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2008: Through Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares

Peter Powers - Messiah College

Peter Powers is Interim Dean of the Humanities and Professor of English at Messiah College. A graduate of Wheaton College, he has published regularly on ethnic literature and on issues related to literary pedagogy in journals such as MELUS, African American Review, and American Literature. Powers currently has a book manuscript in circulation entitled "I'll Make Me a Man: Masculinity, Religion, and Race in the Harlem Renaissance," which explores the historic entrenchment of Christianity in gender and race.


Reggie Scott Young - University of Louisiana

Reggie Scott Young is Associate Professor of Literature at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. Young’s scholarly work has appeared in publications such as African American Review, Contemporary African American Fiction, and The Christian Imagination: Essays on Literature and Writing. Among his creative honors are the Gwendolyn Brooks Poet Laureate Award for Significant Illinois Poets and the PEN Discovery Award for fiction.


Sheila Hassell Hughes - University of Dayton

Sheila Hassell Hughes is the chair of the Department of English at the University of Dayton and recently served as Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program. Dr. Hughes is active in the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), and she has served since 1999 as Associate Editor for North America for Literature and Theology (Oxford UP). She is also a member of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures (ASAIL). In October 2004, she chaired the Mideast Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL), which was held at the University of Dayton. 

Craig Werner - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Craig Werner chairs the Department of Afro-American Studies and the Integrated Liberal Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The winner of teaching awards at the department, university and national levels, he is the author of A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race and the Soul of America; Playing the Changes: From Afro-Modernism to the Jazz Impulse; and Paradoxical Resolutions: James Joyce and Contemporary American Fiction. In collaboration with the Reverend Rhonda Lee, he is currently working on “Love and Happiness: Eros According to Dante, Shakespeare, Jane Austen and the Reverend Al Green,” an investigation of love from a Christian perspective.

Marilyn Nelson - Author/Poet

Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of twelve highly acclaimed books and three chapbooks. Her books The Homeplace (1992), The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems, and Carver: A Life in Poems, were recipients of multiple awards including the Newbery Honor Book award and the Coretta Scott King Honor Book award, and were also finalists for the National Book Award. Nelson’s honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, and a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Nelson is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut and 2001–2006 Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut.

Rhonda Lee - Author/Poet

A native of Montréal, Rhonda Lee is the vicar of St. Joseph's Episcopal Church in Durham, North Carolina. She holds a Master of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a PhD in history from Duke University, and she is particularly interested in the intersections of faith and politics in the United States. She is currently writing “Love & Happiness: Eros According to Dante, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and the Reverend Al Green,” with Craig Werner and a book of essays exploring the mythic structure of the Christian church year.

Timothy Tyson - Duke Divinity School

Timothy B. Tyson, author of the much-acclaimed Blood Done Sign My Name and other award-winning books, is Senior Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture in the Duke Divinity School. Blood Done Sign My Name was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Tyson was a John Hope Franklin Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2004–05.

Carlos Eire - Yale University

Carlos Eire is Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University. He specializes in the social, intellectual, religious, and cultural history of late medieval and early modern Europe, with a strong focus on both the Protestant and Catholic Reformations; the history of popular piety; and the history of death. Eire is the author of several books on history and religion including War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship From Erasmus to Calvin (1986) and From Madrid to Purgatory: The Art and Craft of Dying in Sixteenth Century Spain (1995).