Type: Call for Papers
Subject Fields: Anthropology, Asian History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies, Area Studies, South Asian History / Studies


Call for papers for a panel hosted at Deutscher Orientalistentag (German Orientalist Congress) DOT 2022, 12-17 September 2022, Freie Universität Berlin

Panel organisers: PD Dr. Rebecca Sauer (Universität Heidelberg) and Dr. Vera Lazzaretti (Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia, ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon)

Religion, heritage and the ‘post-secular age’: Insights from Asia and the Middle East

Scholars in the fields of religious studies and heritage studies have extensively shown that heritage and religion respectively, are crucial identity makers and markers. As distinct systems of adherence they appear to be always potentially in conflict. However, as Birgit Meyer and Marleen de Witte (2013) have formulated, heritage and religion are as well similar constituents of identity. Heritage-making resembles a kind of sacralisation, because it selects ‘fragments of culture’ and places them beyond the ordinary (Bendix 2009). Like religious objects or sites, then, heritage ‘things’ are made to stand as icons of nations or minority communities: they signal in the present and bequeath to the future specific crafted historical narratives. Numerous examples pertaining to the sphere of heritage formation in national(ist) contexts testify to this similarity (museums as “secular temples”; Atatürk’s Mausoleum, etc.). This panel, however, takes the discussion a step further by raising questions about the similarities and frictions between heritage and religion in, and about, the so-called ‘post-secular age’. What do the interactions of the two tell us about the ‘post-secular’ (as analytical category and/or the apparent reemergence of religion in our times)? In order to widen the discussion about religious heritage and the post-secular beyond Europe, we invite scholars from various academic background working on Asian and Middle Eastern contexts, to contribute with case-studies and/or empirically-grounded theoretical reflections that can help us illuminate:

• ways in which religious actors negotiate the significance of religious heritage within and beyond diverse (post) secular frameworks; and

• the extent to which, from these regions, the religious transforms and/or inform (post) secular heritage discourses and vice versa.

Deadline: If you’re interested please get in touch with us as soon as possible and no later than 13 December 2021 by writing to rebecca.sauer[at]ori.uni-heidelberg.de and vera.lazzaretti[at]iscte-iul.pt 

The selected contributors will then be asked to submit their abstracts (max 250 words) through the DOT 2022 portal by the end of December.