This conference takes encounter and intersection as its frame. It explores the nature of relations between different faith and ethnic groups, between diasporic and indigenous citizens and between convivial, and not so convivial, multicultures in current, complex, post colonial contexts. The organisers are interested in patterns and trends in contemporary identity practices, the intersections between social identities and how intersection and multiplicity are experienced and lived.

Encounters can be hostile, intimate, violent, anxious, celebratory, defensive, banal or historic. Participants can feel consumed, tolerated, included, marginalised or empowered. In policy terms, encounters can be read through the lens of ‘community cohesion’, the ‘duty to integrate’ or the ‘clash of civilisations’. How do different forms of encounter organise (and how are they organised by) particular relational spaces? How do they create and reflect ‘contact zones’? How do people negotiate multiple identities of faith, class, ethnicity, gender, nationality, place, etc? What are the social, political and ethical consequences?

This conference is organised by the ESRC/AHRC Programme on Religion and Society (, the AHRC Programme on Diasporas, Migration and Identities ( and the ESRC Programme on Identities and Social Action ( It will show-case the interdisciplinary research taking place in the UK on these themes across the arts, social sciences and humanities.

The conference includes a keynote address from Prof. Paul Gilroy (London School of Economics) and author of After Empire; The Black Atlantic and Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack.

There will be panels on Living Intersections – New British Identities and Encounters – Materials, Spaces and Performances highlighting the research being conducted in the three Programmes. The conference will include parallel sessions of paper presentations, photographic and poster exhibitions, a conference dinner, drinks receptions and many opportunities for discussion and networking with researchers from a wide range of disciplinary and intellectual perspectives.

Submissions to present papers (20 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions) on the conference themes. Papers might present some empirical findings, it might consist of a performance, a theoretical review, critique and new argument; it might consist of a textual analysis, raise provocative questions or analyse one case, site or context. Abstracts should be submitted to Katie Roche ( by the 28th of February, 2008 including full contact details for all authors.

For further information and registration please see

To be held at St Catherine’s College Oxford

Accommodation and meals for those who require them will be available in the College.

This is not an Ekklesia event but Ekklesia supports the aims of the conference