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Religious engineering – the making of alternative futures 
Eva Spies (University of Bayreuth)
Mahamane Tidjani Alou (Université Abdou Moumouni/LASDEL)
Paula Schrode (University of Bayreuth)
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Religion (x) Futures (y)
Philosophikum, S85
Saturday 3 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

The panel discusses projects of future-making that actively refer to religious resources and at the same time reconfigure religious traditions. How do such projects of transformation shape and produce a social and religious otherwise? Is the concept of religious engineering a helpful tool?

Long Abstract:

We propose the concept of “religious engineering” to analyse those active and conscious attempts to work on the future shape of society where the engineering practices refer to religious resources. Religious engineering alludes to cases of making and shaping “alternative” social and political worlds with and through “religion” and to transformative practices which at the same time reconfigure the religious traditions and self-understandings they refer to. Seeing such projects of changing or improving society as ways to build an otherwise, we want to explore epistemologies, practices, and moralities of transformative activism and thereby question the boundaries between non-religious and religious aspects of future-making.

Processes of religious engineering can be found in diverse fields: be it in international development and the work of so-called faith-based-organisations; Turkish interventions in African countries that are framed as acts of Muslim solidarity supposed to reunite the ummah; African Pentecostal universities aspiring to raise tomorrow’s African leaders; or European domestic policies deployed to create peaceful and secular Euro-Islam.

We invite presentations of empirical cases that could be understood as religious engineering, and/or critical reflections on this concept or on other ways to study epistemologies, practices, and moralities of transformative activism and future-making which overcome the religious/secular boundary.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -