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Call for Papers Religious Heritage and Change in the North

By February 7, 2022No Comments

Religious Heritage and Change in the North

Historical, Contemporary and Comparative Perspectives


Research conference in Turku/Åbo, 10-11 November 2022


This conference is organized jointly by the research network Religious History of the North (REHN) at Umeå University, and the research project Changing Spaces: Ritual Buildings, Sacred Objects, and Human Sensemaking at the Polin Institute/Åbo Akademi University.

The conference will offer an arena for scholarly reflection on religious heritage in times of change. We aspire to explore themes and cases, where religion and heritage are challenged, reinterpreted, or even reinforced due to changing realities of for instance social, economic, technical, and environmental character. While heritage has often been pondered as a contemporary concern in relation to the future, this conference also takes an interest in religious heritage and change in the past. We view the concept of religious heritage in a broad sense, including material and immaterial heritage, such as buildings, objects, or traditions being used by living religious communities, or that have lost religious meaning. In the past decades, many religious sites, objects, and even practices have been reframed primarily as heritage. In some cases, redundant Christian churches have been sold, sacred objects have been musealised, and religious customs have become folk festivities – implying perhaps a tension between religion and heritage. In other cases, deep interaction between heritage and practiced religion has enabled the continued existence of religious traditions or the emergence of new, alternative practises. The conference has a particular interest in religious heritage in northern Europe but also welcomes other, contrasting and comparative, contributions.

Below, we provide a list of potential sub-themes, but we also welcome other topics with relevance to the conference theme.

  • Converting, rebuilding, or reusing religious heritage
  • Religious communities and heritagisation
  • The politics of religious heritage
  • Indigenous and postcolonial perspectives
  • Religious heritage and changing landscapes
  • Religious heritage in museums

Please send your paper proposal (with 150-200 words) before 1 May 2022 to Letters of acceptance will be posted no later than 31 May 2022.

The conference will be held at Åbo Akademi University in Turku (Åbo), Finland. Should the Covid pandemic prevent an on-site conference, we may opt for a hybrid conference. After the conference, the presenters will be given an opportunity to have their papers peer reviewed, and – if approved – published in an edited volume. A conference fee of 40€ will be collected to cover costs for a conference dinner, coffee breaks, and running costs. For updated information about the conference, please visit the conference webpage [***].

Organising committee

Jakob Dahlbacka, Åbo Akademi University

Stefan Gelfgren, Umeå University

Kim Groop, Åbo Akademi University

Daniel Lindmark, Umeå University

Carola Nordbäck, Åbo Akademi University and Mid Sweden University