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Religious (un)certainties in times of upheaval (Working Group Ethnology of Religion) 
Thorsten Wettich (University of Bremen)
Alessandro Testa (Charles University)
Victoria Hegner (Göttingen University)
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Peter Jan Margry (University of Amsterdam Meertens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
Clara Saraiva (ICS, University of Lisbon)
Friday 9 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Prague

Short Abstract:

The pandemic, the war, and the climate crisis bring along fear as the most fundamental experience. How do religions institutions and individuals react in the face of various uncertainties? Do they offer relief and a way of coping with worldly obstacles? What are their promises of utopian futures?

Long Abstract:

"Navigating our lives in a sea of uncertainties" is a puzzle for religious organizations and individual religious expression. Some aspects of religious interference with "worldly matters" are well studied. One example is the religious rooting of American environmentalism studied by Evan Berry, where religious narratives serve as imperatives to protect species and habitats.

Other, more current topics of religious dealing with uncertainty, have to be studied more thoroughly. Recently, Sabina Magliocco reminded us of James Scott´s notion of "hidden transcripts" - folk expressions coded as a means of resistance - exemplified in magical acts to resist the feeling of powerlessness.

In this line of this thought, the aim of this panel is to unravel how religious practice recasts the meaning of uncertainty and vice versa and how experiences of crisis reshape ideas of the religious. We invite paper proposals from a variety of different disciplinary and methodological angles that examine the following and related topics:

- Religious performance as an art to fill the lack of political agency and as a response to feelings of anxiety and helplessness.

- Religious acts of coping with the crisis of political sovereignty, the upsurge of war as an end to political means, and the so called "cultural war".

- Growing uncertainty of religious convictions and the reshaping of religion in times of crisis.

- Uncertainty as a matter of ethnology and ethnography of religion.

- New kinds of knowledge production in online religious spaces and their relationship to discourses of uncertainty.

- Etc.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 9 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Friday 9 June, 2023, -