Directed by: Edward J. Blum (San Diego State University),
with host: James Bratt (Calvin College)
June 12-24, 2016
Funds provided by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship with funding by Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Bodies of Christ: Visualizing Jesus Then and Now addresses a fundamental dilemma of Christianity: how to represent God's Son. This is particularly important in the twenty-first century. Issues of race, gender, and sexuality animate debates in church, state, and society. Considerations of bodies and body images dominate personal lives. And new technologies allow for the creation and distribution of images as never before. How we "see" Jesus Christ plays a vital role in how we see ourselves, our communities, our churches, our nations, and our societies.
We will begin with history. How have peoples of the past represented Jesus Christ? What has animated debates ranging from heresy discussions to the Protestant Reformation? How has American history, its triumphs and tragedies, altered the terrains of conversation? Then, we will address the present and future. How can we represent Jesus Christ to best serve the kingdom of God? How can we address displays of Jesus in popular culture and media? How can we engage our sisters and brothers to deepen their commitments to Jesus Christ through their own visualizations?
We look forward to a diverse group of historians, religious studies scholars, artists, theologians, and pastors to discuss and debate these topics.
This seminar is designed for scholars of religious history, particularly in the United States, and individuals involved in full-time ministry, especially those working in the arts and media. The application deadline is February 15, 2016 by 11 pm EST.
To apply, an applicant must submit the online application form and include the following components:
- Curriculum vitae or resume (PDF or Word format)
- Brief essay (2 paragraphs) as to why this topic matters for your research, teaching, or ministry (PDF or Word format)
- Name and contact information (phone and email) for two professional references, submitted via the application form. (Letters of recommendation are not needed.)
After you submit your application, you will receive an automated email confirmation with the information you submitted. We will contact you directly if any materials are missing from your application, but we cannot update you further on the status of your application. Participants will be selected by the director after the application deadline and will be notified in late March.
About the Director
Edward J. Blum is the award-winning author of several books on race and religion in American history. His most recent work, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (co-authored with Paul Harvey) was named a Top 25 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine and a “best book” of 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly. His first book, Reforging the White Republic, received the Gustave O. Arlt Award from the Council of Graduate Schools and the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship.
About the Host
James Bratt is a veteran teacher and scholar of American religious history, specializing in early America. His publications center on the dramatic changes that occurred in American religion across denominations, regions, ethnic groups in the generation before the Civil War. He has long taught a course on American Slavery and Abolition, as well as a survey of the second half of church history, and has published extensively on Dutch-American history. Besides his long teaching career at Calvin College, he taught in the Religious Studies department at the University of Pittsburgh. His PhD is in American History from Yale University.
There is no fee to apply for or attend this seminar. All participants in this seminar will be offered free housing in Calvin's Knollcrest East Apartments. Spouses and family members are welcome to join you at no additional cost (space allowing; details for housing and family needs will be provided at time of acceptance into the seminar.) We provide weekday lunches and morning breaks for participants only, and a welcome picnic for participants and family members. Participants and family members are responsible for all other meals and personal expenses. Although we provide limited shuttle service to and from the airport, participants and their family members are responsible for their own travel arrangements and costs to and from Grand Rapids; there is no travel stipend available for this seminar. For additional information, please visit our FAQs.