‘Visions of a better world’, the 2020 International Conference of Religion and Film in Amsterdam

The Faculty of Religion and Theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and The Journal of Religion and Film co-sponsor the 2020 International Conference on Religion & Film in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The Faculty of Religion and Theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam studies all kinds of cultural religious phenomena. Societal issues are high on the agenda of The Faculty of Religion and Theology. Religion plays a major role in society, yet we do not always know how to address it. Religion affects the government and the education and health care systems. Our faculty therefore runs research centers to study issues relating to Peace and Justice and Religion and Sustainable Development. Together with NGOs, government bodies, the business community, and other parties, the positive and negative impact of religion on these societal issues are examined at the faculty.

Film and lived religion
The 2020 International Conference on Religion & Film will feature several keynotes and panels on the topic of ‘Film and the politics of lived religion’ under the title ‘Visions of a better world’.
Religion and film share a great similarity. Both are involved in world-building and meaning-making practices; both offer sources for inspiration; both create symbolic and mythical worlds and it-could-be-otherwise realities, both utopian and dystopian. As such, film can function as religion, a perspective that has inspired many scholars to analyze film from a hermeneutical perspective, looking for the religious dimensions of film. Mostly, such a perspective entails an analysis of the symbolic layers of film; the narrative elements; the mythical elements; and the theological themes.
Focusing on the lived experience we are interested in what film brings about: on the level of the individual, but also on the societal and cultural level. What kind of experiences does film produce? And what it the impact of these experiences? Does watching a movie, instead of being a temporary escape from reality, have an impact other than entertainment? Does film have the power to change people? Can movies shape our hopes, fears, desires, and our involvement in the world? And ultimately: does film have the potential to contribute to a better, or at least a different world, or at least the ability to change how we see and approach the world around us?

Call for papers
Scholars who explore the field of film and religion from this lived religion are encouraged to send in a proposal for a paper. Also, the diverse discussion of films from around the world is encouraged at this conference.

Proposals should include a title, a 350-word description of the paper and also indicate whether visual media will be used during the presentation. Papers will be accepted for inclusion in the program based on blind review process. Also, information on the author and the authors home institution should be included. 

Your proposal can be send to: visionsofabetterworld.frt@vu.nl