Last week, on December 6th and 7th, the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life presented Part One of our global conference series, “Pluralism in Emergenc(i)es: Movement, Space, and Religious Difference,” in collaboration with Columbia Global Centers, the Center for Religion, Conflict and Globalization at the University of Groningen, and the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) at the University of Oslo. The two-day conference took place in Amman, Jordan and was the culmination of nearly a year of work, which began with a global call for papers this spring. Local experts, students, and activists were brought together with regional specialists and practitioners from academia, the world of design, as well as experts from civil society and the NGO sector, to present and discuss the impact of the global migration situation on housing and urban development, collective memory and identity, and religious pluralism in the face of rapidly changing and increasingly precarious lived realities. Revised and extended versions of select papers will be made available in an edited book volume and through other online writing fora.
“Pluralism” is commonly understood as the recognition and affirmation of diversity within a governing body or set of institutional arrangements. Drawing on the resources of our international collaborators in Europe and the Middle East, this conference series seeks to examine the historical, social, and religious underpinnings of the so-called migrant and refugee crisis in order to position this moment as a state of emergence, rather than a state of emergency. Thinking of pluralism as a technology of power that helps to organize people and their interactions, and which is often articulated with special attention to religious difference, this series will address how pluralism becomes activated in emergency situations and is utilized in different ways and towards different ends.Pluralism_Program_final