13.10.2021 - 15.10.2021
International Hybrid Conference "Religious Transformations in Europe: Individual Life Paths between Secularism and (New) Religiosity in the 19th Century"
Venue: Erbacher Hof, Akademie und Tagungszentrum des Bistums Mainz, Grebenstraße 24–26, 55116 Mainz In cooperation with the Erbacher Hof, Akademie und Tagungszentrum des Bistums Mainz The international conference "Religious Transformations in Europe" will focus on individuals who, in the course of their lives, turned away from their religious communities of origin and toward other groups or sought to re- and transform their communities of origin from within. The conference understands such processes as phenomena of transition and border crossing. It wants to make clear that secularization and religiosity are by no means mutually exclusive, but that they are interwoven in many ways in the perspective of the course of individual lives. The conference assumes with Detlef Pollack that "religion has a high shaping power even under modern conditions, is compatible with modernity and is itself capable of becoming a source of modernity" (Pollack, 2016, 6). In this respect, secularization can be understood as "the transformation and the continued effect of originally religious motives and meaning outside of the religious realm in the narrow sense" (Nüchtern 1998, 51). The lectures of the conference ask to what extent these moments of transition and bordercrossing are to be understood as consequences or expressions of "secularization", as transformations of the religious, or as manifestations of "new" religiosity. The period under investigation covers the long 19th century as an age in which expressions of the religious and religious attachment changed more profoundly and continuously than ever before. This transformation of the religious can be seen as a fundamental process for the formation of modern European societies. Not only a "diffusive Christianity" (Wolffe 1994, 92f) is emerging, but also new forms of non-church-bound religiosity, both in Christianity and in Judaism and Islam. This pluralization of religion and religiosity in European societies has been described as a "constant expansion of the universe of religion" (Nowak 1995, 11). At the same time, the social role of religion, especially its public visibility, and the function of the Christian churches as its institutional bearers increasingly receded, partly due to industrialization, the success of the natural sciences, the emergence of nationstates (Nowak 1995, Nipperdey 1994), and migratory movements. This led to the fact that in the 19th century "the secular and the religious [...] were publicly negotiated for the first time at all", the secular was "conceived as a sphere beyond the religious" (Habermas 2019, 148) and the boundaries between these spheres had to be rene-gotiated again and again. The conference follows up on these findings and attempts to trace the processes of secularization and revitalization of the religious in their interaction on the microlevel, namely on the basis of individual life courses. This is based on an understanding of secularization that dynamically relates the religious and the secular to each other (cf. Habermas 2019, 147f.) and understands "secularization" not as a unilinear and uniform process, but as one that takes place in different modes and different mechanisms. Helpful is the systematization developed by Charles Taylor, according to which "secular" manifests itself in three phases and types (Taylor, 2007, 377-422): 1. in increasingly secularized public spaces, 2. in decreasing faith and faith practices, 3. in changing conditions of faith and religiosity.