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Call for Papers and ESSSAT Prizes

European Conference on Science and Theology (ECST XX)

Split, Croatia

28 August – 1 September 2024


“Sciences, Theologies, fictions. The construction of narrative in science and religion”

The academic study of science and religion has been dominated by theological, historical and philosophical approaches since its inception (roughly the 1960s). In recent decades other disciplinary perspectives have become prominent, especially anthropology, psychology and social sciences. And there are still other approaches from the arts and humanities that are now starting to make their mark and are yet to be fully explored; approaches such as literary criticism and textual studies. Indeed, viewing the science-and-religion discourse as a human social, political and existential problem foregrounds the particularities of context, time and place; particularities that are amenable to analysis in terms of story and narrative. Genres such as film and creative literature become important. Poetry, fiction, and drama contain far-reaching and imaginative explorations of issues at the heart of the science-and-religion dialogue, as illustrated by John Haught’s and Celia-Deane Drummond’s use of drama in engaging evolutionary biology. Another approach might explore the depiction of science and theology topics in literary works, such as John Milton’s Paradise Lost (creation, cosmology, the human condition) or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (creation, human uniqueness). Mining these works requires a sensitivity to the methods of literary and textual criticism, while also allowing for a whole new mode of dialogue between the sciences and religious belief, a mode where the analysis of narrative, character, and literary devices takes centre stage.

ECST XX will explore these themes and many more. Our hope is that scholars will bring their interests in science and religion to look at diverse questions and genres, such as sci fi, music, creative literature, film, drama, poetry, and the analysis of narrative and story, along with the socio-political stories of science and religion in our world. Clearly, we have in mind literary and imaginative construals of the science-and-religion debate, but we are equally interested in the critical analysis of important moments in the debate, along with how the arts, humanities and social sciences have been or might be used to explore social and political aspects of the debate. Very recent work, for instance, has brought perspectives from critical race theory, gender and queer theory, crip/disability and postcolonial analysis to bear, all of which are relevant to the construction of narrative. And of course, there are many other related issues within the humanities and sciences that might be appropriate to explore.

We will meet in the University of Split in Croatia and will hear 4 plenary speakers who are experts in the analysis of narrative in science and religion, both literary and media scholars, social scientists and natural scientists with interests in theology. We invite everybody, from within and outside the ESSSAT community, to join our exchange of ideas and contribute to our discussions and paper sessions.

Plenary Speakers:

  • Dr Franziska Kohlt (University of Leeds, UK)
  • Dr Zoe Lehmann (University of Bern, Switzerland)
  • Dr Renny Thomas (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal, India)
  • Dr Petar Tomev Mitrikeski (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Croatia)

We invite short interdisciplinary papers that bring literary studies, the arts and social sciences into dialogue with any aspect of science and theology. Papers on other aspects of the interaction between theology, the natural sciences, the arts & humanities, cultural studies, and social sciences may also be offered.

To submit a short paper proposal please email the following information to the Scientific Programme Officer before 31st January 2024:

  • A provisional title
  • 5-10 keys words
  • An outline of 300-500 words, making clear the relevance of the paper to the theme of the conference or other aspects of the interaction between science and theology
  • Your full name and academic post/institutional affiliation (if any)

This single-sided document must be sent in either doc- or pdf-file format. No other format will be accepted.

The conference language is English.

Information about the acceptance of a paper will be given in February 2024 together with guidelines for the paper and its presentation at the conference. Complete short papers (max. 2,500 words) must be received by 31 July 2024 to allow for pre-reading. At the conference, you are expected to summarize (not read) your short paper in order to give more time for Q&A/discussion. Papers and the short paper session schedule will be made available for pre-reading to registered participants and members of ESSSAT. If you want your paper to be presented in the same session as another paper, please indicate which paper in the email when sub-mitting your abstract.

Scientific Programme Officer: Dr Joanna Leidenhag.

ESSSAT Prizes for Studies in Science and Theology 2024

In connection with ECST XX (2024, in Split, Croatia), two ESSSAT prizes are open for competition between early career scholars working in Europe.

The ESSSAT Research Prize (of 2500 €) will be awarded for an outstanding original contribution at book length, e.g. a doctoral thesis, submitted to the ESSSAT Prize Officer by 28 February 2024.



The ESSSAT Student Prize (of 1500 €) will be awarded for an essay of 10,000 words maximum, written in an academic context at undergraduate or postgraduate level, submitted to the ESSSAT Prize Officer by 30 April 2024.

The works, whose topic may address any aspect of the interface between religion/theology and the natural sciences (or social/human sciences), should exemplify the aims of ESSSAT to advance open and critical communication between the disciplines of theology, religious studies
and science, to promote their cross-fertilization, and to work on the solution of interdisciplinary problems. The prize-winning contributions should be outstanding reflections bearing on the relationship between religion, theology and the sciences in contemporary culture. The
submissions will be evaluated based on their originality, quality, and relevance.


A candidate for the Research or Student Prize must be nominated by a senior faculty member of a university or similar institution of higher education in Europe. ESSSAT membership is not required. The work must be based on research done in Europe (with allowance for a period of research elsewhere of at most one year) and have been accepted for academic credit, presented or published in 2022-2024. It may be in any major European language. It need not have been published.

The prizes will be presented at the Twentieth European Conference on Science and Theology (ECST XX), in Split, Croatia, 28 August – 1 September 2024. The prize winners are required to attend the conference. Their conference fees will be covered. 


For applications, mail to ESSSAT Prize Officer, Jaime Tatay.


Each application must include:

(a) The work itself as a pdf-file.
(b) A brief curriculum vitae of the author (stating nationality); and
(c) A letter of nomination.
(d) Applications for the research prize need to add a ten-page summary of the work in English
(1.5 line spacing, font size 12).
Submitted material will not be returned.


The ESSSAT Prize Officer:
Jaime Tatay
Alberto Aguilera, 25
28029 Madrid
Email: Jaime Tatay