An International Conference
Разместил: Майя   Дата: 12-03-2010 07:27
Call for papers

The Institute of Eastern Christian Studies (Instituut voor Oosters Christendom –IvOC) at the Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands, invites to an international conference on March 12-14, 2010 in Nijmegen on

Orthodox Christianity in Europe – Borders Constructed and Deconstructed

While many frontiers throughout Europe have fallen in the last 20 years, for the Orthodox Churches (and “Orthodox nations”) the process of European Integration obviously brings other borders to the fore, and forces the erecting of new ones.
In the times of the Cold War, one has hardly heard as much about an irreconciliable gap between Eastern and Western Christian culture, as during the first decade of the new millenium. Ecumenical talks, which had been compared by quite optimistic overtones still in the 1980s, became threatened by possible dead ends after 1990, when dealing for example with the new and old problem of the Greek Catholic “Uniate” Churches (Romania/Ukraine), and with a growing tension with various Protestant denominations. National and ethnic antagonisms revive along confessional borderlines, with Orthodox Churches deeply involved in the processes (Romania/Hungary, Poland/Russia, Serbia/Croatia). Furthermore, fractions within the Orthodox Churches, which seem to have played a secondary role for the most of the 20st century, have gained an increasing significance in recent times. East vs. West is one main theme in these discourses, Secular vs. Religious is another, and there are still more.

A more general trend within academia reflect this new significance of borders and frontiers, which separate milieus as well as ideas. Historians, theologians and social scientists are obviously more sensitive to borders and their persistence than they had been before. “We have to Draw the Line Somewhere” is the almost programmatic title of one corresponding study, and that also implies, that these lines still exist. “Identity” and “the Other” are key words for many a study in humanities and social sciences, religious studies included. “Borderland studies” tend to be established as a new discipline with promising capacities to cover the reality of several regions.

Quite a number of questions and controversial issues can be linked to this context.
Possible topics can be assorted around, but probably not limited to the following central categories, as applied to Eastern Orthodox religious phenomena:
- Social, cultural or even psychological mechanisms which lead to the endurance or re-establishment of old mental borders are far from being understood entirely, despite many efforts in this respect. One peculiar set of questions is linked to “identity” and “tradition” in historical as well as in theological perspective.
- Another time has come, in this context, for the old and new controversy between essentialists or primordialists, claiming that national and confessional borders are real, and constructivists, who consider them to be mainly an invention of those in need of a self-definition. There seems to be need for a new discussion of this spectrum.
- To what extend are these phenomena specific for Orthodox Churches, and how many of them can be found alsewhere (e.g., among Euro-sceptics in Catholic Poland or Ireland), or even in other contexts, beyond Europe, and beyond Christianity?

The international conference is being organized within the framework of the research project on “New Borders and Old Frontiers – Orthodox Churches and the European Integration”, financed by the German Volkswagen Stiftung. Within this project, scholars of various disciplines, from the Netherlands (IvOC Nijmegen), Germany (Ecumenical Institute, Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Muenster), Romania (Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Studies at the University of Babe&託-Bolyai, Cluj) and Russia (Russian State University of Humanities, Moscow) are engaged.
The conference aims at bringing together specialists on different regions, and to cover a wide range of disciplines. We will appreciate applications dealing both with theoretical approaches and case studies. Papers on subjects from South- Eastern and Eastern Europe are as welcome as those dealing with Greece or the Middle East. Sociologists, political scientists, theologians, anthropoligists, historians are equally invited to submit their proposals.

The deadline for paper proposals is December 15, 2009. For the conference participants travel expenses and lodgings will be fully covered.
Please submit your proposal for a 20-30 minute paper for a panel session to

Dr. Alfons Bruening
Institut for Eastern Christian Studies, Nijmegen