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CALL FOR PAPERS - Religious Communities in the Virtual Age

CALL FOR PAPERS - Religious Communities in the Virtual Age


Call for Papers Religious Communities in the Virtual Age: Practices, Values, Technologies, Boundaries 28 October 2024, Manchester, England Abstract submissions are due 10th May 2024

We hope to notify applicants by 31st May 2024

Please submit abstracts via this form:

Keynote Speaker: Prof Linda Woodhead, King’s College London.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, religious communities across Europe and the world have engaged with the digital world and specific digital technologies in a wide variety of ways. Some have embraced online worship and gathering as a tool for widening or enriching a sense of community. Others have used social media to re-think the boundaries of their work with their wider society around them or to connect with their co-religionists across the world. Still others have consciously avoided digital tools, seeing a spiritual and social potency in in-person gathering that cannot be replicated. But nearly all have had to face the new assumptions and practices of the virtual age that the pandemic made far more universal than they were before.

How have these engagements with the technologies, practices and norms of the virtual age changed the lives of religious communities? How has it affected their sense of community, their understanding of the borders of membership, or their relationship with the wider world? What has it meant for the means and potencies of collective worship? How has it changed patterns of authority and decision making? How have notions of sacred place and time been affected by the virtual? How do communities navigate notions of ‘appropriate’ or ‘genuine’ in the context of the digital society?

This conference will bring together scholars investigating these questions in a range of religious communities, from large and dominant ones to established minorities and marginalised or immigrant groups, and from a range of national contexts. It centres around the work of the EU-CHANSE funded project Religious Communities in the Virtual Age (, but welcomes other scholars in dialogue with these concerns from fields such as the study of religion, sociology, theology, performance, anthropology, cultural studies and so on. While the focus is on the lives of religious communities in the post-pandemic era and papers are necessarily limited to 10-15 minutes, we are interested in case studies, comparative, and theoretical approaches.

Please note: This conference will take place in central Manchester. Conference fees, which will include a catered lunch, will be kept to a minimum (under £20). In-person attendance will be limited by the size of the venue. While offsite, online presentation will not be possible for this conference, it will be streamed for those who wish to watch. Online viewing will require pre-booking, which will be free.

With any questions, please contact the project team at

This conference is sponsored by the Performance Research Group, Manchester Metropolitan University.