Call for Papers:
Transnational Religion, Missionization, and Refugee Migrants
in Comparative Perspective
6-7 October 2011
Alexander Horstmann and Jin-Heon Jung (MMG-MPI)
International Workshop Series/Book Project
Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany
*For a full CFP, please visit http://www.mmg.mpg.de/events/archive-workshops-conferences/2011/workshop-missionization-refugees/
The ever-growing scale of violent mass displacement, routine measures of the de facto sealing of borders and the criminalization of migrant labor are phenomena that are creating important fields for scholarly engagements. Although refugee studies have sought answers to the complex nature and causes of forced migration, to the dilemma of humanitarianism and to the modern modes of governing refugees-migrants, our knowledge about the identity processes of the refugee migrants or about the strategies and motivation of humanitarian organizations is still limited.
Refugee camps have become important sites of proselytization and Pentecostals, Buddhist millenarian movements and Islamic revivalist movements have become ever more prominent in contexts of violent mass displacement. Christian churches, Buddhist monasteries and Muslim mosques are easily the most central place for social integration and spirituality of refugee migrants and the first shelter in hostile environments. Moreover, the narratives of suffering, the dynamics of political mobilization in exile enhance and reinforce religious-mythical and nationalist identification. However, religion has not arrived yet on the map in refugee studies. But in the secular and structuralist social science approach to refugee studies, scholars consider religion only a by-product of identity and gender.
We believe that religion provides a privileged window to shed light on and are a driving engine of identification processes of refugee migrants in transnational and political communities. We therefore put religion in the center of inquiry and explore the findings that such a perspective will engender. We thus invite papers to the following questions: How do the trajectories of refugee migrants in religious missionary groups unfold and how are they being mobilized? How are the subjectivities and identifications of refugee migrants influenced by religious groups and what kind of opportunities come with membership in them? What is the relationship of humanitarian organizations, religious groups and refugee migrants? What is the ideology of humanitarian organizations and religious groups, their mental maps? How do humanitarian organizations and religious groups participate in the governance of the refugee migrants?
The papers given in the symposium will be published in an edited volume. Interested scholars are encouraged to send a short proposal of 250 words and short biographical information to the organizers by 15 February 2011 to MisRef@mmg.mpg.de. We will contact selected participants 1 March 2011, and we may able to cover the participants’ all travel expenses. Inquiries about the workshop can be sent to the same address.
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