica Schroeder (Catholic University of America)



Andover 103

Faith in Late Modern Literatures


Darryl Tippens (Abilene Christian University), Moderator


Faith and Frenzy in Joyce Carol Oates’ Son of the Morning, Aswathi Velayathikode Anand (Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad)


Faith and Doubt in Gilead: Beyond Spiritual Dichotomies, Mark S. M. Scott (Thorneloe University at Laurentian, Canada)


Jesus Disguised: Talking about Faith in Contemporary Canada, Deborah Bowen (Redeemer University College, Canada)


Pfeiffer Room

Problems and Perspectives from German Literature


Kerry Hasler Brooks (Messiah College), Moderator


Melanchthon, Hölderlin, and the Poetics of Listening, Olaf Berwald (Kennesaw State University)


The Post-Theological Ethics of Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, Joseph Haydt (University of Chicago)


Existential Crisis through the Objectification of Christ and the Virgin Mary: Peter Henisch’s Der verirrte Messias (The Lost Messiah), Thomas Glavinic’s Unterwegs im Namen des Herrn (On the Road in the Name of the Lord), and Magdalena Kaszuba’s Das leere Gefäß (The Empty Vessel), David L. Smith (East Carolina University)