2023 Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network Conference


University of Ottawa, Canada, 6-9 June, 2023

Many existing studies in nonreligion and secularity research focus on what nonreligious individuals, communities and societies are not: the different ways they are not (or less) religious in their values, identities, practices and beliefs. The decline of religion is important to map and to understand. Also important to understand is how nonreligion is defined against religion when it comes into contact with the latter. In some ways though, this is an understanding of nonreligious individuals, groups, institutions and nations as ‘minus God’ or ‘minus religion’. There have been calls over the past couple of decades to move research and scholarship instead towards a substantive (or positive) understanding of nonreligion and secularity.

The theme of this conference is tied to the positive content of nonreligion and secularity, defined as the worldviews, life stances, identities and behaviours distinct from yet potentially in tension with religion, present among the less or nonreligious and which shape their lives and realities. How should we define and use substantive (or positive) nonreligious concepts such as nonreligious worldviews, life stances, existentiality, identities, cultures, sacrality, ethics, moralities and meaning-systems, if at all? What activities do nonreligious individuals engage with in relation to their worldviews and beliefs? What values do social institutions espouse, if not overtly religious ones? What language is used for meaning-making outside of what can be defined as religion? These are a few examples among many of substantive nonreligion research questions. With nonreligion on the rise in many countries across the globe, generating substantive knowledge of the phenomenon is crucial to better grasp what defines the pasts, presents
and futures of our societies.

The Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network (NSRN) invites both paper and session proposals for its 2023 conference titled Towards Substantive Understandings of Nonreligion and Secularity. The 2023 NSRN conference will be held in partnership with the Nonreligion in a Complex Future (NCF) research project, based at the University of Ottawa (Canada) and led by Professor Lori Beaman.

The 2023 NSRN conference will be delivered using a hybrid virtual and in-person format. For those who can travel, we strongly recommend you join us in person at the conference venue at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada from 6-9 June 2023. However, for those who cannot join in person, there will be at least one hybrid session room (out of two session rooms in total) throughout the days of the conference where participants can present virtually, listen to other virtual and in-person presentations and ask their questions. There will be no fee to attend the 2023 NSRN conference either in person or virtually.

Deadline for session and paper proposals: 16 December 2022

For further information and instructions on how to submit session and paper proposals, please see the Call for Papers here.

Please contact the program chair, Cory Steele (cstee023@uottawa.ca), if you any questions.

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