CfP: STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy and Pluralism, 7–9 July 2021 Online Conference

 Bursaries to support attendance are available, including (but not limited to) specific funds for digital access costs and the cost of childcare

Organised by the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society (INSBS)

 In the last decade, there has been significant growth in social scientific and humanities research focusing on science, religion and belief in society. Greater attention is being paid to the varied ways in which perceptions of different aspects of STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics) have been, or are, influenced by religious and non-religious belief, identity, community and conflict in different geographical, cultural and historical contexts.

As this field of research has grown it has engaged in myth busting popular perceptions and stereotypes about the relationship between science and religion, which treat both science and religious/spiritual populations as monolithic. To date, much of this foundational research has focused on North American contexts or debates. This conference seeks to build on this essential work and address future avenues for research within the social scientific and historical study of science, religion and belief in society to examine the practical implications and applications of research in this field. Expanding the geographical focus, the conference will encompass a range of issues at global, or local levels around four interlinked areas:

·       PUBLICS: Diverse (non)religious publics’ engagement with, and perceptions of, STEMM

·   PRAXIS: Issues relating to religion and (non)belief in scientific research or STEMM communication practices

·  POLICY: Public policy analysis, exploring concerns with the development of, or implementation of, policy connected to STEMM, and religion or belief in society

·       PLURALISM: Research on STEMM in pluralistic or religiously diverse societies.

This conference will bring together international researchers with backgrounds in sociology, science and technology studies, psychology, political science, history, social anthropology, and related humanities or social science disciplines, to discuss perspectives on the overarching topic of science and belief in society.

We are pleased to invite submissions of papers that relate to any aspect of STEMM in society (science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics), that discuss any religious, spiritual or non-religious tradition, position or worldview.

Abstracts are invited for the conference relating to the following themes:

  • Public engagement with STEMM in pluralistic or religiously diverse societies;

·       The social scientific and historical study of the relationship between science and religious and/or non-religious belief and identity;

·       Public perceptions of the relationship between science, religion and non-religion and their respective roles in society; 

·       National and international comparative perspectives on the study of science, religion and belief in society;

·       Past and present media or popular representations of science, religion and belief in society;

·       The past or present roles of science, rationalism, religion and belief in national, social or cultural identity and related geopolitical narratives;

·       Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of science, religion and non-religion in society;

·       Methodological approaches to, and issues in, the study of science, religion and belief in society;

·       Studies on the impact of publics’ views on science and religion on policy making, and provision for religious, spiritual or non-religious communities across a range of geographies and issues (e.g. healthcare provision, educational policy, science policy, environmental policy or development).

Individual or panel session submissions may cross over several of the themes listed above, and those intending to submit papers are encouraged to consider the relevance of their work to other academic disciplines.

Conference format

Due to constraints imposed by COVID 19, this conference will be entirely online. Sessions will be held throughout the day in order to enable people from different time zones to participate. Participants will be given the option of pre-recording their presentations, with recordings being submitted in advance of the conference dates.  If you have any questions or concerns about access or the conference format please email the INSBS Project Officer Paula Brikci.

Paper and panel submission

Please note: This virtual event is a rescheduled, online version of INSBS’s 2020 conference and covers the same themes. If you had an abstract accepted for that event and we have not already contacted you, please email Paula Brikci. If you have reconfirmed your place held from the 2020 Conference, you do not need to respond to this Call and we will contact you with more information after 12 March.

Individual paper submissions 

To submit a paper proposal, please write a title and abstract of no more than 300 words, alongside a biographical note of no more than 200 words (please use the online form - link below).

Panel session proposals 

We will also be accepting a limited number of panel proposals with a maximum of four speakers. To submit a panel proposal, using the online form (link below) please send a session summary of no more than 250 words, alongside abstracts of no more than 300 words for each individual paper and a short biography of no more than 200 words for each contributor. The format and individual presentation length for panel sessions is flexible, but please note that panel sessions must not take longer than 90 minutes overall.

Contributor Biographies

For all submissions, please send a biography of no more than 200 words for each contributor, including name, institutional affiliation, email address, primary discipline or subject area, a statement regarding career stage (e.g., early career, mid-career), and if possible a link to a personal profile on an institutional web page or similar.  Biographies of successful applicants will be added to the International Network’s Research DirectoryPlease indicate on your application if you would like to opt out of being added to the Research Directory.

All submissions must made online at:

All abstracts and panel proposals must be submitted online by March 12, 2021.

Conference Costs and Bursaries:

This conference is wholly funded by the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, as part of a 3-year grant from the Templeton Religion Trust. A number of bursaries are available to help with costs that may be incurred as a result of conference attendance.

These bursaries can be used to cover costs including (but not limited to) digital access/data packages or childcare, but may not be used for hardware (e.g. laptops etc.). We will prioritise those who have the most need such as postgraduate, early career, retired, low income/unwaged, or any researcher who may not ordinarily be able to access institutional funds or equipment to attend conferences.  

To request a bursary or any additional support, when submitting your abstract, please complete the additional box on the online submission form, giving a short statement of why you would like to be considered for one of the bursaries.

Key Dates: 

Abstract submission opens: 15 February 2021

Deadline for online submissions (abstracts, panels & bursaries): 12 March 2021

Decision notification/registration opens: 16 April 2021

Registration deadline for presenters: 28 May 2021

The conference is supported by the Templeton Religion Trust and is being held as part of the activities of the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, based at the University of Birmingham (UK).

For more information about the conference or wider network please contact Dr Alexander Hall.