U.S. Intellectual History Blog

For Fans of Close Reading

Since the topic of close reading comes up occasionally on this blog, I thought I would pass on this information I received from a colleague at Le Moyne College about an upcoming conference some readers here might be interested in knowing about:

It looks to be too late for paper proposals, perhaps there are readers who might like to consider attending or to know about the project and others out there who share this common interest. Sounds like a breath of fresh air:

“In recent decades, the study of religion and the study of literature have similarly turned from emphasis on texts to emphasis on the reception of texts. Scholars in both fields have sought to recreate contexts and audiences by means of which texts should be understood. While this work has invaluably expanded our ability to comprehend wide ranges of religious and literary thought and practice, it has also encouraged a disregard for the very sources that have helped shape the respective fields of study. The idea seems to be that texts have nothing in themselves to reveal but are only what we make of them.

Rather than view texts as objects that merely reflect culture, this forum will consider whether and how texts participate in culture….”

2 Thoughts on this Post

  1. Elisabeth – Coincidence, maybe — I am almost finished with an blog post on the distinction between “symptomatic” and “surface” reading, which I hope Tim Lacy will be willing to put up for me. From the full description of the conference, it sounds as if “close” means “surface.”

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