Upcoming Lilly Fellows Regional Conferences
Religion, State, and Nationalism: Problems and Possibilities
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana
Valparaiso University invites you to a special symposium, “Religion, State, and Nationalism: Problems and Possibilities" on April 8, 2022. The symposium will take place in three sessions, with the first focusing on problems, the second on possibilities, and the third on integrating issues of faith, nationalism, and the problems of historical memory into undergraduate curricula.
Description: Today’s world is witnessing to new configurations of alliances and conflicts between religious institutions and the state. Religion is a key player in rewriting nationalist narratives that underpin state policies. In the United States, evangelical Christians influence state policies and contribute to nationalist agendas. The Orthodox Church is a leader in the resurgence of nationalism in post-Soviet Russia and the rehabilitation of the mythological past of “Holy Russia” that contributes to the state’s ideological agenda. Analysts express concern that religion will fuel the flames of nationalist isolationism and increase the possibilities for international incidents of polarization, violence, and war. Critics call for the complete separation of religious organizations from the state. In some places of the world, cooperation between religious institutions and the state can become a positive force at the local and international levels. Religious leaders can consult the state and contribute to the formation of national identity that is inclusive and does not pose a threat to international peace.
Antoine Arjakovsky, Collège de Bernardins, Paris
Scott Hibbard, DePaul University, Chicago
Atalia Omer, University of Notre Dame, South Bend
Robert Saler, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis
Dorian Llywelyn, S.J., Santa Clara University
Slavica Jakelic, Valparaiso University
Timothy Larsen, Wheaton College
Philipp Gollner, Goshen College
Samuel Graber, Valparaiso University
Christianity and Core Texts at Global/Cultural Crossroads
Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania
The Grove City English Department invites participants and presenters to an in-person Lilly Fellows Program Regional Conference: “Christianity and Core Texts at Global/Cultural Crossroads,” held on campus at Grove City College on April 7-9, 2022. The conference will include plenary addresses by graphic novelist and artist Gene Luen Yang and scholar Dr. Susan Van Zanten.
Describing the vexed position of the Christian in a postcolonial nation, Ghanaian theologian Mercy Amba Oduyoye writes, “What is specifically Christian is irresistible. But Christianity in Africa began by confusing Christianity with European culture” (Inheriting Our Mothers’ Gardens 39). Christianity has often been mistaken for and sometimes presented as a purely Western phenomenon, but this has never been the case—Christian communities like the Ethiopian Church and the Saint Thomas Christians of India trace their roots back to the time of the apostles. This fact is becoming ever more apparent today as the demographic center of even Western Christianity shifts eastward and southward. If, as St. Paul says, the Gospel is “a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles,” then Christianity presents a challenge to the conventional wisdom of any culture or nation. Christianity is not inherently more compatible with Western culture than it is with any of the cultures of the East or the Global South. How might American scholars and American students, especially those who also find Christianity “irresistible,” understand and learn from Christian thinkers and treatments of Christian communities in these global texts?
We invite scholarly or pedagogically focused 15-20 minute conference papers centered on the relationship between Christianity and a primary text or core text from a non-Western tradition, including works of literature, philosophy, theology, history, and the fine arts. Proposals (250-300 words) should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 14, 2022, and center around one or more of the following approaches:
- Approaches to teaching global/non-Western texts that engage with Christianity in a church-related academic context: How might global texts defamiliarize the Christian faith or broaden students’ perspective on Christianity?
- Approaches to reading global texts in a diverse classroom: How do our pedagogies engage students from diverse backgrounds, including Black, indigenous, Latinx, and other students of color, in an American classroom?
- History of Christian missions and texts/reading practices: How have readings of primary texts from global traditions informed missions or the global church body? Can a text be a substitute or a motivator for an encounter with a Christian community from a different culture? What might make these approaches fruitful or problematic?
- Christianity and Culture: How do global communities interpret the gospel within their own cultural contexts and historical moments?
- Missions and Colonialism: How has Christianity been presented in colonial and other contexts as a “Western” religion, and what have been the effects?
- Postcolonial Theories and Theology: How might postcolonial theories and understandings of colonial subjects invoke harmonies and/or tensions with Christian understandings of the human person, human flourishing, etc.?
- Global Scholarship and Christian texts: What is the benefit for scholars to be engaging with non-Western assessments of Western Christian works? For instance, what can we learn from studying the reception of Dante in India or Aquinas in Japan?
Description and Guidelines for Regional Collaboration and Conferences
Regional Collaboration and Conferences Grants represent a flexible category of programs that encourage examination of topics of special significance to faculty, administrators, and students at a particular institution or group of institutions, or matters of special intellectual concern to faculty and others in Christian higher education. The focus, character, and constituency of the conference, collaboration, or workshop may vary to suit the needs of the applicant, within the general guidelines listed above. Previous successful conferences, collaborations, and workshops have focused on issues facing schools in a particular region, topics of current debate among faculty at a particular school, student life issues, graduate student matters, various theological or denominational traditions in higher education, an array of topics in liberal and professional education, and issues of civic and public concern to the Christian intellectual community.
Funding is available for any number of Regional Collaborations or Conferences taking place in the 2020-2021 academic year at $12,500 each. It is expected that in many cases the host institution or group of institutions may also contribute to funding the conference. Institutions that have already received a grant in this category are typically not be eligible in the same category again for three years after the original grant was awarded. Nevertheless, at present, such schools can re-apply for a Regional Collaboration or Conference Grant if the application demonstrates that the proposed project addresses a different audience than the previously funded one. Although Regional Conferences or Workshops represent a flexible category of programs, priority is given to applications for programs that connect representatives from campuses within a particular geographical region.
Current Regional Conferences and Collaborations
Matter and Spirit: A Seminar on Contemporary Chinese Art and Society
June 15- July 1, 2018
The Nagel Institute, in partnership with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities, held a seminar and studio project in China for June 15- July 1, 2018. The seminar will be followed by an international traveling exhibition of the resulting works of art beginning in fall, 2019.
This project convened 10 North American and 10 Chinese artists in a two-week seminar and studio event in Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai. Participants engaged the realities of contemporary urban China, the Chinese visual arts scene, and each other. They especially focused on how some prominent Chinese contemporary artists have created art in response to these conditions, how Chinese Christians see both “matter and spirit” interacting, and how the struggle for integrity in China might inspire and reshape their own life work.
This seminar, “Matter and Spirit,” is the third in a series of international art projects, preceded by a seminar in Indonesia in 2008 that resulted in the “Charis” traveling exhibit, and a seminar in South Africa in 2013 followed by a traveling exhibit, “Between the Shadow and the Light.” “Matter and Spirit,” like the two preceding exhibits, will open at the annual Lilly Network conference on the arts and humanities in 2019.
Learn more about past Regional Collaborations and Conferences here.