Thursday, 9 February 2012

Anarchist Studies Network: Call for Papers

Call for paper proposals: 

‘No Master But God’? Exploring the Compatibility of Anarchism and Religion

ASN 2.0 (‘Making Connections’) Conference
Loughborough University (UK)
3-5 September 2012

Anarchism and religion have long had an uneasy relationship. On the one hand, many anarchists insist that religion is fundamentally incompatible with anarchism, recalling that anarchism calls for ‘no gods, no masters’, pointing to the many cases of close collaboration of religious and political elites in oppressing and deluding the masses, arguing that religious belief is superstitious, and so on. On the other, some religious/spiritual radicals insist that their religious/spiritual tradition cannot but lead to a rejection of the state, care for the downtrodden and the quest for a more just society – despite of, indeed sometimes precisely because of, the acceptance (by some) of a god as ‘master’.

A number of recent publications both in religious and anarchist studies have focused on religious anarchism, but consideration of their compatibility in the first place has been rarer. The aim of this stream of panels is to explore critically and frankly the relationship and tensions between these two notions, with a view to publish its proceedings in a peer-reviewed edited collection. The size of the stream of panels will depend on the number of applicants, but the intention is to foster mutual engagement and collaboration. Proposals are encouraged from sceptical as well as sympathetic perspectives, the aim being to foster critical discussion of these themes.

Questions which may be addressed include (but are not necessarily restricted to):
1.      Is rejection of religion (and/or spirituality) a sine qua non of anarchism?
2.      What do we mean by ‘religion’, ‘spirituality’ and ‘anarchism’ when considering their relation?
3.      What is unacceptable to anarchism about religion/spirituality, and to religion/spirituality about anarchism?
4.      Are some religious/spiritual traditions inherently more compatible with anarchism than others?
5.      Why do religious institutions tend to move away from the often radical intentions of their original prophets and founders? How does this compare to non-religious institutions?
6.      What explains differences in the reception of religious/spiritual anarchism across different contexts?
7.      To what extent can religious/spiritual anarchists’ deification of religious/spiritual notions (such as ‘God’) be compared to non-religious anarchists’ deification of secular notions (such as freedom or equality)?
8.      What role do (and can) religious/spiritual anarchists play in the wider anarchist movement, and in their wider religious/spiritual tradition?
9.      What can religion/spirituality and anarchism learn from one another’s history and ideas?
10.  Is religious/spiritual anarchism really anarchist? Is it really religious/spiritual?

Please send abstracts of up to 300 words (along with name and eventual institutional affiliation) to Alexandre Christoyannopoulos on a.christoyannopoulos[at] by 31 March 2012 at the very latest. Any questions should also be sent to that address.