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“The Rethinking of Religious Belief in the Making of Modernity” Conference Gathers Over 130 World-Renowned Scholars at AUBG

June 07, 2017

AUBG became a home for some of the brightest minds in the field of intellectual history on May 30 – June 1. Over 130 scholars from 26 countries on four continents presented their research at the 2017 Conference of the International Society for Intellectual History (ISIH), “The Rethinking of Religious Belief in the Making of Modernity.” They discussed the significance of religion and how the rethinking of religious beliefs and concepts shaped the modern world and could still help address current issues.

Co-organizers of the event were AUBG and the International Society for Intellectual History (ISIH). ISIH is the most important international organization in the field of intellectual history. It is the publisher of the “Intellectual History Review” – one of the foremost journals in the field.

“Three years ago, in April 2014, when I was in London during a sabbatical semester, I talked to some of the leaders of ISIH, and I mentioned the idea to have an ISIH Conference here at AUBG, possibly in 2017. After I had provided more information about our university, our facilities, and our expertise in organizing and hosting conferences, they enthusiastically approved my proposal, which was finally ratified at last year’s ISIH Conference at the University of Crete,” said the event’s convener, AUBG Professor of Philosophy and History Diego Lucci. He has been an ISIH member since 2008 and has taken part in some of its conferences. More significantly, Professor Lucci has published several essays in the ISIH journal, the “Intellectual History Review,” and is also a referee for this journal.

The conference comes at a time when global political issues require renewed attention as to how religion and religious belief across philosophical, political and scientific contexts can help address a variety of problems we are experiencing worldwide.

The event featured four prominent keynote speakers: Wayne Hudson (University of Tasmania), Michael Hunter (Birkbeck, University of London), Jonathan I. Israel (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), and Lyndal Roper (University of Oxford).

Roper was the keynote speaker who opened the conference with a lecture on “Mortality and Hatred in Luther’s Antipapalism.” Hunter explored the theme of “The Supernatural and the Natural in English Thought, 1650-1750,” while Israel spoke about “Spinoza, Tindal and the ’Dutch Way’: The Western World’s Tortuous Path to a Democratic Republicanism Stripped of All ‘Ius in Sacra’ (1650-1800).” Hudson closed the event with “Religion and Modernity: Hidden Histories.”

The list of renowned participants also included, among others, Adam Sutcliffe (King’s College London, United Kingdom), Andrew Murphy (Rutgers University, USA), Ariel Hessayon (Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom), John Coffey (University of Leicester, United Kingdom), Kiril Petkov (University of Wisconsin-River Falls, USA), Riccardo Pozzo (University of Verona, Italy), Talya Fishman (University of Pennsylvania, USA), and Teresa Castelao-Lawless (Grand Valley State University, USA).

In addition, five AUBG professors delivered their papers and chaired different panels during the conference: Pierangelo Castagneto, Sean Homer, Serguey Ivanov, Markus Wien and the convener Lucci.

The ISIH Conference takes place every one or two years at a different university. In the past, several prestigious institutions hosted the event. These include, among others, Princeton, Cambridge, the University of Chicago, the University of Sydney, and the University of Toronto. Next year the conference will take place at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland in mid-June.

Story by Despina Koleva-Hristova

Photos by Sofia Volkhonskaya

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