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Two-day workshop


(4-5 December 2019)

University of Bergamo

The workshop is supported by the Italian Society of Political Science (SISP) and the University of Bergamo, and it is coordinated by the standing groups Religion&Politics and Participation&Social Movements (SISP), in collaboration with the research centre POLICREDOS-Religion in the Public Space (Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra).

Call for papers

The workshop aims to explore the complex intersections between extreme-right populism, gender and religion. Together with the rise of extreme-right and the populist discourse, scholarly attention to the topic has been flourishing in the last years. Accurate empirical research and rigorous theorizations built solid literature and nourished the burgeoning academic debate. With the relevant exception of some excellent research, though, less attention has been paid to the role of religion in populism – as a politicized tenet of people’s identity, for example, or in terms of charisma. Likewise, mainstream analyses of populism often marginalized the gender aspect – in terms of populist gendered representation, for example, or in terms of populism supporters.

The workshop aims at addressing these topics – we encourage the submission of empirical or theoretical contributions which address one or more of the following issues:

  • What is the role of religion in the populist discourse? Is politics appropriating religion? Are populist politicians challenging religious authorities? How do religious communities react? How does populism change the contexts and opportunity structures for religious groups? Does populism affect all the religious groups in the same way?
  • What is the role of gender in populist discourse? Can we identify a gendered populist discourse? Is populist discourse challenging women’s and LGBT+ rights? What is the impact of the populist discourse on intersectional feminist politics?
  • Considering that populist discourse includes an anti-minority approach, what is the impact of the populist challenge to the complex entanglements of gender and religion? How and to what extent religion and gender are intertwined in the populist discourse?

Please send a 500 words abstract to the workshop email by September 30th, 2019.

The workshop includes a special section for showcasing current collective research on populism, religion and gender – if you are interested in this section, let us know.

Keynote speakers:

  • Manuela Caiani, Associate Professor of Political Science, Scuola Normale Superiore. “Muslims in the West and the rise of the new populists: The case of Italy”. Discussant: Carlo Ruzza, University of Trento.
  • Ov Cristian Norocel, Associate Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies, University of Lund; ESA-Political Sociology board – “Gender and Religion in Right-wing Populist Social Media”. Discussant: Massimo Prearo, University of Verona.
  • Teresa Martinho Toldy, Professor at the Fernando Pessoa University, (Porto), Centre for Social Studies (Coimbra), Chair of the Portuguese Association of Feminist Theologies – “Gender and Religion in a country without populism – the case of Portugal”. Discussant: Alberta Giorgi, University of Bergamo.

The workshop includes two roundtables:

  • Populism and religion
  • Gender and religion

For more information on the participants and featured research, please visit the workshop website:

A selection of submissions to the conference will be invited to form the basis for a book proposal and for a special issue to be published in an international leading journal.


  • 30 September 2019: Submission of abstracts
  • 15 October 2019: Notification of acceptance
  • 4 December (Starting at 13:00) to 5 December (19:00) 2019: Workshop
  • 1 June 2020: Submission of special issue and book proposal