International Institute for Asian Studies


Call for papers


Paris, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, February 12, 2020
Le Havre, Université Le Havre Normandie, February 13-14, 2020

The conference is open to individual and group paper presentations. Those willing to present their papers are invited to submit their abstracts before August 31, 2019. The selected abstracts will be communicated to their authors in October 2019.

“The twenty first century will be spiritual or will not be”. That is the famous prophecy circulated, quoted, and requoted, at least in France, since the 1950s. It was attributed to a French eminent intellectual, writer and once minister of culture, André Malraux. Later on, people discovered that this prophecy does not exist. André Malraux himself declared that he has never said that. However, its recurrence in the comments related to the current events indicates that it may be what many people hope. And it seems that the so called Malraux’s prophecy has been in the making since the end of the 20th century. Religion-based movements have been in action in the countries where religions have been rooted, in the developing world (Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tibet, Tunisia, Turkey…) as well as in industrialised countries (France, Germany, UK, USA…). They show the beautiful as well as the horrible sides of humanity. On one side, interreligious gatherings, dialogues and actions for peace, justice, democracy, human rights, solidarity … On the other side, violence, conflicts, wars, terror, bomb attacks, kidnappings, hostages … in the name of religion, among which the attack on the New York World Trade Centre in September 11, 2001 is globally the most historical and spectacular.

The rising Asia does not escape from this phenomenon. Whereas most of Asian countries after independence opted for secular philosophies of national unity, fifty years later we see a global resurgence of religion to the public domain where religion serves as a source of orientation and inspiration: in economy (e.g. Islamic banking and finance), in politics (e.g. Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic nationalism), in law (e.g. sharia), in ecology (e.g. Eco-Islam), in social and solidarity movements (Islamic feminism, interfaith dialogues and solidarity actions)… On the other hand there is an increase of religion-based, intra-and inter-religious, conflicts where religion serves as justification of violence: conflicts between followers of Buddhism and Islam (Myanmar, Thailand), Christianity and Islam (Indonesia, Philippines), Hinduism and Islam (India), Sunnism and Shi'ism (Middle East); discrimination against minorities of Christian, Muslim, Indigenous Religion believers (China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand)…

Why do those happen? And how? And what to do with those realities? Proposals dealing with interactions in religious issues between Asia and other continents are also expected. Is there any role of religions in the relations between Asia and Africa? In its relations with the West: what is the legacy of Western colonialism in term of religion in Asia? What are its impacts today? Have religions established by the West in colonised Asia been decolonised? How about the relations between “transnational religions” (especially Buddhism, Christianity and Islam) and “local/ethnic/indigenous religions” in divers countries of Asia? Those are among the questions to be presented and discussed in the special sessions/panels/ roundtables/workshops of the conference.
(Darwis Khudori, Group of Research on Identities and Cultures, Faculty of International Affairs, Université Le Havre Normandie, France, and Frans Wijsen, Chair of Empirical & Practical Religious Studies, Faculty of Philosophy, Theology & Religious Studies, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

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