Africa Regional Conference: Cape Town 2020

Africa Regional Conference: Cape Town 2020

University of the Western Cape

29 June to 3 July, 2020

Call for Papers

Religion and Theology among children and youth in Africa: Trends, Theories and Trans-disciplinarity. 

It is common knowledge that children and young people make up the biggest group of the population in Africa. In that sense we are a young nation, and therefore socio- economic, political and religious issues affecting youth and children should be high on the agenda of researchers focusing on the these often marginalised group/s in Africa. In light of the theme we would like to invite abstracts on the following aspects for the joint conference:

Africa is a very religious country and therefore it would be important to understand how children and youth are viewing the different elements of religion like religious text, religious authority and religious practices. How are they participating or not participating in the religious life of institutionalised religion. In many local churches we often hear religious leaders lament the fact that especially young people are leaving the church after confirmation, but does that mean that they are not religious anymore? Are there other sources that have religious significance for them like for instance the media and the variety platforms it provides on any theme and where experience can also be created. These experiences and practices are not necessarily overtly religious in nature but have religious meaning and significance for people are called lived religion. Lived religion speaks to the everyday activities of people and take their interpretation of their experience and value thereof serious.

On the other hand are we focussing enough on those who do not leave the church by providing them with enough resources and spaces for spiritual growth? Do institutional religion (churches) focus on the socio- economic and political aspects of life or do we work with a binary in our theology and church life that separates the religious (spiritual) from the everyday experiences of children and youth?  Youth ministry often focus on theology about or for young people but how do we make more room for engagement with children and young people as not only the object of theology but subjects of theology. In other words, how do we reckon in our research with theology from and by children and young people?

Reflecting on the complexities of the state of children and youth on our African continent, we realise that this research theme cannot be fully addressed by one particular discipline group. It is for this reason that this call for abstracts welcomes transdisciplinary research approaches which take the various trends and theories involved in working with children and youth seriously. We thus welcome papers which take such transdisciplinary lenses seriously.

Please send an abstract of between 300 min-400 max words before or on Friday 1 November 2019 to Prof Anita Cloete acloete@sun.ac.za & Dr Hannelie Yates Hannelie.Yates@nwu.ac.za.  The abstract must have a clear theme that speaks to some of the elements in the call for papers, Key words, Your Name & Surname, Affiliation, Country, email address and telephone number.

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