Religion Between Governance and Freedoms

University of Padova, Italy, September 22-23, 2022

Contemporary societies are challenged by the need of the state to govern religious and cultural diversity and to protect freedom of/from religion claimed by individuals, communities and institutions. Over the past three decades, research conducted on state-religion policies and religious freedom has become increasingly important across a global spectrum, prompting a growing interdisciplinary area of study. The discourses on religious pluralism, multiculturalism and government-based discrimination have become intertwined due to the centrality of the struggle over equity, inclusion and religious freedom. Scholars in political science, international relations, judicial studies and sociology have all contributed theoretical discussions, case studies and extensive empirical analysis.

Recent developments involving social and religious dynamics related to migration, global pandemic, violent conflicts, and increasing societal restrictions placed on religious freedoms, are several examples where diverse theoretical approaches and analytical tools of social sciences can complement and challenge each other. While modern societies advance human rights and equal citizenship promises by various legal and social mechanisms, they nevertheless face basic challenges regarding how these promises are to be defended, especially when ethnic, religious or class differences are factored into the picture. The promise of religious freedom has become a burgeoning social issue, which requires a better understanding of how different theoretical outlooks see and interpret the current situation.
In order to better address the issues, we invite participants to contribute theoretical perspectives, social science concepts and empirical analyses that highlight the development of religious freedom as an area of study in the social sciences. Considering these matters, participants are welcome to propose papers in line with the conference theme, particularly in relation to the following topics:

• Theories of religious freedom in social sciences
• Sociology of human rights and religious freedom
• Cultural pluralism and religious freedom
• Religious freedom and social conflicts
• Religion, spirituality and religious freedom
• Interfaith dialogue, secularism and religious freedom
• Multiculturalism and religious freedom
• Cross-national studies on religious freedom
• Religious freedom and socio-economic development
• Congregations, human rights and religious freedom
• Cultural awareness and religious freedom literacy

Confirmed keynote speakers and discussants
Nanlai Cao, Renmin University, China
Néstor Da Costa, Universidad Católica del Uruguay, Uruguay
Roger Finke, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Mar Griera, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Lene Kühle, Aarhus University, Denmark
Adam Possamai, Western Sydney University, Australia
James T. Richardson, University of Nevada, USA
Siniša Zrinščak, University of Zagreb, Croatia

The international conference is organized by the Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology (FISPPA) at the University of Padova (Italy)

Key Dates
July 10, 2022 – Abstracts (400 words) should be sent to Olga Breskaya (
July 15, 2022 – Notification of acceptance

The conference will be held in presence and there are no fees for attendance.