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Keynote Speakers

Alean Al-Krenawi, Ph.D.
Professor
Chair of the BSW Program 
Spitzer Department of Social Work
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Former President of Achva Academic College
Former Dean of the School of Social Work, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

Topic: Acculturative Stress Among Non-Western Female Students in the West: The Arab Case


Abstract: coming soon...



William Franke
Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian
Professor of Religious Studies 
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Professional Website:
http://as.vanderbilt.edu/french-italian/faculty/william-franke/

Topic: Religion, Culture, and the Arts: Their Common Matrix


Abstract: I discuss a variety of phenomena falling variously under the rubrics of Religion, Culture, and the Arts that actually belong to all at the same time because they come from strata of human history (or pre-history) that antedate differentiation into such exclusionary categories.  This is the case for magic, shamanism, oracle reading, sacrificial ritual, and sacred dance, as well as for many other such primordial activities of interpretation that are indifferently religious, cultural, and artistic all at once.  I treat the core phenomenon common to all as that of revelation of something that is appropriately represented as divine in and through human artistic creativity. Against this background, poetry emerges as a kind of originary language of the gods with its origins in cultic ritual.  This type of poetic vision requires apprehending the real efficacy of symbol, song, and metaphor as kinds of religious gnosis. Through invoking intentional worlds, poetic language can actually work in modalities that for millennia were practiced via charms and enchantments.  Emerging from these origins, poetic tradition progresses toward ever-greater self-reflective awareness of its own creative potential to configure and transform the world. It eventually affirms itself as revolutionary and, at the same time, revelatory.
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