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Religious Pluralism and Fundamentalism. Interdisciplinary Approaches of Religious Studies

Call for Applications

HESP – ReSET Project

In the Eastern and Central European countries, the fall of communist regimes was followed by a revival of religion – as individual experience, as community practice and as a presence in the public sphere (that includes the influencing and manipulation of the decision factors). These phenomena are also sustained by the revival of minorities’ identities and by the increased role that the ethno-cultural and religious minorities play in the post-communist societies. Religious minorities are the promoting factors of a pluralist mentality that attempts at diminishing the monolithic influence of a majority religious group trying to control the totality of public sphere. To these, one may add the increased importance of the civil society, and the NGOs who promote human rights, pluralism and the democratization of the transition societies. The promoting of a pluralist mentality capable to create a medium of dialogue and cohabitation is also conditioned by a new way of approaching religion in the educational system. This is why we propose to analyze the framework of “religious studies” as a way of connecting research and teaching in multiple disciplinary contexts in the CEE region.
The religious diversity and the perspective of the crisis brought by the fundamentalist movements force us to consider the research and understanding of the behavioral patterns and of the types of loyalty promoted both by the fundamentalist movements and by the religious communities open towards tolerance, mutual recognition, and affirmation of diversity. We believe that a three-year program of summer schools connected by a variety of intersession activities in the framework of religious studies will bring about a development of the suitable research and teaching tools for a younger generation of scholars.

Topics of the three summer schools:
(26 August- 9 September, 2005) How to teach on fundamentalism and pluralism in religious studies?
(2006) The place of radical religious movements in the framework of globalizing conflicts.
(2007) Paradigms of cohabitation, tolerance and inter-religious dialogue.

The proposed approach will be an interdisciplinary one – that includes, but is not restricted to the major social and humanist disciplines: anthropology, sociology, history, philosophy, psychology, theology, cultural studies, gender studies. What we aim in particular is the development (and in some cases the establishment) of the religious studies as an academic field.

Project outcomes:
– improving and consolidating the courses on religious studies from the region;
– consolidating the linkage between scholarship and teaching for a younger generation of researchers;
– creating a network of junior researchers from the region in religious studies;
– initiating the cooperation between the network of researchers and other similar ones;
– consolidating the innovative teaching methodologies in the region;
– establishing a visiting lecturer program among junior scholars in religious studies in the region;
– monitorization and opening of the local literature on religious studies;
– an open access database of local on-line religious communities from the region;

Prospective participants should note that, by applying to this program, they are committing themselves to a long-term involvement. The whole program consists not only from the three summer schools, but also from a variety of inter-session activities, that will require inter-group cooperation and availability for quality research and performant teaching.

Core resource faculty (long-term)
Prof. Dr. Moshe Idel, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Prof. Dr. Dorothy Noyes, Ohio State University, Columbus OH, USA
Assoc. Prof. Recep Boztemur, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Prof. Dr. Ioan Chirila, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marius Jucan, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
Assoc. Prof. Sandu Frunza, Ph.D., Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania – Program director

Invited professors for the first year:
Prof. Dr. Toader Nicoara, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
Prof. Dr. Anton Carpinschi, Al. I. Cuza University, Iasi, Romania
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ion Copoeru, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
Assoc. prof. Dr. Levente Salat, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Adrian Opre, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
Prof. Johannes Michael Schnarrer, Dr. Theol., Dr. Phil., University of Vienna and Karlsburg, Austria

Proposed professors for the next two years
Prof. Dr. Andrei Marga, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
Prof. Dr. Adrian-Paul Iliescu, University of Bucharest, Romania
Prof. Dr. Leonard Swidler, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
Prof. Dr. Michael Finkenthal, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA
Prof. Dr. Vili Danca, Roman Catholic Institute, Iasi
Assoc. Prof. Silviu Rogobete, West University, Timisoara, Romania
Dr. Mihaela Frunza, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
Prof. Dr. Aurel Codoban, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania

Cluj, Romania

Date of the first summer school:
26 August – 9 September, 2005.

Host institutions:
Center for Religious Studies and Applied Ethics, Department of Systematic Philosophy, Faculty of History and Philosophy, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj

Target group:
– 25-30 junior academics from CEE region, fSU, NIS, Central Asia, teaching at undergraduate level courses connected with Religious Studies
– preferably PhD students or PhDs
Criteria for selection:
– experience in the field of religious studies (proved by courses taught, publications, trainings, involvement in the civil society)
– commitment for innovative teaching methodologies
Geographic spread:
We intend to prioritize two types of participants:
– groups/teams of participants – preferably from the same university/department (in order to promote the establishment of the Religious Studies as an academic field, and to facilitate the inter-group co-operation)
– selected individuals from specific regions (especially from regions where there have been religion-based conflicts, such as the Southern Eastern Europe, or the fSU, NIS, Central Asia)
For the duration of the summer schools, the organizers will cover the basic living expenses of the selected participants from Central and Eastern Europe, fSU, NIS, Central Asia: travel, visa, accommodation and meals. No stipend is going to be offered in addition.

Prospective participants are asked to submit the following documents via e-mail, by June 1st 2005 the latest. All documents are to be submitted in English.
– a completed application form (the application can be downloaded from SACRI website; or, send a blank message having as subject “Application form” to
– a recent CV or resume, including a list of publications, if any;
– a photo (jpg or jpeg format)
– a syllabus of a course they teach

The e-mail address where the documents are to be sent is
Please include in the subject line of the message: “application for HESP project”

A selection committee will evaluate the applications and will notify the participants by July 1st 2005.

Important note:
We are not able to cover the accommodation and travel costs of participants coming from regions other than Central and Eastern Europe, fSU, NIS, Central Asia.

For supplementary information, please contact the program coordinator:
Program Director:
Assoc. Prof. Sandu Frunza, Babes-Bolyai University, President of SACRI
Phone: + 4 0741 676936

Project website: