Birmingham enjoys a leading international reputation for methodological innovation and development in the field of philosophy of religion. It is the home to the prominent Global Philosophy of Religion project that has been supported by the John Templeton Foundation. We are seeking to move beyond the traditional Judeo-Christian models and pioneer new methods and approaches.
Sponsored by Research England, this conference was designed to provide promising doctoral students and early career researchers in the philosophy of religion with the opportunity to share their research, receive feedback and foster new networks. They were also able to benefit from the research support training offered by the RKT team at the College of Arts and Law during a workshop at the end of the conference. The organisers, Professor David Cheetham and Professor Yujin Nagasawa, received many applications to take part of the conference, and 20 were selected. The conference organisers were ably assisted by Ryan Maze, a doctoral student here at Birmingham.
The event had a tight schedule, with each presenter being given only 15 minutes to present their ideas! Rather than have formal academic papers, participants were encouraged to present their ideas in an accessible way using PowerPoint. This meant that everyone felt they could contribute. The discussion was lively and the conversations overflowed into the coffee breaks and meals. What many found so surprising was just how diverse the field of philosophy of religion actually is. We listened to presentations that ranged from highly conceptual approaches to more empirical ones, agnostics and believers, Abrahamic perspectives and Eastern traditions. A feast of differences.
New academic relationships and networks were forged, and we expect that this will be a starting point for many similar events to come as we seek to shift the field into new directions.