On May 22-23, 2014, John Cabot University, as part of its Summer Summer Graduate Studies in Religion and Global Politics will host an international conference called “Rethinking Political Catholicism: Empirical and Normative Perspectives.”

Although the study of religion and politics has blossomed over the past decade, the normative debates over the appropriate place of religion in modern democracies often remain divorced from the study of the actual practices and meanings of religion in these democracies. Consequently, many new normative concepts and arguments have not filtered down to the empirical study of religion, while normative debates are often inadequately informed by the empirical realities of contemporary religious practices and beliefs.

Rethinking Political Catholicism aims to bridge this divide by focusing on the fertile case of political Catholicism in Italy. Empirically, the conference aims to take stock of political Catholicism in Italy today, compare it with Catholic and Muslim politics elsewhere, and use contemporary theoretical and normative insights to better understand its post-secular dynamics. Normatively, the conference aims to evaluate the practices of contemporary political Catholicism in Italy and elsewhere, and thus contribute to developing a more sophisticated debate about the proper roles of religious politics in contemporary democracies.

A 500-word abstract of a paper should be sent by March 15, 2014, to the organizers, Tom Bailey (tbailey@johncabot.edu) and Michael Driessen (mdriessen@johncabot.edu). For further details on the conference, and on the submission of proposals, see the full call for papers.