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Call for papers: 8th International Conference on Religion & Spirituality in Society

The Eighth International Conference on Religion & Spirituality in Society will be held at the University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, USA, 17-18 April 2018.

The scope of this conference, journal, book series, and online Research Network is as broad as possible in the field of religious studies. Together, these forums seek to create a space for the representation of any and all perspectives on the role of religion and spirituality in society. We also welcome a wide variety of disciplinary practices. The perspectives captured in these spaces range from committed within-religion views, to comparative or pan-religious views, to a religious empirical or theoretical readings of the role of religion and spirituality in society. Above all, they provide spaces for open dialogue on the sources of foundational or essential meaning.


The conference invites proposals for paper presentations, workshops/interactive sessions, posters/exhibits, or colloquia addressing one of the following themes:

Theme 1: Religious Foundations

On the sources, modes, and manifestations of religiosity:

  • Religious values and aspirations
  • Sacred sources: sites, narratives, texts
  • Religious philosophies and philosophies of religion
  • Theological sources and resources
  • World sources: religious and secular cosmologies
  • Creation accounts in science and religion
  • World destinies: religious and secular eschatologies
  • Reason and faith: congruencies and conflicts
  • Traditional, modern, and postmodern orientations to religion
  • Science and religion: congruencies and conflicts on the sources of design in the natural world
  • Religious counterpoints: agnosticism, atheism, materialism, and secularism
  • Religious prophets: their messages and their meanings
  • Religiosity: measures, forms, and levels of religious commitment
  • Religion and law
  • Religion and commerce
  • The natural, the human, and the supernatural
  • Rites and sites of passage: birth, adulthood, marriage, death
  • Medical ethics and bioethics
  • Anthropologies, psychologies, and sociologies of religion

Theme 2: Religious Community and Socialization

On learning religious ways, spiritual ways of life, and religious institutions:

  • Religious institutional governance
  • Symbology in theory and practice
  • Religious education and religion studies
  • Religiously-based schools and religion in public schools
  • Religion in ethnic, national, and racial identities
  • Congregations and religious community
  • Media for religious messages
  • Evangelism and conversion
  • Ritual, rite, liturgy
  • Prayer, contemplation, and meditation
  • Meditation as healing and therapy
  • Religious ‘ways of life’ and lifeworld practices
  • Religious art and architecture
  • Pilgrimage, tourism, and the search for spiritual meaning
  • Religious leadership

Theme 3: Religious Commonalities and Differences

On variations in religious forms and the relationships between different religions:

  • Comparative studies of religion
  • Monotheism, polytheism, and immanentist religions
  • Indigenous or first nation spiritualities
  • Inter-religious harmony
  • Interfaith dialogue
  • Religious diversity, tolerance, and understanding
  • Religions in globalization
  • Centrifugal and centripetal forces: difference and interdependence
  • Denominationalism: tendencies to fracture and recombination
  • Literal and metaphorical readings of sacred texts
  • Religion, identity, and ethnicity
  • Interreligious education
  • The nation state and religious exceptionalism
  • Religious dual belonging
  • Ecumenicalism
  • Interfaith dialogue and international interfaith organizations

Theme 4: The Politics of Religion​

On the relations of religion to the state and civil society:

  • Religion in politics and the politics of religion
  • Modernity and religious frameworks
  • Religious freedom in secular states
  • Chaplaincies and the state
  • Politics, society, and religion in religiously defined states
  • Religious minorities and the state
  • Social agendas for religion: sustainability, justice, peace
  • Religious divisions and social conflicts
  • Religiously inspired violence and non-violence
  • Gender, sexuality and religion
  • Women, patriarchy, and the sacred feminine
  • Religion as a source of community cohesion or community dissonance
  • Terrorism, political extremism, and religion
  • Religion and human security
  • Religion and global ethics
  • Religion and human rights
  • Religion and reconciliation
  • The future of religion

Important Dates

Advance Proposal Deadline: 17 June 2017

Early Proposal Deadline: 17 September 2017

Regular Proposal Deadline: 17 January 2018

Late Proposal Deadline: 17 March 2018

Advance Registration Deadline: 17 July 2017

Early Registration Deadline: 17 October 2017

Regular Registration Deadline: 17 March 2018

Late Registration Deadline: 17 April 2018

Venue: University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, USA

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