One of the activities that I have come to look forward to during Winter Break is my preparation for academic conferences in the coming year. There are several times during the year when calls for papers are announced, but some of the conference announcements from December-January provide some of the greatest opportunities. I look forward to conferences because I can share my scholarship. Though, I have discovered that it is not so one-sided. My projects transform through these conferences because they become part of a group effort. It is invigorating!

Here are two of the conferences I submitted papers for:

  • Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars’ Conference, Lipscomb University: Nashville, TN (June 2017).
  • Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Boston University, MA (November 2017).

The projects I hope to present at these conferences cover a pretty wide range of topics. I drafted an initial paper proposal for a topic that I did not get to finish in my Genesis class last semester called: “Explorations in the Existential Death of Israel in Gen 47-50.” My paper examines the influence of Augustine on the interpretation of death in Gen 3, and applies it to interpret Jacob/Israel’s death as borderline hypostatic. The next paper I submitted is called: “The City of God ’s Stratification of Peace Across Two Cities: St. Augustine’s Interpretation of Ps 147.” I worked on an early form of this paper for my final project in my Formation of Christian Traditions class last semester. Like the previous paper, it derives the topic from Augustine, but in this one I focus more on the City of God as a way to explore Augustine’s unique interpretation of peace. My last paper requires more work for it to be ready, but it is tentatively called: “Frankenstein’s Pedagogical Deficiency as Spiritual Death in Mary Shelley’s Reception of Gen 3.” I intend on submitting it to the SBL annual meeting because I feel as though it is time for me to take the next step. It was mostly written in my Genesis class, but I am modifying its focus for the larger audience.

When I say Merry Christmas to friends and family, I will probably be writing at the same time!

My joy in sharing research often begins in the classroom. I make it a point to think about what I could possibly research further when the class ends. In this sense, the assignments from a professor begin the collaborative process. The following step is to figure out which conferences are appropriate fits for my project. This is probably one of the most important steps because it can transform the focus of my work. Some conferences want more theoretical submissions while others want an application for every day people. I try to work on my paper in line with a conference’s theme because it opens up avenues of interpretation that would not exist otherwise. It is a great way to figure out if my research is capable of “finding its way” (making sense in the world) outside of my own echo-chamber. I could go on and on, but these are just some of the reasons why I immensely enjoy academic conferences.

Merry Christmas!

The featured image for this post is from my second conference presentation at U.C. Berkeley. I met a lot of awesome people there, especially since Common Ground provided several unique opportunities for graduate students.

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