NSRN Conference 2018

Call for Papers| 5-6 July 2018, King’s College London
 
Worldviews in World View:
Particularizing Secularism, Secularity and Nonreligion 
 
Convener: Dr Stacey Gutkowski, King’s College London
Conference Assistants: Yosr Ben Slima and Sam Jeffery
 
In his Formations of the Secular, Talal Asad called on researchers to attend to the nuanced, case-specific, historical processes whereby conceptual binaries are established and mobilized towards the formation of the ‘secular’ as a modern epistemic category and ‘secularism’ as a modern political doctrine – what Saba Mahmood has since termed a ‘critical secular studies’. Similarly, proponents of the Critical Religious Studies approach aim to identify the historical circumstances in the West which brought about ‘religion’ as a modern category of thought, in order to problematize the term. Additionally, scholars working on ‘nonreligion’, ‘unbelief’, and ‘religion’s Others’ argue for supplementing these approaches by unpacking the ways in which people draw positively on resources within and beyond traditional religion to fashion worldviews and meaning-making practices.
 
This conference endeavours to bring these three strands of scholarly work into deeper dialogue with one another, for the purpose of theoretical refinement and advancement across the strands. It aims to provincialize some of the theoretical assumptions made in the literature on nonreligion, which has drawn heavily, though by no means exclusively, from European and North American case studies. It also provides an opportunity to re-read theoretical assumptions made within Critical Secular and Critical Religious Studies, in order to further advance thinking within these areas about phenomena such as atheism, agnosticism, humanism, rationalism and spirituality.
 
The conference provides an opportunity:
 
·         to showcase rich, empirical fieldwork from case studies from the Middle East, Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean and other regions.
·         for scholars of cases from Europe or the Americas to analyse the provincial nature of these case studies, to reflect upon and problematize some of the most significant theoretical concepts used thus far to define the field of study (including, but not limited to, ‘nonreligion’, ‘irreligion’, and ‘unbelief’).
·         to think through diversity within these contexts, including the practices and beliefs of non-Christian minority cultures in Europe and the Americas.
·         to reflect upon ‘the West’ as a cultural formation and political modality whose geography is not confined to Europe or the Americas.
·         for scholars using a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, including experimental methods in psychology and cognitive science, to reflect on the implications of these constructed categories for their work.
 
Reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of its membership, the NSRN welcomes proposals for papers and panels from a diverse range of scholars from Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, History, Religious Studies, Politics, International Studies, Cognitive Science, Psychology, Philosophy, Cultural Studies and the Arts.
 
Publication outcome: We plan to publish a selection of
conference papers in a journal special issue.
 
The deadline for abstract submission (250 words max) is
27 October 2017. Please send your abstract and a short
biographical note to nsrnconference@gmail.com.

 

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