"The Return of the Repressed? Religion and Culture in Contemporary Europe." (Salzburg, 6/15/11; 7/15/11)

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Salzburg Institute of Gordon College

In Europe during the last few years, religion and religiosity have achieved wider acknowledgement as themes of public discussion. Newspapers such as Die Zeit, now publish columns devoted to the phenomenon of religion. Radio and television programs regularly investigate the varying appearances of religion in the contemporary moment. One hears frequently about a "return of religion" or the "post-secular society" (Jürgen Habermas) in which we are said to live. Debates concerning Islam in its various manifestations continue unabated as do discussions about kinds of spirituality that in many cases remain outside the bounds of the established churches.

The symposium of the Salzburg Institute of Gordon College is dedicated to critically investigating the contemporary interplay between religion and culture in Europe and laying bare the deeper, historical roots of this interplay. Among others, the following questions will be considered: What cultural impact do religions have on Europe today? What influences do religions maintain on cultural institutions and practices? What cultural innovations can be detected in Islamic, Jewish, and Christian art and literature in Europe today? Are there "religious" trends or motifs in film and television? What roles do institutionalized religions play in all of this? Do cultural and artistic impulses yet (or again) proceed from religion? What political ramifications that we can identify result from these developments? And what points of difficulty arise in treatments of religious themes and motifs in literature and art before contemporary audiences?

This interdisciplinary symposium appeals to scholars of various disciplines (the humanities, sociology, philosophy, literature, history, political science, religious studies, theology). Please send abstracts for papers in German or English by June 15, 2011 to salzburg.symposium@gordon.edu and armin.eidherr@sbg.ac.at. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. The organizers cannot offer contributors compensation for conference- or travel expenses. Select contributions will be considered for publication in an edited collection.

Organizers: Nicholas Brooks (Salzburg Institute of Gordon College), Armin Eidherr (University of Salzburg), Gregor Thuswaldner (Salzburg Institute of Gordon College).