Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies & Dialogue

Sacred Texts and Human Contexts

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To register: See the Conference Information section below.

These conferences bring together scholars from the United States, Canada, and around the globe to share research on contemporary issues in religion and social sciences. We invite you to join us.

Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Religions and the (De)Legitimation of Violence

When: July 29 - 31, 2018

Where: Otto A. Shults Community Center, Nazareth College, Rochester, New York, 4245 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14618

In today's world, it seems that religious violence has become unfortunately common. But, is religion actually the major cause of violence? What is the relationship between religion and other factors such as political, ethnic, racial, economic or other social disparities and injustices? 

This international symposium will elaborate on how religions have viewed and interpreted their sacred texts throughout their histories with reference to (de)legitimation of violence. The symposium is multidisciplinary and we encourage submissions from social scientists, historians, as well as scholars in theology and religious studies. We are particularly focused on the subject of religion, violence and peacemaking in its historical and contemporary contexts. As always in our conferences, we encourage presentations on the teachings and practices of the different faith communities set within their political, economic, and social contexts.  

Some of the broader areas that presenters will explore are:

  • Religions, violence and peacemaking (examining religious motivation in social violence) 

  • Investigating the roots of different types of violence in their historical and religious contexts
  • Multidisciplinary interpretations of the causes of war and the role of religion among these causes

  • Patterns, examples, and methods of peacemaking and conflict resolution from religious and secular sources

  • Empirical, anthropological, or scientific approaches to religion and violence

  • Religious and non-religious approaches to pacifism, non-violent resistance, and peace-building 


Conference Information

Conference Schedule will be posted in March 2018
Conference Registration, Meals, and Housing
Sacred Texts Conference Publications
Submitting Proposals
Foundational Questions

Administration and Planning

Event Partners
Planning Committee

Conference History

2013: Focused on the role of sacred texts in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in uniting and dividing humanity. Selected papers from the conference were published in December 2014. 

2014: Held in Istanbul. Focused on poverty and wealth in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Selected papers were published by Palgrave MacMillan in June 2016.

2016: Focused on nature and the environment in religions. Selected papers are being prepared for publication. A WXXI public radio half-hour interview with Thomas Donlin-Smith, professor of religious studies at Nazareth College; Nathan Kollar, Hickey Center co-founder; and others explored how faith influences the environment.

2017: Focused on women and gender in religions

Why Rochester, New York

While in Rochester, conference participants can visit nearby historic landmarks that define the women’s rights movement.

  • Rochester is the seed of the Women’s Rights Movement. Susan B. Anthony lived and worked tirelessly here for suffrage and is buried in the local Mount Hope Cemetery. Visit the Susan. B. Anthony House.
  • Less than an hour from Rochester is Seneca Falls, home of the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, including Wesleyan Chapel where the first Women's Rights Convention was held in 1848.

  • Learn about the traditionally matriarchal society of the Seneca people — which inspired the women's suffrage movement — at a historic site and culture center just southeast of Rochester in Victor called Ganondagan.

  • Genesee Country Village and Museum presents the lives and times of 19th-century America, including women.

  • Read more about Women's Heritage & Rights in the region.

National "firsts" in Rochester

  • Martha Matilda Harper defied her destiny as a servant girl to launch America's first business format franchising system in 1891.
  • Catherine Anselm "Kate" Gleason, born in Rochester, was an American engineer and business woman. She was the first woman elected to membership in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the first woman to serve as president of a national bank, and the first female member of the American Concrete Institute.
  • Antoinette Blackwell was the first ordained female minister in the United States.