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Conference & Call for Papers: “Imagination, Knowledge, and Religious Traditions”

EASR Annual Conference 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Please allow us to announce the call for papers for a panel on the topic “Imagination, Knowledge, and Religious Traditions” to be organised at the EASR conference in Leuven in September.

Open panel

Tiina Mahlamäki (University of Turku,
Minna Opas (Turku Institute for Advanced Studies,

In his IAHR keynote address from 2015, Wouter J. Hanegraaff calls for acknowledgement of imagination as a key concept in the study of religion. The notion of imagination (and the imagining) should not be understood as something untrue or solely mental. Rather, as praxis, it is dependent on the prevailing social, cultural and political circumstances but also affects these back. Moreover, imagination is a medium for communication not only with other people but with supernatural agents and spiritual worlds and realities too.

This panel begins to map the concepts of imagination and imagining as analytical tools in relation to religion, religiosity and spirituality. The focus will be on the relationship between imagination and knowledge. How does imagination work as a technique for gaining and forming religious/spiritual knowledge? What is the relationship between imagination and perception in these epistemological processes? Or between collectivity and subjectivity? Furthermore, the panel seeks to examine practices of imagination as part of research processes in the field of the study of religion. How is imagination part of the relationship between researcher and her interlocutors in the field, within the scholarly community, and the wider public?

We welcome paper proposals with both theoretical/conceptual and empirical approaches. Possible topics include, but are not restricted to the following:

Notion of imagination in the study of religion
Imagination, knowledge and truth
Imagined histories and futures
Imagination and creativity
Imagination and worldview
Collectivity and subjectivity of imagination
Imagination as communication
Politics of imagination
Technologies of imagination

Deadline for the submission of abstracts for papers is January 31.
Abstracts should be submitted through the conference website:

With kind regards from Turku,

Tiina Mahlamäki & Minna Opas