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Conference: Interdisciplinary conference on Religions and Religious Policies, NBU, Sofia, 11-12 May 2012‏


An interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Department of History
of the New Bulgarian University

Religions AND religious policies:
past and present

on May 11-12, 2011, New Bulgarian University, Sofia

Religions were from times immemorial a central factor in the life of the societies, not only in their spiritual, but also in everyday and political life. During the great part of the known history of mankind religion was the most important factor in establishing (?) and organizing of communities – ethnic, cultural, civilizational. From the beginning of Modern history religions became principal force in nation-forming processes.
Since the Enlightenment era a process of secularization commenced, of restricting and ousting of religion from its central position in the life of societies. Religions were subject not only to criticism from the position of rationalism and scientism, the French revolution of the end of the 18th century marked the beginning of outright anti-religious policies. Such state policies were steadyly followed by the Communist regimes in the 20th century. At the same time Communist ideology and practices assumed certain quasi-religious traits.
At the end of the 20th – beginning of the 21st century we see phenomena that can be termed as a revival of religions. In the former socialist countries of Eastern and South- Eastern Europe, and in the former Soviet Union, religions restored to a degree their position of a legitimate social and moral authority, while adhering more or less to the principle of church-state separation.
In a number of Islamic countries religion became a dominating political factor, to say nothing of its use by radical circles and terrorist groups.
We can say, not without reason, that in the world of today religion regains its role as a principal significance as ethnic, national and civilizational marker. The thesis of clash of civilizations, termed primarily in religious-cultural terms, was set forth.
The History Department of the New Bulgarian University extends an invitation to colleagues from the humanities and social sciences, to representatives of different confessions, as well as anyone with serious interest in the themes of the role and significance of religions, of their part in cultural and nation-forming processes, in different religious policies, to take part in the conference, at which the following thematic circles will be discussed:
q The role of religions in the social and political life, historically and in present day (at national, regional and global level);
q Religious and anti-religious policies;
q The processes of secularization and of revival of religions;
q The uses and misuses religion for political purposes;
q The future of the relations of religions-states-nations – towards clash of cilizations or towards rapprochement and consonance?
There will be a graduate and doctoral students panel at the conference. Travel and other expenses will not be covered, but conference fees will be waved.
Working languages: Bulgarian, English.
Applications and summaries of papers are expected by March 30, 2012, at the address: Roumen Genov <genov@nbu.bg<mailto:genov@nbu.bg>>
The applicants, whose abstracts are accepted, will be informed by April 10, 2012.