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Religion as revolution

posted by Charles Gelman

McGill University and the Centre for Research on Religion will be holding a conference specifically for graduate students on March 26-27, 2010, entitled Sites of Transformation: New Perspectives on Religion as Revolution:

At first glance, religion might appear antithetical to revolution. In fact, in the discourse of contemporary Western secularism, religion is often spoken of as inherently conservative, in that it upholds outdated principles and ideals, and so, does nothing to substantially disrupt the status quo. Religions themselves often participate and help to shape this vision, painting themselves as the last bastions of ‘traditional values’, islands in a sea of change. A closer look at religious thought and practice reveals that they can and often have been revolutionary, providing some of the most severe, sustained and ground-breaking critiques of the prevailing social order. As such, both contemporary and historical religious movements have, and continue to radically reshape the social world, whether it be that of the individual practitioner, the religious community, or society at large.

Though this conference takes as its starting point the Study of Religions, we welcome and encourage an interdisciplinary approach to the problematic. Thus, we are looking for papers that address questions such as: How have particular religious movements challenged established worldviews through (re)education? How have they provided a space to deconstruct and/or reconstruct identity? Can religious conversion be thought of as revolutionary? In what ways has religion involved itself in, or been usurped by revolutionary political movements?

See here for more information about the conference. Details for students interested in submitting papers are available here [pdf].

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