CFP — No Person Shall Bee Any Wise Molested: Religious Freedom, Cultural Conflict, and the Moral Role of the State

 In Call for Papers, Uncategorized

Call for Papers
No Person Shall Bee Any Wise Molested:
Religious Freedom, Cultural Conflict, and the Moral Role of the State

A conference planned for October 3 – 6, 2013, in Newport and Providence,
Rhode Island, organized by the Newport Historical Society, the Pell
Center for International Relations and Public Policy, Salve Regina
University, the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, the
John Carter Brown Library, Brown University and the Rhode Island
Historical Society to mark the 350th anniversary of the 1663 Rhode
Island Charter.

What is religious toleration? What are its functions, effects, and
limits in society? How has it manifested (or not) around the world in
human history?

The 1663 Rhode Island Charter stipulated that no person “shall bee any
wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any
differences in opinione in matters of religion.” This charter famously
ignited the “lively experiment” that both reflected and shaped religious
and political developments in the early modern world and has continued
to influence global conversations about the role of toleration and
religious freedom.
The 350th anniversary of this charter provides a timely point of entry
into a thoughtful consideration of a far larger set of questions about
religious freedom in particular historical and present day contexts.

Far from exemplifying a simple narrative of “progress,” toleration and
religious liberty have been contested, often resisted ideas that have
proved surprisingly difficult to implement equitably. This is especially
true when one looks outside the traditional boundaries of church- state
relations to consider the lived experiences of religious dissenters,
ethnic minorities, women, and enslaved and free people of color,
including American Indians and indigenous populations around the world.
The uneven adoption of such ideas in the early modern world, ongoing
intolerance in the United States even after the ratification of the Bill
of Rights, and the globalization and contestation of full religious
liberty today suggest that a more comprehensive investigation of the
meaning of religious liberty and toleration is an issue of particular
urgency for the present.

Situated in historic Newport and Providence, Rhode Island, this
conference looks at the sources, consequences, changing meanings, and
lived experiences of religious freedom and intolerance.
To that end, the program committee solicits panels and individual paper
proposals that represent innovative research on the broad themes of
religious liberty, toleration, intolerance, religious conflict, and the
role of government in such contexts. Papers that cut across traditional
lines of disciplines, geographies, and chronologies are especially
welcome, as are papers that look at transnational and comparative
contexts, local and international conditions of toleration, and the
shifting boundaries between the public and the private. In addition to
historians, the committee hopes to engage scholars from other
disciplines, including (but not limited to) anthropology, ethics,
literature, religious studies, political science, economics, theology,
sociology, law, philosophy, and peace, conflict, and coexistence

Possible topics include (but are not restricted to):

* New perspectives on the 1663 Rhode Island contexts
* Shifting meanings of religious freedom in specific historical contexts
* Intersections of religious freedom or prejudice with race, ethnicity, class, gender, or sexuality
* Limits of religious freedom and expression
* Economic, cultural, and political consequences of religious tolerance and intolerance
* Conflicts over public space
* Religiously inspired moral coercion
* Nationalism, national identity, and transnational networks
* Historical formations of the religious, the civic, the secular, and the state
* Experience of the religiously unaffiliated, freethinkers, and the “nones”
* Attitudes towards religion in secular culture
* The interplay between law, policy, and religious coexistence
* Lived tolerance and intolerance
* Interreligious dialog and ecumenism
* Instruments of religious intolerance in the twenty-firstcentury
* Governments and indigenous peoples
* Literary and artistic boundaries of religious freedom

Please send a 500 word proposal and curriculum vitae for each
participant to by February 1, 2013. Full
panel proposals should be sent under one cover and should include a
panel chair and respondent. Questions should be directed to the email

This conference is part of The Spectacle of Toleration: Learning from
the Lively Experiment, a multi-year project that aims to open up an
international conversation about toleration and religious freedom. In
addition to the academic conference, The Spectacle of Toleration plans
to provide several years of public programming. For more information,
please see:

Chris Beneke
Associate Professor of History
Bentley University
Waltham, MA
(781) 891-2813

Dr Naomi Appleton
Chancellor’s Fellow in Religious Studies School of Divinity, University
of Edinburgh

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