Second Annual Graduate Student Colloquium in Scripture, Interpretation and Practice
March 22nd-23rd, 2015 at the University of Virginia
The 2015 Graduate Colloquium in Scripture, Interpretation, and Practice welcomes submissions of original research from graduate students on the topic “Weaponizing Scripture?”
Religious communities have frequently appealed to their scriptures in contexts of conflict. Sacred texts play a role in defining communal boundaries and in furthering their own formative and institutional goals. Conversely, individuals and groups who are antagonistic towards particular traditions deploy those traditions’ scriptures against them. Political and military leaders, resistance movements, and minority groups may all cite scripture as a warrant for action. The Word(s) of God can even be portrayed as a weapon itself.
This conference, then, will explore cases, both historical and contemporary, in which scripture serves as a resource for/against the communities that are formed by it, as well as how it is instrumentalized for formational, popular, political, and/or polemical agendas. It further seeks to uncover ways that scripture transforms the character of the debates and purposes for which it is deployed. Accordingly, papers could examine such cases intra-traditionally, ecumenically, inter-religiously, or between religious and secular spheres.
We seek participants who will address this topic from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives — historical, legal, theological, hermeneutic, ethical, political, and more. The following list is meant to be suggestive of topics rather than provide categories and is therefore not exhaustive:
- How is scripture a resource and/or an instrument in the following contexts?:
- in social/political movements (Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Abolition, The Civil Rights Movement, Latin American Base Communities, Islamism, the Christian Right/Left, and so on)
- within political and/or everyday speech
- as warrant for
- religious or political ideological stances, including secular ones
- violence and war
- non-violent action
- social justice/activism
- within religious traditions
- as a means of formation, or as a means of inclusion or exclusion
- in doctrinal arguments (classical or contemporary)
- towards the reform of traditions and religious sects, or the formation of religious institutions institutionalization
- Phenomena such as:
- Portrayal of weapons in scripture, including depictions of scripture itself as a weapon
- scriptural commentary, scriptural reading strategies, scripture interpreting scripture, rewritten scripture
- religious groups/movements defined by a specific scripture or set of scriptures
- Philosophical questions:
- What is the place of scripture in nurturing our religious traditions?
- What does it mean when a political leader cites scripture as warrant for a military action?
- Is there a difference between scripture used as a warrant for a specific action verse scripture used as a means of forming particular communities?
- Does scripture function as a warrant within communities?
Plenary Speaker: Dr. Sohail Nakhooda
Dr. Nakhooda is a scholar of both Islamic and Christian traditions, who, as senior advisor to the current Libyan ambassador to the UAE, played a significant role in the recent Libyan revolution. He is Co-Leader of the Islamic Analytic Theology project at Kalam Research & Media (KRM) in the UAE, in association with the John Templeton Foundation. During the Libyan revolution he worked as Secretary of the Libya Stabilization Team and also with the Support Offices of the Executive Team of the National Transitional Council of Libya. He was also former advisor to HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan; a Junior Fellow of the Royal Aal AlBayt Institute; and Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of the awardwinning Islamica Magazine. We have sought him out because he provides us a unique window into the role of scripture both within religious tradition and in the political and even military spheres.
Proposals in the form of a 250-word abstract should be emailed to email@example.com by January 15th, 2014. Acceptance notifications will be sent out by February 5rd, 2014. Final papers, not to exceed 2000 words, must be submitted by March 14rd, 2014. For up-to-date information please check out our website: sipgradconference.wordpress.com
We are grateful for the financial support provided by the following sponsors:
Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life; Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University; Project on Lived Theology; Society for Scriptural Reasoning; Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures; Office of Diversity and Equity; Department of Religious Studies; Virginia Center for the Study of Religion