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SPIRCUL 2021 : Spirituality and Culture: 3rd Global Interdisciplinary Conference

Lisbon, Portugal
Event Date: Mar 12, 2021 - Mar 13, 2021
Submission Deadline: Sep 04, 2020
Notification of Acceptance: Sep 18, 2020
Camera Ready Version Due : Jan 15, 2021


Spirituality recognises that there is more to reality than just the material world. The intuition that our lives have meaning and are part of something bigger is a powerful motivator for us to cultivate our spiritual side. The mystical experiences and beliefs that arise from this engagement can stimulate our imagination in unexpected ways. Feelings of transcendence and awe have inspired creative people, artists, writers and composers throughout the ages, and continue to influence cultures around the world. Spirituality has certainly not gone away in a hyper-connected age, but finds new modes of expression and practice.

Spirituality and culture are closely linked. How we treat other people, what and when we eat and drink, how we interact with – and transcend – the everyday world are all affected by our spiritual orientation. Our spiritual commitments may prompt us to seek social change, travel to sacred places, and follow particular rituals to put us in touch with something beyond everyday living. We might signal our identification with a particular spiritual group by our outward appearance, and hope that our conduct will improve the culture around us in some small way. In turn, the wider culture affects  our spiritual life, so that it’s sometimes hard to know which aspects of our daily living are based on local customs and which are spiritual in origin.

Call For Paper

We invite presentations from artists, caregivers, therapists, psychologists, social workers, thought leaders, spiritual practitioners, stake holders, medical professionals, entrepreneurs, designers, musicians, patients, activists, journalists, policy makers, developers, technologists, and academics from across any of the disciplines that respond to or innovatively (re-)frame any of the following additional core conference themes listed below:

  • Spirituality and Creativity e.g. painting and sculpture inspired by spirituality; popular culture; rappers [such as Kanye West]; literature; mass media; music; dance; theatre; opera; architecture; festivals [including Burning Man]; spirituality in cyberspace
  • Spirituality and Social Change e.g. social justice; pacifism; enlightenment; patriarchy; polygamy; fundamentalism; feminism; euthanasia; abortion; environmental awareness; poverty; racism; penal reform; new rites of passage; resilience of the sensus divinitatis; millennials filling spiritual vacuum; toleration of difference; spirituality and LGBTQ+
  • Spirituality and Politics e.g. church and state; theocracies; Hindutva; religion in the private sphere and public square; religious affiliation as vote-winner; clash of secular and spiritual ideologies [such as ‘gay cake’ controversies in Northern Ireland and the USA, cow vigilantes in India]; Shariah compliant banking; anti-consumerism; fundamentalist atheism; claims of indigenous peoples to sacred geographies
  • Spirituality and Travel e.g. pilgrimages as spiritual living; spiritual tourism; retreats; sacred spaces; migration in a globalised economy; borderless spirituality; porous communities; how well do religions ‘travel’?; nomadic and worldwide religions vs localised beliefs; religious appropriation [including Western commodification of Eastern wisdom]
  • Spirituality, Liberation and Oppression e.g. transcendence as escape from misery; near-death experiences; human rights; religious tolerance; secular intolerance of religion; discrimination; extremism; fake prophets; misogyny; homophobia
  • Spirituality and Food e.g. fasting; Lent; Ramadan; feasting; dietary laws; kosher, halal, prohibitions; alcohol; transubstantiation; cannibalism; puja; monastic asceticism; vegetarianism; mindful eating; soul food
  • Spirituality and Education e.g. secular schools and spirituality; meditation in the classroom; mindfulness; attention and distraction; Steiner, Krishnamurti etc; schools with religious ethos; madrassa; religious education versus religious training
  • Spirituality and Interfaith Relations e.g. meditation as common ground between world religions; development of a global ethic; Dalai Lama/Hans Kung conversations; immigration; cultural clashes involving spiritual orientation; conversion and apostasy; jihad; crusades
  • Spirituality and Identity e.g. religious symbols – hijab, turban, cross, kippah; communities of faith, ‘Spiritual but not religious’; census categories; non-religious forms of spirituality; yoga; mindfulness; non-religious Buddhism; ‘anonymous’ Christianity; spiritual empaths
  • Spiritual Practices e.g. newer forms of worship; McMindfulness; New Age ‘supermarket’ of spiritual practices – crystals, angels, candles, incense, astrology, chanting, music, drumming, psychoactive drugs, dancing, sleep deprivation; exorcism; revivals, retrievals and appropriations of older styles of religion – Druidism, Wicca, Kabbalah, Wahhabi, fundamentalist Christianity; megachurches; shamanism; homeopathy; belief-centred vs. practice-centred religion; changing liturgies; healing; wellbeing

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