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Religion and Realism

The American University of Rome are pleased to announce a CALL FOR PAPERS for an International Conference on RELIGION AND REALISM

Date of the conference: November 28, 2014

Deadline for paper proposals: September 1, 2014

Rome, The American University of Rome.

Religion remains one of the most significant social forces and cultural constituencies. It can be said that religion and religious truths are becoming increasingly important in the so called “post-secular” times, when the sphere of the (secular) social/political and the sphere of the religious have to be re-thought again. The relevancy of religious truths and the way they structure our understanding of “reality” overcomes the sphere of theology and particular religious practices. Religion, truth, and reality, and the way these concepts are approached and understood, continue to be vital for a broader cultural discourse as well, from philosophy and science, to politics, mass media and show business.

“Realism,” on the other hand, is usually understood as a position and method, which is opposite to “idealism” and the “imaginary.” “Realism”
implies a certain way of approaching the reality and truth. Looking from a positivistic perspective, many would find it difficult to associate concepts of “realism” or “truth” with phenomena such as religion.
However, the experience of the post-modern times has taught us that relations between the “reality,” “truth,” “knowledge” and “interpretation” are far more complex, and that even the purest “fiction” is sometimes capable of being more effective (and therefore more “real”) in influencing our lives and in structuring the world in which we live, than most of the things that are directly exposed to our sensuous experience and rational reflection. On the other hand, we have also learned from the experience of modernity that certain metaphysical narratives, and their claims for “absolute truth” and “absolute reality,” could be very dangerous in their practical, social and political manifestations.

The conference seeks to explore philosophical, social, political, and theological dimensions of religion and realism. The themes and subjects for paper proposals include (but are not limited to) the following:

Secularism, post-secularism, new religiosity Religion and reality Religion and truth Religion and subversion Religion and political reality Religion and economic “realisms”
Absolute “truths” and social/political freedom Ultimate truth: tyranny or liberation? Realism as epistemology
Realism – the political dimension
Realism – the aesthetic dimension
Realism – the religious/theological
Realism and the “New Realism”
Understanding metaphysical, physical and social “reality”
Reality and creativity
Reality and religion: the need for interpretation or for a social change? Power, reality and knowledge

Submitting proposals: English will be the working language of the conference. Paper proposals (abstracts) should contain no more than 250 words.

There will be no conference fee for speakers. All presented papers will be published in the conference proceedings.

Abstracts, together with a short CV (not to exceed 1800 characters) should be sent no later than September 1, 2014 to: _______________________________________________