CALL FOR PAPERS | Sites and Processes of Ethical Learning: Religion and Self-Making in Asia

Minghua Tay's picture
Call for Papers
May 5, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies, Religious Studies and Theology

DATE OF EVENT : 1-3 November 2021
VENUE : Online via Zoom


Projects of ethical self-making taking place in relation to religious traditions both represent and come to constitute specific forms of subjectivity and personhood. These projects, while often personal and with consequences for the individual, typically take place in specific sites and involve larger groups, networks, or communities of practice.

In this conference, we broaden the focus from individuals to consider sites where ethics and education (broadly conceived) coincide. A focus on learning in relation to ethics has the potential to deepen insights gained by focusing on individuals and ethical subjectivity by paying attention to the traditions and communities which sustain, inspire, and teach them. By inviting scholars who theorize processes of ethical learning in both traditional and non-traditional settings, including schools, places of worship, businesses, and the public sphere, we seek to generate broader, multi-disciplinary perspectives on the relationship between ethics, subjectivity, and education.

This conference aims to investigate the varied sites and processes of ethical learning engaged by groups and individuals, across various religious traditions and times, and on a number of scales. The religious and cultural diversity across Asia provides an apt locale for investigating these questions, with significant potential for a rich, varied, and grounded approach to the research questions being investigated. The scope of the conference, however, is not strictly limited to Asia, as it will also benefit from a consideration of the transnational flows which have given influence to these traditions as well as propagated them beyond the strict geographical confines of Asia.

The invited speakers and paper presenters are encouraged to consider the following questions to frame their contributions:

  • What are the sites where ethical learning is taking place, and how do networks or communities of practice work in and across these different scales?
  • How are pedagogies toward implementing ethical self-making projects deployed, and what kinds of subjectivities do they seek to promote? What forms do they take, and in what ways do they mobilize embodied and discursive forms of being and belonging?
  • In religiously plural communities and societies, how do individuals engage across ethical boundaries and navigate ethical pluralism?
  • What are the institutional forms and/or networks that have sustained these projects of ethical self-making, and how do they relate to the goals of the ethical projects themselves?
  • In what ways do individuals experience the pedagogies with which they engage and understand their effects on the self and community?
  • How does ‘religion’ emerge in these processes of ethical subject formation? Does it emerge as a distinct cultural system (Robbins 2004)? As a ‘grand scheme’ (Schielke and Debevec 2012)? As a ‘separate sphere’ – or as one which aims to influence all spheres of life?
  • How do projects of religious self-making intersect with ostensibly secular political and/or economic projects?


Submissions should include a title, an abstract of no more than 250 words and a brief biography including name, institutional affiliation, and email contact. Please note that only previously unpublished papers or those not already committed elsewhere can be accepted. By participating in the conference, you agree to participate in the future publication plans of the organizers.

Please submit your proposal using the provided template to Ms Tay Minghua at by 5 May 2021. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by end May 2021. Participants will be required to send in a completed draft paper (5,000-8,000 words) by 1 October 2021.


Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore


Contact Info: 

Ms Minghua TAY
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
AS8 Level 7, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
Tel: (65) 6516 4224
Fax: (65) 6779 1428