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CALL FOR PAPERS: Second Conference of the International Society for Heresy Studies

Second Conference of the International Society for Heresy Studies

Heresy, Belief, and Ideology: Dissent in Politics and Religion

June 1-3, 2016, New York City

Deadline for conference proposals: March 1, 2016

The International Society for Heresy Studies announces a Call for Papers for its second biennial conference at New York University, June 1-3, 2016. The conference theme will broadly focus on ideological aspects of heresy in both religion and politics. Throughout history, definitions of “heresy” have been crucial to defining “orthodox” belief, worship, and practice. Indeed, every faith, ideology, and institution must struggle over what is deemed heretical as part of defining what is deemed normative, and it is hard to imagine any ideology (even an anti-ideology ideology) that does not draw a boundary to mark what is subversive or unacceptable. This interdisciplinary conference will provide a platform for scholars, writers, and artists to explore the relationships between belief (orthodox and heterodox), ideology, the church or state, and art around the world. This focus includes attention to the ways in which religion and religious actors participate in public discourse, contribute to debates over public values and social policy, and effect — and are affected by — activity in the political sphere. While we encourage proposals relevant to the conference theme, we also encourage panel, seminar, and roundtable proposals on all topics related to heresy. We welcome submissions from scholars working in literature, religion, history, theology, art history, philosophy, political science, sociology, anthropology, gender studies, cultural studies or any other attendant discipline, as well as from creative writers, artists, and musicians whose work might be appropriate to the conference theme. Our second conference follows a successful inaugural conference in 2014 which included Thomas J. J. Altizer, James Wood, and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein as plenary speakers.

Potential subjects include but are not limited to:

  • Political “heretics” (Such as Malcolm X, Andrea Dworkin, Karl Marx, etc)
  • Science, public policy, secularism
  • Radical theology
  • Black Lives Matter, LGBT issues, Civil rights advocacy, etc.
  • Radicalism and religion in history
  • The utility of heresy in theological discourse
  • Politics of missionary theology
  • Sacred spaces and political power
  • Islamophobia in government, media, and literature
  • Free speech issues and faith (such as with Charlie Hebdo)
  • Religious debate in popular culture
  • Political theology and associated thinkers (Schmitt, Zizek, Critchley, Agamben)
  • Atheism, agnosticism and unbelief in the public or political sphere

Please email abstracts of no more than 250 words to Dr. Gregory Erickson at  by March 1, 2016.

Travel Grants

ISHS will again be awarding four $400 travel stipends to graduate students and to international scholars attending the conference. To be considered for one of these awards please write to Dr. Gregory Erickson () by April 1, 2016.

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