The Religion & Body Conference
University of Graz / Austria
15 – 17 February 2012
The Institute of Fundamental Theology and the Institute of Religious Studies - University of Graz/Austria - are pleased to announce the call for papers for the conference: Commun(icat)ing Bodies - The Body and Religion Conference, taking place at the University of Graz/Austria, Feb 15-17, 2012.
Religious traditions are highly symbolic and effective communication systems. Over time they have developed a sophisticated 'language' to communicate their ideas, values, and norms. Central to the system of rules and meanings of many religious traditions is the body, i.e. the status of the body, what should be done with or to the body, or the role of bodily pleasures. To communicate their visions, religions idealize, normatize, gender, denounce, or make bodies fit into their imaginations. What is often overlooked, however, is that 'this' idealized, denounced, or imagined body develops its own dynamic in which the body becomes a medium in its own right. As medium, the body bears witness to the religious traditions trying to inscribe their belief systems onto and into the body.
The conference Commun(icat)ing Bodies, thus, understands the body as medium in the communication system 'religion' and explores how 'both bodies' – the abstract and idealized body and the concrete body existing and living in time and space – tell stories and express religious narratives and structures. Studying the relevance of the body-medium, the conference aims to contribute to a better understanding of how religious communication works and how the body as medium transforms the religious traditions that try to mark the body and inscribe their visions into the body-flesh.
We welcome original and critical papers from scholars from a variety of disciplines (e.g. religious studies, sociology of religion, theology/philosophy, cultural studies, communication studies, film/media studies,...) exploring the impact of the body on religious communication. As in our global world the boundaries between different religious traditions continuously transform, we are looking for contributions that appreciate the religious diversity in West and East in both its historic and contemporary dimensions. In particular, we are interested in papers dealing with the following topics and their relevance for today’s societies and religions:
* The Body as Medium
The body as medium in religious communication systems
The body as medium of meaning in asceticism
Religious practices as body practices, as embodied practices
* Representations of the Body-Medium
Representations of the body-medium in arts and media
Representations of the body in religious writings/texts
Deadline / Submission
Please submit your 400 words abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org – the deadline for submissions is Sept., 30 2011.
We are committed to encourage the participation of scholars from a broad range of countries and disciplines. Therefore - depending on conference funding -, financial support may be available for a limited number of presenters. In particular, we aim to support independent and unemployed scholars who do not have access to other forms of funding, post-docs, and doctoral researchers. To apply for funding, please include a short statement of why you require financial support when submitting your abstract.
UZT Universitätszentrum Theology
University of Graz
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