Religion and Secularity in Contemporary European Cinema Conference, Spain

Deadline: 15 February 2011
Open to: scholars working on the respective topic
Dates and Venue: 7 – 8 October 2011, Barcelona, Spain
Allowance: Travel expenses (up to a certain amount) and accommodation expenses will be covered

The religious landscape of Europe has radically changed over the last seventy years. Some scholars highlight how there has been a steady decline in church-going in many parts of Europe, while others observe how religious values, attitudes and experiences remain, often in disguised forms, salient for many Europeans. In many European countries the power of institutional religion has declined, while the interest in individualized spiritualities has increased. Immigration and globalization have also contributed to the growth of a more diverse religious environment. For example, Islamic, Pentecostal and New Age beliefs have become more commonplace in several nations.

This “post-secular” shift (J. Habermas) merits careful interpretation: what are the current transformations of religious and secular experience, in an increasingly pluralist, fragmented and “post-traditional” environment? The conventional narrative of an Enlightenment pitting secular modernity against religious experience does not satisfactorily account for a “grey zone” of mutual influences, structural analogies and common dilemmas between the two. This conference aims to go beyond the tradition of Enlightenment-type anti-clericalism. Instead, it aims at investigating the complex problematic of this “grey area” through an examination of the way representative European directors understand and “reinvent” the interaction, confrontation and mutual transformation of religious and secular practices and experience. This raises fascinating and significant questions around themes such as solidarity and the reconstitution of political community, hospitality, otherness and pluralism, evil and responsibility, control and power, religion, violence, and peacebuilding. Around such themes the organisers seek to initiate an interdisciplinary conversation that would cast new light on the relationship between the religious and secular experience.

Methodologically, the European cinema will be looked at from several perspectives, including formal-aesthetic and philosophical. The proposal is to analyze cinematic works of art in their specific cultural-religious and political contexts.

Eligibility and Topics

The conference will welcome contributions from scholars (film theorists and film historians, philosophers, intellectual and cultural historians, political scientists, and scholars of religion and film) working on the interplay between sacred and secular in contemporary European cinema, with special reference to the major religious cultures of our time.

Following topics in paper proposals are welcome, though not limited to:

– Solidarity and the re-constitution of community
– Hospitality, otherness, and pluralism
– Evil, guilt, and responsibility
– Control and power
– Religion, violence, and the meaning of sacrifice
– Faith and hope
– Forgiveness and transformation

We plan to publish the presented papers into a themed volume with a major academic publisher.


Travel expenses to Barcelona (up to a certain amount) and accommodation expenses will be covered.

Application process

Please send abstracts (approximately 350 words) and a short CV to: [email protected] and [email protected] by 15 February, 2011.


Costica Bradatan
Texas Tech University, The Honors College, Lubbock TX 70401, USA
[email protected]

The official webpage.

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