The workshop "Enacting Social Reform: Religion, Charity, and Social Movements" seeks to connect scholars and research on religion and social reform in East and East Central European societies, addressing the multi-faceted functions and meanings of religion. We are especially interested in examining ties between social reform and charity projects in the context of debates over secularization and confessionalization, as well as processes of promoting national identities, politicization, and participation.
The aim of the workshop is to explore the field of research on religion and social practices and to establish a network of scholars interested in such approaches. The regional point of departure and focus of the workshop is East and East Central Europe; however, those projects which cross borders and boundaries to include other perspectives and regions are also welcome.
The intended time frame covers the period from the second half of the 19th century to World War II; however, we are open to research that extends beyond the period of our focus, but which includes connections to broader historical frameworks. We also encourage interdisciplinary research and proposals from scholars outside of history, including (but not limited to) anthropology, folklore, literary, cultural, and legal studies.
With regard to the 19th and 20th centuries, the meaning of religion has often been examined in the context of the process of modernization. For example, it has been assumed that people came to perceive nationality and religion as inseparable; especially in East and East Central Europe, where with the appearance of national movements and religion became increasingly politicized. Concerning charity, researchers have assumed that there was a fundamental shift from religiously motivated care for those in need toward modern, prevention-oriented social welfare and the welfare state.
Scholars have long criticized modernization theories based on distinct lines of social and economic development and for some time considered religion to be responsible for many of the changes in the modern period. The so-called “second confessionalization” – developed especially, but not only from German examples – starts from the perspective that after a time of religious indifference during the Enlightenment, a new wave of religiosity arose, which brought about a clearer separation of religions and confessions. This model has been criticized for merely replacing the “old” model of development with a new one. Instead, more productive lines of inquiry might include detailed studies of specific meanings, ways of functioning, and the practices of religious institutions and actors, as well as specific manifestations of religiosity and secularity.
Possible topics (though this list should not be considered exhaustive):
• Discourses regarding reform and religion/faith, progress and tradition
• Secularity and religion in the perspective of welfare and social reform
• Funding methods and forms of assistance for reform initiatives
• Relationships between the city/municipality and charity/social reform including the shift to welfare states
• Religious diversity and charity/comparison of initiatives of different religions and denominations
• Gender and religion in political and social movements
• Legal reform, associations, and families
• Performative aspects /everyday practice of concrete associations and initiatives
• Competition between different movements, failures, and counter-movements
The workshop will take place at the Geisteswissenschaftlichen Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas (GWZO) in Leipzig. For those participants selected, we will fund travel costs and accommodation. Workshop languages will be German and English.
Deadline for proposals (ca. 5oo words) in English or German: February 25, 2012
Participants will be notified by March 15, 2012.
Please send proposals to Tracie Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dietlind Hüchtker (email@example.com).
Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas e.V.
an der Universitaet Leipzig
Tel.: +49 (0)341 97 355 90
FAX: +49 (0)341 97 355 69
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