A conference on “Religions and Secularities in the Caucasus: New Configurations” will be held June 1-2, 2015 in Tbilisi, Georgia. The conference will be supported by the project CASCADES, in collaboration with the project ISSECEU, both within the Seventh Framework Program of the European Commission, and the Ilia University, Tbilisi.
This international conference will be dedicated to the reconfiguration of the religious and the secular in both North and South Caucasus within a quarter of century since the collapse of the Soviet Union. These years have witnessed, on the one hand, new forms of religiosity and religious instrumentalization in politics, and, on the other hand, the reshaping of the discourses and practices of secularity. As in other parts of the world, in the Caucasus, the “religious” and the “secular” came to be perceived as the two opposed ideological paradigms, while in practice the boundaries between them have been unfixed and movable, both in the public and the private spaces.
The conference will look at changes of religious landscape in the Caucasus through the lens of the common Russian/Soviet legacy which largely defined the forms of both religion and secularity as they were shaped in the last decades. In spite of this common legacy, however, the developments have been very different in various parts of the region. The conference will also explore the relationship between the local processes and the larger regional or even global trends, in view of the growing interconnectedness that affect the Caucasian landscape.
The possible themes may include, among others:
• Religion and secularity as resources of political legitimation and of Realpolitik;
• Institutional arrangements of religion and religious diversity, and their evolution;
• Legal pluralism accommodating religious traditions;
• Regulation of religious presence in the public sphere;
• Overlapping, partnership and conflicts between religious and public institutions (administration, education, etc.);
• Differences of secular/religious divide on national and local levels;
• Public debates about religion and secularity;
• Traditional religious institutions and lay religious initiatives;
• Faith-based organizations and movements as new agents in the civil society;
• Transnational and international influences in shaping religion and secularity.
The disciplines welcomed are sociology, anthropology, political science and religious studies.
Please send queries to the conference email: religion.caucasusATgmail.com
Organizers: Alexander Agadjanian, Sophia Zviadadze, Silvia Serrano