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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

The Bible in American Discourse, 1960-2016

graduate symposium

Bible and Flag

The Boisi Center is pleased to announce its seventh annual student Symposium on Religion and Politics, which provides an opportunity for informal reflection and conversation among graduate students from different disciplines on the relationship between religion and politics. This year's symposium will focus on the use of the Bible in American Discourse from 1960-2016.

THE 2016-2017 STUDENT

The Bible in American Political Discourse, 1960-2016

The Bible holds a special place in American discourse. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded to be a "City on a Hill" (Matt 5:14). Facing the prospects of civil war, Abraham Lincoln cited Scripture proclaiming that "A house divided against itself cannot stand" (Mark 3:25) At the end of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan labeled the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire" (The Book of Revelation). As a foundational text of American life, both sides of political debates have found themselves deploying the Bible for their own political goals. 

This graduate symposium explores the use of the Bible in American political discourse with a focus on touchstone events and debates. Preliminary topics include the Civil Rights Movement, Environmentalism, Reagan-Era nuclear apocalypticism, Welfare Reform, 9/11, and Prop 8. Each topic will explore the biblical rhetoric for conflicting purposes. Reading packets will include academic works and contemporary articles on the issue and should take about an hour or two of reading for each session. Symposium participants will lead discussion each week. Food will be provided by the Boisi Center at each session. 

To apply, please submit a brief statement that describes your course of study, relevant experience, and your interest in this year's symposium themes to Tom Fraatz at Applications are due January 30, 2016.