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Mar 6, 2019
Please find the Call for Papers for our Autumn Conference 2019 here.

May 1, 2013

Call for Proposals NGG/EASR/IAHR Conference 2014 launched

In 2014, the University of Groningen will celebrate its 400th Anniversary. The joint conference of the EASR, IAHR, and the NGG will be held immediately before the official celebration weeks of the University will commence. The conference theme, too, is related to the 400th anniversary, as it focuses on various ways in which European universities have engaged the topic of religion since the Middle Ages and the Reformation. The place of religion in the global ‘entangled histories’ today, as well as the formation of the academic study of religion, have been determined by pluralities of knowledge in many ways. 

The religious landscape in Europe is characterized by a pluralism of religious traditions, identities, and communities—forms of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have competed with one another. Memories and reconstructions of Greek, Roman, and other pre-Christian European traditions have also served as alternatives in a spectrum of religious identifications. Migration and globalization have further enhanced these multi-religious dynamics since the nineteenth century. 


In addition to the pluralism of religious traditions, a pluralism of societal and cultural systems has formed the European discourse on religion since the Middle Ages. In critical distinction, as well as in transfer processes, philosophy, philology, law, the natural sciences, economy, politics, art, and other systems have exerted tremendous influence on the place of religion in Europe and the perception of religion worldwide. 

The conference will address these forms of pluralism with a special attention to categories of knowledge that are intrinsically linked to them. Knowledge is a constitutive social value within modern societies. How knowledge is distinguished from belief, how both are mediated, and what counts as religious knowledge or as its derivates and alternatives, are core questions in understanding the role of religion in contemporary societies, but also in earlier periods. The process of attaining shared knowledge in a society is closely linked to the attribution, legitimization, and negotiation of meaning systems. These processes can be scrutinized from historical and cross-cultural perspectives. The focus on knowledge and knowledge claims can provide a deeper understanding of pluralistic cultural processes. 

Like pluralism, knowledge has become an important concept in the understanding of culture. Moving beyond Enlightenment notions of ratio and reason and considering everyday knowledge, as well as its media and its social and individual conditions, the concept of knowledge has been theorized in various disciplines, including philosophy, sociology of knowledge, anthropology, and history. Cognitive and psychological perspectives have also provided important new insights. Reconstructing the ‘archaeologies of knowledge’ pertaining to religion suggests that what is regarded as legitimate knowledge changes from one region to another and from one historical context to another. Notions of ‘tacit knowledge,’ ‘embodied knowledge,’ local versus universal knowledge, but also the relationship between ‘knowing how’ and ‘knowing that’ have proven to be relevant categories. The conference topic invites critical investigation and further exploration of these analytical concepts related to the study of religion. 

Linking the notion of knowledge to the pluralistic understanding of religious dynamics also implies an analysis of collisions of knowledge claims and polemics of knowledge. These dimensions of the conference theme can be applied to contemporary issues, such as questions of multiculturalism, migration, radical religious claims, atheism, or juridical and cultural conflicts pertaining to freedom of religion and speech. 



Call for proposals

We invite contributions from various disciplines and perspectives to explore the nexus of religion, pluralism, and knowledge. We encourage a conversation among theoretical, historical, and empirical contributions. Papers and panels may address topics such as the following:

  • The pluralistic nature of knowledge about religion, including different disciplinary perspectives and new concepts: history as imaginative knowledge, sociology of knowledge, knowledge and space, materiality of knowledge (goods, objects, machines, instruments), aesthetics of knowledge, knowledge as related to gender and race, etc.; 
  • Various forms of knowledge about religion: rational knowledge, imaginative and poetic knowledge, explicit and implicit knowledge, embodied knowledge, ritual knowledge, etc.; 
  • Historical developments, changes, and reconfigurations of knowledge systems that relate to the field of religion; 
  • Procedures and politics in the organization of knowledge about religion: production, reception, circulation, transmission, (de)legitimization, (de)canonization, traditionalization, but also the rejection, marginalization, and exclusion of knowledge. 

In addition to these subtopics and approaches, we encourage contributions that address other aspects of the conference theme. Proposals of contributions and panels that are not directly linked to the conference theme will also be considered. There will be panels for the presentation of ongoing doctoral research.


Requirements for proposals

Individual papers

Proposals for individual papers need to consist of an abstract of no more than 150 words  (to be used in the program book, should the paper be accepted) and an outline of the proposed paper with no more than 500 words. Please indicate whether this is an open submission, or a submission to a particular panel. If your paper is submitted to a panel, please send your proposal to the convenors of that panel directly. They will review the submission.

Deadline: 1 December 2013


Off-topic PhD presentations

PhD-students are encouraged to present their ongoing research, This does not necesarily relate to the conference theme. Proposals need to consist of an abstract of no more than 150 words  (to be used in the program book, should the paper be accepted) and an outline of the proposed paper with no more than 500 words.

Deadline: 1 December 2013


General requirements

Please indicate clearly whether you are applying for an individual paper fitting in with the conference theme, a pre-arranged session, an open panel or the presentation of ongoing doctoral research. All proposals should be sent as an e-mail or as a Word document attached to an e-mail to

There will be a double-blind peer-review process. All proposals will be evaluated by an independent committee, consisting of members of the organization committee and the scientific advisory board.


Important dates

  • 1 December 2013: Deadline for submitting proposals for individual papers and off-topic phd presentations.

  • 1 January 2014: Deadline for accepted open and pre-arranged sessions for the final abstract of the session plus the abstracts of the individual contributions (max. 150 words each).

  • 15 January 2014: Notification of acceptance individual papers.