What: This conference aims to create a venue for discussing the politics of past and contemporary religion-making. Broadly conceived, the term ‘religion-making’ refers to the ways in which religions are formulated and institutionalized in line with the globalizing concept of ‘world-religion(s)’. The genealogy of religion (e.g. Talal Asad) and world-religion (Tomoko Masuzawa) in the European West has by now been fairly well studied and put into its respective discursive contexts. Some important scholarship has been devoted to how the term ‘religion’ has been successfully translated into non-Western contexts during the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, through the accession of indigenous non-Western elites to Western-style objectifications of religion as well as its dialectic other, the secular. While theory is thus still overcoming religion, on the empirical ground the religion/secular paradigm still is blooming, and due to lack of political leverage in the world of globalization there is little reason to assume that theoretical deconstructions of religion will gain political relevance.
Through this conference we would like to bring together critical reflection on the state and future of the concepts religion and world-religion, as well as innovative reflections on how to think the post-religious/post-secular study of ‘religion,’ with empirical research that is interested in practical local appropriations of the world-religion discourse.
Location and Date: Hofstra University, October 4-6, 2007