Power/Religion: A Revanche of Reaction or a Metaphor of Revolution?

Venues: Helsinki (University of Helsinki) and St Petersburg (European University at St Petersburg and Russian Christian Academy for Humanities)

Date: September 10–15, 2013

After a short-lived belief in the secularization of societies, religion has returned to the political arena with a vengeance. It is one of the most controversial but also determining political issues in today’s world. But is religion a reactionary force or does it involve revolutionary potentiality? This three-day international conference addresses questions pertaining to the relationship between power, politics, and religion.


Tuesday September 10

Arrival at Helsinki

19:00 Dinner

Wednesday September 11

Venue: Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki (Address: Fabianinkatu 24)

10:00 Opening words

10:15 – 10:45 Roland Boer (University of Newcastle), “Translating Religion and Politics: An Alternative Model.”

10:45 – 11:15 Niko Huttunen (University of Helsinki), “How Fantasy Becomes True: Paul between Political Realism and Eschatological Fantasy.”

11:15 – 11:45 Sergei Prozorov (University of Helsinki), “Pussy Riot and the Politics of Profanation.”

11:45 – 13:15 Lunch

13:15 – 13:45 Chin Ken Pa (Chung Yuan Christian University), “W. T. Chu’s Jesus the Proletarian.”

13:45 – 14:15 Olli-Pekka Moisio (University of Jyväskylä), “Max Horkheimer on Religion as a Resistance and Hope.”

14:15 – 14:45 Sergey Kozin (Russian Christian Academy for Humanities), TBA

Coffee break

15:15 – 15:45 Sanna Tirkkonen (University of Helsinki), “Power, Religion and Justice: Foucault on the Cult of Dionysus.”

15:15 – 15:45 Lars T. Lih (McGill University) “Shield of Aeneas: Ancient and Modern Narratives of World-historical Mission.”

15:45 – 16:15 Philip Chia (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) “Occupy Central: Scribal Resistance in Daniel, the Long Road to Universal Suffrage”


19:00 Departure from Helsinki (Ferry to St Petersburg)

Thursday September 12

9:30: Arrival at St Petersburg

Venue: European University at St Petersburg (Address: #3 Gagarinskaya Street)

14:00 Opening words

14:15 – 14:45 Joseph Bartlett (Indiana University), “Extremism for Love: Horkheimer beyond the Age of Islamic Terror.”

14:45 – 15:15 Ali Al-Hakim (International Islamic Contemporary Thought Foundation), “Shi’ah’s Standpoint between Revolutionaries and Quietists.”

15:15 – 15:45 Jouni Tilli (University of Jyväskylä), “’We should obey the nation state and God rather than men’: Lutheran Metanoia and the Politics of Obedience.”

Coffee break

16:15 – 16:45 Youzhuang Geng (Renmin University of China), “The Rhetoric of Icons: from Image to Voice.”

16:45 – 17:15 Mika Ojakangas (University of Jyväskylä), “From Political Theology to Theological Politics.”

17:15 – 17:45 Markku Koivusalo (University of Helsinki), “The Theological Structure of the 20th Century Extreme Political Thought”

17:45 – 18:00 Discussion

19:00 Dinner

Friday September 13

Venue: TBA

11:00 – 11:30 Christina Petterson (Humboldt University of Berlin), “’Der Mensch muß immer im Streit seÿn’: Zinzendorf and the ideology of Language.”

11:30 – 12:00 Elisa Heinämäki (University of Helsinki), “What is Radical about Radical Pietism?”

12:00 – 12:30 Artemy Magun (European University, St Petersburg), TBA

12:30 – 12:45 Discussion

12:45 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 17:30 special section for additional Russian participants (in Russian)

19:00 Dinner


Saturday September 14


20:00 Departure from St Petersburg (Ferry to Helsinki)

Sunday September 15

8:30 Return to Helsinki



Subjectivity, Historicity, and Communality Research Group (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki)

Academy of Finland (Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki and the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä)

European University at St Petersburg (http://www.eu.spb.ru/)

Russian Christian Academy for Humanities (http://rhga.ru/)

Religion and Political Thought Project

Australian Research Council


Last weekend’s Religion and Radicalism conference was quite something. Under normal circumstances, it requires a little more effort than usual to get here – to Herrnhut, Saxony. On this occasion, the effort was significant. For those who evaded Malaysian elections, slashed feet, dreadful German immigration officials, lambing season and so on, the day of travel revealed … a Lufthansa strike. From Kiev to Oslo, from Helsinki to London, people scrambled to find other options. Eventually, people managed to get here over the next day. The result was that once here the appreciation was much higher.

The paper sessions were absorbing, generating new ideas and at times vigorous debate:





In the evenings we gathered in our apartment for drinks (the amusement was largely due to this map) …


… and took instructions in yoga:


Amazing what a few drinks will make people do at 1.00 am:


Even so, ageing bones make the lotus position just a little more difficult:


On Sunday afternoon we had a special treat: the wind chill knocked what was already the coldest ‘spring’ day on record to -20 Centigrade:


It was our day for trekking, exploring the early days of the Moravian Brethren, Zinzendorf’s Schloss, and the stone circles used for quiet gatherings in the forest. The circles were used to meet and discuss community problems in the 1700s:


With weather like this, I’m guessing not many problems would have been that urgent. Meanwhile, we made the most of it and plunged down steep hillsides:



On return, there was nothing a little bit of thawing wouldn’t restore to its old self.

Yet, despite it’s apparent remoteness …


… it is a place to which people seem to come from all corners of the globe. They even had flags out for us:

IMG_0308 (3)a

Or, more closely:


Capital Against Capitalism

Conference of new Marxist research

25 June 2011

Supported by: Historical Materialism Journal, NS W Fire Brigade
Employees’ Union, and the UTS Cosmopolitan Civil
Societies Centre.

It seems significant, and hardly coincidental, that the
impasse that politics fell into after the 1960s and 1970s coincided with the eclipse
of Marx and the research project of historical materialism. Social democracy,
various left-wing melancholies and/ or the embrace of dead political forms has
stood-in for these absent names. Returning to Marx, to Capital and to the various
traditions tied-up with these names may present a way to cut across this threefold

This conference involves two plenaries and six workshops. In the
opening plenary, Rick Kuhn will overview his new book (with Tom Bramble) Labor’s
Conflict: Big business, workers and the politics of class (Cambridge University
Press, 2010). Geoff Robinson and Tad Tietze will respond. The closing plenary will
be a keynote address from Nicole Pepperell on the key ideas of her forthcoming
book Disassembling Capital (Brill/Historical Materialism Book Series 2011). Dave
Eden will respond.

Visit capitalagainstcapitalism.blogspot.com for workshop
papers, full timetable and registration.


Saturday 25 June 2011.


1-7 Belmore St
Surry Hills NS W.

Register now
by visting capitalagainstcapitalism.blogspot. com.

Cost is $30 full or $20 concession.

Space is limited.

capitalagainstcapitalism.blogspot.com | fbeu.net | historicalmaterialism.org | cosmopolitancivilsocieties.com

For those of you thinking of going to the Maramureş, up in the mountains of northern Romania this October (looks like I’m going to be there). Check out the brilliant website:

The North University of Baia Mare, the Faculty of Letters, Department for Foreign Languages

Second Call for Paper

The Third International Anniversary Conference

From Francis Bacon to William Golding: Utopias and Dystopias of Today and of Yore

October 20th – 23rd 2011

We are celebrating 450 years since Francis Bacon’s birth, and 100 years since William Golding’s by launching an invitation to an interdisciplinary fathoming of the depths of the human attraction toward utopias and dystopias. Whether they use the Baconian method ‘invented’ by the 1st (and last) Viscount Saint Alban, or the allegorical treatment of places and characters of the British dystopian poet and novelist, there are hundreds of writers, poets, artists, philosophers and critics that have added new facets and interpretations to the dreams or nightmares of humanity concerning their social organization, political hazards, humanist and religious values, as well as future heavens or apocalypses.

From the New Atlantis to Oleanna, Shangri-La, Xanadu or Shambala, many such Arcadian sites have been imagined by humanity to place their utopian visions. Dystopias are envisaged horrid places of Amalgamation, of the human being living in a Limbo, or in such places like Kazohinia, Kallocain, the future Zanzibar, the Metropole, the Terraplane, Metro 2033, or Grandoria. Since Foucault we also speak of Heterotopias, which are so fashionable in popular culture, especially with such complex and mixed symbols as those present in museums, theme parks, malls, holiday resorts, gated communities, wellness hotels and festival markets…. . Ecotopias, which started in the Hippie Movement with tones of primitivism and eco-anarchism are ‘sweetened’ by such contemporary dreams as the green skyscrapers, or the hovering cities…..

We invite contributions from academics in the domains of philology, philosophy, theology, psychology, and the arts to tackle any aspect of the above, in a conference that will combine paper presentations with cultural events, and with our tribute to the great two personalities that we are celebrating. Theme theatre performances, as well as art exhibitions, movies and musical events will come to add new insights into the vast domain, as well as into the lives and work of Bacon and Golding. We are only suggesting a few guidelines for panel discussions, but we are open to other suggestions, as well, for papers presented either in English or in Romanian:

–         the rhetoric of utopian and dystopian writings;

–         recurrent themes in literary and philosophical debates on utopias and dystopias;

–         genres of utopian and dystopian literary creations;

–         postmodern thinking and Foucault’s concept of heterotopia;

–         ecotopias and New Age; environmentalist interpretations of the future;

–         Bacon and his vision of a New Atlantis;

–         William Golding’s dystopian vision on the ‘civilized’ human being;

–         social and religious utopias and dystopias;

–         transformation, evolution or devolution of utopian thinking during the centuries….

Keynote speakers:

Professor Ian Buchanan, Cardiff University

Professor Roland Boer, Newcastle University

Professor George Achim, North University


Scientific Committee:

Prof. Ana Olos, North University (British, American and Canadian studies)

Professor Adrian Otoiu, North University (British, American and Canadian studies)

Professor George Achim, North University (Romanian and European studies)

Professor Petru Dunca, North University (Philosophy and Theology)

Professor Rodica Turcanu, North University (Germanic Cultural studies and  linguistics)


Publication committee and reviewers:

Professor Ian Buchanan, Cardiff University

Professor Roland Boer, Newcastle University

Professor Danny Robinson, Bloomsburg University

Professor Petre Dunca, North University

As we would like to encourage a true interdisciplinary participation, with papers delivered both in English and Romanian, we will decide upon sections after the scientific committee has selected the most interesting propositions. Therefore, please fill in the registration form below, and send it to the organizing committee to the following address: baconandgolding@gmail.com by April 25, 2011. For further queries please refer to our website http://baconandgolding.ubm.ro or contact Mrs. Ligia Tomoiaga, at tomoiagaligia@gmail.com

All participants will have 15 minutes for paper presentation and 10 minutes for discussions. Please bring papers in electronic version with you: Time New Roman, 12, with endnotes, APA style.

For those who would like to participate, but who for reasons of distance and cost cannot be present in person, we offer the possibility of video conferencing.

The conference registration fee is € 50 and it covers participation costs, coffee breaks, lunches and conference portfolio. Participation through video conference is € 30 .

We are currently discussing the possibility of publishing our proceedings in an ISBN volume, with Cambridge Scholars Publishing, for papers written in English. The costs will be announced at the conference. Papers will be considered for publication by three independent reviewers. The other papers will be published in a bilingual volume (with ISBN) at the North University Publishing House.


Capital Against Capitalism

a conference of new Marxist research

Saturday 25 June 2011

Central Sydney

It seems significant, and hardly coincidental, that the impasse that politics fell into after the 1960s and 1970s coincided with the eclipse of Marx and the research project of historical materialism. Social democracy, various left-wing melancholies and/ or the embrace of dead political forms has stood-in for these absent names. Returning to Marx, to Capital and to the various traditions tied-up with these names may present a way to cut across this three-fold deadlock.

We invite papers responding to contemporary politics from a range of historical materialist perspectives. We want to bring together the theoretical discussions and debates occurring in Capital reading groups, PhD study circles, and Marxist political organisations and networks. Our conjuncture – its manifold crisis – urges new analyses, new strategic orientations and the engagement of activists and academics alike on these questions.
Conference structure
The conference will involve two plenaries and four workshops. There will be space for 12 workshop papers about, or connected to, the conference theme. We are happy to receive proposals for themed workshops of three papers, with the caveat that we may need to alter suggested panels or reject individual papers to ensure overall timetabling.

In our opening plenary, Rick Kuhn will overview the argument of his new book, with Tom Bramble, Labor’s conflict: big business, workers and the politics of class (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Geoff Robinson and Tad Tietze will act as respondents. The final session will be a keynote address from Nicole Pepperell on the key ideas of her PhD thesis and forthcoming book on Marx’s Capital (to be published by Brill, as part of the Historical Materialism Book Series, later this year).

In all sessions there will be time for contributions from conference participants. To maximise discussion at the conference, each first plenary and workshop speaker will have 15 minutes to overview their paper.

Proposals for papers
Proposals for papers should be submitted by 15 March 2011 to Elizabeth Humphrys (lizhumphrys [at] me.com) and Jonathon Collerson (jonathoncollerson [at] gmail.com). Authors should also indicate whether they would be submitting a written paper for refereeing. Papers should be 1500, and no longer than 1800 words. Refereed conference papers will be published, potentially also as a special issue of an academic journal. We reserve the right to reject papers if we have too many to fill the allocated slots, or they are deemed unsuitable, but we will do our best to accommodate everyone.

Key Dates
1 February – Call for papers
15 March – Abstracts due
1 May – Papers due for refereeing; conference timetable released
1 June – Feedback to authors
25 June – Conference

Other details
The conference will be held in Central Sydney, in easy reach of public transport and in an accessible location. There will be a small conference fee, of approximately $20-$30 on average, to cover the cost of lunches and travel costs for the interstate speakers. Full details to follow. If you require childcare please contact us to discuss this by 1 June 2011. The conference organisers will not be arranging billeting, but please contact us if you are unable to arrange your own accommodation option. As the conference has no outside funding source, we will be unable to cover travel costs for workshop presenters.

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=104092856334915

Elizabeth Humphrys and Jonathon Collerson (obo the organising group)

On 25 June this year, a one day conference on this title will be held somewhere in Sydney. More soon as it comes to light.

Keynotes: Nicole Pepperell, Geoff Robinson and Tad Tietze.

More than a year ago I first announced plans for a rolling conference called ‘The Bible on the Ghan‘ (a follow up appeared in June last year).

Now for some more details. The Ghan runs twice a week from Adelaide to Darwin and back again, right up the red centre of Australia through some of the amazing deserts in the world on on a north-south run. It leaves on Sunday and Wednesday each week at 12.20 pm and takes more than two days to get to Darwin, arriving around 6.00 pm.

The plan: a two-day mini-conference on the train.
The theme: biblical journeys (in the widest sense).
The time: April or May 2011. The time bracket is from Sunday, 10 April, to Wednesday, 11 May, 2011. NB: Easter is 24 April.
The venue: one or two of the private carriages that may be attached to the train.
They are the Chairman’s Carriage, the Prince of Wales Carriage and the Sir John Forrest Carriage. The carriages include bedrooms, lounge areas and dining facilities. Depending on how many confirm attendance, we will reserve one or two carriages – they have capacities of 10, 8 and 6 respectively.
How much? AUD $2130 per person, and that includes all food, accommodation and travel for more than two days.
Daily timetable: we would need to work our way through about a dozen papers, so that means we could relax on the first afternoon, get to know the train and each other, and then have six papers on each of the two full days following. A relaxed pace, like the train.
The outcome: An edited volume called The Bible on the Ghan, the first of a series called Biblical Journeys and to be published by Gorgias Press, ably assisted by the press’s Australian representative, Katie Stott.
What I need from you: since the carriages require a 20% reservation fee and since it is a good idea to get the reservation done in good time, I would like to have a firm commitment and paper proposals from any participants by October 2010.