KEYNOTE LECTURES 2022

 

RELIGION AND DIVERSITY

 

Diversity characterises internal dynamics and external relations of all religious faiths in their different dimensions: texts – in their origins, exegesis, hermeneutics, critical editions; cults – in their anthropology, esthetics, adaptations; norms – in their sources, implementation, collection; doctrines – with their languages, narratives, transmissions; practices – in their motivation, evolution, connection or antagonism with other societal actors. A complex system with multiple variants which is usually reduced to a “dialogic dimension” which finds its most visible reasons and outcomes in the way societies transform and represent it into their political, juridical, social systems, but also in the ways that the faith communities generate dialogue or conflict within themselves and towards other communities (religious and non-religious).

 

Religious diversity offers therefore a wide spectrum for scholars working on its facets and impact, on the public and intimate life of people, social attitudes and behaviours, political choices and instances, cultural and economic dimensions all along the history from classical religions to more recent aspects.

 

Theologies, history and historiography, law and its political implementation, political balances, social practices and relations, cultural approaches and sensibilities have a role in describing, defining, ruling, and representing religious diversity in the varieties it assumes in different times and places. They have a role in constructing paradigms, identifying processes of accommodation, justifying conflicts, promoting change, detecting languages, and driving understanding.

 

The questions that will be addressed by this years' overarching topic are:

  • How the past of diversity has been and still is re-elaborated to deny or boost violence;

  • How diversity became, since the classical cultures, a reason to close or open the divide between public power and the religious understanding of it;

  • How can religious diversity be detected and critically identified through indirect sources like international treaties, constitutions, laws, and artistic representations from the antiquity onward;

  • What role education had all along its history until today and with the most different paradigms in shaping and/or managing religious diversity;

  • What linguistic paradigms are (de)coded to manage diversity in given cultural areas;

  • How did theologies and doctrines develop and are still developing towards the shaping of languages and practices of diversity.

 

Scholars from all the scientific disciplines studying religions in all their different forms and in their diachronic and synchronic variety are invited to apply. The European Academy of Religion welcomes also seminars and focus groups of other societies, academies, research teams, journals, departments and research centres.

Francesca Cadeddu, President of the European Academy of Religion

Fondazione per le science religiose (FSCIRE)

The Multi-Dimensional Entanglement of Restrictions on Religious Diversity: A Myanmar Case

Study

(Madlen Krüger, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, Heidelberg)

MONDAY, JUNE 20th

Teatro San Leonardo, Via San Vitale, 63

18:15-19:45

Krueger photo.jpeg

Socio-political and individual approaches to religious diversity are multifaceted. Religious diversity can be perceived as a threat or opportunity, can be tolerated, promoted, restricted, or instrumentalised. As a majority Theravada-Buddhist country with a distinct ethnic and religious plurality along with vast regional diversities, Myanmar offers many insights into the challenges of religious diversity. The focus of the lecture will be on the boundaries, obstacles, and restrictions on religious diversity and their entanglements at political, social, and individual levels. The analysis will address in particular how state regulation, instrumentalisation of religion, political democratisation processes, and the formation of authoritarian regimes affect religious minorities, intra-religious processes, and interreligious dialogue structures. Finally, the individual perceptions of religious plurality in the course of socio-political discourses and political restrictions are discussed.

Dr. Madlen Krueger is a Research Fellow with the Department of Peace at the Protestant Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (FEST) in Heidelberg. She is currently working in a project on religions, diplomacy and peace funded by the German Foreign Office. She has done extensive research on religious diversity. Most recently in a research project on Myanmar and religious diversity at the University of Muenster and as a senior fellow in the research group Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities at the University of Leipzig. Her research focuses particularly on the relation between religion and politics, religion and violence and religious diversity. In her research, she specifically addresses the regions of South and Southeast Asia. She has studied religious studies and South Asian studies (University of Leipzig; JNU Delhi).

Her most recent work includes Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Myanmar (ed. with P. Schmidt-Leukel and H.-P. Grosshans, Bloomsbury Academics 2022).

New Social Patterns: Old Educational Structures? Comparative Perspectives on How Diversity Challenges Religious Education in Europe

(Oddrun M. H. Bråten, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

TUESDAY, JUNE 21st

Teatro San Leonardo, Via San Vitale, 63

08:30-10:00

Braten photo.png

New social patterns of increased societal diversity when it comes to religions and worldviews has challenged traditional forms of Religious Education (RE) in European school systems. This has led to an increased research interest in religious education and plurality, which is probably the most explored topic in the field of RE, for decades and presently. In my presentation, I make an incision into the debates to represent these developments. I will be visiting “classics” such as ‘the Interpretive Approach’ and ‘Signposts’ but give special attention to comparative studies. By this I wish to enlighten the debate from a supranational perspective; a perspective transcending the often very intense national debates. Attention will be paid to issues such as the relationship between Church, State and RE in Europe, Human Rights Issues, and education about and into Islam in European states. Lastly, I am also to comment on some recent debates in England; and in Norway, where there is a new national curriculum from 2020.

Oddrun M. H. Bråten is Professor of Religions and Worldviews Education at the Institute of Teacher Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway. She received her Doctoral Degree in Education from the University of Warwick, UK and her Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from the University of Bergen, Norway.

Her research consists of international and comparative studies about religion and worldviews education, empirical classroom studies, and studies on worldviews in education.

She leads of NTNU RE Research Group.

From Nonsectarian to Multireligious: An Educational Experiment in Religious Diversity

(David N. Hempton, Harvard Divinity School)

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22nd

Teatro San Leonardo, Via San Vitale, 63

17:00-18:30

Hempton photo.JPG

The foundation of Harvard University in 1636 and later the Harvard Divinity School (HDS) in 1816 had their roots in puritanical and then nonsectarian Protestantism. By 1816 the original desire to “purify” the faith from Rome had given way to an emphasis on moral unity among Protestant Christians. By then, non-sectarianism implied little more than an attempt to mend fences between Unitarian and Trinitarian Congregationalists. If anything, HDS’s liberal Protestant identity was reinforced after the Second World War by President Nathan Pusey who recruited Paul Tillich and pledged to revitalize HDS’s Christian mission and ecumenical credentials. Over the next half-century, a complex of changes produced perhaps the most diverse and multireligious divinity school in the United States. How did this happen? First there was a chair in Roman Catholic theological studies, followed by appointments in Jewish studies, African American religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islamic religion and society, comparative theology, and so on. The student body was also changing rapidly with the admission of women and students from non-Protestant Christian backgrounds. In this journey towards a more multireligious school, four innovations are worthy of special treatment: the formation of the Center for the Study of World Religions (1958); the Women’s Study in Religion Program (1973); the Pluralism Project (1991); and the creation of the Master’s in Public Life degree (2020). The purpose of this paper is to identify the social contexts and structural dynamics producing these changes, the theological and philosophical conversations that shaped their expression, and the resistant factors and blind spots that make this story anything but a conventional ascension narrative. Attention will be paid to changing understandings of what constitutes religion and theology, the appropriate categories and social locations for their study, and the engine-drivers of change and resistance, which are sometimes more surprising than some metanarratives of increasing religious diversity suggest.

David Hempton is John Lord O’Brian Professor of Divinity and Dean of Harvard Divinity SchoolHe held prior appointments as Director of the School of History at Queen’s University Belfast and distinguished University Professor at Boston University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy. He has delivered the Cadbury Lectures at the University of Birmingham, the F. D. Maurice Lectures at King’s College, London, and the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh.

His books include Methodism and Politics in British Society 1750-1850 (Stanford University Press, 1984), winner of the Whitfield Prize of the Royal Historical Society; Methodism: Empire of the Spirit (Yale University Press, 2005), Evangelical Disenchantment: Nine Portraits of Faith and Doubt (Yale University Press, 2008), The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century (I. B. Tauris, 2011), winner of the Albert C. Outler Prize of the American Society of Church History; and most recently (with Hugh McLeod), Secularization and Religious Innovation in the North Atlantic World (Oxford University Press, 2017). He is currently preparing a book from the 2021 Gifford Lectures.

The Role of Religion in Coping with Refugee Trauma: Agency and Resilience

(Halina Grzymała-Moszczyńska, International Association for the Psychology of Religion)

THURSDAY, JUNE 23rd

Teatro San Leonardo, Via San Vitale, 63

08:30-10:00

Grzymala-Moszczynska photo.jpg

Research and general discourse represent refugees in terms of helplessness and loss. This representation consigns their bodies to a mute and faceless physical mass. This presentation attempts to build a more detailed picture of who they are and present the role of religion in the agency and resilience of forced migrants coping with refugee trauma. Three different approaches to the mental health of refugees will be discussed. The first two are concerned with disorder etiology, and the third is concerned with getting well. The oldest of the three is the War Displacement Model, which directly connects disorders in migrants’ functioning with experienced wartime trauma, violence and loss. Disorders that refugees suffered from were diagnosed as the psychiatric category of PTSD occurring with varying frequency (5%–95%) in refugees who reached Western countries (Miller & Rasmussen, 2017). A second approach, the Ecological Displacement-Related Model, emerged from research concentrated on both the conditions of military conflict victims living in their country during the conflict and after they have escaped (Miller & Rasmussen, 2010). This approach insisted it was not only the military conflict traumatizing the refugees but also; the dangerous route taken to escape, finding themselves in overcrowded refugee camps, poverty, conflicts within the refugee community (Grzymała-Moszczyńska & Nowicka, 1998), losing support networks, and fighting for survival, especially for families where the husband and father died in the war. This model was subsequently expanded with data gathered among those who were living in what is known as “safe resettlement countries” but experienced in those countries traumatizing factors such as; poverty, unemployment, loss of their possessions and their family and social support networks (especially in the case of people coming from cultures with the extended family model, as opposed to the nuclear family model of the Western societies), marginalization and social discrimination, uncertainty of asylum-seeking procedures, being kept in detention centers, experiencing conflict and being victims of violence in their own family. The situational context of living, after the war, in the enforced migration reality was especially crushing when it exposed the migrants to everyday stressors which they had no influence on. The third approach is the ADAPT model (Adaptation and Development After Trauma and Persecution). It focuses on the conditions that individuals, who have experienced warfare and persecution related trauma, must meetto get healthy again (Silove 2013) defines these conditions through five pillars:

  • regaining the sense of security;

  • rebuilding social bonds destroyed through death and loss of close ones and community members;

  • feeling that justice was served to perpetrators;

  • reconstructing the destroyed family and social roles, and the identity that comes with them;

  • reconstructing the destroyed feeling of the meaning of life, connected to finding a place for oneself in the new, often very different world.

Results from my field research conducted during 25 years among various groups of refugees including Bosnians, Kosovars, Armenians from Upper Karabach, Chechens and Syrians will provide examples of the role of religion in supporting agency and resilience amidst different hardships inherent in refugees’ situation (Anczyk, Grzymała-Moszczyńska 2021).

Halina Grzymała-Moszczyńska is Full Professor of Psychology at the Jagiellonian University and  Jesuit University Ignatianum in Cracow, Poland. She serves as Chair of the Department of Psychology of Religion and Spirituality and as President of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion since 2019. Her research and teaching areas are: psychology of migration (with 25 years of experience in refugee research); psychology of religion and spirituality.

Grzymała-Moszczyńska most relevant recent publications are:

  • A.Anczyk,A.,H. Grzymała-Moszczyńska (2021), The Psychology of Migration: Facing Cultural and Religious Diversity, Leiden-Boston: Brill.

  • A.Anczyk, H. Grzymała-Moszczyńska, A. Krzysztof-Świderska, J. Prusak (2020), Which psychology(ies) serves us best? Research perspectives on the psycho-cultural interface in the psychology of religion(s), Archive for the Psychology of Religion.

  • A. Anczyk, H. Grzymała-Moszczyńska (2020), Psychology of religion(s) within religious studies: into the future, Religion, 50(1), p. 24-31.

  • H. Grzymała-Moszczyńska, M. Kanal (2019), Research on forced migration from the perspective of the psychology of religion: Opportunities and challenges, Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 41(3), pp. 204-215.

  • A. Anczyk, H. Grzymała-Moszczyńska, A. Krzysztof-Świderska, J. Prusak, The Replication Crisis and Qualitative Research in the Psychology of Religion, The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 29(4), pp. 278-291.