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The American University of Rome – Religious Studies Program,

in cooperation with the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, and The Institute for the Study of Culture and Christianity,

are pleased to announce an International Conference on


Friday, November 28, 2014, Rome, The American University of Rome (AUR) Auditorium




Religion remains one of the most significant social forces and cultural constituencies. It can be said that religion and religious truths are becoming increasingly important in the so called “post-secular” times, when the sphere of the (secular) social/political and the sphere of the religious have to be re-thought again. The relevancy of religious truths and the way they structure our understanding of “reality” overcomes the sphere of theology and particular religious practices. Religion, truth, and reality, and the way these concepts are approached and understood, continue to be vital for a broader cultural discourse as well, from philosophy and science, to politics, mass media and show business.

“Realism,” on the other hand, is usually understood as a position and method, which is opposite to “idealism” and the “imaginary.” “Realism” implies a certain way of approaching the reality and truth. Looking from a positivistic perspective, many would find it difficult to associate concepts of “realism” or “truth” with phenomena such as religion. However, the experience of the post-modern times has taught us that relations between the “reality,” “truth,” “knowledge” and “interpretation” are far more complex, and that even the purest “fiction” is sometimes capable of being more effective (and therefore more “real”) in influencing our lives and in structuring the world in which we live, than most of the things that are directly exposed to our sensuous experience and rational reflection. On the other hand, we have also learned from the experience of modernity that certain metaphysical narratives, and their claims for “absolute truth” and “absolute reality,” could be very dangerous in their practical, social and political manifestations.

The conference seeks to explore philosophical, social, political, and theological dimensions of religion and realism. The themes and subjects for paper proposals include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Religion and reality
  • Religion and truth
  • Religion and subversion
  • Religion and political reality
  • Religion and economic “realisms”
  • Absolute “truths” and social/political freedom
  • Ultimate truth: tyranny or liberation?
  • Realism as epistemology
  • Realism – the political dimension
  • Realism – the aesthetic dimension
  • Realism – the religious/theological
  • Realism and the “New Realism”
  • Understanding metaphysical, physical and social “reality”
  • Reality and creativity
  • Reality and religion: the need for interpretation or for a social change?
  • Secularism, post-secularism, new religiosity
  • Power, reality and knowledge


Keynote speakers:

Prof. Maurizio Ferraris

University of Turin

Prof. Graham Ward

Oxford University


President of the Organizing Committee:

Prof. Davor Džalto


English will be the working language of the conference.

All presented papers will be published in the conference proceedings.


Conference Program

Directions from the Airport