Claiming History

Conference, History, Roma


Conference, History

The Role of Historical Reasoning in Religious Conflicts

History is full of examples of religious conflict and strife. From the struggle of Christians with pagan cult, the Arab conquest and the Christian Crusades to the Reformation and the Israel-Palestine conflict of the 20th and 21st century, human experience can easily be described in terms of religiously motivated hatred and violence. At the same time, religion has had, and also continues to have the potential to overcome differences and create bridges even in the midst of great misery and war. Religious convictions, for instance, motivate the care and protection of marginalised individuals and groups, while religious interest groups make important contributions to peace building processes.

Along these lines, religion has been described either as one of the primary causes for violence and war or conversely as a facilitator of peace. These are well-established narratives that inform our debate about the benefits and shortcomings of ‘acting in belief’. But what role does history, and more specifically historical argumentation, play in conflict situations? Is history contributing or even amplifying religious conflicts or, on the contrary, acting towards peaceful solutions?
The conference approaches these and other questions from many different angles, providing a series of clearly delineated case-studies into religious claims to history.

In collaboration with the IRC Religious Conflicts and Coping strategies, University of Bern.

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