2023 Annual Conference: Ambivalences of Religion

The 2023 annual conference of the “Urbanity and Religion” group at Erfurt University will take place from 15 to 17 November in Erfurt. For this conference, the organisiers, Elisa Iori and Jörg Rüpke, set out from an observation of a number of constitutive tensions observed for urbanity which might be summarised as “urban ambivalences”. The concept of ambivalence – in difference to diffusionism, historical dialectics, development, or progress – takes a synchronic stance and observes tensions and contradictions. It stresses conflict and constitutive ambiguity, bi-polar orders, bi-valence at any given moment. The opposition in a religious or urban ambivalence is neither dissolved in good and bad religion, good and bad urbanity. Nor are such ambivalences seen as ephemeral and transitory. Both religion and urbanity can be described by ambivalences.

Aiming at sharpening and perfecting a heuristic grid for the study of the mutual formation of religion and urbanity (Christ et al. 2022), the focus of the conference lies with concepts of religion that address material, socio-spatial, temporal, and power-related issues with a view on religious complexity in general and religious ambivalences in particular. The ultimate aim is to better grasp the entanglement between religion and urbanity and the ways urban and religious practices and ideas can change through the interferences of these internal tensions. With this in mind, the annual conference aims at bringing together theoretically minded scholars of Religious Studies and History of Religion who share an interest in integrating the notion of urbanity and its complexity into their theorising.

For further information, also on how to participate, please consult the Concept Note below:

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