Mysticism, Spirituality and Politics in an Age of Globality

Kathrin Schieferstein's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
September 30, 2017
Location: 
India
Subject Fields: 
Religious Studies and Theology, Political History / Studies

Invitation to the 15th International Conference on Mysticism, Spirituality and Politics in an Age of Globality

Mysticism, Spirituality and Politics in an Age of Globality

Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences, O.P. Jindal Global University and Alternative Perspective and Global Concerns welcome you to the International Conference on Mysticism, Spirituality and Politics in the Age of Globality to be held at O.P. Jindal Global University in Sonipat (Delhi NCR), India from 23rd- 24th January, 2018.

Politics tends to be conceived in our modern world as a purely pragmatic human activity in the organisation of human life and society. Under the influence of a traditional Machiavellian train of thought, modern politics has turned into an instrument of power and order. As a result, it tends to be blind when it comes to the political importance of morality and spirituality.

Both in national and international scope and application, it has transformed the morality of the state into the standard perspective of morality in politics: a political realism or ‘power politics’ in international life that puts morality and spirituality at the service of political goals. Modern politics and public policy on the one hand, and Westphalian international politics, including international law and organizations, on the other, all became means of enhancing materialist aspirations.

Against this modern tendency, however, there have also been important counter- movements. In modern times, it was not only Kant who reacted against this narrow view of politics. The Romantic tradition and its spiritualist/mystical aftermath have also been challenging the one-sidedness of modern politics. The New Age Movement, voluntary simplicity and spiritualist approaches, liberation theology and ethics, Maximalist views, and alternative perspectives on politics are among the reviving voices all favoring in different ways the undeniable link between spirituality/mysticism and a proper, ‘humane’, form of politics. In addition, delimiting geographical, cultural and disciplinary boundaries, the phenomenology of globality promises new spiritual outlooks and possibilities in respect to culture, identity and politics.

Once they bear political responsibility, domestic political parties that claim to stand for ideals generally tend to resort to sole utilitarian decision-making procedures. Often enough, they also tend to become victim of the Machiavellian temptation to sanctify all means irrespectively.

However, true leadership and authority exercised at the service of global justice might require more from those responsible for human communities’ proper order. Ever since Plato, the Jewish prophets, the Christian hesychasts, the Indian Mahabharata and Arthashastra, or Sufism, a kind of inner, ‘mystical’ orientation of the political leaders has been advocated. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. And the more power turns out to be enslaving of the powerful, the more a reflective and spiritual relationship to one’s own power seems requisite. A traditional - exclusively rational and intellectual - approach to this problem of power has turned out to be superficial and ineffective.

In many traditions of the world there are examples of this spiritual and mystical awareness. Practical contemporary examples continuing the historical phenomena mentioned above are also very interesting: the India in Gandhi’s dream as a model for global development, Latin American liberation ethics, the revival of African mysticism reaching beyond the narrowness of the post-colonial view, Asian miracles mediated by traditional/spiritual mode of life and practice, and the emergence of spiritualist perspectives within the West (such as Charles Taylor) are evidence of such an awareness.

This conference aims at exploring the variegated articulations of mystical consciousness as a condition for political authority and leadership, in the past and in the present. Alternative perspectives on today’s political developments have to be accompanied by alternative perspectives on the traditions from which they originated and came into existence. 

Call for Paper Proposal:

  • Paper proposals related or adjacent to the topics specified above should contain no more than 800 words (excluding bibliography), and clearly present a question or argument addressing one of the aforementioned topics. The deadline is September 30, 2017. Papers should be presented in English. Notifications of acceptance will be made by the conference committee by the end of October, 2017.

  • Please provide your surname, first name, email address, institutional address, the title of your abstract, and the topic under which your paper proposal falls. Use Times New Roman 12 pt. for body, references and keywords, and Ariel (bold) 16 pt. for the headline.

  • Depending on budgetary availability, a selection of the conference contributions will be published in a volume with the working title: Politics and Spirituality.

  • Please send in the following document using the subject line “APGC 2018 Conference” as Word attachment to Garima Jain at gjain@jgu.edu.in 

Contact Info: 

PD Dr. Mihai-D. Grigore

Phone: +49 6131 39 39474
Fax: +49 6131 39 35326

E-Mail: grigore@ieg-mainz.de

Contact Email: