Columbia Graduate Student Conference - Religion & the Future

deadline for submissions: 
January 18, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Columbia University

Religion and the Future


Columbia University

April 5, 2019

Keynote Speaker: Professor Sylvester Johnson, Virginia Tech


The graduate students of Columbia University’s Department of Religion invite paper proposals which explore religion and the future for the department’s annual graduate student conference. Our conference aims to showcase research by graduate scholars that introduce our community to new facets of the growing discourse surrounding religion and the future. We are interested in the points of intersection, contested and shifting boundaries, symbiotic relationships, and antagonisms of “religion” and the “future” broadly conceived, further examinations of which represent a space of enormous potential for our discipline. What will the future bring for religion? What futures are expected, hoped for, or feared, and how has that relationship changed as future possibilities shift and expand? What can history tell us about how people have conceived of, engaged with, or experienced an ever-approaching future? What may the future be for scholars of religion, and what methodological and theoretical approaches can be applied to the study of something that hasn’t happened yet?


The following is a list of potential topics, but the committee encourages you to be as creative as possible. The conference topic is deliberately broad and, as countless aphorisms proclaim, the future is limitless! Submissions may also derive from a variety of fields, including religious studies, history, gender studies, philosophy, political science, theology, literary studies, anthropology, and sociology.

  • Religion and the internet/religions of the internet

  • Religion and media technology/technological mediation

  • Eschatology and apocalypticism

  • Religion and political and economic futures

  • Climate change

  • Religion and afrofuturism

  • Religion and queer futurism

  • The future of secularism/secular futures

  • Transhumanism and posthumanism

  • History of religious futurism and religious thought about the future

  • Religions of young people, youth perspectives on and engagement with religion

  • Religious revolutions and reformations

  • Religion, modernity, and postmodernity

  • Religious anti-futurism, antimodernism, resistance to the future

  • Religion and the sciences, medicine, and bioethics

  • Prophecy and divinatory practices, preordained futures

  • Time and temporality

  • The future of religion as an academic discipline


To be considered for participation, please complete the form at by January 18. Abstracts should be 300 words in length for 15-20 minute presentations. Please include in your abstract up to five keywords. Applicants will be notified of decisions by February 11. Accepted presenters must submit their final drafts by March 15 in order to participate.

Inquiries can be directed to Sarah Hedgecock and Connor Martini at For up to date information, please visit