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2017 Annual COV&R Meeting: Identity and Rivalry, July 12-15, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Madrid, Spain

In COV&R 2017 in Madrid, we would like to invite scholars to explore the roots of identity; the ways rivalry survives and rises over the centuries as a force of destruction and foundation. Jean-Michel Oughourlian, Cesáreo Bandera (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Charles Powell (Real Instituto Elcano), Jon Juaristi (Universidad Alcalá de Henares), Roland Hsu (University of Stanford), or Carlos Mendoza-Álvarez (Universidad Iberoamericana de México) have confirmed their participation as plenary speakers and we are waiting for others to accept our invitation.

We are also working on a special cultural program. It will include private visits to the Prado museum, a memorable gala dinner, opera, literary nightwalks around the old city, and field-trips on Saturday and Sunday to the nearby towns of Avila, Toledo, el Escorial and other historical sites.

Call for Papers

This conference aims to bring together the insights of the 20th century’s premier theorist of violence and religion, René Girard, with the latest scholarship on topics such as:

The formation, the destruction and the dynamics of current and traditional nationalisms;

Inner-national conflicts such as the Spanish Civil War;

The Indignados, anti-system groups and similar generational, political, and sociological movements;

The construction of pan-national identities in Europe, America, Africa, Asia;

Identity, Religion, and Communion: Islam, Judaism and Christianity in Spain and Europe in the Middle Ages.

In addition to the topics listed above, papers are welcome on any other topic related to the title of the conference: Identity and Rivalry, or related to the work of René Girard.

The seminar is held in English, simultaneous translation will not be provided.

Spanish may be used as the language to work with if a panel so wishes (then simultaneous translation will be provided).


The organising committee also welcomes proposal for practitioner-focused, interactive workshops that relate to the work of Girard or the conference theme. Such sessions could take different forms (e.g., workshop-style, forum, discussion group, panel) and may cover areas such as:


countering violence/radicalisation

inter-faith dialogue

Girard and preaching

Girard and psychotherapy

Girard and sciences

Girard and literature

This list is only suggestive and not exhaustive. Please provide a description and rationale for an inter-active workshop on a particular topic to be facilitated for approx. 45 or 90 minutes by appropriately qualified persons.

Schwager Award

To honor the memory of Raymund SCHWAGER, SJ (1935-2004), the Colloquium on Violence and Religion offers an award of $1,500.00 shared by up to three persons for the three best papers given by graduate students at the COV&R 2017 meeting. Students presenting papers at the conference are invited to apply for the Raymund Schwager Memorial Award by sending a letter to that effect and the full text of their paper (in English, maximum length: 10 pages) in an e-mail attachment to the organizers of  COV&R 2017. Due date for submission is the closing date of the conference registration, June 1. Winners will be announced in the conference program. Prize-winning essays should reflect an engagement with mimetic theory; they will be presented in a plenary session and be considered for publication in Contagion.

Travel Grants

Travel grants to attend COV&R 2017are available for graduate students who are giving a paper and are first-time attendees of the COV&R conference.  To apply, write a letter of application accompanied by a letter of recommendation by a COV&R member to that effect to the Executive Secretary, Martha Reineke until the closing date of the conference registration. The board will sponsor the attendance of up to 6 persons with a maximum amount of $500 USD each. Grants are awarded by the officers of COV&R on a first come, first served basis.