CFP – Religion and the Idea of a Univeristy

Religion and the Idea of a University
3 – 5 April 2013
Gillespie Centre, Clare College, Cambridge

From John Henry Newman’s Idea of a University to recent work by Stefan Collini, Martha Nussbaum and many others, the idea of the modern research University has been the subject of a great swathe of intellectual debate, policy wrangling and rhetoric – circulating around conflicting models of intellectual and social formation, ideas of the public good, and claims about the place of knowledge in a utilitarian age.

As the idea of a university has been contested and reconfigured, so too have ideas about the place of religion in the public sphere, the nature and limits of secularity, and the relations between religion and intellectual work. In a complex multi-faith and multi-secular world, a re-evaluation of the relationship between religion and the idea of a university is pressing.

This conference is the highlight in a two-year research project ‘Religion and the Idea of a Research University’ in the Faculties of Divinity, English, History and Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. Interdisciplinary in structure, this meeting has a bold ambition: to engage seriously with the question ‘what place, if any, does religion have in a secular research university?’

Speakers include:

  • Professor Asma Afsaruddin, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University, USA
  • Professor David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Professor Tal Howard, Center for Christian Studies, Gordon College, USA
  • Professor Tomoko Masuzawa, Department of History, University of Michigan, USA
  • Professor Isabel Rivers, Department of English, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
  • Professor Ming Tsuang, Center for Behavioural Genomics, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, USA

Proposals are invited for twenty minute papers that engage with the broad question of ‘what place, if any, does religion have in a secular research university?. Topics might include:

  • the research university as a secular space;
  • intellectual and religious virtue;
  • the university and the Common Good;
  • the place of religious literacy in university education;
  • the changing place of religion or spirituality in biomedical research.
  • the Christian or Islamic origins of universities, and their after-effects;
  • universities as sites of inter-faith dialogue and exchange;
  • the role of religion in pastoral/tutorial/welfare care of students, including non-religious students; or
  • the effects and implications of faith commitments amongst staff, or amongst students.

Submisison details, and further information about the conference, are available here.


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