The Body & Religion Conference, 15-17 Feb 2012

The “Commun(icat)ing Bodies – The Body & Religion Conference” was held 15-17 Feb 2012 at the University of Graz, Ausrtia.

NEW: Watch the keynote presentations!

In accordance with the open access policy of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) we have made the videos available on the podcast portal of the University of Graz as well as through iTunesU.

You can access the four keynote presentations using either of the two links:

Podcast Portal University of Graz:

iTunesU – University of Graz:


Download the Conference Folder.

Keynote Speakers


Anne-Sophie Lamine
Prof. Dr. Anne-Sophie Lamine is Professor for Sociology at the University of Strasbourg, FR.



Leopoldina Fortunati
Prof. Dr. Leopoldina Fortunati is Professor for Sociology of Communication at the Universita degli studi di Udine, IT.



Gerard Loughlin
Prof. Dr. Gerard Loughlin is Professor at the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, UK.



Theresia Heimerl
Prof. DDr. Theresia Heimerl is Professor for Religious Studies at the University of Graz, AT.

Conference Program

Wednesday, 15 February 2012:

10.00 Registration and Conference Office open

13.30 – 14.00 Conference Opening and Welcome Addresses.

14.00 – 16.30 Parallel Sessions I: Body Theologies / Body Images / Transcendental Bodies

16.30 – 17.00 Coffee Break

17.00 – 18.15 Keynote Address Anne-Sophie Lamine: Dimensions of Belief and Bodily Experiences.

18.15 Reception

Thursday, 16 February 2012:

08.45 – 10.00 Keynote Address Theresia Heimerl: Ascetic Athletes. The Body of the Hero in Contemporary Hollywood Cinema.

10.00 – 10.30 Coffee Break

10.30 – 12.30 Parallel Sessions II: Religious Body Experiences / Sacrificial Bodies / Charismatic Bodies / Panel Political Bodies

12.30 – 14.15 Lunch Break

14.15 – 16.15 Parallel Sessions III: Religion and the Shaping of the Body / Changing Bodies in Modernity / Body Rituals

16.15 – 16.45 Coffee Break

16.45 – 18.00 Keynote Address Gerard Loughlin: Natural Language. The Meaning of the Body.

20.00 Conference Dinner Restaurant “Landhauskeller”

Friday, 17 February 2012:

09.00 – 10.15 Keynote Address Leopoldina Fortunati: The Technological Body and Its Communicative Capabilities.

10.15 – 10.45 Coffee Break

10.45 – 13.15 Parallel Sessions IV:

Orientalization of Bodies / Incorruptible Bodies /

Body and/in Pictorial Art / The Suffering Body / Body and Disabilities

13.30 Farewell


The conference is part of two research projects at the University of Graz funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF):

  • the project Commun(icat)ing Bodies, an international and interdisciplinary research project at the Institute of Fundamental Theology (Graz) involving theology and religious studies scholars from Austria, Italy, and Switzerland;
  • the research project Asceticism in Modern Monasticism at the Institute of Religious Studies (Graz) in collaboration with the Centre d’Etudes Interdisciplinaires des Faits Religieux (CEIFR / Paris).

Conference Funding

The conference “Commun(icat)ing Bodies – The Body & Religion Conference” is part of two research projects funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): “Commun(icat)ing Bodies” and “Asceticism in Modern Monasticism: Changing Religious Body”. We would like to thank the FWF for both funding these research projects and contributing to the funding of this conference.

We have also received generous financial contributions from:

The Faculty of Catholic Theology, the Office of Research Management and Service, and the Office of International Relations, University of Graz; the City of Graz; the Government of the Province Styria – Dept. of Science and Research

We would like to thank all these institutions for their support without which this conference would not have been possible.


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cb_stmk cb_graz

Call for Papers

The Call for Papers is closed and we thank everyone for the time and effort they put into the proposals. We have received an overwhelming amount of high quality abstracts and look forward to exciting presentations.

For reference purposes, the call for papers can be downloaded as PDF file:


Conference Venue

cb_uztThe Commun(icat)ing Bodies conference takes place at the Universitaets-zentrum Theologie – University Center Theology (UZT) of the University of Graz. Founded in 1585, the University of Graz is one of Austria’s largest universities today and hosts Austria’s second oldest Faculty of Theology.




cb_platzGraz, Austria’s second largest city and capital of the federal state of Styria, stands out through its historic city center and the Schlossberg, a little hill in the middle of the city offering a great view onto the city.




cb_rathausGraz was European Cultural Capital 2003 and has recently received the UNESCO City of Design award. It features several highlights in modern architecture:






the Kunsthaus (Graz Museum of Modern Art), designed by the famous architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier,






and the Murinsel (Mur Island), designed by the acclaimed architect Vito Acconci.







UZT Universitaetszentrum Theologie

University of Graz

Heinrichstrasse 78A

8010 Graz




The UZT can easily reached by bus. Take bus 58 (towards “Mariatrost”) and get off at “Rosenhaingasse” which is right in front of the UZT (for a bus timetable cf.

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner takes place at the Restaurant “Landhauskeller”, Schmiedgasse 9. From the UZT take bus 58 (towards “Hauptbahnhof”/train station) and get off at “Keplerbruecke”. Change to tram 5 (towards “Puntigam”) and get off at the city center (“Hauptplatz”). From there, the “Landhauskeller” is just a 2 minutes walk – just pass the city hall on the right side.

Conference Directors

Dr. Christian Feichtinger – University of Graz

Dr. Isabelle Jonveaux – University of Graz

Dr. Alexander D. Ornella – University of Hull


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