Call for Papers :: Fordham Graduate Theology Conference

I’m helping to organize a regional graduate student conference that will take place at the end of April at the Lincoln Center campus of Fordham University, midtown Manhattan.

The call for papers is below; if you know of anyone who might be interested, please pass this along or print off a copy for yourself by clicking here: FGTC call for papers.


:: Call for Papers ::

Marginal Persons and the Margins of Personhood


Fordham Graduate Theology Conference

Saturday April 30th, 2011

Fordham University, Lincoln Center, NYC

Keynote Address: Virginia Burrus (Drew University)

The Theology Graduate Student Association at Fordham warmly invites submissions from graduate students in the disciplines comprising religious studies and theology. Students whose research is primarily textual/biblical, sociological, historical, philosophical, ethical, or constructive are all invited to submit and attend. Examples of topics within the scope of the theme include:

The dynamics of marginalization: the involvement of religion in economic, political, or colonial exploitation/liberation; religious hybridity or self-location at margins; boundaries drawn with religious rhetoric—past and present; the exclusion and erasure of people from the historical record; the value, function, and criteria of orthodoxies and heresies.

The notion of ‘personhood’ in religious contexts: the definition and significance of personhood as a category; the propriety of conceiving of God as personal; controversy over the “persons” of the Trinity; the relation of animals and angels to personhood; the unique rights of persons, and the politics of recognizing personal rights; religion as a “personal matter,” not a public concern; personhood as rhetoric or ontology.

Abstracts, no longer than 350 words, should be sent via email to by Monday, March 21st.

Presentations will be 15-20 minutes, with subsequent time for questions/discussion. The conference will conclude with a keynote address from Virginia Burrus. Professor Burrus is a scholar of late-ancient Christianity at Drew University. She is a former president of the North American Patristics Society and the author or editor of eight books, including Saving Shame: Martyrs, Saints, and Other Abject Subjects and The Sex-Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography.

Complete conference schedule and further information will be available at the conference website (click here).  Questions may be directed to

3 Replies to “Call for Papers :: Fordham Graduate Theology Conference”

  1. I’m intrigued by the phrase “self-location at margins”. Can you give me a brief explanation? I have an idea of what it might/could mean but I don’t want to venture forth in ignorance.

    1. Hi Tim,

      Well, it could mean a lot of things:
      1. People who move to “the margins” in solidarity with those who are there involuntarily.
      2. People who find that they “don’t fit” in the mainstream, and so take up marginal, prophetic, or adversarial positions relative to a community with which they still identify.
      3. People who are committed to several different religious traditions (I’m thinking of Buddhist-Christians), and are sort of necessarily marginal in both.

      These were the sorts of things that I had in mind as I included that in the list of “possibles.”

      Part of the challenge of the genre of a Call for Papers is to make the description broad enough that anyone interested in the conference can find a way to “fit” their paper in somewhere, while still being focused enough to provide momentum and direction to the conference as a whole. So, the notion of “self-location at the margins” is somewhat intentionally vague.

      Does that description resonate with your stance these days?

  2. Thanks for the explanation Eric. To answer your question – no, that doesn’t resonate with my stance. I read Stanley Hauerwas’s memoirs last year and he finished by writing something like “I am a Christian. How interesting.” I think the gist of it is that for better or for worse the Church is where he finds himself and a Christian is what his friends and community call him. Earlier in the book he wrote that while he would always remain a Christian, he would do so as an “uneasy Christian”. I resonate with those descriptions. As to point #1 – I am increasingly suspicious of and in fact developing something bordering on an unhealthy dislike of those who self-identify at the margins. I’ll spare you the details unless you’re interested. As to point #2 – I often find that I don’t fit into the mainstream, but I am wary of anyone who self-identifies as “prophetic”. That word is tossed around far too easily these days. As far as I can tell, the Biblical prophets were pretty reluctant to pursue their divine calling. That said, if one is truly called to assume such a position relative to a community with which they identify then I have a lot of respect for that calling. After all, we all know where Jesus says the prophet is given his or her coldest reception. As to point #3, I’m not sure what that looks like, although I at times seem to be equally committed to practical atheism, self-worship, and Christianity 😉

    Thanks for the interaction, as always. Hope you are well and I wish you success with the conference.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: