Janis Priede, part of the MYPLACE team at Daugavpils University in Latvia offers his thoughts on the recent conference “Between East and West: Cultural and Religious Dialogue before, during and after the Totalitarian Rule” in Riga.
For more information on the MYPLACE project, visit the project’s website: HERE
The 1st International scientific conference of Latvian Society for the Study of Religion “Between East and West: Cultural and Religious Dialogue before, during and after the Totalitarian Rule” took place in Riga at the University of Latvia on 6-8 October, 2011. The conference was organized by the Latvian Society for the Studies of Religion in cooperation with the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Latvia, Daugavpils University within the EC 7th framework programme project “MYPLACE”, and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Latvia. The conference was concerned with the dialogue of religions and cultures affected by diverse totalitarian regimes. Their influence is often echoed in the collective memory manifested in various contemporary processes. These processes may be manifested also in the form of active involvement or intentional staying away from civic activities. These processes were investigated by researchers within the EC 7th framework programme project “MYPLACE”. The researchers involved in the project disseminated their findings in different panels at the conference, and a special workshop took place to discuss the actualities and work of the Latvian team. The conference also placed special emphasis on relations among culture, science, and religion, the contemporary religious situation and processes, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and new religious movements. The conference program is to be found on the website of European Association of Studies of Religion (EASR): http://easr.org/member-associations/latvia/konferences.
The conference turned out to be a success. Among conference participants were more than 55 researchers from about twenty countries, including Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K., Czech Republic, Russia, Byelorussia, Bulgaria, U.S.A and Japan. Three highly important plenary key note sessions by Marco Pasi (Netherlands), Hilary Pilkington (MYPLACE, U.K.) and Tim Jensen (IAHR Generally Secretary, Denmark). The papers on totalitarian experiences, collective memory, youth involvement in the processes within civic society, and other question were presented by Latvian team members of MYPLACE (Anita Stasulane, Irena Saleniece, Gatis Ozolins, Marika Laudere), MYPLACE partners from the Museum of Occupation of Latvia (Inese Dreimane), and researchers from other Latvian and foreign institutions. The preparing, coordinating and organizing work of this international conference was carried out by the MYPLACE Latvian team (Janis Priede, Anita Stasulane). The work on collecting, editing and publishing the conference materials has also already started.