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Call for Papers: Religion in Motion: Between Borders and Belonging

The Dutch Association for the Study of Religion has called for an international conference entitled “Religion on the Motion: Between Borders and Belonging” on issues related to immigrants’ religiosity.

Religiosity and mobility have been topics of research and debate for scholars working with different theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary approaches. In this conference, we explore how the study of religion might be transformed through a focus on mobility in its various forms.

We ask, for instance: How is mobility an integral part of religious traditions? How does religion inform experiences of belonging in migratory contexts? How do political, geographical, cultural, and religious borders shape people’s lives? Their visions of the past and the future? Their experiences of home and belonging? Their aspirations and imaginations of destiny?

We examine how state and/or religious authorities classify migrants and consider the ends towards which such categorization works. We ask how different kinds of borders influence the lives and faiths of people on the move, and consider how these modern forms of mobility have historical roots across a range of sociopolitical and geographical milieus.

Bringing together scholars who work at the intersection of mobility and religion, this conference invites scholars of religion to converse with those working in anthropology and sociology; history, law, and political science; and the study of transnationalism, borders, migration, and refugees, to name just a few fields.

This conference therefore aims to broaden the theoretical and methodological repertoires for future studies of religion in motion whereby mobility and religion are analyzed not as separate themes, but as critical axes of people’s religious experiences across traditions, times, and spaces, with mobility and religion acting as co-constitutive of beliefs, practices and socialities.

We encourage graduate students, early career scholars, and established academics to use this meeting as an opportunity to think through research agendas, challenges, and inspirations for current and future research, particularly those that decenter Europe, or rather, locate Europe as only one yet powerful bulwark, goal, and trajectory in a global world. We also welcome contributions which explore less commonly explored religious and spiritual traditions, alongside those better studied.

Topics which might be explored can include (but are not limited to):

  • Transformations in refugee religiosity
  • Terror, death and dying en route or in migratory settings
  • (Social) life, resilience, humor and joy en route or in migratory settings
  • Religious lives of migrants
  • The role of religion in forced migration
  • Technologies of migration and religiosity
  • State governance of movement and religion
  • Religion, migration, and law
  • Religion in transit
  • Transnational networks of religious institutions
  • Migration, religion, and racialization
  • The role of religion in enforcing, transcending, or overturning borders
  • The role of borders, boundaries, and crossings in religion
  • Syncretism, hybridity or polyculturalism? Theories on the creation of new religions
  • (The implications of) definitions, including “refugee” and “migrant”
  • Pilgrimage
  • Missionary activities
  • Mobile relics and material religion
  • Theology of migration, with special attention for intercultural dialogue and transnationalism
  • Migration and holy scriptures

We welcome submissions for individual papers or preorganized panels (including innovative formats like author-meets-critics, roundtables, film screenings with discussion, etc.).

Individual paper proposals should include: 1) a title of the presentation 2) the name and institutional affiliation of the author 3) a 300 word abstract.

Panel proposals should include all the above for each paper included along with: 1) the name and institutional affiliation of the organizer 2) a 300 word abstract for the panel itself.

Panels and papers will be considered for inclusion in a special conference issue for the Dutch journal in the study of religion, NTT Journal for the Study of Religion.

Important Data

Deadline for Individual Papers or Panel Proposals: April 30, 2023

Notification of Acceptance: May 7, 2023

Registration Deadline for Accepted Presenters: August 15, 2023

Please send all paper proposals, panel proposals, or inquiries to the following email address: NGG2023@ru.nl.

The conference fee is: 75 euro (55 euro for NGG members) for the full conference and 30 euro (20 euro for NGG members) for a single day participation. There is potential funding for colleagues from underrepresented regions and in precarious situations.

We welcome your submissions and look forward to a full, rigorous and fun conference in November 2023!


Radboud University Network on Migrant Inclusion (RUNOMI)

The Netherlands School for Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion (NOSTER)

Radboud Reflects

European Research Council (ERC)

Race-Religion Constellation Project

Institute for Eastern Christianity

NTT: Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion

Departments of the Radboud Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies:

            Comparative Religious Studies

            Islam Studies

            Empirical and Practical Religious Studies

            Textual, Historical, and Systematic Studies of Judaism and Christianity

Center for Religion in Contemporary Society (CRCS)

Organizing Committee, Radboud University Nijmegen

Joud Alkorani

Justine Bakker

Jorge Castillo Guerra

Martijn de Koning

Christopher Sheklian

Eric Venbrux

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