Dear Scholars of Religion,
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Welcome to the website of the XXIII World Congress of the International Association for the Study of Religions (IAHR), which will take place in Kraków, Poland, from August 24 to 30, 2025.
This event marks the first IAHR World Congress in ten years, due to the unfortunate cancellation of the 2020 World Congress in Otago, New Zealand, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The local host in Kraków—the Jagellonian University, and the Polish Society for the Study of Religions—and the IAHR are delighted to welcome you in Poland for a week of scientific discussions, intellectual exchanges, and friendly interactions among scholars from around the world. True to the spirit of the IAHR, as stated in its Constitution, the organizers are committed to fostering a vibrant atmosphere, and to creating opportunities for the advancement of the academic study of religion(s).
The organization of the World Congress in 2025 invites us to celebrate several milestones in the history of our discipline. This year marks
- the 125th anniversary of the first World Congress of religious studies held in Paris in 1900;
- the 75th anniversary of the founding of the IAHR at a congress in Amsterdam;
- the 25th anniversary of the founding of the European Association for the Study of Religions in Kraków in 2000.
Against this backdrop, the World Congress will allow us to reflect on the past and the future of our discipline.
The topic of the World Congress is:
Out of Europe: Studying Religion(s) in Interconnected Worlds
By choosing this topic, the Congress aims to explore the creative tensions intrinsic in the historical origins and global scope of the study of religion(s). You can read more about the topic of the World Congress here in Call for Panels & Papers.
The topic of the World Congress and its location are closely connected to one another. The proposal to hold the next World Congress of Religious Studies in Kraków with the theme “Out of Europe” highlights a particular historical moment in the development of the discipline. Looking back at the development and achievements of the historical and scientific study of religion initiated in Western Europe, we will explore its global impact and potential contribution to the discussions in the future.
Religions in Central and Eastern Europe developed in a different way than in Western Europe. Kraków as the royal capital of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth has roots in the more profound history of “Younger Europe” christianized around 1000 CE. Volodymyr, the ruler of the Kyiv Rus, chose the Greek Orthodox Church after scrutinizing other “faiths”: Judaism, Islam, and the Roman Church. Since the Late Medieval period, the history of Central and Eastern Europe has been continuously reconfigured by the circulation of people and ideas. This led to deep interconnections between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (Tatar, Ottoman Empire) and the emergence of a multi-religious patchwork of cultures. This part of Europe was also a victim of imperial policies and suffered the effects of peasant enslavement . In the 20th century, the Shoah and totalitarian regimes disrupted earlier inclusive traditions in the Bloodlands, i.e., Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states.
Within the religious system currently in place, we invite the global academic community to explore religions in interconnected worlds. We sincerely hope that this rich background will provide inspiration to both retrace the main trajectories of our discipline’s development and to explore new directions.