CFP: "The Dynamics of Secularism, (Anti)Clericalism, Theology, and Science in Southeastern and Central Europe"

Submission deadline: May 30, 2024

Conference date(s):
September 28, 2024 - September 29, 2024

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Conference Venue:

Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Montenegro
Petrovac, Montenegro

Topic areas


The Institute for Advanced Studies of the University of Montenegro invites you to participate in the international conference “The Dynamics of Secularism, (Anti)Clericalism, Theology, and Science in Southeastern and Central Europe”. The conference is organised as part of the project “Beyond the Anticlerical Paradigm: Rethinking Secularism in Contemporary Montenegro” supported by the University of Oxford.

Recent socio-political developments in Montenegro, marked by the active role played by the Orthodox Church during the country’s tumultuous period of political changes (2020-2023), invite us to theorise the evolving conceptions of secularism, secularity, post-secularism and (de)secularisation in Montenegro’s political and cultural context, as well as reflect on how these trends play out in the broader regional setting of Southeastern and Central Europe. To this end, our conference seeks to explore contemporary theoretical perspectives on the contentious interplay between secularism, pluralism and post-secularism, with a particular interest in how these debates pertain to the unique historical experiences and contexts of Southeastern and Central Europe, as well as on Montenegro’s idiosyncratic case.

We hope to engage with a variety of themes pertaining to the role of religious organisations in the public sphere, the place of religious argumentation in public discourse, and the historical legacies that informed the diverse secular configurations in Southeastern and Central Europe.

This conference will be held on September 28-29, 2024, in the coastal town of Petrovac, Montenegro.

A non-exhaustive list of suggested topics of interest:

  • Philosophical and theological dimensions of the relationship between religious organisations and the State, and historical influences on this dynamics – from the legacy of Byzantine symphonia to the Imperial eras of the 18th and 19th centuries and the 20th-century experience of communism;
  • The notions of secularism, pluralism, and the post-secular public sphere in the thought of Charles Taylor, Jürgen Habermas, William Connoly and other relevant contemporary thinkers;
  • The relationship between secularisation as a historical process, secularity as an epistemic category, and secularism as a political doctrine beyond the West, with emphasis on modern and contemporary historical experiences in Southeastern and Central Europe;
  • The nexus between religion, nationalism, state and nation-building, and the contemporary role of religious organisations in the discursive articulation of dominant national identities and imaginaries in Southeastern and Central Europe;
  • The political activism of religious organisations, and their role in the processes of post-communist transitions of Southeastern and Central European states; narratives of clericalization, de-secularisation and anti-clerical resistance in the discourse of political actors in Southeastern and Central Europe;
  • Contemporary perspectives on the academic and disciplinary status of theology and divinity studies, secularist and post-secularist conceptions of religious education and its place in the primary, secondary and higher education curricula in Southeastern and Central Europe;
  • Contemporary perspectives on the place of religious discourse and religiously inspired justification in the public sphere, and the compatibility and interrelation of theological and scientific viewpoints in Southeastern and Central Europe.

Submission Guidelines: We invite scholars and researchers to submit abstracts that offer fresh insights and critical reflections on these themes. Proposals can encompass a range of disciplines, including political science, history, sociology, law, anthropology, theology, and philosophy. 

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, including a provisional title, 3-5 keywords, along with your full name and academic post/affiliation (if any). Selected papers will also be considered for publication in the conference proceedings.

Important Dates:

  • Abstract Submission Deadline: May 30, 2024
  • Notification of Acceptance: June 30, 2024
  • Conference Dates: September 28 & 29, 2024

Keynote speakers will include Hugh McLeod (University of Birmingham), Marco Ventura (University of Siena) and Saul Newman (Goldsmiths, University of London).

We look forward to receiving your abstracts and to the vibrant discussions that will undoubtedly emerge from this critical examination of secularism, (anti)clericalism, theology, and science in the context of Southeastern and Central Europe.

For more information and submission details, please visit our website at or contact us at [email protected].

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Custom tags:

#secularism, #post-secularism, #secularisation, #secularity, #Southeastern and Central Europe, #Montenegro