CFP: IAHR Congress CFP, ‘Reimagining Religion, Rethinking Philosophy: Theories and Methods from Buddhist Sources’

Submission deadline: December 1, 2024

Conference date(s):
August 24, 2025 - August 30, 2025

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Conference Venue:

International Association for the History of Religions
Kraków, Poland

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As part of the XXIII Quinquennial World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR), hosted by Jagiellonian University and the Polish Society for the Study of Religions and taking place in Kraków, Poland, on August 24–30, 2025, I warmly invite paper proposals for the open panel titled ‘Reimagining Religion, Rethinking Philosophy: Theories and Methods from Buddhist Sources’.

“Is Buddhism a philosophy or a religion?” is a question as “unimaginative” (Faure 2004) as it is revealing. For Buddhism, this tradition “in the European imagination… at once alien and familiar” (Masuzawa 2005), “embraced by the West as both an alternative religion and an alternative to religion” (Lopez 2005), confounds the conceptual categories and disciplinary boundaries still routinely imposed upon it. One facet of this disjunction that has become especially salient in relevant scholarship over recent years relates to the problematic that “in the Western tradition, philosophy has indeed very often defined itself in opposition to religion, and the fact that scholars of Buddhism may regard the subject of their studies as both a religion and a philosophy has then led to the most extraordinary misunderstanding and confusion” (Ruegg 2010). This panel, therefore, seeks to expose and interrogate standard assumptions as to what religion is, and how it relates to philosophy, through detailed explorations of alternative conceptions enjoined by the diverse Buddhisms of classical and contemporary Asia. In doing so, this panel furthermore seeks to problematize claims to universal reason and religiosity still avowed, implicitly if not explicitly, by philosophers and religious scholars respectively. In exploring these issues, this panel relates directly to the conference sub-themes of ‘Mapping’, ‘Understanding’, and ‘Crossing’ in that it retheorizes ‘religion’, and redraws religious studies’ historically contingent theoretical and methodological disciplinary identity in relation to ‘philosophy’, according to the paradigms of a distinctly non-Western/non-Christian, and historically both physically and conceptually colonized, Other.

In line with the congress requirements, paper abstracts should be 200-250 words in length, and include 3-6 keywords. Note that individual submissions to open panels are subject to a two-stage process, whereby they are first assessed by the Academic Programme Committee, and then (if provisionally approved) by the panel convenor. Note also that all submissions must be made via the congress website; please see for full details. Of course, anyone interested in submitting a paper proposal is welcome to contact me beforehand via [email protected] to discuss their idea. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis until 1 December 2024. That said, in order to facilitate planning, paper proposals are more than welcome well in advance of the deadline.

With best wishes,

Rafal K. Stepien

Institute for the Intellectual and Cultural History of Asia

Austrian Academy of Sciences

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