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Grant number: FS-231135-15

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University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA 52242-1320)
Lori Branch (Project Director: February 2015 to present)
Mark Knight (Co Project Director: August 2015 to present)

Postsecular Studies and the Rise of the English Novel, 1719-1897

A four-week seminar for sixteen college and university teachers to explore new accounts of the rise of the English novel through the lens of six works written between 1719 and 1897.

Postsecular studies and the "religious turn" in the humanities recognize the need for more complex accounts of the relationship between religion and the secular in modernity. Our seminar focuses on the implications of postsecular studies for our understanding of the English Novel (1719-1897). Literary scholars have traditionally seen the rise of the novel as a clear sign of secularization. Although there are good reasons for this, as we will acknowledge, religion does not disappear in 18th- and 19th-century fiction, and we need to expand our histories and theories of the novel to better understand the changing roles played by religion in modernity. Following the classic NEH seminar format, our four-week seminar will meet three mornings a week to discuss six representative novels and a range of interdisciplinary work on postsecular studies. Through shared conversations, the seminar will provide a stimulating environment to participants' individual projects on related topics.

Project fields:
British Literature

Seminars for College Teachers

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$139,000 (approved)
$126,878 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 5/31/2017