Call for papers: Faith, social justice and the city

Faith, social justice and the city

Call for papers for the Fourth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies, 01-03 July 2013, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Justin Beaumont

This session enquires critically into the relatively underexplored relations between faith, social justice and the city within critical accounts of the political economy of neoliberalism, with recent developments on emotions and affect within human geography. In this way the session parallels the sessions at the forthcoming AAG on new contours and directions in critical urban theory.

While recent studies have paid attention to the burgeoning fields of emotional and affective geographies (see Pile 2010), on performativity and affect in the homeless city (e.g. Cloke et al 2008) and the role faith-based organizations (FBOs) play in the struggle for urban social justice (e.g. Molendijk et al 2010; Beaumont and Baker 2011; Beaumont and Cloke 2012; Cloke et al 2013), far less is known about the creative interlinks and tensions between these lines of inquiry. Building on David Harvey’s (1973) classic social justice in the city and Gregor McLennan’s (2011) critique of Harvey in light of the postsecular turn in social theory, this session calls for papers that focus on: (1) the precise mechanisms by which FBOs bring about, play out or encourage new radicalized expressions of social justice; (2) the ways faith-based activism critically questions and even reformulates and our very understanding of justice; and (3) how the notion of “postsecular rapprochement”, emphasizing broad coalitions of diverse actors striving for social justice irrespective of social identity, value, and emotional or affective disposition, can overcome the sometimes deeply entrenched antipathies and resistances felt towards faith-based involvement in the radicalized public sphere of cities.

The session addresses these and other theoretical, epistemological, methodological and empirical concerns at the interface of a variety of disciplines including social, cultural and political geography, sociology, cultural anthropology, religious studies, theology and philosophy. In particular the session welcomes papers that exploit creative tensions between critical theoretical accounts, on the one hand, and emotional and affective approaches within human geography on the other, to contribute to ongoing advances in critical urban theory.

The aim is to spark critical dialogue and intellectual advance and will dovetail with a special workshop of the URBANSELF project (see: entitled Faith, politics and social justice in the city: north-south perspectives on 04 July 2013, also in Groningen.

Papers are welcome on any or all of these themes and challenges, as well of course related innovations of your own. I look forward to receiving short abstracts from those of you interested by 13 January 2013.

Justin Beaumont, Spatial Planning & Environment, University of Groningen, The Netherlands,

Beaumont, J. and C. Baker (eds) (2011) Postsecular Cities: space, theory and practice, London: Continuum.

Beaumont, J. and P. Cloke (2012) (eds) Faith-based Organizations and Exclusion in European Cities, Bristol: The Policy Press.

Cloke, P., Beaumont, J. and A. Williams (eds) (2013) Working Faith: faith-based organizations and urban social justice, Milton Keynes/ Carlisle: Paternoster Press, forthcoming.

Cloke, P., May, J. and S. Johnson (2008) ‘Performativity and affect in the homeless city’, Environment and Planning D: society and space, 26: 241-63.

McLennan, G. (2011) ‘Postsecular cities and radical critique: a philosophical sea change?’. In Beaumont, J. and C. Baker op cit, pp. 15-30.

Molendijk, A. L., Beaumont, J. and C. Jedan (eds) (2010) Exploring the Postsecular: the religious, the political and the urban, Leiden/ Boston: Brill.

Pile, S. (2010) ‘Emotions and affect in recent human geography’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35(1): 5-20.

Justin Beaumont
Lecturer, Spatial Planning & Environment
University of Groningen
The Netherlands

Date: 2012-11-09