Conference program

Conference venue is the main building of the University of Tartu (Ülikooli 18).

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Welcome reception in the University of Tartu Art Museum (on the ground floor of the main building of the university, Ülikooli 18. Tour included.)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

9:00-10:00  |  Foyer
10:00  |  Room 139
Opening of the conference
10:15  |  Room 139
Keynote lecture by  Detlef Pollack

Secularization theory and individualization thesis: Theoretically and empirically reconsidered

In the social sciences a new discourse on religion in modern societies has established itself. It is no longer the master narrative that religion is waning in significance that dominates the perspectives in the social sciences. The new key words are ‘Return of the gods’ (Friedrich Wilhelm Graf), ‘Re-enchantment of the world’ (Ulrich Beck), Desecularization (Peter L. Berger) – or individualization of religion (Thomas Luckmann, Hubert Knoblauch, Grace Davie). Since criticizing the secularization theory often has a great deal to do with scaremongering, what is required firstly is as precise a reconstruction as possible of what secularization theory and individualization thesis are actually saying. The talk in its first part provides a reconstruction of the propositional content of secularization and individualization theory and deals with the various meanings and criticisms of these concepts. The second part focuses on the social and historical developments of religion in selected European countries. By looking at the changes in religious belongings, attitudes and practices in the last decades it tries to find out which empirical data speak in favour of the secularization theory and which ones in favour of the individualization thesis.

11:15  |  Room 227
Coffee break
11:45-13:15  |  Room 22611:30-13:30  |  Room 228

Panel "Secularization and Politics"

Sławomir Kościelak
  • Secularization Processes in Gdansk (Danzig) at the turn of 18 and 19th CC.
Anna Vancsó
  • Is politics religious or religion political? The appearance of Christianity in the contemporary Hungarian political sphere
Tatiana Chumakova
  • Orthodoxy and Sacralization of Power in the Contemporary Russia

Panel "New Age in Contemporary Europe"

Liza Cortois, Dick Houtman and Stef Aupers
  • Mindfulness: New Age 2.0 ?
Veerle Draulans and Wouter De Tavernier
  • Shooting in the dark: Defining and measuring spirituality in 21st century Europe

Janneke van der Leest

  • Romantic divine inspiration and its relevance to modern spiritual identity   
13:15-15:00  |  University Cafe
15:00-16:30  |  Room 22615:00-16:30  |  Room 228

Panel "Secular State and Religion"

Ali Kemal Doğan and Ümit Yazmacı
  • In between civil and official religion: the Turkish experience of secularism
Ernils Larsson
  • Secular religion: Shinto and politics in present-day Japan
Jerry Espinoza-Rivera
  • Costa Rica: Confessionality of State and Public Policies

Panel "New spirituality in Estonia and Latvia"

Lea Altnurme
  • Old religion and new spirituality in the mirror of statistics in Estonia
Normunds Titans
  • The new spirituality vs the old religion in contemporary Latvia: decline in the traditional God-beliefs in face of a universal spirituality (legacies of the Enlightenment deism, ‘New Age’ eclecticism, etc.)
Marko Uibu
  • The Fluid Forms of Contemporary Religiosity: The Modes of Participation in Estonian Spiritual Milieu
16:30  |  Room 227
Coffee break
17:00-18:30  |  Room 22617:00-18:30  |  Room 228

Panel "Traditions, modern practices and secularity"

Laura Stark

  • The unorthodox sacred in Portuguese urban spaces

Ergo Hart Västrik

  • Contesting national history: alternative rhetoric of the Estonian maausulised movement in media representations
Henno Erikson Parks
  • Modern Shamanic Practices and Belief Systems in Estonia: Terms, Practices and Historical Overview

Panel "New Spirituality in Finland"

Outi Pohjanheimo
  • Spiritual-based healing  - a gateway to de-institutionalization in Finland
Reeta Frosti
  • Became an Ascended Master. New Age and the Church Universal and Triumphant.
Katriina Hulkkonen
  • Tensions and Co-existence: The Role of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland in the Lives of Women Channels
19:30  |  Restaurant Atlantis

Thursday, 28 May 2015

9:00  |  Room 227
Morning coffee
9:30-11:00  |  Room 2269:30-11:00  |  Room 228

Panel "Atheism and Nonreligion in Contemporary Society"

Ethan G. Quillen
  • Doing Away With Theoretical Abstractions: A Discursive Analysis of the Definition of Atheism and Critical Analysis of the Positive vs. Negative Paradigm
Zdeněk R. Nešpor
  • Somewhat Spurious Atheism: Historical Roots of Contemporary Czech Irreligiosity
Atko Remmel   
  • The impact of forced secularization on nonreligious sphere in Estonia

Panel "Sacred and Secular Spaces"

Marcin Jewdokimow
  • From secularization to restitution. A fate of monasteries in Poland in the context of contemporary transformations of religion
Andrea Marcuccetti
  • New attraction between Sacred and Sanctified in the Smart Cities.
Adam M Klupś
  • Closing and converting churches to alternative uses: challenges in finding lasting solutions for places of worship in the light of diminishing need
11:00  |  Room 227
Coffee break
11:30  |  Room 139
Keynote lecture by Paul Heelas

Life force

Countless ethnographies from around the globe refer to life force or similar notions; life force is central to CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medince) and what the World Health Organization calls TM (traditional medicine); EU surveys demonstrate the popularity of 'life force' in a numerous countries, with Estonia being the leader. Yet there is just one publication devoted to the cultural study of life force: The Spirit of Vitalism (2011) in Denmark. Clearly, far more interpretative, analytic, systematic, comparative, explanatory work is called for.

I'll dive in at the deep end to tackle the most neglected of issues: theorizing life force. This serves to illuminate the elementary nature of life force, its dynamics, how it regulated,why high life force is valued; and to explain its universal compass. I'll then identify four main varieties of life force (inherent, theistic/polytheistic, non-personal transcendent, secular). Attention is then focussed on Estonia: to explore the validity of the life force thesis (above), to ascertain the popularity of the four varieties (above); to explore the significance (or insignificance) of life forces for cultural, social and personal life; AND: why is Estonia the life force capital of Europe?

12:30-14:00  |  University Cafe
14:00-15:30  |  Room 140

Panel "Varieties of Atheism and Nonreligion"

Marianna Shakhnovich
  • Religious Studies during the Soviet Cultural Revolution: Myth and Reality
Mikko Sillfors
  • Atheistic Spirituality
Tiina Mahlamäki
  • Nonreligion and Gender
15:30  |  Room 227
Coffee break
16:00-17:00  |  Room 140

Panel "Relationships Between Traditional and New"

    Matti Rautaniemi
  • History of Yoga in Finland
Robert T. Ptaszek
  • Philosophy on relations between religion and spirituality
17:30-18:30  |  Meeting at the foyer
Town excursion
19:00  |  Restaurant Vilde

Friday, 29 May 2015

9:00  |  Room 227
Morning coffee
9:30-11:00  |  Room 140

Panel "Roman Catholicism and Secularization"

Christopher Korten
  • Forced secularizations during the Napoleonic period in Italy and the effects of this policy on society
Valentina Ciciliot
  • The Catholic Charismatic Renewal: a new form of spirituality within the Catholic Church 

Luca Lecis

  • From Political Catholicism to the Collapse of the Catholic Milieu. Religion and the Roman Catholic Church in Austria between Partisanship and Civil Emancipation


11:00  |  Room 227
Coffee break
11:30-12:30  |  Room 140
Keynote lecture by Abby Day

Generation A and the downfall of Christianity: how Generation X grandmothers brought down the Church

Such studies that do consider older Christian women tend to regard them briefly as part of something else or dismiss them altogether: the focus in the literature has been mostly on their children and grandchildren, the so-called baby-boomers, and, increasingly, their grandchildren, the Generations X and Y, and nearly Z.  What we do not know enough about are their grandmothers, the Christian ‘Generation A’, a diminishing generation who will not be replaced in churches worldwide or in the communities that depend on their voluntary and mostly invisible labour.

The paper reflects on ethnographic fieldwork relating to the author’s theories of  embodied and performative belief and belonging in, particularly, late modern northern countries of the Global north.

12:30-14:00  |  University Cafe
14:00-15:30  |  Room 140

Panel "Protestantism and Secularization"

Priit Rohtmets

  • Secular State, religious society. The perception of secularisation and the discussions about the social position of the Lutheran Church in Estonia from the early 20th century to 1940

Dirk Schuster

  • Volk, Reich, Führer, God - Religion and racist nationalism of German Christians
Hartmut Lehmann
  • The Quincentennial Commemoration of the Protestant Reformation in Secularized Germany
15:30  |  Room 227
Coffee break
16:00-17:30  |  Room 230
Seminar for doctoral students (selected participants)
19:00  |  Restaurant Dorpat
Dinner, closing of the conference