Rel03
Religion multiple: continuities, flows, and "religious diversity"

Convenors:
Eva Spies (University of Bayreuth)
Benjamin Soares (University of Florida)
RĂ¼diger Seesemann (University of Bayreuth)
Stream:
Religion
Location:
Chrystal McMillan, Seminar Room 4
Wednesday 12 June, 8:45-10:15
Wednesday 12 June, 10:45-12:15

Short abstract:

Given the ambiguity between the relationality of fluid religious traditions and their definition as separate, fixed entities, the panel invites papers dealing with the question how religious diversity can be approached conceptually as well as empirically across space and time.

Long abstract:

Today, global entanglements of religious traditions make it difficult to understand religious diversity (or plurality) in the sense of "many religions", i.e., a situation where religions are neatly separated plural forms of a generic "religion". Instead, global connections suggest interdependency and the mutual co-constitution of religious traditions, their polycentric development, and the porousness of their assumed boundaries. At the same, global dynamics entail new forms of the state management of religion, including the official classification of religions, determination of their legal status or the assignment of places and rights to religions in the public sphere. These processes tend to revive and reify a notion of "religions" as separable given entities and their positioning as given actors in the (secular) political field. This seems to strengthen the idea of - or need for - stable, consistent religions, as well as processes of differentiation from and evaluations of others. Thus, on the one hand, there is the experience of religious traditions being in a constant state of flux, and on the other hand, the need or wish to fix religions and emphasise their continuity and unique features. Given this ambiguity between the relationality of fluid religious traditions and their definition as separate, fixed entities, the panel invites papers dealing with the question how religious diversity can be approached conceptually as well as empirically across space and time. The proposed panel will be sponsored by Africa: Journal of the International African Institute.