CFP Deadline: July 13, Singapore conference on “Secularisms And The Formations Of Religion In Asia”

An international conference on “Secularisms And The Formations Of Religion In Asia: Pluralism, Globalization, Modernities” will be held Feb 29–Mar 1, 2016, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


In recent years there has been growing academic and public interest in the global “resurgence” of religion around the world. This has in turn stimulated scholarly debates concerning “secularism” and its conceptual imbrication with notions such as modernity, the public sphere, multiculturalism, governance, citizenship and global civil society. Some have even envisioned the desecularization of the world or the coming of the “post-secular” era. Against this backdrop this conference will focus on the complex interactions between politics of secularism and changing religious expressions across contemporary Asia, especially how the “secular” and “religious” have mutually defined and shaped each other in diverse social, cultural and political settings.

Inter-disciplinary studies on “the secular” have contributed to better scholarly understanding of not only the rise of the category of religion, but also the different transformations of the religious sphere in modern times. However, a dominant thread in existing scholarship tends to focus on how the majority of contemporary societies in Asia have reacted and responded to Western versions of secularism through colonial encounters.

This workshop seeks to go beyond this action-reaction model, and to examine the ways in which societies in Asia have been active contributors to the global engagement with, and formulation of, different expressions of secularism and the “religious”. Whether through accepting, appropriating or resisting secularism as a result of colonial experiences, or through elaborating and promoting their own versions of secularism, societies in
Asia have diversely defined their various traditions as “religion”, “civilization”, “spirit” or “magic/cult/superstition” in their respective colonial and postcolonial contexts. This conference will attempt to focus on how the interactions between forms of secularism and
religious discourses and traditions have in Asian societies contributed to the rise of nation-states, transformed the religious terrains and reformulated the modern functional systems such as legal, financial and educational institutions.

The organizers invite paper proposals from different approaches such as sociology, anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, international relations, law, history, geography, political science, media studies and cultural studies that examine, but not restricted to, the following questions:

  • In what ways have societies and cultures in Asia contributed to the discourses and conceptualizations of secularism, the post-secular and the religious in the context of regional and global encounters?
  • How do secular state and religious tradition shape the spaces of civil society? What are their implications for the formulation and practice of
  • citizenship?
  • How is ethnic or identity politics related to the interplay of religion and secularism?
  • What forms of relationship do religion and the secular state have across Asia?
  • How do religions interpret and response to the building of secular nation-states across Asia?
  • How do different forms of secularism influence the growth or decline ofreligious institutions or engage with other forms of religious change or innovation across Asia?
  • How do secularisms and religious traditions affect the geopolitics and international relations of a globalized Asia?

The organizers are pleased to provide meals and accommodation for presenters during the conference period. Partial subsidies for travel expenses might be available depending on funding availability and on a case-by-case basis. The organizers intend to publish selected papers from the conference as a journal special issue and/or as an edited volume with a reputable academic press.


1. Deadline: Please submit your proposal with title and an abstract of not more than 350 words, together with your name, title, institutional affiliation and email address by 13th July, 2015.

2. Submission method: Send in MS Word via email to <>.

3. Final papers: Paper presenters are requested to submit full papers by 8th February, 2016.

Please do not hesitate to contact the convenors Associate Professor Francis Lim and Dr Kyuhoon Cho <>for any questions or clarification.

This entry was posted in Calendar Events and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.