Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Gebäude Adam-Kuckhoff-Strasse

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Spiritual Networks: Religion in Literature and the Arts, 1700 to the Present

The conference addresses the forms of significant spiritual networks that have characterised literatures and cultures from the Enlightenment to the present. The Christian religion and its diverging forms and practices—especially in the aftermath of the Reformation—have been representing core issues of Western society, shaping the lives of individuals and determining the social, literary, and political climate of any given period. Such forms and practices are testimony to the ongoing (re-)negotiations of spiritual attitudes in context with the historical succession of religious and secular world models. The underlying paradigm shifts, in turn, have affected all ways of social life within cultural communities as well as the intellectual dispositions of their members and agents.

Set within the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran reformation, the conference envisages an international and interdisciplinary dialogue about the transcultural dispositif ‘spirituality’ as manifest in the Western world across national boundaries. Inviting a decidedly diachronic perspective, the conference brings together experts from different philologies, literary studies, ecclesiastical history, cultural studies as well as art history.

The speakers will focus on issues concerning the relationship of narrative and religion/theology, such as

  • case studies of particular religious/theological narratives
  • forms and functions of religious/theological genres (such as prayer, Christian oratory, conversion/confession narratives, conduct literature, etc.)
  • Luther’s and other reformers’ legacy
  • religion/theology in visual culture(s)
  • “grand narrative(s)” and counter-narratives of religion/theology
  • narratives of religious identity and the religious “other”

Keynote speakers

Robert DeMaria, Jr. (Vassar College, USA)
William Gibson (Oxford Brookes University, UK)
John Richetti (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Laura Stevens (University of Tulsa, USA)


Jürgen Meyer (Bielefeld University/MLU)
Therese-M. Meyer
Julia Nitz
Theresa Schön

Department of English and American Studies
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg


Theresa Schön
Tel. +49 (0) 345 552 3525
Fax. +49 (0) 345 552 7272