The Grove City English Department invites participants and presenters to an in-person Lilly Fellows Program Regional Conference: “Christianity and Core Texts at Global/Cultural Crossroads,” held on campus at Grove City College on March 30-April 1, 2023. The conference will include plenary addresses by graphic novelist and artist Gene Luen Yang and scholar Dr. Susan VanZanten.
Describing the vexed position of the Christian in a postcolonial nation, Ghanaian theologian Mercy Amba Oduyoye writes, “What is specifically Christian is irresistible. But Christianity in Africa began by confusing Christianity with European culture” (Inheriting Our Mothers’ Gardens 39). Christianity has often been mistaken for and sometimes presented as a purely Western phenomenon, but this has never been the case—Christian communities like the Ethiopian Church and the Saint Thomas Christians of India trace their roots back to the time of the apostles. This fact is becoming ever more apparent today as the demographic center of even Western Christianity shifts eastward and southward. If, as St. Paul says, the Gospel is “a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles,” then Christianity presents a challenge to the conventional wisdom of any culture or nation. Christianity is not inherently more compatible with Western culture than it is with any of the cultures of the East or the Global South. How might American scholars and American students, especially those who also find Christianity “irresistible,” understand and learn from Christian thinkers and treatments of Christian communities in these global texts?
We invite scholarly or pedagogically focused 15-20 minute conference papers centered on the relationship between Christianity and a primary text or core work from a non-Western tradition, including works of literature, philosophy, theology, history, and the fine arts. Proposals (250-300 words) should be sent to email@example.com by January 13, 2023, and center around one or more of the following approaches: