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The Sixth International Congress of Religious Studies
Belief – Imagination – Knowledge. New Paths of Religious Studies in the 21st Century

Polish Society for the Study of Religions
Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University

The Faculty of Humanities, AGH – University of Science and Technology,


Kraków, September 27th October 1st 2021

[previously: 25th – 30th May 2021]


Keynote speakers:


Tim Jensen, University of Southern Denmark, IAHR President

Volkhard Krech, Ruhr-Universität Bochum 

Agata S. Nalborczyk, prof. UW, Uniwersytet Warszawski

Anna Niedźwiedź, prof. UJ, Uniwersytet Jagielloński


At the end of the second decade of the 21st century religion remains a vital object of empirical and theoretical research. Among the disciplines investigating religion, religious studies – in Polish, religioznawstwo – occupy a special place. The aim of this discipline is to provide intellectual tools to understand or explain how various religious systems have functioned in the past and present socio-cultural contexts.

Contemporary religious studies engage in a dialogue with other disciplines: anthropology, ethnology, sociology, history, psychology, archaeology, culture studies, performance studies, literature studies, cognitive science, political science – to name just a few of them. We would like the Sixth International Congress of Religious Studies to become a meeting place where academics representing various perspectives within social sciences and humanities can exchange ideas and experiences.


We have selected four main themes for discussion during the Congress:


Belief – Imagination – Knowledge:

1.  Belief: For representatives of religious studies, religion is not a personal credo, but an intellectual and research challenge. What psychological, social, and cultural mechanisms make people create and transmit concepts of supernatural beings or powers? In what way do religious beliefs shape individual and collective behaviours, both in ritual and everyday context?

2.  Imagination: Religion may be a pivotal element of social imagination, shaping systems of meanings and values. In what way do religious ideas shape social practices, notions of affiliation and identity, and visions of past and present?

3.  Knowledge: Reflecting on religion means also asking questions which emerge gradually together with the development of science and technology. From the cognitive point of view, for example, it is important to ask what is the place of religious concepts created within a discourse which attributed to itself a non-human origin in human cognitive schemes. We would like to focus on a new issue: the transfer between religion and technology. As humanity has entered into the era of algorithms, quantum computing and Virtual Reality every field of our lives has changed irreversibly. Let us ask ourselves a question: what influence did it have on  religion in the institutional, existential and cognitive aspect?


We invite you to present papers reflecting on the issues presented above contributing to a better understanding of religious phenomena in social and cultural contexts.

We wish to remind you that, according to the mandate of the International Association for the History of Religions – shared by the Polish Society for the Study of Religions – our objective is „to promote the activities of all scholars, member and affiliate associations and societies contributing to the historical, social, and comparative study of religion”. As such, the Congress is not a forum for confessional or apologetical presentations.

Papers will be delivered in Polish or in English.

The organizers welcome individual paper submissions as well as proposals for full panels and roundtables. Proposals  should include  paper  title, abstract  (up  to 250 words), name, and affiliation of the candidate. Panel and roundtable proposals should list all speakers (as a general rule, 4–5 per panel/roundtable), along with abstracts and information about the chair and the discussant. Individual Papers  should  not  exceed  20  minutes.

Please send all abstracts to:

Colleagues whose abstracts were already accepted for the previous term of the Congress can – if they wish to – change or update titles and abstracts of their proposals. In this case we ask you to inform us whether this is a new of an updated paper.

Please submit all the proposals (both new and updated) by 1st December 2020.

Notifications of acceptance after the selection of the Academic Programme Committee will be sent via email by 21st December 2020

Accepted participants will be expected to register by 29th February 2021 and pay a registration fee of 100 euro (with an optional 30 euro fee for the conference dinner).

All the information can be found on our website: