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Call For Papers, Baylor Symposium on Faith & Culture: Faith and Film

We announce a call for papers for the Baylor Symposium on Faith & Culture, co-sponsored by the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion.  For more information, visit the conference website here.

BSFC ButtonOver the past century, cinema has become the defining medium of Western culture, occupying the role that theater and the novel played in earlier generations. Recent advances in communication technologies allow films to reach global audiences on a vast and previously unimaginable scale.

Christian religious themes have been critically important to film from the earliest days. The cinema has produced vast biblical epics and intimate spiritual studies, sensitive biographical explorations and provocative revisions of Scripture, and many sentimental expressions of popular piety. Questions of faith are hardly confined to films that are explicitly religious; rather, these themes permeate all genres of film, often in subtle and unexpected ways. represents a vast resource for religious exploration and debate. Film, after all, is a medium appreciated, even loved, by people who would not normally be open to religious messages. And, although the scholarly study of film is a rich field, issues of faith are still underplayed. All too often, both secular-minded critics and Christian viewers routinely miss the varieties of ways—good and bad—in which faith appears in film.

The 2014 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, Faith and Film, invites exploration of the place of Christian faith in cinema, past and present. Investigations need not be limited to explicitly religious works, or even films with overtly religious themes. Presentations are welcome that examine the diversity of expressions of faith and its questions across genres and in both English-language and international works. This is not a forum for scholars of film only; we seek reflection from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives. Presentation proposals are welcome from specialists in film, including directors, screenwriters, and actors, as well as those in communications, philosophy, theology, biblical studies, foreign language studies, political science, literature, the arts, sociology, psychology, business, and other cross-disciplinary areas.

Proposals for individual papers, panel discussions, responses to current books, and film shorts may be submitted via the online form at Please share news of this announcement with your colleagues via e-mail and social media. We hope to see you at Faith and Film in the fall.

Posted by Joe Creech

Practicing Affection in the Academy – A Crosspost from Vitae

s200_robert.elderEarlier  today, the Chronicle of Higher Education’s online website, Vitae, published an article by one of our former Postdoctoral fellows, Bob Elder.  Elder examines in his article “Practicing Affection in the Academy,” both the trouble with MOOCs and the challenges of life as an adjunct.  What makes this essay truly worth reading is that Elder goes further than simply joining the fray.  He writes:

But while it’s easy to say “I told you so” to innovators and administrators [regarding MOOCs and labor issues with adjuncts], and deeply satisfying to see the failures of our academic labor system laid out with verve and wit, these stories also highlight a failure on the part of those pointing fingers to present a compelling case for why these developments in higher education were misguided in the first place.

Elder asks us to consider: “Why is it that we do what we do in the way that we do it?”  Go see what he has to say and how, with a little bit of help from Wendell Berry, we might find some “affection” in how we conduct the business of higher education.

Posted by Mary Beth Fraser Connolly

The Bible in American Life

Recently the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture announced it has published it Report on the Bible in American Life.  They asked the questions:

How do Americans use the Bible in their personal lives, and how do other influences, including religious communities and the internet, shape individuals’ comprehension of scripture? What is the Bible’s role outside of worship, in the lived religion of Americans, both now and in the past?

The report is now available to download and digest the significance of the Center’s findings, which cover a wide range of variables, including economics, education, race, politics, and cultural family practices.  According to the Center’s website, 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and it is still one of the more popular versions of Bible.   The Center also revealed that  31% of those who read the Bible do so on the Internet and 22% use e-devices.  The entire study was made possible by an award from the Lilly Endowment, Inc..   

Along with the report, the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture announces a Call for Papers for a Conference on this topic.  The conference will be August 6-9, 2014 in Indianapolis.  The deadline for receiving proposals is March 23, 2014.  See the website for more information.

Posted by Mary Beth Fraser Connolly

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