CFP: “Post-global religion” — EASR conference 17-21 June in Bern

Dear colleagues,

For the EASR conference 17-21 June in Bern (http://www.easr2018.org/​) I have proposed a session on “Post-global religion”.​

This open session investigates critical responses to globalisation and articulations of strategic particularity in (the study of) religions.

The session is explorative and invites scholars of religion to think with the term through both theoretical perspectives as well as empirical cases from around the world.

Please contact Jørn Borup (jb@cas.au.dk) with suggestions of individual papers before 12th of January.

Although transcultural interaction and exchange of people, ideas, practices and goods are essentially part of all religious history, the speed and media of such circulations, compressed in time and space, are more typical of a global (post)modernity. Transnational migration and the increasing representation of global diasporas have furthermore questioned essentialist relations between religion, ethnicity, culture, language and territory. Hybrids, fluidity, liquidity and synthesizing flows are the centripetal forces framing also increased religious pluralization and multi-religiosity in cultures traditionally having been mainly mono-religious. Westernization dressed as universalisation and global harmonization has been responded to by negotiated domestication (‘glocalization’), and the study of religion has increasingly been de-protestantized in light of more global approaches to the study of global religion.

Ideals of a global world seem also, however, to be questioned and criticised by new political realities. Walls are being built, borders and boundaries are being reinstalled and countries are withdrawing from international cooperation. Insistence on diversity (rather than pluralisation) and assimilation (rather than integration) are part of national, ethnic and cultural narratives favouring closed systems, as are the increasing influence of interaction-resisting groups representing themselves through identity politics. If globalisation was an ideal of a new world order, there seems also to be parallel indications of strategic reactions towards this in a post-global world.

Critical responses to globalisation seem to be also affecting religious worlds. Reports from Pew Forum show more religious intolerance and less freedom of belief, and also religious voices applaud discourses of contraction. What could be termed ‘post-global religion’ is characterised by the strategic articulation of a re-enchantment of particularity. Just like post-colonial voices were critical responses to Western hegemony, post-global discourses and practices at both individual, institutional and national levels are critical reactions to globalisation favouring the forces of centrifugal dispersion. This can be represented by anti-global religious re-nationalisation, re-ethnification, re-culturalisation, re-traditionalisation, re-racialisation, re-tribalism, re-territorialisation and re-configuration of the codes appropriating religious diversity. It can be seen in discourses and practices favouring monolithic cultural/national narratives, minority suppression, fractionalisation, downscaling of religious freedom and by ‘religionisation’ of political, cultural, ethnic or gender-related identity politics being turned into sacred authenticity claims.