“Religion and Realism”

International conference “Religion and Realism”, November 28, 2014, The American University of Rome, Rome

International conference was organized in cooperation with The American University of Rome – Religious Studies Program, and the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, November 28, 2014, The American University of Rome, Rome.

Religion remains one of the most significant social forces and cultural constituencies. It can be said that religion and religious truths are becoming increasingly important in the so called “post-secular” times, when the sphere of the (secular) social/political and the sphere of the religious have to be reconsidered again. The relevancy of religious truths and the way they structure our understanding of “reality” overcomes the sphere of theology and particular religious practices. Religion, truth, and reality, and the way these concepts are approached and understood, continue to be vital for a broader cultural discourse as well, from philosophy and science, to politics, mass media and show business.

“Realism,” on the other hand, is usually understood as a position and method, which is opposite to “idealism” and the “imaginary.” “Realism” implies a certain way of approaching the reality and truth. Looking from a positivistic perspective, many would find it difficult to associate concepts of “realism” or “truth” with a phenomenon such as religion. However, the experience of the post-modern times has taught us that the relationships between the “reality,” “truth,” “knowledge” and “interpretation” are far more complex, and that even the purest “fiction” is sometimes far more effective (and therefore more “real”) in influencing our lives and in structuring the world in which we live, than most of the things that are directly exposed to our sensuous experience and rational reflection. On the other hand, we have also learned from the experience of modernity that certain metaphysical narratives, and their claims for “absolute truth” and “absolute reality,” can be very dangerous in their practical, social and political manifestations.

This conference seeks to explore philosophical, social, political, and theological dimensions of religion and realism. The themes and subjects for paper proposals include (but are not limited to) the following: Religion and reality, Religion and truth, Religion and subversion, Religion and political reality, Religion and economic “realisms,” Absolute “truths” and social/political freedom, Ultimate truth: tyranny or liberation?, Realism as epistemology, Realism – the political dimension, Realism – the aesthetic dimension, Realism – the religious/theological, Realism and the “New Realism,” Understanding metaphysical, physical and social “reality,” Reality and creativity, Reality and religion: the need for interpretation or for a social change?, Secularism, post-secularism, new religiosity and Power, reality and knowledge.


Prof. Dr. Graham Ward, Oxford University
Prof. Dr. Maurizio Ferraris, University of Turin
Prof. Dr. Louis Arthur Ruprecht, Georgia State University
Prof. Dr. Leonardo De Chirico, The American University of Rome
Prof. Dr. Marco Conti, The American University of Rome
Prof. Dr. Dennis Costa, Boston University
Prof. Dr. Ivica Žižić, Pontifical University of S. Anselmo
Prof. Dr. Frederick A. Ricci, Nova Southern University
Dr. Sławomir Sztajer, Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań
Dr. Stephen LeDrew, Uppsala University
Dr. Brian W. Nail, University of Luxembourg

More information available at: The American University of Rome.