Christian identity in national, transnational and local space

Perspectives from Protestantism, Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism
New College, University of Oxford
Open to the public
April 2022

Christian traditions have historically negotiated their relationship to the nation within paradigms of the universal and the particular: holding together the idea of the one body of Christ with a variety of public expressions in local, regional, national as well as transnational spaces. Christian traditions can draw on this multi-layered sense of theo-political identity when they critically engage populist claims to Christianity which single out the national space.

The concept of the nation itself represents an ambiguity between the universal and the particular; providing a universalist political imaginary framed around the sovereignty of political communities, whilst also remaining profoundly dependent on its reception in particular social and political contexts. What remains underexplored, is how different Christian traditions – Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic – articulate and critique the relationship between Christianity and the nation; how theo-political interests shape their response to politicised appeals to culturalised ‘Christianism’; and how alliances with populist movements reflect on the multi-layered character of Christian identity.

Abstract submission deadline: 8 November 2021

Papers and panel suggestions are invited from scholars in political theory, sociology, theology and religious studies, politics, history, anthropology, philosophy and law, and may refer to any of the nine categories below. Applications from early- and mid-career scholars are especially encouraged. 

  1. Nation between ‘church’ and ‘world’: liturgical and biblical references
  2. Cultural references to Christian symbols and biblical narratives
  3. Countercultural confessionalism and Christian ‘self-othering’
  4. Civilisational and European ‘Christianism’ vs transnational religious identification
  5. Apparatuses: networks, resources, activism, solidarity
  6. Unholy alliances: populist movements and Christian religious and political leadership
  7. ‘Love your enemies’: ‘Good people’ vs ‘bad people’ in the local context?
  8. Interfaith and ecumenical partnerships in urban and rural contexts
  9. The congruence and incongruence of local, regional, national and transnational spaces of identity formation

Please send a proposed paper title, short abstract (c.200 words) and short biography to by 8 November 2021. Decisions will be released by 30 November 2021. Short conference briefs of ca. 2,000 words are due by 7 March 2022. The convenors intend to pursue collaborative publications after the conference. All submissions and papers should contain original work that has not been committed elsewhere - see information on the PDF above.

The conference is part of the project on Protestant Political Thought, now a collaboration between the Blavatnik School of Government and the Cambridge Centre for Geopolitics. This project is non-partisan and non-sectarian.