Sunday, February 06, 2011

Special Issue of Religion and Literature

by J J Cohen

This announcement will be of interest to many readers.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Religion & Literature is very pleased to announce the publication of a special double issue entitled “‘Something Fearful’: Medievalist Scholars on the Religious Turn in Literary Criticism,” guest edited by Dr. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, The Notre Dame Professor of English, and Jonathan Juilfs, Visiting Lecturer, University of Notre Dame.

In response to fears about the propriety of scholarship in the humanities produced by those with faith commitments, “Something Fearful” offers scholarly reflections on the challenges encountered by professionals whose religious views (including agnosticism and atheism) inform and shape the questions that anchor their own scholarly investigations.  The essays presented here appear in three sections.  In Part 1, Three Abrahamic Dialogues, scholars offer case studies from each of the three Abrahamic traditions, using a kind of “cooperative dialogue” model.  Following upon Kathryn Kerby-Fulton’s introductory essay titled “‘Something Fearful’: Medievalist Scholars on the ‘Religious Turn’,” these dialogues include:

For Judaism:
•       Adrienne Williams Boyarin, University of Victoria, “Desire for Religion: Mary, a Murder Libel, a Jewish Friar, and Me”
•       Daniel Boyarin, University of California, Berkeley, “Nostalgia for Christianity: Getting Medieval Again”
For Christianity:
•       Jonathan Juilfs, University of Notre Dame, “‘Reading the Bible Differently’: Appropriations of Biblical Authority in an Heretical Mystical Text, Marguerite Porete’s The Mirror of Simple Souls”
•       Denise L. Despres, University of Puget Sound, “Reading the Bible Differently”
For Islam:
•       Asma Afsaruddin, Indiana University, Bloomington, “Literature, Scholarship, and Piety: Negotiating Gender and Authority in the Medieval Muslim World”
•       Hibba Abugideiri, Villanova University, “Revisiting the Islamic Past, Deconstructing Male Authority: The Project of Islamic Feminism”

In Part 2, Not Just a Museum: Medieval Texts and Modern Belief, scholars address the places and risks of faith “outside of museums,” especially in the hands of a professional scholar capitalizing on aspects of modern faith traditions that shed light backwards upon specific medieval texts.  Essays in this section include:

•       James Simpson, Harvard University, “‘Not Just a Museum’? Not so Fast”
•       Nicole Klan, University of Victoria, “Margery Kempe and Pentecostalism”
•       Susan Einbinder, Hebrew Union College, “Meir Alguades: History, Empathy, and Martyrdom”
•       Margot Fassler, University of Notre Dame, “History and Practice: The Opening of Hildegard’s Scivias and Liturgical Framework”
•       Amira El-Azhary Sonbol, Georgetown University, “Shari’ Court Records and Fiqh as Sources of Women’s History”

Part 3, The Elephant in the Room, is a series of essays that allows scholars to say what they would want to say if they felt free to conduct scholarship in an open forum.  If, that is, they felt free to name the elephant.  Included here are the following essays:

•       Dyan Elliott, Northwestern University, “Historical Faith/Historian’s Faith”
•       Richard Kieckhefer, Northwestern University, “Today’s Shocks, Yesterday’s Conventions”
•       Barbara Newman, Northwestern University, “Coming Out of the (Sacristy) Closet”
•       Suzanne Conklin Akbari, University of Toronto, “The Object of Devotion: Fundamentalist Perspectives on the Medieval Past”

We hope that you will join us in welcoming the first issue of our forty-second volume of Religion & Literature, available in print on February 10th, 2011.


Guest Editors Kathryn Kerby-Fulton and Jonathan Juilfs
Editor Susannah Monta
and the staff of Religion & Literature


Laura said...

Does anyone know if it's possible to buy this special issue without buying an annual subscription?

Thanks in advance,


Suzanne said...

Laura, I just checked and the ‘Subscriptions and Purchases’ page on the Religion and Lit website ( has been updated to show how to order the individual issue. They haven’t listed a price, but I’ve heard from the press that it’s likely to be around $12 because it’s a double issue (over 300 pp). Hope this is useful!

Laura said...

Suzanne, thank you so much!