Berkeley Conference, 2018


Regional SOPHERE conference in Berkeley, California

Hosting Institutions: Graduate Theological Union, Jesuit School of Theology, Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute

Friday, January 26 (all day), to Saturday, January 27 (all day), 2018

Keynote speakers:  Michael Barber (Saint Louis University), and  Marc Jean-Bernard (University of Puerto Rico)

The conference is divided into two main sections: critical issues in the phenomenological research of religious experience, and the phenomenology of religious experience in various domains of the lifeworld, such as ministry, preaching, corporate world, ecology, health practices, and pastoral and clinical counseling.

In the first section we welcome contributions which advance research of religious experience by articulating the areas of special reflection, as well as the areas of new and visionary problematic. How do we thematize the problem of religious experience? How does the traditional phenomenological first-person authority play itself out in the phenomenology of religious experience? Should phenomenological research of religious experience be in dialogue with natural science research?  What are the spheres, regions and horizons in which we can understand religious experience? How do traditional topics of phenomenological philosophy, such as the ego, subjectivity, embodiment, or intersubjectivity, relate to the study of religious experience? We invite these and other questions to be treated not only in light of classical phenomenological scholarship, but also within interpretive and critical approaches; we also welcome contributions coming from the perspectives of theological phenomenology such as, for example, perspectives connected with the work of Schleiermacher or Troeltsch, French phenomenology, and the phenomenology of life.

In the second section, we would like to read papers which discuss the positioning of religious experience in various lifeworlds. How do religious realities manifest across the different traditions and practices? What regional ontologies of knowledge create the contexts for successful phenomenological research of religious experience? How can phenomenology clarify the role of religious experience in the world of business, in emergent theologies of hope, or in healthcare?


The conference papers will be considered for publication in a special topical issue.

Papers should be up to 4500 words/30 min of reading time.  Detailed abstracts (250-500 words) will be considered. Please submit the abstracts and/or papers at

Deadline for submission NOW EXTENDED: December 30, 2017

Early registration is now open

Conference inquiries  

Undergraduate section

The Conference has two formats supporting undergraduate student engagement.  Mentors bringing with them their undergraduate mentees will have special time allowances for talks and discussions.   Students can read papers in advance, and prepare questions which can be asked during the question-answer period. Second, if we receive undergraduate talk submissions, we can set up special sessions for that. If you are interested in setting up an undergraduate session, please contact Courtenay Crouch, the Chair of the Undergraduate Section of the conference, at

Call For Papers

Location and Accommodations



Program and Abstracts


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