Invitation to the international conference of the research group „Religion and Urbanity“

The research group „Religion and Urbanity: Mutual Formations“ (FOR 2779) at the University of Erfurt invites all interested parties to the international conference „Blurring Boundaries“ at Ettersburg castle in Weimar from 24 to 26 November 2021. The focus will be on research approaches and sources for the study of religious phenomena that are connected to or produced in urban space, but are also disseminated and adapted outside of cities.

The aim of the conference organised by Prof. Dr. Jörg Rüpke and Dr. Dr. Emiliano Rubens Urciuoli is to think of urban religion as a processual category that attempts to blur and emphasise any topographical boundary between supposedly rural and urban religious traditions. The origin of religious practices or forms of organisation is explicitly not to be fixed to territorial habitats or their continued existence limited to spatial determinants. Rather, the interest is in the constant circulation of religious signs, carriers, practices and institutions across a more or less externally drawn city boundary.

Speakers are: Handan Aksünger-Kizil (Vienna), Roberto Alciati (Florence), William Elison (Santa Barbara), Laszlo Ferenczi (Prague), Audrey Ferlut (Lyon), Valentino Gasparini (Madrid), Behnaz Ghazi (Graz) Jens-Uwe Hartmann (Munich), Marietta Horster (Mainz), Elisa Iori (Erfurt), Sara Keller (Erfurt), Rachna Mehra (Delhi), Katharina Mersch (Bochum), Jörg Rüpke & Emiliano R. Urciuoli (Erfurt), Yogesh Snehi (Delhi), Marika Vicziany (Melbourne), Benno Werlen (Jena) and Ingrid Würth (Potsdam).

The research group „Religion and Urbanity“ is based at the Max-Weber-Kolleg and has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) since 2018 (FOR 2779). It investigates the long-term co-constitution and co-evolution of religion and urbanity. It asks about the role religion plays in the emergence of urbanity, how urbanity has changed religion and how they keep influencing each other.

An International Conference is taking place at the Max Weber Kolleg on ‚The Shadow Side of Gratitude‘

The Conference takes place from 3-5 July

The aim of the interdisciplinary conference “The Shadow Side of Gratitude” is to bring together experts from a range of fields to examine the potentially darker side of this everyday social emotion and valued human excellence.

In recent years there has been growing academic interest in the topic of gratitude, in psychology, philosophy and education, amongst other fields. Psychologists have examined the role of gratitude in promoting wellbeing and fostering good social relationships. Philosophers have pondered the conceptual contours of gratitude and have debated whether gratitude is always a virtue, while educationalists have looked at whether and how gratitude should be fostered in the young.

While many experiences of gratitude are life-affirming, the concept may not be as straightforwardly positive as many people have assumed. It is not uncommon for gratitude to be experienced with mixed emotions, such as embarrassment, shame and guilt. Beneficiaries may be suspicious of benefactors’ motivations in bestowing favours, gifts and compliments which could serve an ulterior purpose. It could be argued that gratitude to benefactors serves to keep marginalised groups in their place, and that cultivating gratitude makes a virtue out of an unwanted dependence on others.

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