Religion and Civil Society: The Changing Faces of “Religion” and “Secularity”

7-8 June 2012 – Harvard University

Announcing an international conference, Religion and Civil Society: The Changing Faces of “Religion” and “Secularity”, convened by the Culture and Society Institute of the University of Navarra and the cooperation of the Harvard University Law School.


We invite proposals for presentations (maximum length: one page), along with a short CV (maximum length: two pages), by April 15, 2012. Papers will have a reading time of 20 minutes. A selection of abstracts will be made and the authors will be notified by the end of April.

WORKSHOP I: Religious Freedom in Contemporary Juridical Context
Chair: Francisca Pérez Madrid (University of Barcelona)
e-mail: [email protected]

WORKSHOP II: Medieval Political Theology: theory and practice.
Chair: Jaume Aurell (Universidad de Navarra)
e-mail: [email protected]

The topics of interest to be covered include, but are not limited to:
1) Theory on the concept of Political Theology: Medieval, Early Modern, Modern.
2) The practice, historical evolution and forms of political theology in Medieval Europe: The royal symbolic space: the court; Royal ceremonies and their symbolic value: coronations, self-coronations and the secularization of royal power; Visual elements of royal symbolism: emblems and royal signs; The anthropological dimension of royalty: festivals; The contestation of hegemonic royal political theology: the critique of the crusades; The iconology of royal power: the fracture of the royal seal; Royal image: political and theological symbolism; Liturgy; The theological and symbolical power of literary and historical discourses.

WORKSHOP III: The Media and the Process of Secularization of Society
Chair: Mercedes Montero and Mónica Codina (Universidad de Navarra)
e-mail: [email protected]

Gramsci proposed the conquest of civil society through the material transformation of their cultural foundations. His main objective was the creation of a new fully secularized common sense to replace the traditional, based on religious and metaphysical content. The tools to achieve this would be media, film, theater and educational organizations. In these institutions, key positions would be held by organic intellectuals, in charge of building the new culture and introducing it to the masses. The proletarian revolution and the control of the means of production were no longer the state’s competition. Now it is task, was to lead the Cultural Revolution and gain the means to produce and spread culture. Thus, from the 70’s and 80’s, social democratic governments abandoned the struggle in the economic and labor fronts to focus on the cultural conquest of society, in materialistic code. It was important to gain an extensive and benevolent public opinion of the new ideas they wanted to establish.

These theories of Antonio Gramsci have been the basis of some processes of secularization developed in various countries of Europe and Latin America. In this sense, the role played by media and leftist intellectuals, has been critical. This workshop invites all those researchers who would like to submit a paper on historical examples of secularization processes led by the media.

WORKSHOP IV: Liberalism, Capitalism and Religion
Chair: Raquel Lázaro (Universidad de Navarra)
e-mail: [email protected]