We are all familiar with the various forms and modes of secularism today: a moderate form of secularism appears as the separation of church and state in order to guarantee fair opportunity and treatment for all individuals and groups, while a more aggressive secularism dismisses the claims of religion and the spiritual as unfounded and illegitimate.
Such secularisms have had far-reaching influences in modern society as they continue to influence and interact with both the humanities and the religious.
As Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, we are interested in exploring the various relations and contours that surface in the overlap between our fields, our faith, and the secularisms we encounter. We encourage those interested in these intersections to submit a proposal for our upcoming annual meeting.
Papers may potentially address the following questions or topics:
What is the relationship between religion and secularism, historically, institutionally, theoretically? Has this relationship undergone significant transformations?
Is secularism a fundamentally Western, Christian religious idea? If so, what does that say about the relationship between religion and secularism?
What are the versions of secularism, how did they originate and develop, and how do they manifest themselves in politics, social relations, and law?
While Western societies tend to accept mild secularism as the fairest and most beneficial way to govern, what alternatives have or can be justified?
Given the increasing assertion of aggressive secularism, how does secularism account for the enduring powers of religion?
Given the persistence of religion, how do people of belief account for the growing powers of secularism?
How would we describe the modern social imaginary’s commitment to secularism in contrast to an earlier social imaginary that encourages the sacred? Is secularism a variety of anti-religious religion?
Modern, homogeneous, empty time is a result of the movement toward secular thought. Is such a temporal framework anachronistic when applied to ancient cultures and texts?
What happens when ancient scripture such as the Bible or Book or Mormon are filtered through a modern temporal screen?
What are the alternatives to modern secularism: secular and sacred, ancient and modern? Must we return to the past in order to think our way through modern secularism?
As always, we invite papers on other topics, reflecting your current interests and investigations.
MSH is a space that embraces the diversity of interests for Mormon scholars working in the varied fields of the humanities—session proposals keyed around specific research interests and topics are welcomed and encouraged.
Proposals for alternative sessions, including performance and display, will also be considered.
Our keynote speaker is Dr. Jonathan VanAntwerpen, program director for theology at the Henry Luce Foundation. Originally trained as a philosopher, he received his doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. He is co-editor of a series of books on secularism, religion, and public life, and was the founding director of the Social Science Research Council’s program on religion and the public sphere. In 2007 he worked with others to launch The Immanent Frame, serving for several years as editor-in-chief.
We invite 200-word abstracts for papers, as well as proposals for organized panels. Abstracts and proposals are due January 15, 2016; acceptance notices will be sent out February 1, 2016.
Send all materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: January 15, 2016.
Mormon Scholars in the Humanities would like to thank the Mormon Studies program at Utah Valley University for their support of the 2016 annual meeting.