Call For Short Papers: Iterations: Spirituality in post-Christian Times

Following the success of a day conference in May 2017 (entitled Interrelations: Spirituality and Theology), the Sarum Centre for Contemporary Spirituality is pleased to announce a second day conference in this series on Monday 14 May 2018.

We are also delighted to be welcoming leading US theologian of his generation, Professor David Tracy from the University of Chicago, for a Public Lecture on the preceding Sunday evening. Professor Tracy will also be participating in the Monday conference.

Conference Theme – Iterations: Spirituality in post-Christian Times


The current English usage of the word ‘spirituality’ seems to have arrived via French Catholicism in the mid-20th Century. Since then, the word has rapidly accrued a life of its own, beyond a Christianity in seeming terminal decline. At the same time, many spy opportunities in this new category for a wider and deeper reengagement of Christian traditions. Today, western ‘spirituality’ of all kinds must inhabit a culture where religious belief seems eccentric and yet the Christian past resurfaces everywhere. This day-conference will explore the contemporary iterations of spirituality in this fluid context.

The morning of the conference will host sessions with two plenary speakers from 10am, as well as a session of structured conversation with David Tracy around the conference theme.

After buffet lunch in college, the conference afternoon will then contain up to nine 40-minute short papers, running via parallel sessions.

Proposals are therefore requested for max. 25 min. (c. 3,000 word) short papers on subjects broadly connected to the conference theme (allowing 15 minutes for discussion).

For example, papers might touch on the following (N.B. this list is not intended as exhaustive):

  • Contemporary spiritualities which both resist and retrieve the Christian past
  • Music, novels, poetry, film etc. and spirituality in post-Christian times
  • Spirituality and nonbelief
  • Spirituality as a meeting point for pastoral practice
  • Pre-modern spiritual writing and us as readers today
  • Notions of subjectivity and/or experience in contemporary spirituality
  • Spirituality and interreligious dialogue
  • Women’s spirituality in a post-Christian age
  • The character and relevance of popular Christian spiritual writing today
  • Spirituality and psychology/psychoanalysis
  • The impact of the rise of “spirituality” on non-Christian traditions
  • The language of “soul” today
  • Spirituality in contemporary politics
  • Living by the Bible in post-Christian times

Please submit your proposal (max. 400 words) to Dr Barnabas Palfrey at Sarum College (bpalfrey@dev.sarum.ac.uk) by Friday 2 March 2018. You will be informed whether your proposal has been accepted by Friday 9 March.

There will be a reduced charge for students and short-paper presenters at the conference, to cover costs, including buffet lunch and refreshments. Unfortunately, we cannot cover travel costs for presenters.

Registration and payment enquiries should be directed to Alison Ogden (aogden@dev.sarum.ac.uk); academic enquiries should be directed to Barnabas Palfrey (bpalfrey@dev.sarum.ac.uk).

The main conference webpage is sarum.ac.uk/iterationsconference2018.

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