February 3, 2012

Call for Papers: Faith in Civil Society: Religious Actors as Drivers of Change

Conference April 24-25, 2012 Uppsala, Sweden.

Religious associations and communities are increasingly recognized as important social actors across the world. This belies common European assumptions of a universal development path of modernisation and secularisation, wherein religion becomes a privatised matter separate from the realms of politics and public civic culture. Instead, religious faith continues to be a force by which people mobilise around shared identities with spiritual as well as political objectives, sometimes creating vast networks that extend beyond and contest nation-state borders.

In this conference, we will discuss how to understand these diverse faith-inspired actors, who not always fit neatly within liberal notions of civil society. When are they promoters of social change, democratisation and development, and how do their adherents envision such changes? We invite researchers, actors in international development cooperation, activists, and others with interest in the issues to participate and make presentations during the conference.

Deadline for submission of abstracts is 10 February 2012.

Keynote lectures:

– Mixed blessings: Religion in contemporary politics

Lecturer: Gerrie Ter Haar, Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

– Faith-based struggles for social change: Experiences from the Arab

Spring (prel. title)

Lecturer: Azza Karam, United Nations Population Fund

– Faith and development: Challenges for donors

Lecturer: Gerald Clarke, Department of Political and Cultural

Studies, Swansea University, UK

– Faith-inspired, trans-religious work for peace

Lecturer: Leymah Gbowee, Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, Liberia (not confirmed)

Parallel sessions inviting presentations:

– Gendering the Arab Spring: Religion, citizenship and democracy

Chair and introduction: Liv Tønnessen, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen,


– Religion and grassroots politics in Africa

Chair and introduction: Päivi Hasu, Department of Political and Economic

Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland

– Religious agency and concerns for spiritual and material change:

Liberation theology and other responses

Chair and introduction: Olle Kristensson, Christian Council of Sweden

– Socially engaged Buddhism

Chair and introduction: Monica Lindberg Falk, Centre for East and

South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden

For more information: http://www.csduppsala.uu.se/civsoc/


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