September 25, 2000
An opportunity to investigate relationships between Christianity and literature will attract about 150 scholars to the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University Sept. 28-30.
The Southwest Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature will convene on the OBU campus, featuring a variety of opportunities for scholarly presentations and discussions. The conference is designed for college and university faculty members.
Twelve OBU faculty members, as well as professors from nine other universities in Oklahoma, will make paper presentations during the conference. Faculty from several other states, including Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Kentucky, Louisiana, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas, will read papers or participate in panel discussions during the three-day meeting.
"A regional conference such as this one can encourage people at schools like OBU, where the primary emphasis is on teaching," said Dr. Joe Hall, OBU professor of English. "(They can) continue to be scholars by writing papers that will not be in competition with big names in the field, such as might be the case in a national conference,"
"We have also tried to better understand what the great authors of the past reveal to us about their experience of the Christian faith, and have wondered what insights current literature provides into the present state of the Christian narrative," he said.
The Conference on Christianity and Literature is an interdisciplinary society allied with the Modern Language Association. The conference was organized in 1956 and now has nearly 1,200 members from a variety of academic institution and religion traditions.
In addition to sessions at the MLA Annual Convention, CCL sponsors seven regional conferences throughout the United States and publishes the quarterly journal, "Christianity and Literature."
"The Southwest Regional CCL has at its heart a group of 50 to 60 professors on campuses in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas who form something of an ecumenical network of people interested in, for example, whether there is such a thing as a Christian way of reading literature," said Hall.
"I usually leave these conferences pleased that these people are struggling with important issues, hoping that we are developing some useful insights, and encouraged by the quality of people teaching at schools in the region," said Hall.