Religious Conversions: Then and Now
About The Event
The 6th Annual International Conference of the Center for the Study of Conversions and Inter-Religious Encounters (CSoC)
Date: May 28-31, 2018
Venue: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
In past conferences held at CSOC, religious conversions (whether individual or collective, voluntary or forced) and inter-religious encounters (harmonious or polemical) were analyzed in specific historical contexts and circumstances.
In this 6th International conference we seek to explore both phenomena from explicit and implicit comparative perspectives. Our attempt is to emphasize analogies between different religions in similar and different special and temporal settings attempting to identify internal transformations within each of the three Abrahamic faiths and cultures regarding conversion and inter-religious encounters.
Among the topics we envision as interesting for comparative discussion in different sessions are:
• Conversion and universalism
• Conversion and bio-politics / ethno geo-politics
• Gender and conversion
• Manifestations of resistance to conversion and backsliding
• Legal aspects and implications of conversion
• Interfaith couples – Mixed marriages and conversion
• How conversion was conceptualized in the past and today
• Acculturation, Syncretism and Cultural Hybridity
• Conversion and Society
• Techniques / technologies of conversion (“from the pulpit to paypal” and from religious texts to text messaging)
• Ruth, Paul and Muhammad – changing perceptions of three scriptural figures who are perceived as having undergone conversion and inter-religious encounters over time
Some of the following overarching questions will be at the center of the discussion we envision for the conference:
– Can past conversions and religious encounters help understand contemporary conversions and religious encounters and vice-versa?
– Is it possible to address a common phenomenology of conversion, or should each religion be studied separately endorsing idiosyncratic patterns of religious change?
– When facing a highly variegated and evolving phenomenon, is it possible that religious conversion, as a moment or even process denoting a radical change, has too many contingent factors to make it a useful category for examining the past and the present?
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