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Religion and Nation(alism): Entanglements, Tensions, Conflicts
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11/10/2016 to 11/11/2016
When: Thursday, November 10, 2016
Where: University of Tartu
Contact: Piret Koosa

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The Estonian Society for the Study of Religions announces a call for papers for the conference Religion and Nation(alism): Entanglements, Tensions, Conflicts to be held at the University of Tartu, Estonia, on 10-11 November 2016.

Recent developments throughout the world have shown that the connections between ethnic and religious identity have not lost their actuality. The relationships between religion and nationalism are multifaceted and interactive; their dynamics is influenced by social and political conditions. The politisation of religion may support ethnic and national unity, whereas religion may lead to particular forms of political activism. The concurrence of ethnic and religious identity (or the lack of it!) may result in nation building or the shaping of an ideology of the ‘chosen people’. Moreover, religious identities may offer possibilities for the formation of communities that cross national borders.

Studying the role that religion plays in these complex relationships will offer insights into the formation, development or disintegration of certain groups and their choices, both in individual and public spheres. Thus, the conference organizers welcome scholars from all fields of study (anthropology, archaeology, ethnology, folkloristics, history, political and religious studies, etc.) who study the connections between (ir)religion and nationalism or group identities. Particularly interesting aspects include:

  • diachronic and contemporary aspects of the relationships between nationalism and religion
  • regional aspects of religion and nation(alism)
  • ideological entanglements of religion and nation(alism)
  • religious tensions and conflicts between ethnic groups both past and present
  • the relationships between (ir)religion, nationalism and group identity
  • discursive intersections of religion and nationalism with gender, sexuality, race, class, culture and history
  • the religious aspects of secular nationalism and secular sources of the public authority of religious institutions and traditions
  • migration and religion, expatriate relationships with nation(alism) and religion
  • conspiracy theories about the religious background of migrants
  • neo-pagan and esoteric movements in the context of nation building

The language of the conference will be English, the length of papers 20 minutes. A conference fee of 80€ will be applied for meals and materials; participants are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation.

Please submit your abstract of 250-300 words to the conference e-mail address: before May 31, 2016. Pre-arranged panels will also be considered. Notification of acceptance, and the opening of registration, not later than July 1, 2016.

For inquiries please contact the Secretary of the conference, Piret Koosa ( Current information about the conference can be found at 

The conference is being organised by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions in cooperation with the University of Tartu (School of Theology and Religious Studies, Institute of Cultural Research and Arts) and the Estonian Literary Museum. 

Organising committee: Madis Arukask, Alar Kilp, Piret Koosa, Katre Koppel, Mare Kõiva, Jaan Lahe, Atko Remmel, Ülo Valk, Ergo-Hart Västrik 



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