On either side of the North Atlantic, religion is being discussed with special urgency. One frequently hears about the return to religion or the "post-secular society" (Jürgen Habermas) that we are said to inhabit. To a degree unimaginable two decades ago, religion has come to the fore in the major media as a novel, rich topic of conversation. Important debates about Islam in its various manifestations continue unabated, as do discussions about the emergence of spiritualities that in many cases seem to diverge significantly from the traditional faiths.
The Fall 2011 symposium of the Salzburg Institute of Gordon College is dedicated to critically investigating the interplay between religion and culture in the US and Europe in the contemporary moment. Among others, the following questions will be considered: How should secularization be understood in light of the present ubiquity of the topic of religion? What are the roles that religion plays in European and American culture and society today? What are the historical roots of religion's contemporary roles (or lack of roles) in society and culture? What obvious and not-so-obvious influences do religions maintain on important institutions, mores, and practices? What cultural innovations can be detected in Islamic, Jewish, and Christian art in the US and Europe today? How should "religious" trends or motifs in film and television be understood against the backdrop of the return to religion? What points of difficulty arise in treatments of religious themes and motifs in literature and art before contemporary audiences? Finally, what are the political contexts of the return to religion? What are the political ramifications of the (re)emergence of religion?
This one-day symposium appeals to scholars of various disciplines (the humanities, sociology, philosophy, literature, history, political science, religious studies, and theology among others). Please send abstracts for papers by October 1, 2011 to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes (about 8 double-spaced pages). The organizers cannot offer contributors compensation for conference- or travel expenses. Select contributions will be considered for publication in an edited collection.
Date of the conference: November 5, 2011.
Location: Gordon College, Wenham, MA. Gordon College is located just 25 miles north of Boston on Boston's historic North Shore.
Organizers: Nicholas Brooks (Salzburg Institute of Gordon College), Armin Eidherr (University of Salzburg), Gregor Thuswaldner (Salzburg Institute of Gordon College).
Gregor Thuswaldner, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Salzburg Institute of Gordon College
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