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Religion and Politics of the Body

The Nordic Society for Philosophy of Religion (NSPR) invites to its 2nd biannual conference conference on philosophy of religion, June 26-28, 2009, hosted by the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Iceland. The topic of the conference is Religion and the Politics of the Body. This theme brings together dimensions of contemporary religion and religiosity, but one of the goals of NSPR is to define new challenges in philosophy of religion emerging nowadays through the encounter between different religions in Northern Europe and globally.

One of the opening lectures of the conference will be on Islamic debates on the body and gender. There will be lectures on how past and present religious doctrines and philosophical theories view the human body in terms of how it is experienced, lived, regulated, controlled and directed. Bodily differences such as age, gender, sexuality, skin color, ability, etc., have often been subjected to dualistic schemes of opposites resulting in socio-political hierarchies of power. An elevation of the spiritual and cognitive has in religious and philosophical traditions rendered the body as impure or negative in some ways leading to problems in dealing with human physical nature. In the last decades attempts have been made to “rehabilitate” bodies by giving richer and more dignified philosophical and theological accounts of embodiment, sexuality, and other features associated with bodies as will be discussed in a number of lectures. The acknowledgement of embodied foundations of spiritual experiences also has implications for an understanding of the divine and transcendence. The topics of lectures on bioethics and biosciences will be how new technologies and political realities continue to pose challenges to the way we view and experience embodied existence and its relation to religion.

The NSPR, founded in 2006, is a society of philosophers, theologians, and scholars of religion. The society connects scholars from the five Nordic countries, the three Baltic countries, NW Russia, and affiliated scholars from Germany and the rest of Northern Europe.

NSPR Board:
Marius Timmann Mjaaland (Norway), Ulrik Houlind Rasmussen (Denmark), Jonna Bornemark, Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir (Iceland), Timo Koistinen (Finland), Ane Kull (Estonia), Philipp Stoellger (Germany)