Follow Us

Identity Religion and Ethnicity: New Patterns, Realities and Pitfalls

Where: Istanbul, Turkey

Date: 29 Nov – 1 Dec 2012

Organisers: KULeuven Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies (GCIS), Intercultural Dialogue Platform (IDP) and Department of Sociology (Suleyman Sah University, Istanbul)

Workshop theme and questions

Identity, Religion and Ethnicity are three terms interrelated and become all important issues in the European Union and its neighbourhood. The social change and economical transformation of societies fallowed by flow of people, objects, symbols and places enforce the change on identity and citizenship relations. In sum, in addition to the flows, all changes concern the interpersonal and inter-group dimensions. Today, a high degree of human mobility, telecommunications have contributed to the new understanding of citizenship as a mode of identity in relation to national identity, ethnicity, religion, groups and social movements. Belonging to an ethnic-religious group and distinctions are increasingly blurred or strengthened in the new national and international contexts. The motivations and modalities of belonging and identifying are much more diverse. It is therefore useful to explore relatively new patterns of the intersection between religion, identity and ethnicity issues.  As noted “Race, ethnicity, and nation are not things in the world but ways of seeing the world. They are ways of understanding and identifying oneself, making sense of one’s problems and predicaments, identifying one’s interests, and orienting one’s action. They are ways of recognizing, identifying, and classifying other people, of construing sameness and difference, and of “coding” and making sense of their actions” (Brubaker, Loveman, and Stamatov 2004). The workshop proposes to analyse the relation between these three notions interconnected in different political, cultural and economical cases to understand also some challenges and pitfalls in a plural society.

What is the relation between identity, ethnicity and citizenship in a global world? What are the new patterns of ethnic identities in plural societies? Can globalization de-ethnicize religion? How ethnical and religious identity is changed and faced with social and economic changes? What are the roles of social movements in these undergoing changes? What are the challenges for the classical religious-ethnic identity? How can nation state models regulate the plurality of religious and ethnic groups? How does EU deal with ethnical pluralism and diversity?

Participants in the workshop Identity, Religion and Ethnicity will explore the answers of these questions. The workshop will analyse the interaction and the interpenetration of race, ethnicity and identity through the problematic of transnationalism, globalization and nation-state approaches. The workshop will be accompanied by practical visits with local communities. Participants are invited to discover the theoretical debates and issues in local different areas with practitioners and civil society representatives to further having insights from demographic, economic, philosophic, legal and socio anthropological approaches. This workshop looks at identity, citizenship and ethnicity issues across Belgium as well as in the Turkey, focused primarily on Belgium-EU cases.

Topics of Workshops

The workshop will be organized around three central themes.

Authors are invited to send abstracts (maximum 500 words) of their papers on themes of their own choosing, which may include (by way of example only):

Ethnicity and ethno-nationalism

Multiple language policies and education

Racism and nationalism

Immigration, Assimilation and National History

Religion and ethnic identities

Religious Minority and Identity

Immigration and Religion

Politics and Ethnicity

Identity policies and Citizenship

Citizenship and Nation state

Multiculturalism and ethnic relations


A detailed schedule will follow in due course.

Tuition Fees and Scholarships

There is no tuition fee for the workshop programme.  The IDP will pay all the costs of accommodation and board, and transfers, and there is no registration fee for participants in the Workshop. However, authors are expected to pay the costs of their flight to and from Turkey (currently about 300 euros). A limited number of scholarships are available for outstanding candidates to cover tuition, travel and accommodation.


Within six months of the event, a book will be produced and published by the GCIS, comprising some or all of the papers presented at the Workshop. The papers will be arranged and introduced, and to the extent appropriate, edited, by scholar(s) to be appointed by the Editorial Board.

Copyright of the papers accepted to the Workshop will be vested in the GCIS.

Selection Criteria

The workshop will accept up to 20 participants, each of whom must meet the following requirements:

– have a professional and/or research background in related topics of the workshop;

– be able to attend the entire programme.

Doctoral and postdoctoral researchers as well as civil servants and professionals from intergovernmental and governmental agencies working in ethnicity, migration areas are encouraged to apply.

Since the Workshop expects to address a broad range of topics while the number of participants has to be limited, writers submitting abstracts are requested to bear in mind the need to ensure that their language is technical only where absolutely necessary and intelligible to non-specialists and specialists in disciplines other than their own; and present clear, coherent arguments in a rational way and in accordance with the usual standards and format for publishable work.


1. Abstracts (300–500 words maximum) and CVs (maximum 1 page) to be received by 10th August 2012.

2. Abstracts to be short-listed by the Editorial Board and papers invited by 30th August 2012.

3. Papers (2,500 words minimum – 5,000 words maximum, excluding bibliography) to be received by 1st October 2012.

4. Papers reviewed by the Editorial Board and classed as: Accepted – No Recommendations; Accepted – See Recommendations; Conditional Acceptance – See Recommendations; Not Accepted.

5. Final papers to be received by 20th October 2012.

Workshop Editorial Board

Johan Leman, KULeuven

Erkan Toguslu, KULeuven

Ismail Mesut Sezgin, IDP and Leeds Metropolitan University

Workshop Co-ordinator

Ismail Mesut Sezgin


Suleyman Sah University, Istanbul, Turkey

The international workshop will be entirely conducted in English and will be hosted by Suleyman Sah University in Istanbul.

Papers and abstract should be sent to Erkan Toguslu

For more information plz contact:

Erkan Toguslu

KULeuven Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies

Parkstraat 45 – box 3615

3000 Leuven