Migration and Religion in European Literature

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Université Libre de Bruxelles / Vrije Universiteit Brussel
contact email: 

Migration and Religion in European Literature. International Conference

November 16-18, 2017

Maison des Arts de la Faculté de Lettres, Traduction et Communication, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Avenue Jeanne 56, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

Migration has profoundly influenced secular civilisation in Europe. As debates about the veil or the recent terror attacks show, religion has become a point of negotiation again. Refugees from Muslim countries, as well as the strong emphasis on Catholicism and Orthodoxy of certain former communist countries as they separate themselves from their previous ideologies, witness that for many people, religion still is much more than just a private matter. Immigration has turned
Europe not only to a multicultural but also to a religiously pluralistic society, where a wide range of different religions and beliefs exist next to each other. After Nietzsche’s widely quoted statement “God is dead” and the deconstruction of metaphysics, the relation between modern European civilisation and its religious inheritance is debated again. Richard Rorty, Gianni Vattimo, and Santiago Zabala noticed that secularisation has become a religious norm of its own in our postreligious society.

Literature has always been a reflector of shifts in society. The conference focuses on expressions of religiosity in contemporary European literature dealing with migration, and analyses how religion is represented in these works. Potential topics for 20-minute papers include:

• Religion as a guideline for conduct in everyday life
• Political and ideological implications of religious discourse
• Religion as a cultural myth, as a means of maintaining ethnic identity in the diaspora
• Religion as a ‘political theology’ in secular societies
• Religious sectarianism and competing quests for “Truth”
• Religion as a model of thought legitimizing the suppression of individual freedom, gender equality, or other values
• Intertextual framework of religious references in the context of migration

We are also interested in papers dealing with new aesthetic forms of writing in connection with migration and religion.

The conference will take place in English. A publication of the proceedings is planned. We are trying to obtain subsidies for travel and accommodation.

Please send your abstract (300 words) and a short biography (150 words) by January 31, 2017 to the conveners: Helga Mitterbauer, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), email: hmitterb@ulb.ac.be and Arvi Sepp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), email: arvi.sepp@vub.ac.be/Universiteit Antwerpen, email: arvi.sepp@uantwerpen.be