20 August 2010

Report on the Political Theology Agenda Symposium 2010: Political theology goes East and South

The first event held by the Geneva-based Sussex Centre for the Individual and Society (SCIS) in conjunction with its "Political Theology Agenda" blog, the Political Theology Agenda Symposium 2010, was a full success.

It took place on 18 and 19 August 2010 at the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Château de Bossey, near Geneva, Switzerland. Bossey doubles as an institute of the University of Geneva since all degrees awarded there (Masters and PhD degrees in Ecumenical Studies) are granted by the University of Geneva.

Keynote speakers were Professor Aliakbar Alikhani, Head of the Institute for Social and Cultural Studies at the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in Tehran, Iran, and Professor Galip Veliu from the Department of Philosophy at the State University of Tetovo in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The Political Theology Agenda Symposium 2010 attracted seventeen papers submitted by participants from institutions such as University College London, the University of Birmingham (both UK), the University of Helsinki (Finland), the University of Quebec at Montreal (Canada), the University of Tehran (Iran), the University of the Punjab (Pakistan), the University of South Africa, the University of Zimbabwe, the National University of Malaysia, Universitas Nasional at Jakarta (Indonesia), and San Beda College in Manila (the Philippines). Other countries represented include Macedonia, Romania, Lithuania, Switzerland, and Nigeria.

Speakers – from doctoral candidates to full professors – came from the disciplines of Political Science, Philosophy, Political Theory, Theology, Church History, and Islamic Studies, giving theoretical as well as empirical presentations on subjects including secularization and religious pluralism, political theology, black theology, liberation theology, and radical Islam.

After Pisa, Italy, in 2007 and Paris, France, in 2008, this was the third symposium on political theology organized by the Sussex Centre for the Individual and Society and, once more, it opened up new frontiers for political theology. It was by far the most international event we ever organized (and quite possibly the most international event on political theology to take place anywhere as yet) with five participants from Iran alone and scores of submissions (not all accepted) from the Middle East and East Asia as well as Africa. Taken together with a high number of submissions from (South-)Eastern Europe, there is a significant trend to be observed: after gaining momentum in the Anglophone countries over the past few years, the study of political theology now goes East and South, spreading to Asia and Africa.

The Political Theology Agenda blog and the Sussex Centre for the Individual and Society will continue to be at the forefront of these developments.

(On the downside, all prospective American and Israeli participants withdrew, one by one, from the symposium once they knew that there would be Iranians present. Way to encourage dialogue.)

1 comment:

  1. Who were from Iran attended the seminar? The world is in trouble because some leaders do not want to talk to each others. This attitude has come down to the small seminar. People living in the 21st century but their attitude has no difference from people living in the classical and medieval periods when they met they fought and killed. The winners became the rulers and the depeated became the subjects to the rulers. When will this kind of attitude undergo change for the better one.