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Home > Conferences > ASLS Annual Conference 2016




1–2 July 2016

St Andrews Building,
University of Glasgow,
Glasgow, Scotland

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Literature and the religions of the world are intimately intertwined, and the study of literature as a discipline began with the study of the relationship between writers and sacred texts, between words and the Word. This conference will examine some of the ways in which religions and religious impulses have influenced, and been influenced by, the literature of Scotland, past and present.


9:00–10:15am: Welcome & First Plenary Lecture
• Michael Brown: ‘Ecclesiastical Characteristics and Literary Culture in the Presbyterian Arc’
10:15–10:45am: BOOK LAUNCH
• Alastair McIntosh, Poacher’s Pilgrimage. An Island Journey (Birlinn, 2016)
Comment: Andrew Morrison, Viscount Dunrossil
10:45–12:45pm: Session 1A: Confessional Politics in the Seventeenth Century
• Paul Goatman: ‘Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Jacobean Scotland’
• Jamie MacDougall: ‘James Steuart and the Restoration Covenanters: Political Revolutionaries or Early Modern ISIS?’
• Jamie Kelly: ‘Preachers, Enlightenment and Empire: the Rhetoric of Scottish Mission and Improvement at Home and Abroad’
• Jamie Reid Baxter: ‘Elizabeth Melville’s Poetry and the Covenanters: New Documentary Evidence’
  Session 1B: Forging Identites
• Rahain Rosman: ‘Leila Aboulela’s Minaret
• Michael Turnbull: ‘Indebted to the Catholic Tradition: Hume, Burns and Scott’
• Elizabeth Howard: ‘The Spirituality of Macpherson’s Ossian’
• Jihan Zakarriya: ‘God, Politics and the Human in Sue Reid Sexton’s Mavis’s Shoe and Neil Gunn’s The Green Isle of the Great Deep: An Ecocritical Study’
12:45–1:45pm: Lunch
1:45–3:15pm: Session 2A: Literary Theory
• Bob Davis: ‘Glasites and Scientific Calvinism’
• Lynnette Fitch Brash: ‘No Love Lost: How Burns Repaid the Kirk in Verse’
• J. Walter McGinty: ‘Cadwallader Crabtree, Obadiah Lismahago, Tabitha, and Commodore Hawser Trunnion – Eccentrics as Spokespersons for Tobias Smollett on Religion’
  Session 2B: The Ties That Bind
• Ian Campbell: ‘Lewis Grassic Gibbon and the Church of Scotland’
• Arianna Introna: ‘Violet Jacob’s Religious Spaces and Communities: Between Oppression and Autonomy’
• Juliet Shields: ‘Annie S. Swan, the People’s Friend’
3:30–5:00pm: Session 3A: The ‘Word’ and Nineteenth-Century Literature
• John Pazdziora: ‘“The Sermon Pump”: Some Incompetent Preachers in George MacDonald’s Fiction’
• Valentina Bold: ‘“A Spirit of Devotion”: Biblical Allusions in James Hogg’s The Brownie of Bodsbeck (1818)’
• Deryl Davis: ‘Literary and Religious Foundations of Robert Pollok’s The Course of Time
  Session 3B: Religious Complexity in the Nineteenth Century
• Barbara Bell and Robert Davidson Committee: ‘The Work of Robert Davidson’
• Thomas Richardson: ‘Religion in the Fiction of John Gibson Lockhart’
• Caroline McCracken-Flesher: ‘The Great Unknowable: Scott, Carlyle, and the Civics of Religion’
9:00–10:30am: Session 4A: Re-examining Genres
• Duncan Sneddon: ‘Text and Practice: Adomn├ín’s Vita Sancti Columbae and the Life of the Columban Familia
• Ruth Oldman: ‘The Creation of a Secular Literary Tradition within “Lament for the Makaris”’
• Andrew Morrison: ‘Poetry and the Christian Faith’
  Session 4B: Religion, Symbol and Typology
• Elizabeth Anderson: ‘Ritual and (Inter)Subjectivity in Naomi Mitchison’s Fiction’
• Anna Fisk: ‘Entanglements and Enchantment: Religion and Contemporary Women’s Ecoliterature in Scotland’
• Matthew Wickman: ‘Ossian and the Book of Mormon’
  Session 4C: Literature as Theological Voice
• James McGonigal: ‘Edwin Morgan’s Last Things: Eschatology and Identity in his Post-millennial Poetry’
• Dominique Delmaire: ‘The Revelation of Being in the Works of Four Scottish Renaissance Poets’
• Silvia Mergenthal: ‘“If Heaven is a’ that man can dream”: Religion and Scottish Poetry of the First World War’
10:45–12:15pm: Session 5A: Literary Afterlife of the Covenanters
• Benjamine Toussaint: ‘Walter Scott’s and John Buchan’s portrayals of the Covenanters: Bringing “a legend into the searching light of day”?’
• Cally Phillips: ‘S. R. Crockett: Beyond The Stickit Minister
• Molly Rorke: ‘Dougal Graham’s Account of the Rebellion’
  Session 5B: The Body Sacred
• Michael Kugler: ‘A Post-Religious Incarnation in Alan Warner’s Morvern Callar
• Sam Martin: ‘Ian Rankin’s Bloody, Sacramental Imagination’
• Katie Fraser: ‘Neil Gunn’s Blood Hunt
  Session 5C: Sir Walter Scott
• Suchitra Choudhury: ‘Walter Scott and the Religions of India’
• Evan Gottlieb: ‘Spirits of the Elements: Object-Oriented Theology in Scott’s The Monastery
• Marie Michlová: ‘Sir Walter Scott, His Family, and Religion’
12:15–1:15pm: Lunch
1:15–2:45pm: Second Plenary Lecture & Closing Comments
• Alasdair MacDonald: ‘Searching for True Felicity: Some Masterpieces of Early Scottish Religious Poetry’


Image: “Eden and After” (detail) (c.1965–66) by Alasdair Gray.


Last updated 13 July 2016.