EASR Conference 2016 Helsinki

Relocating Religion

Annual conference of the EASR

Special conference of the IAHR

The 2016 annual conference of the EASR was held from 28 June – 1 July 2016, at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The theme of the conference was Relocating religion.

Please see the conference website: http://blogs.helsinki.fi/easr-2016/

General Assembly 2016

The General Assembly took place on June 29th.

Minutes of the 2016 General Assembly

Description of the conference theme:

Religion has always been a moving concept. Throughout history, it has changed place, shape, function and content; conceptions of religion have been dependent on theoretical or political interests and strategies. Religion can be framed as a means of identity-work, world-building and well-being, but it can also be perceived as a consumer good or a security threat. Due to the open, fragile, and inherently negotiable nature of the category of ‘religion’, rigid definitions produce simplistic and distorted representations of the complexities involved in the formation of religious phenomena. At the same time, attempts to define and redefine religion in various contexts are themselves an important topic of research. All of this requires interdisciplinary scholarly imagination and critical new approaches.

In recent scholarship, religious change has been conceptualized from a variety of theoretical perspectives. When focusing on the modern period, some scholars speak about the vitalization of religions, secularization and post-secularity, while others refer to re-sacralization and re-enchantment. Concurrently, the need for more knowledge and understanding not only of religion, but also of secularization, secular positions and non-religion has been underlined. Many of these perspectives highlight the significance of religious change as a cultural and social phenomenon. Such perspectives are, however, equally applicable to the study of religious transformations in other contexts than the modern period. The conference will offer the opportunity to explore changes and continuities in the forms, practices and implications of religion at all levels of societies and cultures, in the past as well as in the present.

The keynote speakers were:

Giovanni Filoramo, University of Turin

Anne-Marie Korte, University of Utrecht

James R. Lewis, University of Tromsø

Linda Woodhead, University of Lancaster

Organizers: The conference was organized by the Study of Religions at the University of Helsinki in collaboration with the Finnish Society for the Study of Religion, Comparative Religion at the Åbo Akademi University and the Donner Institute, Turku.

Tuula Sakaranaho, President of the conference

Heidi Rautalahti, Conference secretary