Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies

Suggested Topics

Statue of Cardinal Wolsey Christ Church, Tom Tower


The Symposium is multi-disciplinary and welcomes presentations on any topic that relates to religion. Within the scope of these topics, there are other more nuanced research subjects which may bear investigation. The listing below of ideas and focus areas is not intended to be exhaustive and is not conceived as placing constraints on the substance or type of research that may be presented at the Symposium.

  • What is religion? What is its nature? How do we define it? What can we agree on? How do different world religions help us understand the answer to these questions?
  • What is the place of religion in contemporary society? The nature of belief, the place of ritual, the place of family, the significance of community, the balance between Faith (belief, doctrine, and creed) and Practice (ritual, sociology, ethics, politics)
  • What do we understand by multifaith?
  • Possibilities of interfaith dialogue – what can be usefully discussed between faiths?
  • Religion and politics – how does religion affect political life? e.g., USA voting, UK established Church, Israel the Promised Land, Jewish Homeland, Muslim fundamentalist states
  • How does religion deal with the clash of ideology between a secular state and religious ethics? e.g., sex and marriage, the place of women, religious festivals such as Christmas
  • How do we enable pluralism and tolerance in societies with clashing ideologies?
  • What is the future of religion?
  • Religion and ethics, i.e., do you need God to be good? 
  • The right to die/euthanasia
  • Legislation on abortion, same-sex marriage and various LGBTQ+ rights issues in conflict with personal or institutional conscience
  • Is 'Good Stewardship' a useful approach to climate change when global warming has become critical? How do increasingly frequent and destructive natural disasters affect ministry? 
  • Do we believe in ‘acts of God’ in relation to disasters?
  • Does God act in the world?
  • The problem of evil, Theodicy
  • Pastoral theology
  • Ethical questions in keeping international peace
  • Religion, Politics, and Public Discourse
  • Religion, Science, and Climate Change
  • Conflict of Religions
  • Gender and Religion
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Economics of Religion
  • Separation of Church and State
  • Religion and Education
  • State Funding of Clerical Schools
  • Religious Tolerance
  • Religion and Racial Segregation
  • History of World Christianity
  • Religion in America
  • African Religions
  • Native American Religions
  • Religious Traditions of Africa and the African Diaspora
  • Asian Religions
  • East Asian Religions (Buddhism, Indigenous Traditions)
  • Indian Religions (Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism)
  • Islamic Studies
  • Judaic Studies
  • Secularism
  • Atheism
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Ethics
  • Theology
  • Teaching Religion       

Deadlines for the July 2024 Symposium

Abstract Submission: 24 June 

Regular Registration: 16 June

Late Registration: 30 June

Spring 2017
Symposium participants at the Summer 2022 meeting. Summer 2022
Oxford University Church
Spring Session 2018 The Queen's College
Some of the December 2019 Session Participants
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