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Conference «Religion, Culture and Politics: Re-thinking Secularisation Theory» (Leeds, 18-19 March 2017)

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Conference «Religion, Culture and Politics: Re-thinking Secularisation Theory» (Leeds, 18-19 March 2017)

Religion is often discussed through the eyes of the secularisation theory; however, there is no agreement on what secularisation is, or to what extent religion is present in our lives even though religion is as influential as ever. Whether we understand secularisation as a decline of religious beliefs, privatization of religion, or as differentiation of the secular spheres and emancipation (Casanova 2006; Berger 2001), we still have to ask ourselves to what extent religion shapes our present lives. Many scholars believed religion will eventually loose importance and that societies will face decline of religious beliefs, but by the end of the 20th century many changed their views and acknowledged that religion is as important as ever (Berger, 1999). Nonetheless, we can agree with a view that, “religious communities have survived and even flourished to the degree that they have not tried to adapt themselves to the alleged requirements of a secularised world” (Berger, 1999: 4).
However, religion also became connected with culture. For example, ethnic minorities in the West are often members of minority religions, questioned recently during debates on Brexit and the US elections. In that sense, some voiced that the cultural war won by the New Left and progressive forces has been lost and that white Christian population in both the US and the UK voted for Brexit and Donald Trump to protest against multiculturalism. Nevertheless, many white people often see themselves as becoming a minority even if this is not always true. For example, Latin American and Black population in the US has more newborn babies that white, Protestant Americans but in Europe many white Europeans over-estimate the number of minorities in the country. In addition, the Far Right often emphasizes their Christian culture, and insisting on opposition to a more multicultural greeting of “happy holidays” during the Christmas period. The debate on multiculturalism is inevitably bringing to anxiety among non-Christian groups in the West. On the other hand, in many countries of the Middle East Christian communities are being persecuted and even expelled from their countries, which then fuels anti-multicultural debates in the West.
In addition, religion is also becoming an industry for certain religions bring dietary requirements (e.g. kosher and halal), and the growth of halal and kosher consumption in some Western societies has brought to a situation that mainstream supermarkets now have shelves with religiously approved food products. In that sense, religion is also becoming a business. Is religion then still influencing our lifestyle and choices we make? To what extent is religion influencing and shaping our everyday lives? What is the connection between religion and politics? Has multiculturalism failed? Has the secularization theory failed, and how do we move forward?
Papers are invited, but not limited to, for the following panels:
Religion and everyday lives
The influence of religion in national elections
The influence of culture in national elections
Media representation of religion and culture
Religion and the Far Right
Multiculturalism and the Cultural war, and the place of religion
The New Left and the religion
Living religion through food
Secularization theory
Religious denominations and differences in religious observance
Christian religious activism and influence on politics
Religion as business
Prospective participants are also welcome to submit proposals for their own panels. Both researchers and practitioners are welcome to submit paper proposals. A special journal publication is planned after the conference.
Submissions of abstracts (up to 500 words) with an email contact should be sent to Dr Martina Topić (martina@socialsciencesandhumanities.com) by 15 February 2017 to martina@socialsciencesandhumanities.com or uploaded directly via the conference website.
Conference fee is £240 (£180 for students), and the fee includes:
The registration fee
Conference bag and folder with materials
Access to the newsletter, and electronic editions of the Centre
Opportunity for participating in future activities of the Centre (research & co-editing volumes)
Meals and drinks for both days of the conference
WLAN during the conference
Certificate of attendance
Centre for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences is a private institution originally founded in December 2013 in Croatia (EU). Since July 2016 the Centre is registered in Leeds, UK.
Participants are responsible for finding funding to cover transportation and accommodation costs during the whole period of the conference. This applies to both presenting and non-presenting participants. The Centre will not discriminate based on the origin and/or methodological/paradigmatic approach of prospective conference participants.
Information for non-EU participants:
The Centre will issue Visa letter to participants with UK entry clearance requirement. The British Home Office has a very straightforward procedure, which is not excessively lengthy and the Centre will also issue early decisions to participants with Visa requirements. The Centre will only issue invitation letters to presenting participants.

Contact Info:
Dr Martina Topic
Contact Email: martina@socialsciencesandhumanities.com

(Информация любезно предоставлена профессором Ольгой Александровной Волковой).

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