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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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Important Dates

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Religious utopias and practices of social transformation

10.10.2019 - 11.10.2019

The “Arbeitskreis Afrika der Deutschen Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft (DVRW)“ will be hosting a workshop on the topic of

                                              „Religious utopias and practices of social transformation“.

The workshop takes place at the University of Bayreuth from 10 - 11 October 2019.

Social change in Africa is intended and supported by a great number of different actors in the public sphere – be it religious groups, educational or political institutions or (inter-)national NGOs. Today, especially religious actors engage in transformative practices: Christian or Islamic Universities such as the International University of Africa in Sudan or the Covenant University in Nigeria, Pentecostal political activists in Uganda or a coalition of healers in South Africa – they all strive for change, new leading figures, or a new society.

The workshop focuses on such initiatives that seek transformation, develop societal models of and for the future and thereby refer to religious resources (symbols, teachings, actors and practices). It will discuss such projects of transformation as (religious) “utopias” and consider the steps taken in order to achieve the envisioned futures. What are the measures taken? How are the practices and the envisioned futures negotiated with other actors in that field? Which future or utopia is accepted which ones are prevented?

The workshop discussion will be based on the readings circulated in advance, as well as on the keynote speech by Professor Antje Daniel (University of Vienna) who will introduce us to current research on utopias and social movements in Africa. With the help of this talk, the texts, and the insights into the participants‘ individual research projects we aim to develop research questions and approaches that are of particular interest for the study of religion.

Texts discussed during the workshop:

  • Antje Daniel, Christine M. Klapeer 2019: „Einleitung. Wider dem Utopieverdruss. Queer*feministische Überlegungen zum Stand der Debatte“, Femina Politica 1, 9-31. (Schwerpunktheft: Her mit der Zukunft?! Feministische und queere Utopien und die Suche nach alternativen Gesellschaftsformen)
  • Leonhard Praeg 2018: „Epistemologien des Südens und das Gespenst des leeren Signifikanten“, Peripherie 38 (150/151), 198-218.
  • Felwine Sarr 2019: Afrotopia. Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 9-28.

Please register in advance (deadline: 23 September 2019) with Prof. Eva Spies (Eva.Spies[at]uni-bayreuth.de)

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