CFP Deadline: Sep. 15, Conference on “Ready for Democracy” in Orthodox, Islamic Worlds, USA

A call for papers has been issued with a deadline of September 15, 2012, for a conference on “Ready for Democracy? Religion and Political Culture in the Orthodox and Islamic Worlds” at Indiana University Bloomington, Feb. 28-March 2, 2013. The conference – sponsored by the Russian and East European Institute (REEI) at Indiana University Bloomington – will examine common assumptions about the limits to democratic practices in societies that are largely Orthodox or Islamic. Within this comparative framework, the organizers aim to move beyond generalities about religion, religious institutions, and politics to consider what specifically might be the relationship between religion and political culture.

Advanced graduate students and recent PhDs (those who received their degrees in 2009 or after) are invited to submit proposals for this conference. Pending funding, REEI will cover travel and housing expenses for 8-10 selected scholars. They will join a smaller group of senior scholars who have been invited to present their work at the conference.  Panel discussions on: the roles that religious institutions, religious movements, and their leaders play in civil society and democratic processes; the ways that religious tradition and beliefs impact ideas about and practices of democracy; the significance of religious rituals in shaping the practices of the public sphere are among expected topics.

The organizers hope that this conference will offer scholars – from a variety of disciplines interested in these two religious traditions and their political contexts – an opportunity to compare notes and perhaps develop common frameworks for speaking about religion’s place in the debates about democracy that have become more intense in the wake of the Arab Spring and the recent Russian protests. Publication of a volume based upon the conference will be considered.

Topics in any field will be considered; however, preference will be given to those proposals that deal explicitly BOTH with 1) aspects of the religions themselves, as outlined abaove, AND 2) questions of democracy and civil society. Geographically, preference will be given for work focusing on Russia/CIS, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North America. Comparative and global research is also welcome.

Proposals must include: 1) a paper title, 2) an abstract (minimum 300 words), and 3) complete contact information. Submit all proposals to no later than Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012; direct inquiries to Padraic Kenney, Director, REEI, at pjkenney(at) and further details may be found at this website.

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