2023 Conference in Bochum, Germany

The 13th biennial conference on Media, Religion and Culture will be held August 2-5, 2023 at the Center for Religious Studies at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. 

Call for Papers. Paper proposals due 14 January 2023. 

Email proposals to miriamdb@blanquerna.url.edu

Things to know about the Center for Religious Studies 

CERES is one of the largest and most successful institutions for the study of religion on a global scale. This institution currently hosts 10+ externally funded projects, including the international research consortium Käte Hamburger Kolleg: Dynamics in the History of Religions, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, two Consolidator Grants funded by the European Research Council (ERC), and a Collaborative Research Center on Religion and Metaphors, funded by the German Research Council. 

Next to its research activities, CERES has established a comprehensive program for the promotion of young researchers as well as a dedicated center for knowledge transfer. It also houses a BA as well as an international MA program in Religious Studies. 

At CERES, multiple projects concerning religion and digital media have been conducted throughout the years, especially (but not limited to) religious communication in online forums. However, a distinguishing element of CERES’ approach to the field is that in addition to contemporary media, historical media are also taken into consideration – books, statues, buildings, scrolls, even oracle bones. Based on the concept of “mediation” (B. Meyer), researchers at CERES presume that all material objects which believers understand to bridge the distance between the immanent and transcendent spheres by enhancing sensual, bodily, and spatial experiences of the sacred, should be considered religious media. This allows studying processes of mediation in the pre-modern era alongside the most recent technological innovations. In turn, the scholarly conversation is enhanced through the inclusion of historians, art historians, philologist, archaeologists, etc.

Things to know about Ruhr University Bochum:

CERES is part of Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), one of the leading research universities in Germany. As a reform-oriented campus university, it uniquely combines the entire range of major scientific fields as well as the so-called small subjects in one place and offers researchers and students alike special opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Credit: RUB/Marquard
Credit: RUB/Marquard
Bochum Skyline, Germany © istock/taranchic
Bochum Bermuda3Eck © Stadt Bochum

Things to know about Bochum, Germany: 

Bochum is situated at the heart of the Ruhr area, a central hub in Germany’s heavily populated Western part. Düsseldorf airport is only 40 minutes away with trains going multiple times per day. 

Formerly a city of coalmining and steel industry, the city has developed into a lively hotspot for researchers’ creatives with an impact far beyond the region. 

Openness and tolerance characterize the city’s positive attitude to life, as do a vibrant city center, popular residential areas and high recreational value. 

The Bochumer Schauspielhaus for example has existed since 1919 as the municipal stage of the city of Bochum. The core of the theater is a permanent acting ensemble that brings cultural influences from various countries in Europe and around the world. Another great place to explore in Bochum is the Zeiss Planetarium Bochum. The central projector shows the night sky as seen from Earth – over 9,000 brilliant stars shine above you in the always cloudless planetarium sky. 

The city center of Bochum invites you to go shopping with around 500 stores as well as branches of major brands. Unique in Germany is that the pedestrian zone merges directly into the Bermuda3Eck – a mix of original restaurants, cozy bars and trendy clubs. In summer, the beer gardens at Konrad-Adenauer-Platz invite you to end the day on a convivial note. Whether currywurst or fancy menu, whether blockbuster or art house cinema. 

Moreover, Bochum is uniquely interesting for participants of the ISMRC conference as the surrounding Ruhr Area is one of the most religiously diverse regions in Europe. This unique setting will allow conference participants to visit, for example: 

  • Cologne Cathedral (1.5 hours), one of the most stunning and best known church buildings in the world 
  • Sri-Kamadchi-Ampal Temple in Hamm (1 hour), the second largest Hindu temple in Europe 
  • DITIB-Merkez-Mosque (45 minutes) in Duisburg-Marxloh, one of the largest mosques in Germany 
  • House of Japanese Culture and Buddhist Temple (1 hour), in Düsseldorf, which has one of the largest Japanese populations in Europe 
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site Zeche Zollverein (20 minutes), in Essen, a former coalmine turned museum and event venue, representative of the structural change shaping the region since the 1960s. 

Anyone interested to stay in the region after or before the conference will be able to visit other heritage sites related to coalmining (such as German Coalmining Museum Bochum) or see the many prominent art museums in Bochum, Essen and Dortmund. Furthermore, due to its central location and easy accessibility, Bochum can ideally be used as a starting point for travels elsewhere in Germany or beyond (4.5 hours to Berlin, 3 hours to Amsterdam, 5 hours to Paris by train).