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Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

An International Conference of the
International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture

Co-sponsored and hosted by:
India China Institute, The New School

In partnership with:
Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, American University
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

April 20 – 23, 2017
The New School, New York City

More Details

Mount Kailash in Western Tibet

Sacred Mount Kailash in Western Tibet

For the past three years, the India China Institute has been undertaking a Luce Foundation supported research project looking at the intersection of religion, ecology and transboundary social and cultural issues in the Himalayas, known as the Sacred Landscapes and Sustainable Futures in the Himalaya Initiative (SHI). To help bring this research to a wider audience, ICI has partnered with the ISSRNC to host an international conference highlighting the theme of Mountains and Sacred Landscapes.

In addition to papers presented by ISSRNC members and scholars working at the intersections of religion, nature and culture, the conference will also feature presentations from ICI’s core research team and from our partners at ICIMOD involved in the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI). You can learn more about both projects on our Sacred Himalaya Initiative page, including reading several published stories from the field, view interactive maps from the project area, and learn more about Mount Kailash and the many challenges and opportunities facing Himalayan mountain communities.


* Proposal submissions are now closed *

View the Call for Papers | Download Portuguese Version

View the Travel Aid Guidelines

Follow the Conference on Twitter: #MTNSL2017

Featured Speakers Include:

  • Ed Bernbaum – Scholar of comparative religions and mythology, Senior Fellow at The Mountain Institute and Award-winning author of Sacred Mountains of the World and The Way to Shambhala
  • Ben Orlove – Professor of Anthropology, Senior Research Scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, and Co-director of the Center for Research in Environmental Decisions
  • David Rothenberg – Professor of Philosophy and Music and author of Why Birds Sing: A Journey Into the Mystery of Bird Song and Survival of the Beautiful: Art, Science and Evolution

 

Call for Papers and Proposals

The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC), in cooperation with the India China Institute (ICI) at The New School, American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) are excited to announce an international conference on the theme of mountains and sacred landscapes.

Since its founding in 2006, the ISSRNC has promoted critical inquiry into the complex relationships between human beings, the religious dimensions of their cultures, and the environments which they inhabit and from which they evolved. This year’s conference will feature a series of special presentations based on recent field research by the India China Institute’s Sacred Himalaya Initiative on the intersections of religion, nature and culture.

The conference seeks to critically explore the ways in which the idea of sacred landscapes is entangled with diverse communities, with particular attention to mountain landscapes. The conference will feature interdisciplinary dialogue about what kinds of meanings shape, and are shaped by, the effects of climate change, mass extinction, human population growth and ecological degradation of mountains, forests, rivers and other sacred landscapes.

As we enter the new geologic epoch that scientists and scholars are referring to as the Anthropocene, diverse global mountain communities have begun to face growing social, economic, political, and ecological challenges. Melting glaciers, shifting agricultural patterns, conflicts over mining and resource extraction, risks to livelihoods, and the consequences of increasingly erratic global climate change pose unknown future challenges to many sacred landscapes, including mountain communities and ecosystems around the world, as well as the human and non-human beings that rely on them.

We invite scholars from all disciplines, including environmental history and environmental studies, science studies, anthropology, philosophy, political science, religious studies and geography, to submit proposals related to sacred landscapes.

Proposals may address any of the following themes:

  • ~Challenges and opportunities for sacred landscapes in the 21st century
  • ~Theoretical and/or religious conceptualizations of place, space, and landscape
  • ~Negotiation of community, climate change, and mountain spirituality
  • ~Traditional/local knowledge and its effects on social and ecological justice
  • ~Ecosystem sustainability and the future of mountain and forest people
  • ~Ecosystem destruction and the fate of the non-human community
  • ~Mountains as diverse ecosystems and sites of religious negotiation
  • ~Manifestations of the sacred in diverse landscapes
  • ~Negotiating environmental challenge through ritual practices

 

This year’s conference explicitly seeks to disrupt the conventional “three people reading papers” session. We seek innovative and unconventional proposals from all fields for this interdisciplinary conference. We invite proposals for individual papers, entire sessions, round-tables, interactive workshops, conversations, and alternative formats. We are also proposing two experimental TEDx style presentations of 10 minutes with 5-7 presenters.

Deadline

Monday, October 10, 2016 by 5pm EST (9pm GMT) is the deadline for paper, panel, and alternative format submissions. The submission form is at the bottom the page. With the exception of queries about travel aid grant applications (see below), please direct any conference inquiries to: sacredmountains2017@gmail.com.

 

Participation Requirements for Presenters

All presenters must be members in good standing of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture and registered for the conference by March 1, 2017. All scholars interested in religion, nature and culture are encouraged to support the Society by joining or renewing at the ISSRNC membership page.

 

Publications

Presenters and session organizers are encouraged to submit their articles for publication, or their sessions for special issues, to the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (JSRNC).

 

Submission Guidelines

Before beginning the submission form, please ensure that your proposal meets the guidelines specified for each format: Paper, Panel, and Alternative Format. For organizers of panels and alternative format sessions, please note this requires collating information for each person in your session. Please note that you are allowed to submit a maximum of two proposals in any format. We suggest that you compose and organize the information in a word processor and then cut and paste your materials into the appropriate fields. Please note the form renders all text “plain text”, please use [* and *] to surround any phrase or word that needs to be italicized for example, “ [* Sand County Almanac*] by Aldo Leopold”.

 

Paper Submission Guidelines

Proposal authors will need to provide their first and last names, an email address, an affiliation or indication of status as an independent scholar, and country and then indicate if a visa letter will be needed, if a travel aid application will be filed and if an accommodation for a disability is needed, there is a field to specify needs. The remaining fields require a title, an abstract (150 words), and a proposal (500 words.)

 

Panel Submission Guideline

Panel organizers will need to provide their contact information at the top of the form; the panel’s title, abstract (150 words), and proposal (500 words), and indicate whether or not the session will need an LCD projector and finally information and materials for each participant. For the panel’s respondent and session chair (one is not required) respectively, you will need to provide first and last names, an email address, an affiliation, and country and then indicate if the person will need a visa letter, if a travel aid application will be filed and if an accommodation for a disability is needed, there is a field to specify needs. For each of your other participants you will need to provide the same information you have for your respondent and chair with the addition of a title, an abstract (150 words), and a proposal (500 words).

Please note that the panel organizer will not only need to fill out their contact information at the top of the form but also complete the fields in association with their role on the panel (e.g. respondent, chair, or participant) further down the form: the panel organizer will need to re-enter some of the information input as contact information at the top of the form.

 

Alternative Format Submission Guidelines

Alternative format session organizers will need to submit their contact information, a title, a format description (750 words, clarified below), and the session’s abstract (150 words) and a proposal (500 words), indicate whether or not an LCD projector will be needed and then information for each person in the session.

For “Format” (750 words) please describe the session’s format how it will be conducted (500 words, suggested), and then list the roles (e.g. facilitator, moderator, speaker etc.) and names of the people in the session; please remember to specify your own role in the session (250 Words, suggested).

For each person in the session, including yourself, you will need to indicate first and last names, an email address, an affiliation or status as an independent scholar, and country and then indicate if the person will need a visa letter, if a travel aid application will be filed by that person and if an accommodation for a disability is needed, there is a field to specify needs.

Please note that if your alternative format session is accepted you will need to provide an abstract for each participant. Please also note that for alternative format sessions with more than 6 people, send the additional information along with a title of the session and your contact information to the organizers at sacredmountains2017@gmail.com, immediately after you finalize and submit the proposal.

 

Travel Aid Grants

Scholars whose papers are accepted and who would be unable to attend without financial support will have an opportunity to apply for modest, supplementary travel grants. Most of these grants will go to students with little funding available to them or scholars from institutions and countries with fewer resources for travel to international conferences. The full instructions for submitting a travel grant are available here. To apply for a travel grant you will need to provide a letter of need and a CV per the guidelines and on the submission form, please select “yes” when prompted as to whether you will or not apply for a travel grant. Please note, that just selecting “yes’ on the form is not an application for travel aid; the letter and CV must be submitted per the guidelines. If you are part of a panel or alternative format submission please inform the session organizer that you will be submitting a travel grant application when he or she collects your information and if relevant title, abstract and proposal for the panel or alternative format submission.

 

Visas

Scholars who will need letters of invitation in order to obtain a visa for travel to the United States must indicate this through their application form. This process can often take considerable time so it should be undertaken upon the acceptance of proposals or papers. On the submission form, please check “yes,” after the prompt regarding whether or not you need a visa letter.

 

Conference Registration, Travel and Housing

Information about conference registration, fees, lodging and transportation in New York City will be updated later this fall. Please check back for updates.

Mountains and Sacred Landscapes on Social Media

The official hashtag for the conference is #MTNSL2017 on Twitter and Facebook, we encourage you to follow and connect with the conference sponsors.

 

Conference Sponsors

TNS_ICI_1line_logo1 India China Institute

Interested scholars are also encouraged to follow the ICI Facebook page, Twitter @india_china and our YouTube channel.

International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC)

More information about the society and journal online: www.religionandnature.com/society/. Interested scholars are also encouraged to follow the ISSRNC Facebook page, Twitter @ISSRNC and Academia.edu.

ICIMOD logo International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

More information about the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development online: www.icimod.org. Interested scholars are also encouraged to follow the ICIMOD Facebook page, Twitter @icimod and YouTube channel.

CLALS_AU Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University (CLALS)
More information about the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University online: www.american.edu/clals/. Interested scholars are invited to follow the Center on Twitter @AU_CLALS and Facebook.