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Call For Papers

20th European Conference on Science and Theology (ECST XX)


Split, Croatia


28th August – 1st September 2024


“Sciences, Theologies, fictions. The construction of narrative in science and religion”


The academic study of science and religion has been dominated by theological, historical and philosophical approaches since its inception (roughly the 1960s). In recent decades other disciplinary perspectives have become prominent, especially anthropology, psychology and social sciences. And there are still other approaches from the arts and humanities that are now starting to make their mark and are yet to be fully explored; approaches such as literary criticism and textual studies. Indeed, viewing the science-and-religion discourse as a human social, political and existential problem foregrounds the particularities of context, time and place; particularities that are amenable to analysis in terms of story and narrative. Genres such as film and creative literature become important. Poetry, fiction, and drama contain far-reaching and imaginative explorations of issues at the heart of the science-and-religion dialogue, as illustrated by John Haught’s and Celia-Deane Drummond’s use of drama in engaging evolutionary biology. Another approach might explore the depiction of science and theology topics in literary works, such as John Milton’s Paradise Lost (creation, cosmology, the human condition) or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (creation, human uniqueness). Mining these works requires a sensitivity to the methods of literary and textual criticism, while also allowing for a whole new mode of dialogue between the sciences and religious belief, a mode where the analysis of narrative, character, and literary devices takes centre stage.


ECST XX will explore these themes and many more. Our hope is that scholars will bring their interests in science and religion to look at diverse questions and genres, such as sci fi, music, creative literature, film, drama, poetry, and the analysis of narrative and story, along with the socio-political stories of science and religion in our world. Clearly, we have in mind literary and imaginative construals of the science-and-religion debate, but we are equally interested in the critical analysis of important moments in the debate, along with how the arts, humanities and social sciences have been or might be used to explore social and political aspects of the debate. Very recent work, for instance, has brought perspectives from critical race theory, gender and queer theory, crip/disability and postcolonial analysis to bear, all of which are relevant to the construction of narrative. And of course, there are many other related issues within the humanities and sciences that might be appropriate to explore.

We will meet in the University of Split in Croatia and will hear 4 plenary speakers who are experts in the analysis of narrative in science and religion, both literary and media scholars, social scientists and natural scientists with interests in theology. We invite everybody, from within and outside the ESSSAT community, to join our exchange of ideas and contribute to our discussions and paper sessions.

The conference is a collaboration between ESSSAT, the Center for the Study of the Relationship between Science and Religion, University of Zagreb (CePOZir), and the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion (University of Oxford, UK)

Plenary Speakers:

  • Dr Franziska Kohlt (University of Leeds, UK)

  • Dr Zoe Lehmann (University of Bern, Switzerland)

  • Dr Renny Thomas (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal, India)

  • Dr Petar Tomev Mitrikeski (University of Zagreb, Croatia)


We invite short interdisciplinary papers that bring literary studies, the arts and social sciences into dialogue with any aspect of science and theology. Papers on other aspects of the interaction between theology, the natural sciences, the arts & humanities, cultural studies, and social sciences may also be offered.

To submit a short paper proposal please email the following information to the Scientific Programme Officer before 31st January 2024:


  • A provisional title

  • 5-10 keys words

  • An outline of 300-500 words, making clear the relevance of the paper to the theme of the conference or other aspects of the interaction between science and theology

  • Your full name and academic post/institutional affiliation (if any)


This single-sided document must be sent in either doc- or pdf-file format. No other format will be accepted.


The conference language is English.


Information about the acceptance of a paper will be given in February 2024 together with guidelines for the paper and its presentation at the conference. Complete short papers (max. 2,500 words) must be received by 31 July 2024 to allow for pre-reading. At the conference, you are expected to summarize (not read) your short paper in order to give more time for Q&A/discussion. Papers and the short paper session schedule will be made available for pre-reading to registered participants. If you want your paper to be presented in the same session as another paper, please indicate which paper in the email when sub-mitting your abstract.


Scientific Programme Officer: Dr Joanna Leidenhag

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