Call for papers - York St John University

5th International Conference on Peace and Reconciliation
Who is My Neighbour? Crossing Boundaries of Prejudice and Distrust
22-24 June 2015, York St John University
Many of the conflicts between various groups of people and of the difficulties of
restoring relationships between people are due to the lack of understating and
accepting others. When Jesus reminded his audience to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’
quoting the Book of Leviticus (19.8), a man who was an expert in law asked Jesus this
question, ‘who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied by telling him the story of a Good
Samaritan (Luke 10.29-37), and told him, ‘Go and do likewise’. The story inspired
generations of people, regardless of their religious affiliation or none, to care for
strangers who are in need or in trouble. For those who are interested in peace and
reconciliation, this story illustrates the importance of crossing boundaries of prejudice
and distrust between the people. The question ‘Who is my neighbour?’ challenges the
way we see ourselves as well as the way we see others. This is especially the case in
situations where we find ourselves between the conflicting interests of keeping selfidentity and pursuing common identity with wider society. There are examples of such
situations in several regions of the world. In Europe, this is because of the increased
success of far right political parties in the European Parliamentary election, the ongoing issue of migration to Western Europe from the rest of the world, and the tensions
between religious communities and wider society in the areas of education, sociocultural integration, and the relationship between religion and the state. In Asia,
increasing tensions between China, Japan, the two Koreas and other countries, which
escalate military build-up for self-determination, are causing the rise of militant
nationalism. In the Middle East, Arab-Israeli conflicts continue in the midst of efforts for
peace-building both initiated from within the region and from the wider world, and this
conflict remains a bone of contention in wider political world.
What is the role of religion in all this? The relationship between religion and peacemaking is ambivalent: religion has contributed to both conflicts and peace, and scholars
and practitioners are in agreement that religious resources have to be examined and
utilised both in order to prevent conflict and in order to make a sustainable peace in a
post-conflict situation. This approach is particularly important since religions and
religious communities possess unique capacities. For example: (1) peace-making is
integral to the faith and practice of most religions and religious motivation for peacemaking is a powerful tool in dealing with conflict situations; (2) religion offers critical
understanding of the process of peace-making, since religious traditions provide some
of the fundamental explanations for and insights into both war and peace, so utilising
these resources for peace is vital for peace making; (3) religious traditions possess
unique authority and capacity among the followers of the particular religion to deal
with conflicts, particularly by preventing conflict and making sustainable peace; (4) and
religious traditions can be effective in practical ways, particularly in reconciliation, by
taking practical steps such as naming and exposing sectarian dynamics, breaking the
cycle of antagonised division and developing a vision of reconciled community (see
‘Introduction’ in Peace and Reconciliation: In Search of Shared Identity (2008), pp. 1-6).
In this 5th International Conference on Peace and Reconciliation, we would like to
explore the role of religion in peace-building with special reference to crossing
boundaries of prejudice and distrust. The aim of the conference is to examine resources
and methodology for religions and religious communities to engage in peace-making
and to participate in the public life of the wider society.
Individuals are invited to submit papers in one of the following areas:
Theories and practices of crossing boundaries of prejudice and distrust in peace-making
from the perspectives of theology and religious studies.
Critical assessment of sources and methodology to address one of the four examples of the
relationship between religion and peace-building mentioned above.
Case studies of theory and practice to challenge prejudice and distrust in a particular
conflict situation.
If you would like to present a paper please e-mail the title of your paper and a 200-250
word abstract by 15th January to: [email protected]
If your paper is accepted then you are required to provide the full text (5,000 – 6,000
words) by 31st May 2015.
A small number of bursaries are available to cover accommodation and food costs during
the period of the conference. If you would like to apply for a bursary please click here.
The deadline for bursary applications is 15th January 2015.
Conference organisers:
Prof. Sebastian Kim
Prof. Pauline Kollontai
Mrs Suzanne Parkes
Centre for Religion in Society (CRiS)
Faculty of Education & Theology
York St John University
Lord Mayor’s Walk
York, YO31 7EX, UK