Structuring Diversity – Structuring Religion. Religious Diversity and Human Heterogeneity in Society

International Conference, 30th March - 1st April 2023, University of Lucerne & online

Datum: 30. März 2023 bis 1. April 2023
Ort: University of Lucerne

Organised by the Department for the Study of Religions, University of Lucerne (Switzerland), in cooperation with the Swiss Association for the Study of Religions (SGR-SSSR), the department for cultural studies, Univesity of Lucerne, the department of History, Federal University of Paraná (Brazil) and the Study of Religions, Philipps University Marburg (Germany).

The concept of diversity has become the subject of prolific discussion, both in the public arena and across academic disciplines. The category ‘religion’ is implied in these discussions in myriad ways, but two core strands of analysis can be identified: on the one hand, we have research into the diversity of religions, that is the different forms of inner- and inter-religious diversity on the multiple societal levels ranging from the (inter-)national to the individual level. On the other hand, we find research that addresses interactions between religious contexts and specific forms of bodily/social difference, showing religion as one among other major diversity categories that intersect and interlink in how they structure society.

By bringing these two approaches into conversation with each other, this conference addresses the relationship between religion and diversity. Drawing on a selection of cases from different regional, religious and historical contexts, it asks how diversity structures religion and how vice versa religion structures diversity.

The analysis of the mutual structuring of ‘religion’ and ‘diversity’ is highly relevant because the diversity of religions is a crucial factor in how the relationships between different groups in a society are ordered. The contributions of the conference show that this is an issue that is faced and academically discussed all over the world and is pertinent to different historical contexts. They thus counterbalance the Euro-American and modernity-related focus that is common in discussions of the topic. Furthermore, this interaction is a two-way street, since hegemony in managing both diversity and the transformation of social relations has likewise proven to be a significant field of inter- and intra-religious competition and has led to confrontations between religious and non-religious epistemic power. Consequently, this approach contributes to a better understanding of social differences and the associated inequalities caused or addressed by religions in a globalised world.

Conference Website
with programme and registration
Flyer (PDF)