CFP: Call for Papers: Pandemic Reflections: Saint Francis and the Lepers Catch Up with COVID

Submission deadline: July 31, 2022

Topic areas


The COVID pandemic has reshaped human life, challenged assumptions, and exacerbated social divisions. While the virus itself has passed its peak, COVID’s legacy continues to unfold. How did we live and ought we to have lived during COVID? What have we learned from COVID? What did COVID reveal or reshape with regard to what we value? Do social reactions to COVID tell us something about whether contemporary humanity adopts healthy or unhealthy attitudes toward death?

In responding to such queries, a forthcoming edited collection from Ethics International Press - Pandemic Reflections: Saint Francis and the Lepers Catch Up with COVID - will reflect upon Saint Francis of Assisi; even more specifically, Francis’ embrace of and subsequent service to lepers. The pertinence of bringing Francis' life with lepers together with the COVID pandemic is twofold. First, Francis is one of the most acclaimed and embraced saints, not only in reference to Christianity, but in the religious world more generally. He is a man who speaks to a wide audience. Second, Francis’ iconic embrace of the leper and his subsequent devotion to lepers makes him particularly relevant to contemporary times. He ministered and lived amid a pandemic. How he lived in relation to that pandemic makes him a source of insight for as well as a potential critic of contemporary responses to COVID. In turn, one can use the pandemic to question Francis. Did he exhibit a harmful form of religious devotion, perhaps fanaticism, by exposing himself and others to a lethal pathogen?

In sum, the collection will gather essays that examine a highly visible and impactful religious figure with the intent of bringing him into conversation with what is arguably the most important event of recent modern history.

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