Religious Studies PhD Conference 2021 in Brno

September 23, 2021

The CEU Center for Religious Studies held its 5th Annual Religious Studies Doctoral Conference WH&RE 2021: Wellbeing, Harm, and Religion in Brno, Czech Republic 9-11 September 2021 at Masaryk University (MUNI) with four European partner universities. At the helm of the student organizing team was Jan Trtílek, along with PhD students at the MUNI Department for the Study of Religions, together with Charles University’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Pardubice University’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and, event founder, the CEU Center for Religious Studies.

This year’s theme focused on intersections between religion, health, and diverse cultural conceptions of harm and wellbeing. It featured presentations ranging from epidemics in the Roman period, ritualized harm, religion and mental health, to the presence of magic, charms and spells in religious activity.

The Opening Keynote Address by Andrea de Antoni (Kyoto University) entitled Spirits in the Material World: An Anthropology of Religious Healing, Affective Accordance, and Affective Technologies described practice at one Japanese temple where a specific kind of exorcism is performed.

On the following day, Keynote speaker Radek Kundt (MUNI) gave a talk on Effects of Extreme Ritual on Physiological and Psychological Health, highlighting exciting research done on-site in the MUNI Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion (LEVYNA) and in the field in Mauritius.

The Closing Keynote by Michal Pagis (Bar-Ilan University) entitled Re-Enchanting Therapy introduced new and original research on the use of religion and religious concepts in psychotherapy and other kinds of therapy.

Due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, the event was held in hybrid form, with half of the 40 participants present on-line, including the two international keynote speakers. The sessions were chaired on-site, and discussion took place both on-line and on-site in MUNI Faculty of Philosophy’s state-of-the-art auditorium.

Along with the engaging keynotes and panels, on-site participants enjoyed truly note-worthy local catering (provided by an ex-coordinator at the Religious Studies Department), a tour of downtown Brno and a local craft brewery, and accommodation at the university’s dormitories.

Presenters will have the opportunity to have their papers be considered for publication through a partnership with Axis Mundi, a biannual religious studies journal, published under Slovak Association for the Study of Religion.

The CEU Center for Religious Studies is grateful for the immaculate organization and generous hospitality of MUNI and the Czech partners this year and looks forward to further expanding its PhD Conference network, which also currently includes Szeged University’s Department for the Study of Religions and Eötvös Loránd University’s Center for the Study of Religion to run an even more wide-reaching, international event in the coming year.

For more details on the 5th Annual Religious Studies Doctoral Conference WH&RE 2021: Wellbeing, Harm, and Religion, please visit its webpage:

For more details about doctoral conferences organized by the CEU Center for Religious Studies in the past four years, visit the CRS website's 'Events' page.