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The ICLA Research Committee on Religion, Ethics, and Literature


This site is updated periodically and concerns all information regarding the Research Committee and its related activities for the future. The title above, Fault Lines of Modernity, refers to the committee's inaugural conference hosted by SF State in 2014. All inquiries about the committee should be directed to Professor Kitty Millet ( For more information about the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA), visit their website.

This committee examines global literary phenomena as instances of subject formation in order to think new relationships between religion, ethics, and literature. It investigates the philosophical and theoretical roles of religion and ethics in literature, as well as explores the fraught relationship between secularism and post-secularism as these ideas emerge aesthetically. While the examination of religious imagery, symbolism, and the role of myth is not our purview, the signifiers of religion as they motivate "an ethical turn" remains a key concern.

The committee has had a busy three years. We have had events in the U.S,, India, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria. At each event, we've seen our membership increase to the extent that we can no longer post membership in one column on our front page. After our certification in 2014, the committee began actively to recruit new members from related disciplines outside of comparative literature. More than half of our membership are faculty and students at universities outside of the United States. We are a diverse cohort with members at every rank within higher education. To view membership, please follow the link in the Membership Information column.

Events below reflect the immediate activities of the group. For a year by year summary, peruse the Year by Year column to the left.

2019 Upcoming Events:

ACLA CFP, Chicago, March 19-22, 2020

CFP for “An Ethics of Gender?” a seminar co-sponsored by the ICLA Committees on Gender and Religion, Ethics, and Literature “An Ethics of Gender?” A seminar co-sponsored by the ICLA Committee on Comparative Gender Studies and the ICLA Committee on Religion, Ethics, and Literature

Is there an ethics of gender ­— of doing or undoing gender, in binary or non-binary ways? And how does literature stage the dilemmas and choices that arise, repositioning subjects in unfamiliar or novel conditions, opening up textual spaces that offer alternatives to the understood stability of religious dogma? This seminar explores the construction of gender within literature, to tease out the ethical dimensions of the textual and transformative spaces in which subjects imagine themselves liberated from the constraints of a socially determined world. It focuses on the ways in which literature suggests possible “transformations” of the binary codes grounding religious epistemology and the challenges it provokes to its adherents by creating imagined opportunities for subjects to question their beliefs, their identities, and the conditions of their existences. And it inquires into the ways in which literature reveals the tensions between who I am “determined to be,” the “social determinism” highlighted by Judith Butler in Gender Trouble, and who “I imagine myself to be,” the conclusions reached by Daniel Boyarin in Unheroic Conduct. Consequently, this seminar asks if literature proposes “an ethics of gender” that might impose various obligations opposed to or even beyond the purview of religion and literature in their singular deployments in order to introduce a novel, intuitive dimension of existence.

We seek papers that analyze literature comparatively and in relation to literature’s intervention not only in the construction of gender, but also in its revelation of the ethical obligations that are generated by its intervention. Thus we hope for papers that address other ways of thinking about religion, ethics, and literature, in relation to gender.

To propose a paper for this seminar you must submit your abstract through the ACLA portal.

CFP for Comparative Jewish Literatures, a new book series with Bloomsbury Academic

Call for Book Proposals: Comparative Jewish Literatures. 

A new book series with Bloomsbury Academic, Comparative Jewish Literatures intends to illustrate the diversity of scholarship focused on comparative Jewish literatures as a field with unique interdisciplinary registers. Consequently, it signals both how scholars of Jewish Studies have viewed the Jewish text and how comparatists subsume Jewish literatures within national traditions. The diversity of these groups’ different conceptual underpinnings is of particular concern since it suggests that disciplinary location informs our understanding of comparative Jewish literatures as an object of knowledge. It implies, furthermore, that several audiences are shareholders in the notion of a comparative Jewish literary tradition. The series intends not only to engage all of these different groups, but also to establish new avenues of inquiry that abut and intersect with the field.

We seek scholarship that examines Jewish writing beyond the U.S. canon, or that frames the American context in relation to America as a broad signifier. We also are interested in analyses that frame Jewish texts in relation to other national traditions, extending the notion of a Jewish literary tradition to encompass writers in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Israel and the Middle East, Australia, Asia. Moreover, the series also hopes to include scholarship that repositions Judaism's ancient, medieval, and early modern religious writers in relation to modern Jewish texts.

Comparative Jewish Literatures encourages submissions from leading and established scholars as well as early career academics. If you have a proposal that you think may be suitable for the series, please feel free to submit a one page description to the series editor, Kitty Millet, for more information, and further instruction. You can also email her ( for any related questions and for a complete description of the call.

Contact Info: Professor Kitty Millet | Professor of Jewish Studies | San Francisco State University |1600 Holloway Ave | HUM 415 | San Francisco |California | 94132

Contact Email:

Business Meeting 2019, ICLA

At the recent business meeting during ICLA 2019, we welcomed several new members. We have a cohort just under 80 members. At the Macau conference, I was approached by the chair of the ICLA research committee on Gender about co-sponsoring a seminar at the upcoming ACLA. The product of that meeting is the above cfp.

I would also like to announce that as our six year term with ICLA comes to an end, I will seek for a renewal of another three years. However, the renewal requires that we have a more formal structure than we have had for the last few years. I'll have more on this topic later.






























































Publication Details for the Committee Research Volume:

The volume is in the final draft stage. The volume should be in press in 2018.

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