In the wake of poststructuralism, critical theory, especially literary theory, has become adept at analyzing and questioning the ideological foundation of speech. Historical and socio-political contexts, race and gender as well as the problematic relationship of language to reality have all been perspectives used to examine literature as discourse. However, such critical stances are helpless to go beyond their own “hermeneutics of suspicion” (Ricoeur 1975) to construct a “positive, restorative interpretation” (Goetz 2011 ; Ricoeur 1965), particularly when it comes to approaching the human being from a non material viewpoint. This conference wishes to initiate an interdisciplinary debate with a view to examining whether the spiritual might be a helpful answer to this quandary and serve as a valid academic category in the humanities.

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