On the Edge

Elon Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society
Numen Lumen Pavilion, Elon University (NC)
Feb. 11-13, 2021*

“On the Edge” is a bi-annual symposium at Elon University that brings together scholars working at the theoretical and methodological boundaries of those fields that have a stake in the critical analysis of religion—law, history, psychology, anthropology, literature/textual studies, philosophy, art history, political science, classics, sociology, geology, and gender studies, to name a few. “On the Edge” aims to exercise a self-conscious attention to methodological advances that can be made through interdisciplinarity. Its proceedings contribute to a richly contextualized and multi-layered understanding of the role of religion in societies past, present, and future.

Elon University’s “On the Edge” symposium, hosted by the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society (CSRCS), explores new directions in the interdisciplinary study of religion. This year the CSRCS invites proposals for our February 11-13, 2021 symposium focused on “Religion at the Border(s).”

Religion at the Borders

Borders demarcate edges, and edges can be powerful places from which to understand, undermine, or underscore the stability of centers. Geographical borders, for example, may serve to delineate religious identities, while recitations, practices, and rituals may define the boundaries of belonging within religious communities. Borders might also separate orthodoxy from heterodoxy, serve as transitional or liminal spaces, or provide sites for critiquing mainstream ideas or identities. Borders are also bridges, that is, areas where people, cultures, genders, families, economies, and religious traditions meet and meld. An examination of “Religion on the Borders” offers the opportunity to expand and redefine the intersections of religion, society, and culture across time and space. We invite scholars to consider the ways that religion on or at the border(s) can advance our understanding of tradition, identity, practice, as well as the built, material, and intellectual culture of religion.

Conference co-conveners:

Amy L. Allocco, Associate Professor of Religious Studies (Elon University)

Evan Gatti, Associate Professor of Art History (Elon University)

Sandy Marshall, Assistant Professor of Geography (Elon University)

Direct all inquiries to Dr. Brian K. Pennington, Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society, at bpennington4@elon.edu.



Conference organizers are attending closely to travel and public health conditions nationally and in North Carolina. While we continue to develop plans for an in-person symposium, we are also working with Elon’s technology teams to make arrangements for a range of virtual possibilities, from a fully on-line symposium to hybrid sessions. In any event, we will be bound by any executive order from the Governor of North Carolina about public gatherings that may be in effect at the time of the symposium. Following the acceptance of papers in October, we will be in touch with presenters to put in place a format with which all can be comfortable.