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SocRel Annual Conference 2022: Disruption, Crisis and Continuity in Religion

4-6 July 2022

About the Event

Religion in some form has been a near constant in human history, with some traditions stretching back millennia into the 21st century, but this is a history cut through with crisis and disruption. These echo into the modern day, along with newly emerging conflicts and ruptures in society alongside rapidly shifting perceptions of religious life and institutions, including both a decline of religious engagement in the West alongside the ongoing impact of religious fanaticism on the global landscape.

Religion has been described as distinct by virtue of providing a "chain of memory" and tradition that links the believer to a global and historic community through shared ideology, symbolism and practice, yet many religious traditions emphasise the importance of rupture and discontinuity in the lives of (particularly new) believers. In amongst this, religion has long been seen as something to which people turn in times of crisis (are there really "no atheists in foxholes"?) or cling to as the point of stability and hope in a period of disruption, while religious groups are often at the heart of crisis response, whether in offering immediate support or long-term campaigning. Yet religious belief can also trigger a 'spiritual crisis' as sacred meaning systems are disrupted and begin to collapse, while institutional responses have at times led to the emergence of emergence new crises in the lives of individuals and communities.

With the events of the past two years and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic not only causing large-scale social disruption and loss but also unparalleled institutional change, we may also ask how religious communities have responded to this new, global upheaval. Meanwhile, the discipline of the study of religion itself is potentially going through a period of disruption and even crisis, with faculties and funding being cut across the country as its popularity among younger generations continues to decline.

Keynote Speakers

  • Dr Gladys Ganiel (Queen’s University, Belfast)
  • Professor John Holmwood (University of Nottingham)
  • Professor Phillip Jenkins (Baylor University)
  • Professor Nasar Meer (University of Edinburgh)

Key Dates

  • Abstract submission: 8 April 2022 *extended deadline*
  • Early bird registration opens: 2 February 2022
  • Decision notification: 14 April 2022
  • Presenter registration closes: 20 May 2022 *extended deadline*
  • Registration closes: 30 June 2022