Call for Papers

Theme: Culture, Religion and Democratic Values
Subtitle: Re-Learning to be Human for Global Times
Type: International Conference
Institution: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP)
   Banaras Hindu University
Location: Varanasi (India)
Date: 30.–31.12.2016
Deadline: 30.11.2016



We are now living in a global world. This world has turned into a big
village. The human race has made great developments. It has almost
conquered nature and taken control. We are now able to fathom the
depths of the ocean, to talk to persons who are thousands of
kilometers away and to know in real time what is happening there in a
particular country. We are able to send satellites to inquire and
explore the possibility of life on other planets situated many light
years away. We have made a tremendous progress which only 50 years
ago was almost unimaginable and impossible to predict. But we have
made no progress in our behavior, in our attitudes towards other
fellow beings. On the contrary, it seems sometimes, we have become
somewhat more conservative and dogmatic. Science and technology has
provided us, on the one hand, great opportunities, but, on the other,
it has supplied us the most destructive weapons. It has provided us a
tremendous opportunity as well as a great challenge. We have to
decide what we are going to choose in this century.

In the twenty first century we cannot live in the same way as in the
past keeping our culture, religion and moral ideas unaffected and
unaltered from external influences, because the world now has become
a village. There are so many cultures, so many religions which are
living in their own closed world and the people belonging to such a
culture have a conception of self-superiority. A culture is a way of
life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and
symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and
that are passed along by communication and imitation from one
generation to the next. On the other hand a religion is a set of
sacred ideas and beliefs which are shared by a group of individuals
who claim to have been following that particular religion. Before the
emergence of this global world it would have been easier to follow a
particular way of life and to practice a particular religion without
being challenged. But in the present century this is hardly possible,
for there are many cultures and so many religions. The problem is
that in one religion what is conceived as sacred in another is
conceived as secular; in one culture what is understood as ideal in
another that is considered uncivilized. Therefore, there is a
possibility of conflict and clash. If that takes violent form, if an
organization starts killing mercilessly the innocent people in the
name of religion, if a particular organization takes an oath to
destroy the followers of another religion, if in a society women are
oppressed and have not been given equal rights, if we could not
ensure justice to our fellow beings, it is very clear that in spite
of this tremendous progress of science and technology we are still
living in the same way as our ancestors used to live thousands of
years ago fighting with each other over small issues. Till now we
could not learn how to be human. 

The present globalised world has taken away the private space and
left us with a multiplicity of religions, cultures and civilizations.
A person living in a particular cultural and religious atmosphere
moving from one place to another faces a new kind of culture, a new
type of religion and a different type of civilization which seem to
him so alien that many times he fails to adopt it.

This is a general tendency such that a person who seems to be a
little different, follows a different set of practices, performs a
different set of rituals or worships God with a different set of
methods is conceived as an alien, a foreigner, the other. Before the
start of globalization it would have been easier to treat those
persons as alienated and preserve one’s own cultural and religious
ideas from getting affected. But now we have entered in the twenty
first century where there is no possibility to alienate any
particular group, religion or culture. We have to live together. Now
the differences in cultures are fading. We are moving towards a
globalised culture. Religions and cultures will have to change
themselves and accommodate their democratic values in order to
sustain themselves. This globalised culture is rich in democratic
values, which rooted basically on the idea of equality whereas the
religions are more or less based on inequality; it is difficult for
all religions to accept everyone as equal. Present conflicts between
the ardent followers of different religions and cultures are actually
efforts to preserve their own identities, their own religious and
cultural values which appear to be in danger to the followers of
those religions and cultures. The idea that the heretics, blasphemers
and apostates should be punished or killed is ingrained in the minds
of some radical religious groups. To do so they often engage in
completely inhuman activities, which they do not recognize to be such.

Thus, scholars and students of philosophy and religion have a great
responsibility for only a reflective mind can discover its own
weaknesses, faults and superstitions. Hence the aim of this
conference is to engage in a fruitful dialogue, to discover the safe
path and to re-learn to be human. Tentative topics are as follows:

1.  Culture and religion in present age
2.  Impact of Globalization on Cultures
3.  Indian Culture and Values
4.  Gender Equality and Religion
5.  Religion and freedom of Speech
6.  Conflicts between cultural, religious and democratic values
7.  Changing moral Zeitgeist
8.  Morality, Religiosity and Human Values
9.  Personal Rights and Religion
10. Secularism and Democracy
11. Religion and Global Challenges
12. Religion and Morality
13. Values in Different Civilizations


Please send the abstract and a brief C.V. to Sachchidanand Mishra
(sachchitmis...@gmail.com) and (cua-...@cua.edu)  until November 30,
2016. Presentation of accepted papers will be 20 minutes in length
followed by 20 minutes discussion. Full papers (for which in order to
promote in-depth investigation there is no upper page limit) will be
published by the RVP.


There is no registration fee. Travel expense and accommodation will
be covered by the participants (or their institutions).


Sachchidanand Mishra
Banaras Hindu University
Email: sachchitmis...@gmail.com

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