– Religious Freedom as seen from a Minority

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Research seminar to celebrate 200 years of Quaker Presence in Norway
– Religious Freedom as seen from a
Minority Perspective
Wednesday 3rd to Friday 5th of September 2014
Freedom of belief – intellectual freedom – freedom of conscience:
Quakers as a part of the democracy discourse through 200 years,
1814 – 2014
University of Stavanger and Tysvær Cultural Centre, Aksdal.
The University of Stavanger is offering an international research seminar
on Freedom of belief – intellectual freedom – freedom of conscience: Quakers
as a part of the democracy discourse through 200 years. The seminar is a cooperative venture between the University of Stavanger, the Municipality of
Tysvær, The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Norway, and Quaker
Postgraduate Study Centre, Birmingham.
The year 2014 is also the 200 years anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution of 1814, and the seminar will examine the development of religious
freedom from the time of the Constitution of 1814. Quakers and the Society
of Friends fought a long battle – gradually joined by other religious and life
stance societies – for the freedom of belief and for equal rights.
Important steps along the way were the Dissenter Acts of 1845 and 1891,
the abolition of the constitutional ban on Jews in 1851, the issue of Conscientious Objection in 1902 and 1922, the annulment of the paragraph
denying access to Jesuits in 1956, the positive confirmation of full freedom
of religious faith and practise in paragraph 2 of the Constitution in 1964, the
loosening of the bonds between church and school from 1915 onwards, via
the acts on religious communities and primary schools of 1969, up to Norwegian Public Report No. 1 2013: Life Stance Plurality in Society, Towards
a comprehensive policy on faith and life stances. An important part of this
development has been the discussion on equal treatment of all faith communities.
It will be important to review the role of The Norwegian Church in the discourse on democracy and religious freedom, historically as well as in our
own time. One of the goals of the seminar is to see freedom of religion from
a minority perspective and in relation to equal rights for all faiths, and to
take a fresh look at religious freedom by analysing the various factors which
were parts of the discourse at different times through this history. The desire for religious freedom will be examined in light of the tension between
its contribution to, or possible threat to, the development of the new nation.
The overall goal of the seminar is to achieve a deeper analysis and gain more
knowledge about this part of Norwegian history in order to provide better
understanding of the complex relationship between freedom of religion,
freedom of ideas and conscience, and equality between the various faith
groups and life stance communities. It is natural to take a fresh look at these
themes in the context of the Constitutional Celebrations, but also to see
them in a wider context in relation to the situation between different faiths
in Norway as well as internationally at the present time.
The Seminar will commence at the University of Stavanger, then move on
to Tysvær Cultural Centre. In addition to the seminar papers there will be a
public lecture: «Religious Freedom today – status, dilemmas, and challenges». Quakers were in a strong position in the Rogaland area, and excursions
to Quaker memorial places in Stavanger and Tysvær are included in the
programme. Most papers will be given in English. The seminar is open to
anyone interested.
Dates and Times:
Opening 3rd September at 11 am; 4th September at 9 am; Closing 5th September at 2 pm.
University of Stavanger and Tysvær Cultural Centre, Aksdal.
University of Stavanger in cooperation with Centre for Postgraduate Quaker Studies / University of Birmingham, England, The Religious Society of
Friends (Quakers) in Norway, and the Municipality of Tysvær.
Wednesday September 3rd: At the University of Stavanger
11.00-12.30: Opening and Key-note lecture: professor Pink Dandelion, Centre for Postgraduate Quaker Studies, Woodbrooke
and University of Birmingham: “Quakers and ‘the world’: religious freedom and citizenship”
12.30-13.30: Lunch
The sequence of the presentations is not yet decided.
13.30-15.00: Session 1
13.30 – 14.15 PAPER 1
14.15 – 15.00 PAPER 2
15.00-15.30: Coffee-break
15.30-16.45: Session 2
15.30 – 16.15 PAPER 3
16.15 – 17.00 PAPER 4
17.15: Bus tour of Quaker sites in Stavanger followed by
Departure for Tysvær
Simple evening meal at Tysvær kulturhus
Thursday September 4th: At Tysvær kulturhus
09.00-10.30: Session 3
09.00 – 09.45 PAPER 5
09.45 – 10.30 PAPER 6
10.30-11.00: Coffee break
11.00-12.30: Session 4
11.00 – 11.45 PAPER 7
11.45 – 12.30 PAPER 8
12.30-13.30: Lunch
13.30-15.00 Session 5
13.30 - 14.15 PAPER 9
14.15 – 15.00 PAPER 10
15.15-17.30: Visit to Quaker sites in Tysvær, including the Meeting
House and grave yard.
17.30-18.00: Coffee break
18.00-19.30: Public lecture (In Norwegian): Professor Head of Institute Ingunn Folkestad Breistein, Universitetet i Agder.
“Religious freedom today – status, dilemmas and challenges.”
“Religionsfrihet i dag – status, dilemmaer og utfordringer.”
20.00: Conference dinner at Tysvær kulturhus
Friday September 5th: At Tysvær kulturhus.
09.00-10.30: Session 6
09.00 – 09.45 PAPER 11
09.45 – 10.30 PAPER 12
10.30-11.00: Coffee break
11.00-12.45: Panel session
12.45-13.00: Closing of seminar
13.00: Lunch
Departure after lunch
Key-note lectures and Papers:
Key-note lecture – At University of Stavanger Wednesday 3rd of
11.00-12.30: Professor Pink Dandelion, University of Birmingham:
“Quakers and ‘the world’: religious freedom and citizenship”
Pink Dandelion is a professor of Quaker studies at the University of Birmingham, where he directs the work of the Centre for Postgraduate Quaker Studies, Woodbrooke and the University of Birmingham.
Key-note lecture – Open to the public, Tysvær kulturhus Thursday 4th
of September 18.00-19.30: Professor Ingunn Folkestad Breistein, University of Agder.
“Religionsfrihet i dag – status, dilemmaer og utfordringer.” (“Religious freedom today – status, dilemmas and challenges.”)
The lecture is will be given in Norwegian.
Most of the papers will be given in English and are supposed to last for 2530 minutes, after which 15-20 minutes will be open for comments and questions. The sequence of the presentations is not yet decided.
Roald Berg, professor, University of Stavanger:
“The Lutheran control in Norwegian Politics 1814-1956.”
”Luthersk kontroll over norsk politikk 1814-1956.”
Geir Skeie, professor, University of Stavanger:
“Religious education, minorities and the politics / policy of the national state.”
”Religionsundervisning, minoriteter og nasjonalstatens politikk.”
Berit Eide Johnsen, professor, University of Agder:
”The role of Norwegian prisoners of war during The Napoleonic wars in nation building in Norway after their repatriation. The ideas and professional
skills they brought to Norway.”
”Prisonfangenes rolle i nasjonsbyggingen i Norge. Hvilke ideer og profesjonelle ferdigheter brakte de til Norge?”
Richard Allen, reader University of South Wales, UK: ”The Peace Society and
Joseph Tregelles Price (1784-1854).”
Richard C. Allen is Reader in Early Modern Cultural History at the University
of South Wales. He has published widely on Quakerism, migration and identity.
Erin A. Bell, senior lecturer, University of Lincoln, UK:
”Supporting Norwegian Friends in their struggle for religious freedom. Correspondence between English and Norwegian Quakers.”
Erin Bell is currently undertaking British Academy-funded research into the
earliest Quakers in Norway and their links to North-east England.
Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe, professor, Lillehammer University College
“The importance of the Quaker Society for social work ethics and the development of the welfare state.”
”Viktigheten av Kvekersamfunnet for etikken bak sosialt arbeid og for utviklingen av velferdsstaten.”
Svein Ivar Langhelle, associated professor, University of Stavanger
“The conception of religious freedom in the consultative statements concerning the Dissenter Act of 1845.”
“Synet på religionsfrihet med bakgrunn i høringsuttalelsene til Dissenter­
loven av 1845.”
Hans Eirik Aarek, retired assistant professor, University of Stavanger.
”The Norwegian authorities’ methods / measures of restricting the Quaker
influence and types of punishment when laws and rules / decrees were transgressed.”
”Norske myndigheters metoder / tiltak for å begrense kveker-innflytelsen
og typer av straff ved overtredelse av lover og forordninger.”
Ola Tjørhom, professor dr. phil.
«19th Century Catholicism and Religious Freedom - in a Norwegian and International Perspective”.
”Katolisismen på 1800-tallet og religionsfrihet – i et norsk og internasjonalt
Marie Smith-Solbakken, Head of Department of Cultural Studies and
­Languages, University of Stavanger.
“The Norwegian Constitution and the Jews in the context of nation building,
economic and political sovereignty and religious homogenity.”
”Grunnloven og jødene sett i sammenheng med nasjonsbygging, økonomisk
og politisk suverenitet og religiøs homogenitet.”
Invited student paper:
Marion Strachan, PhD Student at Centre for Post Graduate Quaker studies,
University of Birmingham: ”Quaker participation in rebuilding Finnmark
­after World War II”.
Student paper:
Penelope Cummins, PhD student at Centre for Post Graduate Quaker
­studies, University of Birmingham.
“The moral right of a citizen to refuse to go to war. Norwegian Quakers, conscientious objection, and the influence of their example.”
The seminar receives financial support from the Research Council of Norway, the County Municipality of Rogaland, the Municipality of Tysvær and,
the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Norway. It is included in the
official programme for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution.
Practical information about the seminar.
Time: Wednesday 3rd until Friday 5th September 2014. See also programme
Conference fee kr 1 500, Conference dinner Thursday kr 500.
Accommodation: (two nights for 3rd and 4th of September)*
Conference hotel: Scandic hotell in Haugesund, kr 1050 per night for a single
room including breakfast, kr 1250 for a double room including breakfast.
More reasonable alternative:
Stemnestaden/Norhotell, Aksdal
Kr 440/370 per bed per night including breakfast.
Simple, good standard. All rooms have bath/toilet. Single rooms available.
The lowest priced rooms have two-storied bunk beds. (køysenger)
For information and registration contact Hans Eirik Aarek:
[email protected] telephone (+47) 920 86083
Please make contact for registration as soon as possible and latest by
1st of August.
* If hotel accommodation in Stavanger is needed, Hotel Clarion for the night
of September 2nd is recommended. Negotiated rate kr. 1 395.

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