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Colloquium On Violence & Religion



COV&R-Bulletin No. 17 (Oct. 1999)

Future Meetings

Semi-annual meeting of COV&R: November 20, 1999, 9:00 a.m.-11:30.
THEME : Ruach Elohiym/Holy Spirit: A Breath of Non-Violence.

The semi-annual meeting of COV&R,held in conjunction with the AAR/SBL will be November 20 from 9:00-11:30 in Room Constitution A at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston, MASS.

The topic is: Ruach Elohiym/Holy Spirit: A Breath of Non-Violence.

Speakers will be Sandor Goodhart (Executive Sec'y of COV&R) and Tony Bartlett of Syracuse University.

If you are interested in responding to their papers, please get in touch with them or me (at dculbert@kent.edu) This will be announced in the annual meeting program.


COV&R 2000 at Boston College: Wed. May 31 - Sat. June 3, 2000
MAIN THEME: Violence and Institution in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam
SUBSIDIARY THEME: A René Girard - Bernard J.F. Lonergan "Conversation"

Preliminary Program Planning

The opening session will run from about 5-9 pm (including a break for a simple supper) on Wed., May 31, and will be devoted to the subsidiary theme. The pre-supper sessions will feature a paper by James Alison on 'Girard for the Non-Girardians' and a paper by Charles C. Hefling, Jr. (editor of the Lonergan Journal, METHOD) on 'Lonergan for the Non-Lonerganians.' The after- supper session will be devoted to a discussion of these two papers, and to the significance of this 'conversation' for the work of COV&R.

The remainder of the conference, Thur. June 1st Sat. June 3, with a schedule similar to the one we are enjoying here in Atlanta, will be devoted to the main theme. Our starting point is the assumption that people who call themselves Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists have been in the past and are in the present, actively and/or passively, involved with violence, and that this involvement has something to do with the theological, religious, cultural, and socio-political institutions of their respective traditions. In other words, however they may be conceived or expressed, 'violence' and ''institution' are to be found in all of these traditions. But we must not presume that the ways in which we (mostly Western-Christianity types) understand these realities and try to make sense of them with the help of mimetic theory will be congenial to representatives from the other traditions. That is why the main presenters from each of the five traditions will be asked to begin talking about violence and institution FIRST in ways that make sense within that tradition, and SECOND in ways that can also reach out in dialogue to others in the other traditions. THEN it will be time to compare notes, see what sort of a discussion we have begun, and see what sort of light can be shed on the discussion from mimetic theory, or on mimetic theory from the discussion. One scholar from each of these five traditions will be assigned the task of main presenter; others, we expect, will be chosen to assist in the discussion, especially in relating the discussion to mimetic theory.

In addition, the Board of COV&R reaffirms the place in our annual conference of special interest subgroups or themes that are not necessarily connected with the main theme. We will try to arrange these under the 'special interests in the following fields' which are listed on the COV&R enrollment form (see Bulletin no. 16 [April 1999] p. 3):

- Literary Criticism, Aesthetics;
- Political Science, Economics,
- Social Ethics;
- Biblical Theology;
- Systematic Theology and Philosophy;
- Psychology and Psychiatry;
- Education, Practice;
- Anthropology, Religious Studies;
- Gender Concerns.

The seven main presenters of the subsidiary theme and of the main theme will soon be at work to write first drafts of their presentations. These will then be shared among the seven and revised for distribution to the conference participants ahead of time. Thus, when the colloquium actually meets, we will not need as much time for the paper presentations, for the discussion will already be under way.

The next issue of the Bulletin will contain the formal announcement and call for (special topic) papers, and for volunteers to help convene the various sessions. In the meantime, comments and suggestions, as well as preliminary special topic proposals may be sent to:

Robert J. Daly, S.J.
Boston College Department of Theology
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Tel.: (617) 552-3887 email: dalyr@bc.edu
Colloque d'Agen, France


Fall 2000: THEME: "Droit de l'homme et incarcération".

This colloquium will be organised by "l'école Nationale de l'Administration Pénitentiaire" in Agen, either the week of October 16, 2000 or the week of November 13, 2000.

More information in the following issues of the Bulletin.


COV&R-meeting 2001 in Antwerp, Belgium
MAIN THEME : The place of Girard's mimetic theory in the history of philosophy

The university of Antwerp, at the very heart of the historical city, will be our host university for the COV&R meeting in 2001.

Preliminary data: May 31 - June 2, 2001.

The colloquium will be organised by Guido Vanheeswijck and Paul Pelckmans (University of Antwerp), and Johan Elsen (COV&R).

In general, René Girard's work is situated in the field of the humanities, more than in that of the history of philosophy. However, since the mimetic theory aims at a global vision of man, it cannot but be associated with the questions that are typical of fundamental philosophy.

This philosophical dimension, inherent in Girard's thought undoubtedly remained underexposed during the last decades. This colloquium intends to fill up this gap by confronting Girard's work with current philosophical mainstreams.

More specifically, three topics will be dealt with:

1. René Girard and the philosophical tradition:

Important philosophers as Plato, Augustine, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre...often function as interlocutors in Girard's work. A number of lectures may focus upon the discussions between these philosophers and Girard.

2. René Girard and the return of religion

When Girard published Des Choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde in 1972, his appraisal of judeo-christian tradition seemed to be completely against the grain. Recently, a lot of philosophers have shown a renewed interest in the phenomenon of religion. Where can we situate Girard's thought on religion in the context of this renewed interest for religion (e.g. the relation Vattimo-Girard)?

3. Mimetic theory and economics

Recent philosophical-anthropological reflection on economics has been criticising the typically modern stress on autonomy, self-interest... (cfr. the controversy between liberalists and communitarians). This criticism is in line with the link Girard makes between internal mediation and the artificial creation of needs... What is the relation between this widespread feeling of the 'malaise of modernity' and Girard's exposure of the 'romantic lie'? How can this criticism be translated in the field of economics?

It goes without saying that these three topics can be enlarged, dependent on the number and the quality of the different proposals.

More information in the next issues of the Bulletin.

Comments and suggestions may be sent to:

Johan Elsen
MIMESIS, Lindenlaan 19
B-8700 Tielt, Belgium.
Fax [+32] (0)9 218 88 77
E-mail: johan.elsen@oww.be (office)
johan.elsen8@yucom.be (home)Johan Elsen, Lindenlaan 19, B-8700 Tielt, Belgium.