Fordham Graduate Theology Conference

If you happen to be a person who will be anywhere in the vicinity of New York City on April the 30th, I’d like to encourage you to attend the conference that I’m helping to organize on behalf of the graduate students of Fordham’s Theology Department.

In addition to the information in the flier above (which I’ve pasted below for those who don’t want to squint at the tiny, tilted text) there is a website for the conference which has been recently updated with lots of information—including the conference program and paper titles.


Fordham Graduate Theology Conference

Marginal Persons and the Margins of Personhood

Keynote Speaker: Virginia Burrus of Drew University

Saturday April 30th, 2011; 12-7 PM

12th Floor, Lowenstein Tower (60th St. and 9th Ave.)

Free and open to the public


People find themselves on the margins of societies for a wide range of reasons. Some self-locate at the margins, some are forced there by birth, disadvantage, or structural malice. Moreover, even enlightened, “liberal” discourse about the “marginalized” often makes questionable presumptions about the location of the “center” against which margins are measured.

Who or what counts as a “person”? When and where do they count as such? As they are variously drawn, the boundaries around personhood cut between animals, angels, God, and even some humans. Negotiations concerning the attributes, capacities, and narratives that make for a “good” person are as ethically and politically freighted as they are interminable.

The 2011 FGTC brings together questions in these two veins—marginal persons and the margins of personhood—particularly as religion and theology play a role in any answers given. Presenters from Fordham, Yale, Harvard, Princeton Seminary, and Boston University will offer an exciting range of papers on the ways in which religion both establishes and resists, both defines and confuses, both cements and liberates the margins where persons are found.

Virginia Burrus will give a keynote lecture at 6 PM entitled, “Saints and Other Animals: The Limits of Humanity.” She is the author of many books—including Saving Shame: Martyrs, Saints, and Other Abject Subjects and The Sex-Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography—and a recent president of the North American Patristics Society.


4 Replies to “Fordham Graduate Theology Conference”

  1. Eric,
    Your blog is in danger of being retitled “very few words”! Where are you? Are you going to post about Wales (including some pics)? What is happening, my friend?

  2. Oh dear,

    Hi Tim. Sorry for neglecting this space so badly!

    This conference (above) went really well. I was worried about a lot of the details (food, chairs, presenters, etc.) going awry and none of the nightmare scenarios materialized. Even better, most of the papers were really, really strong.

    Without even asking her to do so, Virginia Burrus’ keynote took up questions around animals and animality, and did so in a fascinating and complex way. So that was a treat for me too! She read Heidegger through Derrida through Edith Wyschogrod—all on the topic of the difference between a human “hand” and an animal paw (Heidegger is surprisingly adamant on that point). She then related that whole conversation to the hand of the saint—extended to receive alms in need, or extended to offer aid where it is needed.

    Hope you are well. I’ll try to put up a post on Wales soon, as well as some other goings-on!


  3. Eric,
    Thanks for the post. Glad everything went well for you. I’ll try and shoot you an email with updates on the Dunbars.

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