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CALL FOR PAPERS – Religious Freedom: Social-Scientific Approaches

International Conference in Padova (Italy), May 14-15, 2020

Abstracts (400 words) due by December 20, 2019 – Send to Olga Breskaya (

Notification of acceptance: January 15, 2020

Over the past three decades, issues related to religious freedom have become increasingly important across a global spectrum, prompting a growing interdisciplinary area of study. The discourses on religion and human rights, citizenship, and religion and state relations have become intertwined due to the shared centrality of the struggle over religious freedom. Scholars in political science, international relations, judicial studies and sociology have all contributed theoretical discussions, case studies and extensive empirical analysis.

Recent developments involving social and religious dynamics related to migration, societal restrictions placed on religious freedoms, interaction between religious social movements and religious freedoms, and increasing visibility of religion in global politics are several examples where diverse theoretical approaches and analytical tools of social sciences can complement and challenge each other. While modern societies advance human rights promises by various legal and social mechanisms, they nevertheless face basic challenges of how these promises are to be defended, especially when ethnic, religious or class differences are factored into the picture. The promise of religious freedom has become a burgeoning social issue, which asks for both the social scientific answers and, in particular, for understandings of how different scientific outlooks see and interpret the current situation.

In order to better address the issues, we invite participants to contribute theoretical perspectives, social science concepts and empirical analyses that highlight the development of religious freedom as an area of study in the social sciences. Considering these matters, participants are welcome to propose papers in line with the conference rationale, particularly in relation to the following topics:

  • Theories of religious freedom in social sciences
  • Religious freedom and pluralism
  • Religious freedom, spirituality and interfaith dialogue
  • Religious freedom and secularism
  • Cross-national studies on religious freedom
  • Sociology of human rights and religious freedom
  • Religious freedom and social conflicts
  • Religious freedom and socio-economic development
  • Congregations, human rights and religious freedom

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Nanlai Cao, Renmin University, China
Mark Chaves, Duke University, USA
Roger Finke, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Jonathan Fox, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Damon Mayrl, Colby College, USA
James T. Richardson, University of Nevada, USA
Jörg Stolz, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

The international conference is organized by the Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology (FISPPA) at the University of Padova in Italy and the International Joint Doctorate (PhD) Program in “Human Rights, Society, and Multi-Level Governance,” coordinated by the University of Padova in partnership with the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, Western Sydney University in Australia and the University of Zagreb in Croatia.

Scientific Committee:
Olga Breskaya, University of Padova
Roger Finke, Pennsylvania State University
Giuseppe Giordan, University of Padova
Adam Possamai, Western Sydney University
Siniša Zrinščak, University of Zagreb