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Fifteenth Annual Conference in Citizenship Studies: Religion and Citizenship

April 12 – 14, 2018

Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA

The Center for the Study of Citizenship at Wayne State University, in collaboration with The Centre for Citizenship, Social Pluralism and Religious Diversity, University of Potsdam, Germany, presents its fifteenth annual Conference in Citizenship Studies.

Religion has been, and continues to be, central to any notion of citizenship. The ideal of a rights-bearing citizen has its roots in assertions of freedom from religious persecution. While the separation of church and state continues to serve as a foundational principle for secular states, religion remains entwined with those states and the public lives of their citizens. Communitarian thinkers argue that this is as it should be, religion provides purpose and value to community membership and cannot be removed from any meaningful definition of citizenship. Despite claims for secular tolerance of religious beliefs, exclusions from citizenship are too often based on religious differences, differences that can also involve ethnic and racial identity. Tensions created by religious exclusion, persecution, and discrimination can further impact citizenship by fueling secessionist movements, political revolutions, and genocides.

The theme of this year's conference, Religion and Citizenship, will explore the role of religion - practice and concept - in the recognition and exercise of citizenship over a three-day conference. The subject includes a broad range of philosophical, legal, and historical matters, such as the extent of religious influence on governance, the use of religion to restrict ascription of citizenship, and the positing of limits to citizens' legitimate relationships with foreign nations or to their activities in opposition to their own governments. Papers may also deal with such issues as the enforcement and crossing of national borders, the relations (political, cultural, economic, social, artistic, environmental) between religious and government entities, or the consequences of religious identity or practice for citizens' participation in global or regional commerce, their realization of human rights, or their susceptibility to transnational law enforcement.


The Keynote Speaker is Saeed Khan, who is a Senior Lecturer in Global Studies, Islamic and Middle East History, Islamic Civilizations and History of Islamic Political Thought at Wayne State University. The title of his presentation is "Religion and Citizenship in the Age of Artificial Intelligence: The End of Disbelief?"

A video of the Keynote Presentation is available.

Professor Khan is a consultant on Islamic and Middle East affairs for the BBC and the CBC, and serves as consultant to the US-Arab Economic Forum. Mr Khan founded the Center for the Study of Trans-Atlantic Diasporas, a think tank and policy center examining and comparing the condition of ethnic immigrant groups in North America and Europe, consulting the US and UK governments on their respective Muslim communities.

The Plenary Speaker for this three-day conference was scheduled to be Dr Bryan Turner, one of the world’s leading sociologists of religion. Due to ill-health, he is obliged to record his presentation for us, but it will become available and we have scheduled a conversation around it. We have tentative plans for him to join us via Skype, but it depends on his ability to join us.

A video of Dr Turner's Plenary Presentation is available.

His current research involves the role of religion and the changing nature of citizenship in a globalizing world. Dr Turner has written, coauthored, or edited more than seventy books and more than two hundred articles and chapters, including most recently The Religious and the Political: A Comparative Sociology of Religion (2013) and Religion and Modern Society: Citizenship, Secularisation and the State (2011).


Registration for this event is available here. All conference attendees and speakers need to register through this site.

Presenters must be registered by 1/31/2018 to qualify for the Early Registration rate, and by 3/12/18 for their papers to be included in the conference program book.

Who can submit an abstract/paper for the academic conference?

This academic conference gives the opportunity to academics, practitioners, consultants, scholars, researchers and policy makers with different backgrounds and experiences, to present their papers in the conference and to discuss their experiences, new ideas, research results, as well as any practical challenges encountered and/or the solutions adopted during their work.

The conference committee highly encourages doctorate (PhD) and postdoctoral students to present their research proposals, literature reviews, findings, or issues in this conference with a special registration rate. Case studies, abstracts of research in progress, as well as full research papers will be considered for the conference program for presentation purposes. Undergraduate students may present at the conferences if (a) his/her research is funded by an organization/institute, and/or (b) supervised by the member or faculty, and/or (c) co-authored by a Master's (or higher) student.

More Information

To view the Call for Papers, click here.

For more information about getting to the conference and accommodations, please check our FAQ.

There is a Conference Schedule available. Please check back frequently, as it will be updated regularly. Note: The detailed Conference Program, including session moderators, authors and papers selected for presentation, will be uploaded to this site at least one week before the start of the conference.

Important Dates



Sep 1, 2017

Early decision deadline for international scholars

Sep 15, 2017

Responses sent to early submitters as to acceptance

Sep 29, 2017

Abstract submission deadline

Jan 31, 2018

Deadline for early registration rates.
Registration deadline for presenters to be included in the program book.

Mar 1, 2018

Deadline for refunds

Mar 5, 2018

Speaker Information Forms due

Mar 10, 2018

Hotel room blocks open; rooms may or may not be available afterward.

Apr 12, 2018

Conference begins



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