Conference ‘Nature and the Popular Imagination’ in Malibu CA

Call for Papers

The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC) announced its next conference in Malibu, California at Pepperdine University on August 8-11, 2012. The conference theme will be “Nature and the Popular Imagination.”

For generations, the interconnections between religion and nature have been expressed, promoted, and contested through the incubator of popular culture, including films produced in nearby Hollywood. As a global and symbolic center that reflects and invents nature/religion representations, Malibu and its environs provide a fantastic venue for critical reflection on the religion/nature nexus in the popular imagination. Along with keynote addresses and other scholarly sessions, a number of special events and excursions are in the works, including a scholar-led tour of The Getty Villa in Malibu and opportunities to enjoy the beautiful and famous Malibu coast. Some of these may be offered before or after the official conference period. Affordable on-campus housing will be available to conference participants.

The organizers invite proposals about nature and religion in diverse expressions of popular culture, including films, television, comics, fiction, music, sports, graffiti, clothing, and festivals. While they encourage proposals focused on the conference’s theme, they welcome proposals from all areas (regional and historical) and from all disciplinary perspectives that explore the complex relationships between religious beliefs and practices (however defined and understood), cultural traditions and productions, and the earth’s diverse ecological systems. They encourage proposals that include theoretical frameworks and analyses, emphasize dialogue and discussion, promote collaborative research, and are unusual in terms of format and structure.

Proposals for individual paper presentations, sessions, panels, and posters should be submitted directly to Sarah Pike at and Robin Globus at It is not necessary to be an ISSRNC member to submit a proposal. Individual paper proposals should include, in a single, attached word or rich text document, the name and email of the presenter(s), title, a 250-300 word abstract, and a brief, 150 word biography (including highest degree earned and current institutional affiliation, if any). Proposals for entire sessions must include a title and abstract for the session as a whole as well as for each individual paper. Proposers should also provide information about ideal and acceptable lengths for proposed sessions, and whether any technology, such as data projectors, are desired. Most paper presentations will be scheduled at 15-20 minutes and a premium will be placed on discussion in all sessions. Proposals will be evaluated anonymously by the Scientific Committee, but conference directors will be aware of proposers’ identities in order to select for diversity in terms of geographical area and career stage. Student proposals are particularly welcome.

The deadline for proposals is 1 May 2012.

For more information and updates, please go to:

By Sacha Kagan

Research Associate at the ISCO - Institute of Sociology and Cultural Organization (ISKO - Institut für Soziologie und Kulturorganisation), Leuphana University Lueneburg, Sacha Kagan founded the International level of Cultura21, Network for Cultures of Sustainability, as well as the International Summer School of Arts and Sciences for Sustainability in Social Transformation (ASSiST). The focus of his research and cultural work lies in the trans-disciplinary field of arts and (un-)sustainability. Doctor in Philosophy (Leuphana University Lueneburg) with a thesis on the subject of culture, the arts and sustainability under the perspective of complexity ; M.A. in Cultural Economics (Erasmus University Rotterdam) ; and Graduate of Sciences Po Bordeaux (political sciences). For Cultura21, Sacha is also coordinating the eBooks series, the regular updates on our multi-lingual website, the English section of our webmagazine and the work of our Lueneburg-based interns.