Societas Liturgica: Call for Papers

The next congress of Societas Liturgical will be in Durham, August 5-10, 2019. The topic is Anamnesis: Remembering in Action, Place, and Time. See the description of the congress topic further below.

Congress participants are invited to submit proposals for individual papers, for panels for three to six papers, and for poster presentations. The peer review process is described beginning on p. 14 of the newsletter. The deadline is December 1, 2018, with re-submission possible until February 8, 2019. The six theme clusters for submissions are:

  • Cathedrals – monuments – pilgrimages – places of veneration.
  • Funerals – remembering and commemorating the dead.
  • Remembering and embodiment – personal identity and identity construction – collective and cultural memories.
  • The manipulation of time and memory – remembrance as critique –
  • historical adequacy – political dimensions.
  • Hurt memories – the healing of memories – rituals and emotions.
  • Prayer texts – archiving – written discourse.

Here is the congress description:

There is an intrinsic relationship between the liturgical celebrations of Christians, actions of remembering, and the times and places where these things happen. When Christians gather for worship, they do that in the name of the triune God, who left traces of presence and proximity in the history of humankind, most specifically through the Christ event and the paschal mystery. Saying thanks for these multiple saving initiatives, primarily by remembering them, is essential for any liturgical act, whether it does that implicitly, straightforwardly, subtly, or manifestly. Moreover, the locations where liturgical events take place very often acquire meanings which go far beyond the ordinary.

Upon closer inspection, however, there are striking features regarding the human faculty of memory and the role it plays in Christian liturgies. To remember is typical of human beings in general – we might say that it is part of being human. It is moreover of particular importance in the register of the Christian religion, in which the Christian religion, in which the relations between the universal and the particular levels are not so clear. Memories touch on matters of life and death. They are intriguingly connected with what it means to be fully human and to be fully Christian. The construction of one’s individual identity as well as collective identities are largely dependent on the memories held by the individual or by the particular communities, and on the ways in which these memories are cherished and suppressed. It comes as no surprise, then, that Christians have always attached particular weight to the commemoration of the dead and the communion of saints both in their liturgical services and in their theological and spiritual self-understanding.

At the same time, to remember, to recollect and to commemorate can never be equal to knowing everything that happened in the past, let alone to knowing it with exactitude. Even if such complete knowledge were possible, it seems neither necessary nor desirable, for remembering itself is subject to time and, therefore, always in process.

Of necessity, therefore, a certain selectivity governs what it is that one remembers. But making such selections is as risky as it is delicate and difficult. It raises challenging questions about oblivion, guilt, suffering, responsibility, and authority. Who decides to remember what, when, where, and for which purpose? Which motifs, or whose interests, are involved in remembering? The manipulation of memories is a very serious issue, while the healing of hurt memories requires a great deal of patience, courage, and sensitivity.

In sum, there seem to be many pressing reasons, both traditional and more contextual, to investigate again the immensely rich concept and reality of anamnesis, and to explore how remembering is at issue in funerals, in the Eucharist, in daily prayer, in the celebration of the sacraments, in pilgrimages, in devotions, and in many outstanding places where Christians have lived and worshiped.

From the 2019 SL NEWSLETTER.

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