CFP: Northwestern University Grad Conference in Religious Studies


Northwestern University Department of Religious Studies
Graduate Conference
October 12-14, 2012


The Religious Studies Department of Northwestern University invites graduate papers for a conference on “Religion and the Trans…”, to be held in Evanston, Illinois on October 12-14, 2012. We request abstracts by March 16, 2012.

This conference on “Religion and the Trans…” seeks to create conversations on the crossing of geographic and conceptual borders, as well as “the trans” as a fertile space within lived religions. Scholars in the humanities and social sciences have often studied borders as lines on a map that signify the limits between nations and beliefs. More recently, scholars in religious studies and other disciplines have begun to understand borders as sites of movement and flux, home to dynamic relationships involving conflict as well as collaboration. From the rise of religious terrorism that transcends or seeks to transform national identities to the migration of religious communities back, forth, and between cultural or political limits, to interfaith activism across the boundaries of belief, the traditional ways of imagining borders as stable and static are simply insufficient. A striking contemporary example of this was the “Arab Spring” of early 2011, wherein a series of protests and political transformations across the Middle East demonstrated clearly how divisions of faith, ethnicity and nationality can be conduits of change as much as limiting constraints. Our conference will focus on this new understanding of boundaries – whether they are geographic, political, social, or intellectual – as permeable and transformative. We will thus bring together scholars studying religion in relation to topics such as transnational communities, interfaith traditions, multi-cultural rituals, translatable customs, and transdisciplinary approaches to the questions that currently occupy religious studies.

All of these questions deserve thorough exploration in an interdisciplinary setting, and thus the Religious Studies Department seeks papers from across the humanities and social sciences. Broadly conceived, all the fluidities, polarities, and (in)stabilities of religion and the transnational, transcultural, transformative, transcendent, transfigured, transhistorical, transient, et cetera, offers a particularly rich point of discussion for graduate students who approach religion from a number of different fields, including philosophy, anthropology, history, gender studies, political science, sociology, and psychology.

Papers should not exceed fifteen minutes in length and may approach the topic from any discipline or methodology.

Please send a 500-word abstract, along with your name, institution, and year of study to by March 16, 2012.


Matthew Cressler said…
Thanks for the props, Kelly! Tom Tweed has already agreed to be one of our keynote speakers, so it should be a very exciting conference!

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