Symposium on the Comparative Study of Religious Seminaries

Author: Kat Brealey

Date: 03 May 2016

One day symposium on the Comparative Study of Religious Seminaries

Wednesday 5th October 2016 at UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Call for papers

Abstracts are invited for a one day symposium organised jointly by the Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education, UCL Institute of Education and the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Oxford focusing on the study of religious seminaries. 

Many religious traditions have educational institutions/systems to prepare students for teaching, leadership and pastoral roles within their respective traditions. The word seminary, though of Christian origins, is widely used to designate such institutions across different religious communities including Islamic madrasas (madaris) and Jewish yeshivas. 

In recent decades the histories, function, curriculum and organisation of seminaries have been amply studied. In some contexts, such as the Muslim, this focus has often been under the influence of security concerns. However, the scholarship in this area has usually progressed within the confines of particular religious traditions. Despite the Woolf Institute’s call for further research in a 2008 report (Mumisa & Kessler), comparative studies have not received due attention. This one-day seminar will respond to the gap in scholarship by bringing together researchers and practitioners in different traditions to engage with each other. In addition to being of academic interest, the symposium will explore good practice, further mutual understanding and encourage self-reflection through dialogue. 

We welcome papers and participation from academics, religious scholars, teachers, administrators, students and interested lay people.  The programme will consist of keynote lectures, paper sessions, workshops and time for discussion.
Papers are welcomed with a focus on (but not limited to) one or more of the following areas:

Theological and social scientific studies on seminaries (or equivalents) in any religious tradition but particularly Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions.
A single religious tradition but comparative studies are particularly encouraged;
Global, international or local case studies but priority will be given to those dealing with seminaries in the West, and particularly Britain;
Curriculum design particularly as it relates to teaching about intra and inter-religious diversity’;
Studies of curricular and/or pedagogical reforms;
History of seminary education;
The contribution seminaries can make/have made to contemporary civic concerns such as social justice, reducing inequalities of wealth, protecting the environment, gender justice and strengthening active citizenship, engagement with technology and combating terrorism.

Please submit an abstract of 400-500 words outlining the main theme of the paper to by Thursday, 30 June 2016. Please also include your contact details and a short bio in the document. Decision of the peer review of abstracts will be communicated by 21 July 2016.

Conference registration will open in mid-May.

For enquiries, please write to