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Religion in the 21st Century: National Canopy Forum on Religion in Contemporary Philippine Society

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Date: December 6 & 7, 2013

Venue: Bulwagang Bonifacio and Open University, NALLRC Bldg., PUP Sta. Mesa, Manila

Description:

Exploring the terrain of religious processes in the Philippines and how they pervade different practices of Filipinos requires theoretical frameworks, sensitizing concepts and methodological approaches that one could use in experiencing, investigating and explaining the rich arena of Philippine realities. This seminar is a sequel to the previous one dated June 28 that aimed to familiarize faculty members, graduate students and researchers about some of the ways in sociologizing religion as an institution in society. The previous seminar on classical thoughts in the sociology of religion was a success as indicated by high evaluation scores given by the participants. There, they joined the resource-speakers in discussing and engaging the seminal ideas of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Alfred Schutz and Peter Berger on religion and society.

The next seminar will be dedicated to Niklas Luhmann, a German sociologist whose ideas on systems theorizing, communication, autopoiesis and differentiation are now in the forefront of contemporary sociologizing in Europe and the United States. Most social scientists and cultural workers in the country are unfamiliar about his work: hence, the need to grapple the basic concepts and to engage some of his ideas in sociologizing religion in relation to other social institutions in the Philippines.

Engaging reality will not be complete without research as it serves to be a check and balance mechanism in ensuring that one’s theorizing is still making sense in explaining everyday life. One of the most fruitful and contemporary endeavors in social research is the use and development of indigenous approaches and methods in investigating society. The aim is to develop and utilize methodologies that are culturally sensitive to and encapsulating of the sensibilities and realities of local cultures. Indigenous methodologies today have captured both supporters and critics. Staunchest critics include positivistic academics who argue for objectivity, generalizability of findings and discoverability of laws while supporters include those from the qualitative camp who appreciate the exploration and understanding of meaning-making processes, subjectivity and cultural sensibility. In the Philippines, although great development in indigenizing research methods are being observed, majority of academics in universities are still grappling with this still evolving methodological approach. This situation is regrettable given its potentialities in aiding Filipino researchers to better understand the rich socio-cultural terrain of Philippine realities.  The exploration, detailed description, understanding and explanation of socio-cultural meaning and sensibilities in everyday practices are the modes in research that indigenous methodological approaches are expected to enrich given that one should seriously consider its theoretically nuanced principles and undertake its painstaking path.

Out of our efforts to promote the sociological study of religion in the Philippines comes another canopy forum that explores some of the most neglected but intriguing dimensions of contemporary society. These include the (1) relationship of people with different religious orientations in two districts of Manila (Quiapo and Binondo); (2) the way people understand death and how they revere the dead; (3) the ways religious sentiments permeate cyberspace through technology and how people use, understand, negotiate and deal with them; (4) how religion is being dealt with in contemporary identity and sexuality; (5) the role of religion in disasters, (6) in everyday life and (7) in preserving Filipino heritage.

Hence, we would like to invite individual submission of abstracts, reports about on-going research projects or complete papers delving on those topics for possible presentation at the National Canopy Forum in December. Paper submission must not be later than November 11, 2013.

The National Canopy Forum is covered by the year-round CHED endorsement for the activities jointly organized by the Institute for Cultural Studies of PUP, Institute of Religion of UST and the Philippine Association for the Sociology of Religion for the promotion of the sociology of religion in the Philippines.

For inquiries, you may email the secretary at johnabletis@gmail.com.

With these in mind, the organizers expect that the seminar will be an academically enriching year-ender experience for everyone who will attend and participate in the event.

Tentative Program:

1st day (Friday, December 6; Bulwagang Bonifacio)

9:30 – 11:30 am

Niklas Luhmann on Society and Religion

1:00 – 3:00 pm

Theoretical and Methodological Importance of Indigenization in Social Research

3:00 – 5:00 pm

Hiyang Approach: Then and Now

2nd day (Saturday, December 7; Open University)

8:30 am -10:30 am

Dialogue of Life in Quiapo and Binondo (Plenary Session)

10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Religion, Technology and Cyberspace

Religion, Identity, Politics and Contemporary Sexuality

1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Religion in Filipino Everyday Life

Religion in Disasters

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Cult of the Dead

Religious Heritage in Philippine Society

3rd day (Sunday, December 8, optional)

Post-conference tour in Rizal and Laguna

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