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Migration, Faith, and Action: Shifting The Discourse

Migration, Faith, and Action: Shifting The Discourse

University of Oxford, May 8th and 9th, 2014

Sponsored by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) and Las Casas Institute

Call For Papers

In a time when globalization emphasizes the free flow of ideas, goods, and capital, migration appears at the forefront of political agendas in many countries around the world. Discussions on migration tend to focus on the economy, emphasizing the protection of the working class and the attraction of highly skilled migrants; on national identity, emphasizing nationalism and “us versus them” sentiments; and on national security, emphasizing protection from external threats. Economists, politicians, and media outlets primarily shape the discussions around migration, while religious and faith traditions play, at best, a marginal role in defining the discourse.

The conference will explore two themes:

  1. Faith: What discourses do faith traditions provide surrounding migration?

  2. Action: What is the role of faith communities and faith-based organizations in the complex landscape of migration?

We encourage submissions that reflect on the following related items, among others:

● What narratives do the theological and faith traditions have about migration, migrants, and those who receive them?

● Does the blessed life, does the good life, involve migrating or receiving migrants?

● What practices prevail now in the theological traditions regarding migration?

● Which values or specific attitudes should prevail regarding migration?

● How are narratives from faith traditions manifest in the world through the projects and programs of faith-based organizations?

● Could a fresh way of speaking or discourse generate new approaches to migration in law and policy?

The first day of the conference will feature a documentary screening and discussion with Norma Romero, a member of “Las Patronas”, Mexico’s 2013 National Human Rights Award winners.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit abstracts (300 words max) with title to with “Migration, Faith, and Action” as the subject line by 15 March 2014. If you have any questions please contact the organizers, Robert Heimburger, Alejandro Olayo-Méndez, Lena Wettach, Paul Kellner, at

Please note: Travel funding for this conference is the responsibility of participants.