Conference Announcement: Secularization and the Transformation of Religion in the U.S. and Germany after 1945
ACCH Quarterly Vol. 15, No. 3, September 2010
Conference Announcement: Secularization and the Transformation of Religion in the U.S. and Germany after 1945, March 17-19, 2011, German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.
By Mark Edward Ruff
At first glance, the religious landscapes of the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States would seem to be worlds apart. Religion appears to play a much more significant role in the American public arena than in the German. Televangelists, radio evangelists, Roman Catholic bishops and evangelicals have flexed their political muscle and have become important players in American political life. The United States records higher rates of attendance at church and mass. In fact, however, religious institutions in both societies have had to struggle with similar challenges—emerging multi-religious realities, strong secular movements and declining membership rosters, processes that they often subsume under the heading of “secularization.” Religious bodies in both nations have had to recognize that they operate in a competitive media-driven cultural and religious marketplace, even if the transformations emerging in this new environment are not as outwardly visible inGermanyas in theUnited States.
This international conference seeks to explore the history and meaning of secularization and the transformation of the religious landscape of both the United States and Germany after 1945. It will challenge traditional narratives that focus on the disappearance of religion in modernity and instead highlight the transformation of religion within larger societal changes. Our approach is transnational, inter-disciplinary, and multi-confessional.
The conference will focus on modernization processes in U.S. and German religious life after 1945, when churches in both countries were increasingly challenged by rapid changes in the societies around them. The rise of television, the development of new forms of public discourse, and processes like democratization, liberalization and the increased influence of science all influenced and transformed the self-understanding of religious bodies and produced new forms of religious life and discourse.
For more information, contact Dr. Uta Andrea Balbier, German Historical Institute, 1607 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009-2562, U.S.A., or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Uta A. Balbier, German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.
Wilhelm Damberg, Bochum University
Lucian Hoelscher, Bochum University
Mark Ruff, Saint Louis University
Mark Ruff, St. Louis University