Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Conference on “Religious Pluralism In Europe and Asia: Conditions, Modes, and Consequences”

Tue, May 29, 2012

Conference on

“Religious Pluralism In Europe and Asia:

Conditions, Modes, and Consequences” Part I: From Antiquity to the Times of Colonialism
Part II: From the Age of Colonialism to Present Times


A joint venture by the Department of Religious Studies, University of Texas at Austin, and the Käte Hamburger Kolleg at Ruhr-Universität Bochum



Scheduled date:

Part I: Sept. 28-30, 2012

Part II: Spring 2013


Part I: University of Texas 
at Austin, USA

Part II: Center for Religious Studies at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany


Karl Galinsky, Austin

Volkhard Krech, Bochum


 The history of religions across Asia and Europe always developed and still proceeds under plural conditions. They constitute a challenge for many religious traditions and their interrelations range over a wide spectrum of conditions, modes, and consequences.  They include contact, coexistence, assimilation, and conflict and they are influenced by many factors.

 The two conferences will address themselves to both synchronic and diachronic aspects of this phenomenon, which reaches from the first millenium BCE into our present times.  Some of the issues are modes of encounter (both symmetric and asymmetric), internal pluralisation, the role of social class, attempts to conceal diachronic transformations, and, of course, the political and legal regulation of religious plurality.

 Religious pluralism and the varying reactions engendered by it have always been a dynamic process.  The conferences will provide a stimulating opportunity for informed perspectives on this vital topic and for future directions in research and dialogue.

Conference Part I: “From Antiquity to the Times of Colonialism”

 Sept. 28, 2012

               18:00      Keynote lecture by Thomas A. Tweed: “Crossing and Dwelling: Metaphors for Studying Religious Pluralism“             

                              (Legislative Assembly Room, SAC 2.302)

                              Reception (Balcony Rooms, SAC 3.112 and 3.116)

Sept. 29, 2012

(Meeting Room, SAC 1.118)

     10.00-13:15      Session I: Multiple Traditions In the Near East and the Mediterranean


                              Eckart Frahm (Yale): “Turning Weakness into Strength: Religious Responses to Imperial Expansion in the Ancient Near East from 700 to 400 BCE”

                              Erich Gruen (Berkeley): “Jewish Religion in Pagan Perception”


                              Karla Mallette (Michigan): “Sacred languages and secular texts in the medieval Mediterranean“

                              Respondent: Ra’anan Boustan (UCLA)


     13.30-14:45      Lunch break

     14:45-18:00      Session II: Encounters of Religions in Central and South Asia


                              Devin DeWeese (Indiana): "Religious Frontiers and Encounters in Muslim Hagiography and Conversion Tales from Central Asia" 

                              Johan Elverskog (SMU): “Pluralism and the Historian: The Case of Buddhism and Islam“ 


                              Robert Mayer (Oxford): "Pluralism and the Negotiation of New Religious Identities in 12th Century Tibet"

                              Respondent: Oliver Freiberger, Univ of Texas at Austin


Sept. 30, 2012

(Meeting Room, SAC 1.118)

       9:00-12:15      Session III: South Asia – Rituals and Architecture


                              Richard Eaton (Arizona): "Four Moments in Islam's Venture in India, 1000-1600"                      

                              Jessie Pons (Bochum): "The role and iconography of Indra and Brahma in the Gandharan Buddhist context"


                              Axel Michaels (Heidelberg): "Religious hybridity or syncretism? The case of ritual transfer among the Newars of Nepal"

                              Respondent: Sven Bretfeld (RUB)


                              Lunch break

     14.00-17:15      Session IV: Between East and West  
Jason BeDuhn (N. Arizona): “Manichaeism and the Emergence of Religious Pluralism“

                              Dorothea Weltecke (Konstanz): “Christians in multi-religious cities in the Middle East”


                              Ronnie Po-chia Hsia (Penn State): “From accommodation to confrontation: Christianity in China“

                              Respondent: L. Michael White, University of Texas at Austin


     17.15-18.00      Summary and Conclusion

All sessions will be held in SAC 1.118

Papers: 35-40 mins.

Responses: 15 mins

Discussions: 30 mins

Breaks: 20 mins.

Sponsors of the Conference at the University of Texas, Austin:

Max-Planck Research Award for International Cooperation

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research via the Käte Hamburger Kolleg "Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe“

Department of Religious Studies, UT Austin


College of Liberal Arts

Department of Asian Studies

Department of Classics

Floyd Cailloux Centennial Professorship of Classics

Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins






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