Call for Papers

The Religious and Ethnic Future of Europe: An International Conference

12-13 June 2017, Åbo Akademi University, Turku/Åbo, Finland

Europe is undergoing significant demographic changes due to an aging population and increased immigration. This expert symposium will gather internationally leading experts to discuss the cultural, ethnic and religious aspects of this ongoing demographic shift.

The demographics of religion is a new field that has developed alongside growing xenophobia and Islamophobia worldwide. Fear of the demographic change in Europe is one of the ideological motors behind several xenophobic and populist social and political movements. Academic research has lagged behind, but now there is a growing body of serious scholarship on this controversial topic. The conference will bring together people to present the latest research findings as well as methodological and theoretical questions concerning the cultural and societal implications of demographic trajectories.

Groundbreaking research has been conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Global Religious Futures Project that has provided elementary data on global demographic trajectories in the 2010s. Also the Vienna Institute of Demography has given major contributions in projecting the future development of religious adherence in the City of Vienna and developing methodologies for the visualization of demographic change.

Keynote lectures:

  • “What we know and do not know about future religious developments: The contribution of demography” by Dr Anne Goujon, Vienna Institute of Demography, Austria
  • “New estimates and projections of Europe’s Muslim population” by Dr Conrad Hackett, Pew Research Center, USA
  • “Religion and demographic change around the world ” by Prof. Vegard Skirbekk, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway
  • “Estimating Future Religious Diversity in Finland” by Dr Tuomas Martikainen, Migration Institute of Finland

We invite people from different academic backgrounds to discuss religion and demographic developments including but not limited to the following topics:

  • Demographic projections on religion and ethnicity
  • Statistics on religion and ethnicity
  • The use and misuse of demographic and statistics of religion and ethnicity
  • The larger implications of demographic changes for the research on multicultural societies, interreligious encounters and diversity.

To apply, please send an abstract of approximately 150 words to the Donner Institute,, no later than 31 December, 2016.

The expert symposium is arranged jointly by the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History, the Migration Institute of Finland and the “Young Adults and Religion in a Global Perspective” Åbo Akademi University Centre of Excellence in Research.

The conference will be followed by the 20th Nordic Demographic Symposium (NDS), University of Turku, 14-16 June 2017. The conference theme is “Demography and Social Inequalities”, keynote speakers are Prof. Lynn Prince Cooke (University of Bath), Executive Director Mikko Myrskylä (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research & London School of Economics) and Professor Francesco Billari (University of Oxford).