6 Oct 2014
New issue of Religio
27 Nov 2013
Lecture: Alessandro Testa, „Micro-history, Ethnography and the Study of European Carnivals (and Their Religious Characteristics)“ (Brno, 12 Dec 2013, 10:50)
In the last one hundred years or so, the scholarly interest in European Carnivals has been characterized by an extraordinary crescendo. Few other phenomena of so-called “popular culture” have enjoyed as much growing attention, especially after the methodological and theoretical turns that have marked the second half of the twentieth century, namely those of nouvelle histoire, micro-history, interpretative and critical anthropology and, eventually, cultural history. These shifts have in fact considerably changed the approach to the study of Carnivals and other similar cultural facts in disciplines such as history, folklore, religious studies and ethnology. Themes and topics have changed accordingly.
In fact, from an early almost-exclusive interest in the origins of Carnivals and the “survival” of their presumed pristine forms in modern and contemporary times, successive and more recent curiosity has focused on a rather different and varied set of issues, often interdisciplinary, such as the “carnivalesque”, the role of masks and ritual performances, the body, power relationships, social transformations, religious practices and political claims or tensions expressed through – or triggered by – Carnivals or carnival-like events. All these features have long populated – and still populate – both European Carnivals and the scientific discussions about them.
In this lecture, I will present and discuss some of the aforementioned issues and topics moving from two particular standpoints: those of apparently very different methods such as micro-history and ethnography, highlighting the intersections as well as the potential (or actually implemented) methodological synergies between these two and other interpretative approaches developed in historical and anthropological sciences. In so doing, I will stress my conviction into the suitability – if not the necessity – of studying these kind of cultural and historical phenomena by standing for a diachronic perspective, the only one which, in my opinion, makes it possible to account for changes in functions, meanings and forms observable in social realities.
Apart from the evident aim of providing a justification for the study of Carnival as a tool for understanding social, cultural, political and even economic dynamics especially – but not only – related to so-called “popular culture” (a controversial notion), I will also focus on the problem of the religious aspects that characterize the history of Carnivals. Last but not least, I would like to suggest how the historical-anthropological study of Carnivals might be a valuable intellectual exercise useful for understanding the process of deconstruction and/or construction of a European common history and a European identity.
1 Feb 2013
New issue of Religio
6 August 2012
Workshop “Towards a Symmetrical Approach: The Study of Religions After Postmodern and Postcolonial Criticism”
On 29 November – 1 December 2012, the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Brno in cooperation with the Czech Association for the Study of Religions organize the workshop “Towards a Symmetrical Approach: The Study of Religions After Postmodern and Postcolonial Criticism” (more information).
28 July 2012
New issue of Religio
10 Jul 2011
Bid to host the 2015 World Congress of the IAHR
The bid by the Czech Association for the Study of Religions and the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Brno, to host the 2015 World Congress of the IAHR in Brno, Czech Republic, was not successful, but the Executive Committee of the IAHR has thanked the officers of the CASR for their work on the application. We extend our thanks to the national associations (Austrian, Estonian, Latvian, Polish, Slovak, and Ukrainian), the ISORECEA, and Armin W. Geertz, Luther H. Martin, and Donald Wiebe, who supported us.
Lecture of Konrad Talmont-Kaminski „Evolution and the End of Religion“ (Brno, 31 October 2011, 19:00)
The Czech Association for the Study of Religions invites you to the public lecture of Konrad Talmont-Kaminski (University of Lublin) Evolution and the End of Religion, held on 31 October 201 at 19 p.m. in the great meeting hall, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic (Arna Nováka 1, Brno, building C, 2nd floor).
Abstract: How religion has fared in the modern world seems to have surprised everyone. Religion has failed, persisted and changed in unexpected ways. It is clear that we lack a proper understanding of secularisation. Evolutionary theory, however, provides new and powerful theoretical tools for explaining patterns of secularisation. Looked at from an evolutionary point of view these patterns take on a form familiar from other patterns of biological change. This, in turn, tells us a lot about religion, itself. In particular, it suggests that in traditional societies religions were cultural adaptations that recruited cognitive by-products in order to promote prosocial behaviour. Secularisation, on this view, is made possible by religions being no longer necessary in modern societies.
ISORECEA Conference 2010 (Brno, 16-19 December 2010)
On 16-19 November 2010, the International Study of Religion in Central and Eastern Europe Association (ISORECEA), the Czech Association for the Study of Religions (CASR), the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Brno and the Department of Sociology, Masaryk University, Brno organize the international conference Twenty Years After: Secularization and Desecularization in Central And Eastern Europe (conference website).
Conference “Loose Ends in the Cognitive Study of Religion and Culture” (Brno, 6-7 November 2009)
On 6-7 November 2009, The Czech Association for the Study of Religions, the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University and the Czech Association for the Cognitive Study of Culture organize the international workshop Loose Ends in the Cognitive Study of Religion and Culture (call for papers, programme).
Lecture of Jesper Sørensen “Reconceptualizing Magic: Cognitive Representations of Ritual Efficacy” (Brno, 5 November 2009)
The Czech Association for the Study of Religions invites you to the public lecture of Jesper Sørensen (Aarhus University) Reconceptualizing Magic: Cognitive Representations of Ritual Efficacy, held on 5 November 2009 at 18 p.m. in the great meeting hall, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic (Arne Nováka 1, Brno, building C, 2nd floor; invitation).
New CASR website
On 19 October 2009 the new website of the CASR was launched.
The 8th EASR conference in Brno, Czech Republic
The 8th EASR annual conference Time of Decline, Time of Hope: Scientific, Cultural and Political Engagement of the Study of Religions, co-organized by the Czech Association for the Study of Religions, was held in Brno, Czech Republic, 7-11 September 2008. We thank all participants for their papers and discussions and for the friendly atmosphere!
Prof. Jan Heller deceased
On 15 January 2008 Jan Heller, the first president of the Czech Association for the Study of Religions, deceased in the age of 82 years. The executive committee of the CASR remembers with gratitude all he had done for the CASR a all the Czech academic study of religions.