Conference: Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion (10-11 November 2016)

The Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion (LUCSOR) will be hosting an international conference on 10-11 November 2016. The theme is:

Compassion, Social Engagement, and Discontent: Believing and the Politics of Belonging in Europe Today

This LUCSoR conference aims to investigate forms and elements of religion in public settings and technologies of belonging in Europe today by taking compassion as a locus. We approach compassion not primarily as an emotion but as a social relation. Compassion may lead to social engagement, but also to the desire not to connect, to refuse engagement, or to turn away.

The conference is intended for scholars of religion of various disciplinary backgrounds interested in exploring new ways of studying religion in public settings.

The conference is free and open to all. Please register before 1 November 2016. For a tentative programme, see the conference website.

The papers start from small stories or vignettes of:

1. Compassion and social engagement of religious community groups and individuals

These may vary from local-based initiatives of informal care and volunteer aid, to more institutionalized forms of aid provided by religious community groups, such as faith-based refugee work and social service agencies caring for the poor and homeless. The vignettes provide a window into forms and elements of religion today and the politics of belonging: who deserves compassion, who is excluded or undeserving, and what does the response toward suffering entail?

2. Discontent and anxiety about multiculturalism in everyday life

This category of papers engages with a relatively under-researched topic: the discontent of the “angry” citizen, who feels ignored by politicians, who, unlike the elites in their ivory tower, experiences daily what it means to live in a multicultural society, and who may express her- or himself in riotous protests against the resettlement of refugees. What values underlie their discontent? What makes them reject certain forms of compassionate action and choose others?

The focus of the conference is Europe today, but other times and other places also receive attention.

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