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  « To effectively start listening to a tradition of thought that is different from ours, gigantic efforts have to be made, often awkward, sometimes helpless. Because if subjectivity and objectivity do not constitute an alternative, laxism or a certain spontaneity of doubtful quality will always lead in these matters to a lazy and appalling reduction of the other to oneself. »  Rémi Savard, 1977, Le rire précolombien dans le Québec d’aujourd’hui.

The Organizing Committee of the 2015 AECSSR Graduate Student Annual Conference at Université du Québec à Montréal is pleased to welcome abstract submissions for the annual conference, which will take place March 13-14th, 2015 at UQAM. Graduate students from all over the world, working in all disciplines, and at all stages of study related to religion, are invited to present their latest research in a spirit of collegiality.

Since its foundation, the Department of religious studies at UQAM is known for its non-confessional approach to the study of the religious and its manifestations within cultures and societies, known as religiologie. Research being carried with this method tends to go beyond the academic status quo, to focus on the religious object as well as on the posture which underpins it. In recent years, a greater amount of attention has been given to the issues of proximity and detachment between the researcher and the object/subject of their research. With this emphasis on avant-garde and innovative research, we invite researchers in all disciplines to explore different approaches and methodologies that question this all too elusive barrier between subjectivity and objectivity.

Alter/native: this notion is drawn from two main ideas. On the one hand, political and artistic movements, or the currents that challenge, question or tend to subvert the structure that generates the dominant ideology. On the other hand, in social science, the category of the native, the insider, is often dubbed as obvious. In its broadest acceptation, it refers to the position of those who are empowered by a form of knowledge, which originates in a culture, and is both identifying and identifiable through its shapes and its expressions. Conversely, the outsider is understood as that who is detached, different, ignorant of the norms and customs of the land, who doesn’t understand the codes of the language. Taken as a whole, alternative may refer to the dialectical relationship between the margin and the norm.

However, in religious studies, these notions are interpreted in different ways: from his or her initial position as an outsider, the researcher, by way of translating his findings into academic language,
is contributing to the alterity of the observed as well. The native, in this case, refers to the researcher, who is considered an expert within his or her scientific community, conferring him a certain authority on the construction of knowledge related to his or her object. These categories remain at the heart of the debate around the constraints involved in the research process. How do we move beyond this problem? Is it even possible? How are religious sciences and religiologie proving as relevant tools to get there? Are they alternative in relation to theology, for example, or perhaps to a religious community? To investigate an object, is it necessary to be detached from it? What do these ‘objects’ of study offer us as researchers with a defined approach? How do we better involve the subjects of our research in thedevelopment of a scientific discourse? Or better even, give them the credit that they deserve as co-producers of that knowledge, especially at this time in history when we increasingly recognize the plurality of experienced subjectivities?

Stemming from our theme of alternativity, we invite abstracts for the following proposed sessions:
1.     Religious movements and traditions
2.     The public sphere and politics
3.     Arts and cultural productions
4.     Culture and counter-culture
5.     Empirical studies: contributions and methods
6.     Concepts: historical definitions and neologisms
7.     Engagement and involvement in the research object
8.     Feminist, gender and queer studies

The Annual AECSSR Conference is an occasion for young researchers from different universities and disciplines to exchange and engage in fertile debate. In order to participate, we invite students/researchers to submit an abstract (250 words) in relation to one or many of the suggested sessions by January 31st 2015. Abstracts should be accompanied by a title and by the contact information (name, university, level of education, email and phone number) of the researcher, as well as a preferred session [1St and 2e choice], and should be sent to:

Members of the AECSSR are looking forward to your participation in this 5th edition of the Annual AECSSR Conference! A potential publication in the departmental journal Religiologiques is also considered.

The Organizing Committee of the AÉCSSR-UQÀM
To join us: