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Comparative Religions and Literatures (CoRAL) promotes the reciprocal and dynamic relationship between religions, literatures and cultures.

We cite Derek Walcott's description of 'coral' in his poem, Omeros (1990), as a communal, living, evolving form to shape our research objectives. Walcott's imagining of coral through metaphors of hybridity and patience is suggestive of our exploration of religions as historical, cultural, social and phenomenological sites that allow for and enable new ways of reading and interpreting texts.

where coral died
it feeds on its death, the bones branch into more coral,

and contradiction begins. It lies in the schism
of the starfish reversing heaven; the mirror of History
has melted and, beneath it, a patient, hybrid organism

grows in his cruciform shadow. For a city
it had coral pantheons. No needling steeple
magnetized pilgrims, but it grew a good people.

- Derek Walcott, Omeros (1990)

CoRAL was established in 2012 to consolidate a variety of work on world religion and literature being undertaken by staff, postgraduates and postdoctoral students. The group emerged from a reading group on religion and literature begun in 2008.

We welcome new members. Please contact if you wish to receive emails about the reading group and future events.


Catholic women writers: one day symposium

Friday 21 April, 2023 11.00-17.00, Campion Hall, Oxford

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