One of the challenges to intercultural understanding is the lack of common categories that can be used in identifying and interpreting cultural commonalities and differences. The Center for Intercultural Studies at Saint Louis University seeks to encourage reflection on such categories by focusing on the ideas and practices of charity in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the modern era. We invite proposals for papers that take an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to explore the following themes:
To what extent is there a common paradigm in the ways Jews, Christians, and Muslims have addressed the needs of the more vulnerable members of their respective societies? For instance, consider the analogous ways in which each group deals with the distribution of wealth, in their ability to recognize that not all members of a given society have equal access to it, and in the relationship of charity to inheritance systems and family structures. What other systemic patterns governing charity (norms, virtue, theological justifications, exclusionary rules, private responsibility) are common, or similar, in the three faiths? Can such analogies be reconciled today in order to promote a more global, faith-based humanitarianism?
How do the three religions differ in their understanding of poverty and wealth, and in their justifications for giving charity? How does religious duty to be charitable translate into private and public virtue?
How do charitable institutions affect cross-cultural interactions–between different cultures and religions, as well as between dominant and minority groups? How are poor and needy outsiders of the faith treated? How do such institutions affect social–not just confessional–cohesion and community building? For instance, what is the role of faith-based mutual benefit societies among immigrants?
This conference will be held at St. Louis University, St. Louis MO, 26-27 March, 2015.
Selected papers will be considered for publication in a volume of proceedings. Proposals should include: a one-page abstract of the paper, with a title and name of the author; the author’s brief curriculum vitae; postal address; email address; and phone number. Complete proposals should be emailed as attachments in MS Word with a subject line « Charity Conference » to Ms. Mary Bokern at firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for submissions is December 10, 2014.
For more information contact Mary Bokern at email@example.com