Schedule is subject to change
6:00 PM Registration Opens - Atrium
6:00 PM Vendors Hall Opens and Book Signing Begins- The Auditorium
7:00 PM Clergy Keynote by Father David Wey - Strange Longings: Why Wonderful Stories Stir the Human Heart - The Auditorium
9:00 PM Registration Ends
8:00 AM Registration Opens - Atrium
9:00 AM Akathist - The Ballroom
9:20 AM Opening Remarks - The Ballroom
9:30 AM Keynote by Leah Libresco- Wizardry and the Wounds of the World - The Ballroom
Description: Many fantasy novels see wizardry as a response to the woundedness of the world. Diane Duane's Young Wizards series sees its wizards fighting entropy and offering healing, whereas Lev Grossman's The Magicians trilogy has his heroes driven by anger at the brokenness of the world; their hatred for it is strong enough for them to reshape it. How does fantasy teach us to respond to the wound of original sin, and to join Christ in the work of making the crooked straight?
11:00 AM Breakout Sessions One
Teen Track: Traveling the Hero's Journey
Stephanie Braun - Youth Room
Description: A workshop that takes a look at Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey" model in order to glean insight into our own walk with God. Do our own spiritual paths follow the Hero's Journey? What can we learn from this story archetype?
Session A: Authority in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Alexi Sargeant - The Ballroom
Description: Marvel Studios created an unprecedented shared cinematic universe by taking once-lesser-known characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor and weaving their stories together. Now, every other Hollywood franchise is scrambling to replicate Marvel’s model. But what sets the Marvel universe apart? In movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Avengers films, and Captain America: Civil War, the filmmakers grapple with the most profound themes of their comic book source material: power and authority. Who should decide how and when superheroes use their abilities? Who do these heroes serve and to whom do they answer? Taking on these questions makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe a mature piece of storytelling—in a far more effective way than simply layering on a gritty tone. This talk will delve into how the Marvel Cinematic Universe grapples with the most important issues of super heroic fiction, including responsibility, idealism, and fascism.
Session B: Can Beautiful Fantasy Save the World? Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories" as a Guide for Discerning Good Fantasy
Nicholas Kotar - The Auditorium
Description: Some fascinating recent scientific research has confirmed that the human brain is "wired for story." Reading novels makes people more empathetic, more malleable to the influence of the writer. This places a huge responsibility both on the reader and the writer of fantasy, especially considering how dark and nihilistic much of modern fantasy has become. In his excellent essay "On Fairy Stories," J. R. R. Tolkien offers his vision of a fantasy literature that aspires to tell stories evangelically. By using his criteria for “good fantasy,” readers can easily find the kind of stories that challenge and edify without resorting to the saccharine tropes of modern "Christian" fiction.
12:00 PM Lunch - The Ballroom
2:00 PM Breakout Sessions Two
Teen Track: Loving the Enemy
Rosamund Hodge- Youth Room
Description: Feminists accuse Beauty and the Beast of promoting Stockholm Syndrome. Christians fear that fantasy novels can promote paganism. These sound like two different issues, and yet at heart they're the same: the fear that loving what is monstrous, or wrong, or simply "other" will destroy us. How can we write stories that obey Jesus's command to love our enemies, without compromising our beliefs?
Session A: Descending to the Nethersphere: Death and the Afterlife in Moffat-Era Doctor Who
Philip Christman- The Ballroom
Description: Recent seasons of "Doctor Who" have addressed the topic of death and the afterlife with a directness unusual in what is still, at root, a children's sci-fi show with an ostensibly immortal protagonist. This talk examines the show's portrayal of death throughout its history, examines the ways that the past two seasons in particular have pointedly critiqued pop notions of the afterlife, and uncovers some of the surprising overlap between these critiques and the Christian theology of death, resurrection, and eternal life.
Session B: Gaming Mythos: How Classic Storytelling has Changed in the Newest Art Form
S. Peter Fendrich - The Auditorium
3:00 PM Breakout Sessions Three
Teen Track: Navigating Fiction, Fantasy and Faith
Fr. David Subu - Youth Room
Session A: Tom Bombadil and the Hidden God of Nature: Joining the Middle-earth Resistance
Professor Alfred Siewers - The Ballroom
Description: "The hidden God" is a phrase from Byzantine Holy Friday hymnody that represents an idea important in the Christian fantasy of Tolkien and Lewis, as well as in the "fantastic realism" of Dostoevsky: God's energies work in nature, and the modern rejection of that mystery of nature lies at the heart of totalitarian terror. On the centennial of the Russian Revolution, we'll examine how classic modern fantasy drew on patristic wisdom to resist oppression of nature and people, using scenes from The Lord of the Rings, That Hideous Strength, and The Brothers Karamazov.
Session B: The Humiliation of Authority in Horror Films
Eve Tushnet- The Auditorium
Description: Horror takes us past the boundaries of our own understanding. In terror and confusion, horror protagonists often turn to the sources of knowledge they've been trained to trust--scientists, doctors, cops--but in horror films, modern authorities and institutions almost always fail. Sometimes one last-ditch authority is left standing: religious authority, defiantly unmodern and unintelligible. Other times even the priests fail when pitted against powerful unknown forces. I'll explore this theme and its relevance for our lives, looking at movies ranging from classics ("The Exorcist," "Halloween") to recent hits ("The Witch," "Maps to the Stars") to obscure indies you'll want to check out ("Neither Heaven Nor Hell," "Stonehearst Asylum").
4:00 PM Breakout Sessions Four
Session A: Panel - Beauty and the Truth: What to do When the Truth isn't Pretty
Moderated by Leah Libresco- The Ballroom
Session B: Old Enough to Start Reading Fairy Tales Again
Cynthia June Long- The Auditorium
Description: In Father Arseny: A Cloud of Witnesses, Father Arseny’s mother Marie Alexandrova is reported to have said, “Folktales are also important in raising a child” (191) and “of course, you should tell your children Russian folktales. . .” (192). C.S. Lewis reportedly said, “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” In his famous essay “On Fairy Stories” J.R.R. Tolkien posited that “fairy-stories should not be specially associated with children.” Fairy tales can be a kind of parable in which deeper truths are revealed. Using selections from William Butler Yeats’ Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, Aleksandr Afanasev’s Russian Fairy Tales and other sources, I will reveal deeper truths hidden in fairy tales and why fairy tales are an appropriate area of interest for adults and Orthodox Christians
5:00 PM Vespers - Sanctuary
6:00 PM Dinner - The Ballroom
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