Max Weber. Prophet of modernity, critic of modern life

Michal Warchala's picture
March 5, 2020 to March 6, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Intellectual History, Religious Studies and Theology, Sociology, Philosophy, Political Science


Prophet of modernity, critic of modern life

International Conference

March 5-6, 2020

Cracow, Poland

(Deadline for abstracts: November 30, 2019)

The year 2020 sees the 100th anniversary of Max Weber's death. Finding this a good ocasion for reconsidering certain aspects of Weber's thought the Chair for Sociology fo Religion at the Pedagogical University of Cracow would like to invite for the international conference Max Weber: Prophet of modernity, critic of modern life. The main focus of the conference will be Weber's sociology of religion, however, we don't want to limit the range of possible topics. What we propose is broad and – in quite a Weberian fashion – interdisciplinary reflection in which Weber's thought on religion constitutes a point of departure on the way towards a variety of issues related to modern and postmodern life. We equally welcome submissions from sociologists, historians, theologians, philosophers or psychologists. Different approaches to Weber, both appreciative and critical, debates around his heritage and questions of its actuality – all this is of utmost interest to us. The list of possible topics includes (among others):

  • Weber as sociologist and non-sociologist. All to often has Weber been pigeonholed as a “classic of sociology” or “founding father of the sociology of religion”, despite the fact that both his theoretical reflection and intellectual attitude didn't have much to do with what is understood today as sociology or sociology of religion. That is why it is of utmost importance to view Weber as, at once, sociologist, historian, philosopher or theologian.

  • Weber and his contemporaries – mutual inspirations and influences. The above mentioned treatment of Weber as an outstanding and original “classic” has usually had the consequence of neglecting his intensive Wahverwandschaften or elective affinities with such writers as, for example, Georg Simmel, Werner Sombart or Ernst Troeltsch. These affinities however are always critically important for the understanding of his oeuvre.

  • The status of Weber's multi-faceted theory of modernity – can it still be an inspiring source of reflection on religion, religious life and other related matters?

  • Weber's comparative analyses of world religions – to what extent can it be a theoretical point of departure today?

  • Weber and Reformation. Debates and controversies around Weber's theses put forth in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism have gone on for more than hundred years now. They are worth revisiting in the contemporary context.

  • Weber and the debate on secularization. Weber's views and arguments became starting points for quite a few secularization theories. What is the status of the former today when we are more than ever aware of the relative nature of any theories declaring religion's shrinking influence or its “withdrawal” from (post)modern societies?

  • Weber between West and East. Accusing Weber of “europocentrism” became almost a commonplace and, on the other hand, we are more and more aware today of how important for the evolution of his thinking was his own fascination with Eastern religions. What are the consequences of this seeming contradiciton on the way we nowadays perceive religious and cultural differences?

The conference will be held on 5-6 March 2020 at the Pedagogical University of Cracow in Cracow, Poland. The precise venue will be announced later. Submission abstracts of 300 words together with a short cv should be sent to conference to

The deadline for abstracts is 30 November 2019. Authors will be notified of the acceptance of their submissions by 20 December 2019.

Conference languages are English and Polish

Conference fee:

- 80 EUR for full-time faculty members

- 50 EUR for doctoral students and accompanying persons

The fee covers the cost of conference materials, coffee breaks, lunches and the conference gala dinner. All other costs, including transport and accomodation, are covered separately by the participants. The organizers will be happy to provide all necessary information concerning accomodation in the city of Cracow but cannot guarantee any reservations. All queries concerning the conference should be adressed to the organizing committee at

Organizing committee:

Dr. Michał Warchala (chairman)

Prof. Piotr Stawiński

Prof. Paula Malinowski-Rubio

Dr. Grzegorz Kubiński (conference secretary)

Dr. Maria Rogińska