May 18-19, 2011
Danish School of Education, Arhus University (Copenhagen Campus)
Organized by: Sally Anderson, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University
Christian Kordt Højbjerg, Department of Anthropology, MindLab, Aarhus University

The study of children and religion is currently on the rise. This is in part due to renewed interest in cognitive and relational approaches to religious learning and transmission, which enlist the help of children as experimental informants, or study children as participants in real-life religious rituals. This is also partly due to renewed controversy among governments, religious communities, educators and other stakeholders over the place of religion, faith-based identities and affiliations in children’s lives. Present scholarship on children and religion is thus not only scattered widely across disciplines and departments, it is also divergently focused on questions of cognition and spirituality and the cultural politics of morality, education, identity, affiliation and rights.

The purpose of this colloquium is to bring together international scholars to engage in a common discussion about the ‘relationship’ between children and religion and the ways in which scholars study this relationship. Which understandings of ‘children’ are informing contemporary studies of religion, spirituality and cognition – and which understandings of ‘religion’ are informing contemporary studies of children and youth in diverse settings?

The colloquium will address the following themes:

  1. Religious ideas and practices pertaining to children, and how these serve to shape children’s lives.
  2. The ways in which children—as social actors, learners, symbols of collective futurity—shape religion.
  3. Understandings of ‘children’ and ‘religion’ brought into play in research on children and religion and how these feed back into understandings and practices discussed above.

Invited speakers:
Christina Toren, professor of Anthropology, St. Andrews University
Marcia J. Bunge, Professor of Humanities and Theology, Valparaiso University
Other speakers to be confirmed.

The colloquium will comprise a combination of keynotes, panel discussion and workshops. We welcome papers that discuss one or several of the mentioned issues. Please send an abstract of your proposed paper (up to 500 words) to or before 1 March 2011.

Deadline for Registration: 1 April 2011
Conference fee: DKK 300
Venue: Arhus University Campus in Copenhagen, Danish School of Education, Tuborgvej 164, 2400 Copenhagen NV.

CFP – Copenhagen Colloquium on Children and Religion