The Faculty of Religious Studies of the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) was joined by the Renmin University of China’s School of Liberal Arts in hosting the Comparative Literature and Religious Studies round table of the XXII Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) on the 30th and 31st of July, 2019. The event, titled “The Sacred and the Everyday,” was held at the Library near the Treasure of Sacred Art of Saint Joseph’s Seminary, built in 1728 and part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Macao, which now holds one of the three USJ campuses.

Welcoming over 20 academics from across the world for two very full days of academic discussion on the theme “The Sacred and the Everyday” which was divided into eight sessions, the Rector of USJ, Prof. Fr Peter STILWELL, said that it was a great privilege to have the opportunity to work with scholars of such stature and from such differing cultures and backgrounds to explore how literature can express and analyse the human experience of the encounter between the transcendent and the mundane. 

Papers were presented by, amongst others, Prof. Huilin YANG (Renmin University of China) on Between “The Sacred / The Everyday” and “Being / Non-being”; Prof. William FRANKE (Vanderbilt University, USA) on Technological Transformation and Postmodern Re-enchantment of the Everyday; and Prof. Pan-chiu LAI (Chinese University of Hong Kong) on “The Secular as Sacred” or “The Sacred as Secular”? – The Problem of “Immanence vs. Transcendence” in Christian-Confucian Comparison. A number of Macau-based academics, including the Dean of USJ’s Faculty of Religious Studies, Prof. Stephen MORGAN, and Fr Cyril LAW also presented papers at the round table.

The round table was generously sponsored by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s School of Humanities and the Diocese of Macau, whose Bishop, the Most Reverend Stephen Lee Bun-sang, will host a welcome dinner for the participants. The dinner will count with the presence of distinguished guests, such as representatives from the Liaison Office of the People’s Republic of China and the Higher Education Bureau of the Macao SAR Government.

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