Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft
Frist: 31.05.2020

CfP – Patriotism, Nationalism, Illiberalism in Their Relation to Religion: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Patriotism, Nationalism, Illiberalism in Their Relation to Religion: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Tobias Köllner & Boris Knorre
Witten/Herdecke University & Higher School of Economics, Moscow


In the current SARS CoV-2 pandemic, increasingly authoritarian measures and instruments are implemented, and nationalist discourses are initiated. This means that despite global challenges, global interactions and burgeoning globalization, national and ethnic identification patterns remain extremely relevant until today. To be sure, that development is far from new and could be found already since a couple of decades. Nevertheless, currently we are experiencing a persistence and resurgence of the national in countries so different such as Hungary and the United States, Poland and India, Turkey or Russia.

Moreover, in many cases such trends are linked to religion in one way or the other. In many ways, the nation or the dominant ethnic group is drawing on religious symbols, couches its representation in religious language, and fosters commemoration by equating national and religious history. In so doing, however, there seems to be a tendency to favor more authoritarian forms of government. Around the world, phenomena such as patriotism, nationalism and illiberalism are gaining ground; and follow a trend towards ‘indigenization’. From conservative Protestants in the United States to Catholicism in Poland and Orthodox groups in Russia, from factions within the Anglican Church in the United Kingdom to Muslim communities in Turkey, different religious traditions emphasize national belonging and tend to support identification with the respective nation, even at the expense of ethnic, religious or other minorities.

Based on these developments, we intend to analyze and compare different religious traditions in their relation to patriotism, nationalism and illiberalism. To what extent, we would like to ask, could we enrich our understanding of religion in its relation to patriotism, nationalism and illiberalism by providing new empirical material? Could we gain any new insights if we take a strictly comparative research perspective and try to elaborate the differences and similarities more clearly? Of course, our aim is not to provide a simplified picture of religious fundamentalism and conservatism as a state ideology, exclusively introduced from above. Instead, we ask, what is the repertoire of ingredients for such formations and to what extend the combination of local cultural elements with more idealized and general connotations and ideas is important? For this, it is necessary to analyze the interrelation between the ‘center’ and the ‘periphery’ in their full complexity. Herewith, we also attempt to contribute to a better understanding of recent developments where the SARS CoV-2 pandemic is used to implement further authoritarian measures and for nationalist inclinations.

For this, we invite interdisciplinary contributions to a special issue in the peer-reviewed journal ‘Religions’ (ISSN 2077-1444) that show how a more empirically-grounded and comparative research can contribute to a better understanding of patriotism, nationalism, and illiberalism in their relation to religion, by addressing themes such as (but not only):

  • Religious fundamentalism
  • Religious Messianism
  • Religious communities versus national and/or ethnic communities
  • Religion and patriotism
  • Religious education
  • Commemoration, memory politics and religion
  • Place and identity making based on religion by sacralization of borders and communities
  • Material religion and the nation

Please send an abstract of about 500 words to the two editors of the special issue Boris Knorre and Tobias Köllner (tobias.koellneruni-whde; borisknorregmailcom). The deadline for abstract submissions is May 31, 2020.