Science and Religion: Doing Science in Conservative Religious Settings since 1945

Stephan Monissen's picture
Call for Papers
August 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Religious Studies and Theology, Psychology, Graduate Studies


The workshop will take place on 21 and 22 July 2022 at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne and will be organized by the Gerda Henkel research group "Religion und Moderne in den USA: Psychologie und Lebenswissenschaften an evangelikalen Colleges seit der Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts" (Stefanie Coché, JLU Gießen, Stephan Monissen, JLU Gießen and Sophia Egbert, a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne).

While most experts agree that „there has never been systemic warfare between science and religion, “[1] we are still lacking knowledge about religious approaches to science. This is especially true when it comes to conservative religious groups. Evangelicals for example are still widely labeled as anti-intellectual although they have been very successful in building colleges and universities. These institutions of higher education offer numerous Bachelor, Master and even PHD degrees and they have successfully applied for accreditation in many different disciplines. Against this backdrop the workshop is interested in historical (and /or ethnological and sociological) case studies dealing with conservative religious institutions of higher education since WWII. Focusing on case studies we intend to discuss singular settings („whose science and which religion“[2]) as well as entanglements and comparisons between different cases in order to broaden our perspective. We are interested in all kinds of religious groups – monotheistic, polytheistic, and others – and in all academic disciplines (including the humanities). Our working definition for conservative religious groups with regard to science is that they do not share the „liberal“ conviction that religion and science should coexist but not intermingle. Thus, we intend to shed light on all kinds of attempts to frame and do science from a decisively religious point of view and its broader implications on modern societies:  

Possible fields of interest are:

  • Notions of science: Which religious groups and/or which religious scientist employ what concept of science and what scientific concepts? Is this something that is indeed discussed within conservative religious institutions of higher education? Or is the way conservative religious scientists deal with their subject rather part of local (tacit) knowledges[3]? What strategy did conservative religious institutions of higher educations and their faculty and students use to deal with secular knowledge (Princeton’s „Turning the guns“ strategy,[4] scientific exegesis strategy[5] in Islamic contexts)?
  • Transfer and entanglements: In what kind of scientific networks did conservative religious scientists engage? Whose ideas have been promoted by whom? Was there any cooperation with secular scholars; and what did it look like? When and under which circumstances did conservative religious scientists cooperate with secular experts or/and with scientists belonging to other conservative religious groups?
  • Religious knowledge in knowledge-based societies: Most disciplines have been undergoing major chances during the 20th centuries. How did religious scientists deal with new technical and theoretical approaches? Who did share which scientific agendas (War on Cancer, Vaccination, environmental protection)? Who is financing what kind of religious agenda? How do faith-based scholars cooperate with non-academic institutions (e.g. museums, etc.)? How do they cooperate with, influence or avoid media (newspapers, radio, internet)?

We intend to circulate all papers a month before the workshop will take place. Please submit abstracts of 300 words and a short CV by August, 15. Decisions will be made by mid-October. The Workshop is going to take place in Cologne, July 21.- 22., 2022. Participation is free and we are happy to announce that travel and accommodation costs will be covered for all speakers.


Please send a short CV and an abstract (one page) to


[1] Jeff Hardin, Ronald L. Numbers, Ronald A. Binzley (Hg.): The Warfare between Science & Religion (The Idea That Wouldn`t Die), Baltimore 2018

[2] John Broke, Geoffrey Cantor (ed.): Reconstructing Nature. The Engagement of Science and Religion, P. 166.

[3] POLANYI, Michael, Personal Knowledge. Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, Chicago 1958.

[4] Bradley J. Gundlach: Protestant Evangelicals, in: Jeff Hardin, Ronald L. Numbers, Ronald A. Binzley (Hg.): The Warfare between Science & Religion (The Idea That Wouldn`t Die), Baltimore 2018, S. 163-183, S. 168.

[5] M. Alper Yalcinkaya: Muslims, in: Jeff Hardin, Ronald L. Numbers, Ronald A. Binzley (Hg.): The Warfare between Science & Religion (The Idea That Wouldn`t Die), Baltimore 2018, S. 183- 202, S. 216.