May 18, 2012

Opportunities Digest (18 May 2012) – Scholarships, Conferences, Essay Prizes and more…

The Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest

18 May 2012 Issue

image of booksWe are not responsible for any content contained herein, but have simply copied and pasted from a variety of sources. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page.

In this issue:

  • Conference Announcements
  • Jobs
  • New Religion Database
  • Essay Prize
  • Scholarships
  • Calls for Papers
  • Public Lectures




Registration is now open for the 4th Exploring the Extraordinary conference, which will take place in York (UK) on the 21st-23rd September. Exploring the Extraordinary is an interdisciplinary network for those engaged/interested in research into the ‘extraordinary’ – topics often regarded as paranormal, supernatural, religious, transcendent, ecstatic, exceptional, mystical, anomalous, magical, or spiritual.

This year’s conference papers will include

*History, Spiritualism and psychical phenomena

*Parapsychological approaches to paranormal belief and experience

*Revenants in folklore and society

*Spiritual healing and landscape

*Magical performances, magical geographies

*Experiencing alternate realities and entity encounters

*Ghosts and place

*Music and the extraordinary

*Philosophy, the paranormal and questoning spiritual reality

*Extraordinary experiences, emotions and ethics.

For more information, please visit or email

Exploring the Extraordinary is a not-for-profit researcher network run voluntarily, so we greatly appreciate any and all support.

‘Material Religion in Modern Britain and her Worlds’ June 8th and June 9th. University of Glamorgan Cardiff campus.

This two-day symposium will explore material cultures of religious belief and faith in modern Britain. As Birgit Meyer, David Morgan, Crispin Paine and S. Brent Plate have recently pointed out, studying material objects provides us with an alternative evidence base in the study of modern religious belief (Birgit Meyer et al; 2011). Yet few attempts have yet been made to do so. While many scholars now concede that Britain’s religious landscape is more varied and rich than the narrative of secularisation allows, a tendency remains in the historiography of religion to privilege written sources over material manifestations of religion. This means that all sorts of belief practices have been overlooked. Analysing the material past, we propose, will provide scholars with new and exciting ways of understanding the apparently fraught relationship between modernity and religion.

As Jane Bennett points out, objects are culture constructions and lead active lives in our social and cultural landscape. Religious historians have too often been guilty of adopting an implicitly Protestant binary (set up in opposition to Catholicism) in which words are privileged over objects. Yet everyday cultures of Protestant belief in Britain relied on all kinds of material cultures which sustained religion in an age of uncertainty.

Despite Britain’s ‘official’ Protestant past, we are nonetheless keen to encourage papers which explore religious denominations or groups beyond the official canon and which made up Britain’s multi-faith landscape in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Papers are welcome which consider either formal or informal aspects of religious materiality. We would especially like to encourage papers that consider ‘Britain’s worlds’, including investigations of religious objects in the Empire or commonwealth or geographical locations inhabited by British people.

Conference Programme

Friday 8th June 2012


Conference Registration


Panel One: Past Visions

Eimir O’Brien, ‘Re-appropriating the Gothic: The Catholic Church and their Consolidation of Power in mid-Nineteenth Century Ireland’.

Timothy Carroll, An ancient modernity: Icons and the revitalisation of Britain’

Richard Irvine, ‘Counterfactual architecture: studies in ‘what if?’ from England and Gibraltar’


Panel two: Subjectivity, the everyday and material religion

Candace Hoffman-Hussain, ‘‘An exploration of religiosity and home artefacts within British interfaith hybrid coupledom’

Ann Wilson, ‘The material and visual culture of the construction of Irish Catholic identity, 1879 to 1922’’

Amy Whitehead, ‘An English shade of Animism: Contemporary statue devotion and the Glastonbury Goddess Temple’


Panel three: Senses and emotions

Julie-Marie Strange and Bertrand Taithe, ‘Compassion – The Stuff of Religion, 1870-1912’

James Mansell, ‘Church Bells and the Acoustic Experience of War in Britain, 1939-45’


Keynote Paper

John Harvey (Aberystwyth University) ‘Revival, Restoration, and Revision: An Audio Interrogation of Evan Roberts’ Wax Cylinder’

Saturday 9th June 2012


Keynote Paper:

Dominic Janes (Birkbeck College) ‘The Aesthetic Eucharist in Victorian Britain’


Panel Four: Church Exteriors and Interiors

Lucinda Matthews-Jones, ‘Sacred Art for the People: G. F. Watts’s Time, Death and Judgment as Material Christianity, 1883-1970’.

Jim Cheshire, ‘Fashioning Church Interiors – the Importance of Amateur Design’


Panel Five: Ritual and Material Religion

Kate Jordan and Ayla Lepine, ‘Adornment and Atonement: Textiles and Labour in Victorian Convents’

Jill Sudbury, ‘Skin as Spiritual Script: Tibetan Buddhism, Tattoos and the West’

Joe Webster, ‘Divine Paper, Demonic Plastic and Delicious Prawns: The Immanence of Transcendence in a Scottish Fishing Village’



Prophetic Arts in Africa, a Two Day Workshop in Lisbon 24-25th May, 2012

This is a two-day workshop organized by Julien Bonhomme (ENS) and Ramon Sarro (University of Lisbon) in Lisbon, as (hopefully) the first in a series of events we plan to organize around images, prophetic imagination, writing, memory and ritual. In this first one, we limit our focus to Africa.

The relationship between art and prophecy, complementary and alternative forms of imagination, is, intuitively speaking, obvious enough; yet there is still a lack of rigorous scientific research to be carried out about it. Many artists have been prophetic in their work, and many prophets have been artists in their ways of imagining the future and of translating this imagination into texts (sometimes even alphabets), drawings, houses or even cities. The interconnection between art and prophecy is an ideal place where to study the “work of the spirit” that Lévi-Strauss encouraged us to study, and the entanglement between, on the one hand, the domain of words and messages and, on the other, the domain of images and non-verbal connections. Our imaginative two-day journey will take us to Congo (a paradigmatic region of prophetic effervescence) the first day, and beyond Congo (West Africa and the Diaspora) the second day. Relying on the support of images (pictures, paintings, movies), we intend to comparatively analyze the connection between art and prophecy in Africa, in a workshop funded by the ANR Project “Création, Rituel, Mémoire” (Musée du quai Branly, Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale) and jointly co-organized by the musée du quai Branly, the Institute of Social Sciences (Lisbon), the École Normale Supérieur and the African Studies Centre of Lisbon.

Working language for the workshop will be French.

All welcome. oh, and we will also visualize Filip de Boeck’s film “Cemetery city”, which was not in our initial programme, but by coincidence was set for the 24 May on the programme of a parallel series of films on Africa. The film deals with death and religious imagination in Kinshasa and it speaks to many of the topics that will have been discussed in the earlier papers that day. Please note that unlike the workshop, the Film will be in English (some bits in Lingala, with subtitles in English).

NB this programme is still to be fully confirmed, there may be some minor adjustments in the final one. Please contact me if you intend to come and I’ll keep you up-to-dated.

Ramon Sarró, PhD (London), Habil. (Lisbon)

Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow

Institute of Social Sciences

University of Lisbon

Av. Professor Aníbal de Bettencourt, 9

1600-189 Lisbon



Magic is Might 2012: An International Academic Conference Exploring the Cultural Influences of the Harry Potter Books and Films

University of Limerick, Ireland

July 23-24 2012

Full Program now available:

Registration now open!

The Harry Potter series has become a publishing phenomenon that has captured the imagination of children and adults all over the world. The stories created by J.K. Rowling have inspired extensive multidisciplinary academic discussion, ranging from cultural and literary analyses, sociological and philosophical interpretations, design practices, to recognised medical publications.

Conferences have taken place that focused on the impact that the novels have had on the world and their educational contribution and edited collections have been produced centering on themes of philosophy, religion, sociology, and critical analysis, to name just a few. The characters’ relationships, the political and social systems, and cultural commentaries woven into Rowling’s writing are just some examples of what makes the Harry Potter series an exciting framework for academic discourse in a number of areas.

This two-day event will feature twenty 15-20 minute presentations on papers relating to popular culture and the Harry Potter series. We will encourage intensive and lively discussion and debate around the papers over the two days in this intimate setting.

The conference will feature opening remarks by Dr. Eoin Devereux, author of “Understanding the Media”, Head of the UL Dept. of Sociology and a world-renowned expert on fandom, and a keynote presentation by Dom Mark Patrick Hederman, OSB, Abbott of Glenstal Abbey, lecturer and writer, on “Harry Potter” Archetype of the Child as our future in the 21st Century”.

Wizards, Muggles, established academics and postgraduate students are invited to join the conference!

Conference organisers:

Gráinne O’Brien (University of Limerick, Ireland)

Dr. Luigina Ciolfi (University of Limerick, Ireland)

Jadwiga O’Brien (National University of Galway, Ireland)

Lette Moloney (MoloneyMedia and Interaction Design Centre, UL)

Facebook page

To Register:

Follow us on twitter @magicismight12

This conference is NOT authorized by J.K. Rowling, her US or UK publishers, WB,

Universal Studios or any other official Harry Potter related or trademarked entity.

Pagans in Dialogue with the Wider World: A Pagan Studies Symposium

Friday, February 15, 2013, San José State University

(semi-concurrent with PantheaCon, February 15-18, 2013, DoubleTree Hotel, San Jose, CA)

Sponsored by San José State University, Humanities Dept., Comparative Religious Studies Program

Organizers: Lee Gilmore (SJSU) & Amy Hale (St. Petersburg College)

Contemporary Paganism, in all its varieties, stands at a unique cultural and religious intersection that can provide insights for a wide range of global, social, and political subjects, beyond its own inward facing concerns. For this symposium, we are calling for scholarly submissions that focus on Paganism’s contributions to and engagements with broader cultural and religious dialogues in an increasingly pluralist world. These could include, but are not limited to, explorations of Paganisms’ endeavors in community, economic, media, health, legal, social justice, and institutional development work, as well as activist, applied, interdisciplinary, and interfaith work.

More generally, all submissions that critically examine Paganism(s) in relationship to categories such as religion, culture, gender, identity, authenticity, power, and ritual–among other possible frameworks–are welcome. In addition, all papers presented at the symposium will be considered for publication in a special issue of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies.

All proposals & queries should be sent to:

Deadline: September 15, 2012

More info (including submission requirements & a pdf of this call):


Dear Colleagues,

Attached please find an announcement for a professoral position in “Histoire des religions” at the University of Geneva (succession Philippe Borgeaud; annual gross salary starting from 164’500 CHF).

As chair of the nominating committee, I would be grateful if you could spread this information and encourage all potential candidates to apply.

I insist that although local candidates will apply, the examination process will be fair and open, and external applications will be assessed on the same footing as local ones.

Thank you very much for your help,

Best regards,

Nicolas Zufferey

Dean, Faculty of Humanities, University of Geneva


This is to announce the launch of a new cumulated International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) dataset with data from all three rounds of the ISSP religion survey (1991, 1998 and 2008). It covers 28 countries across the world, each of which has participated in at least two of the ISSP religion modules. Prior to this analysts have had to work with the three datasets separately.

Documentation and data access, including download in SPSS, SAS, or Stata format, is offered online via the GESIS ZACAT online analysis database at:

This is the direct link to the cumulated ISSP religion file in ZACAT:

And general information about ISSP can be found here:


I am writing on behalf of the UK?s Science and Religion Forum to publicise our 2012 essay competition. Please see above website for further information. The competition is open to all students (undergraduate and postgraduate) and the closing date is July 31st 2012.


Newman University College Birmingham, in conjunction with the Bible Society, is offering a full fees PhD Studentship from 1st October 2012 (or as soon as possible thereafter). The studentship is open to UK and EU applicants, and is available on either a part time or full time basis. It will cover all tuition fees for up to three years of study (full time) or up to six years (part time), subject to the successful applicant making satisfactory progress in their studies; if the student takes longer to complete the PhD, he/she will be liable to pay additional fees.

Applicants must have a good first degree (1st class or 2.1) in Theology, Biblical Studies, or a subject closely related to the research topic, and an MA or MTh or other relevant postgraduate degree. Applicants will need to demonstrate clear evidence of the skills necessary to undertake independent research (e.g. details of research methods modules undertaken and/or successful dissertations completed). Those who are invited for interview will be asked to supply in advance samples of their previous written work.

The successful candidate will be free to negotiate with the supervisory team a specific research focus within the general area of the Use of the Bible in Schools. Applicants should provide in the relevant section of the application form a draft research proposal outlining the aspect(s) of this subject which they are interested in studying, and this will form an important part of the selection process.

Newman University College has particular research strengths in the areas of Biblical Studies and Education, and our postgraduate students benefit from a high level of individual support and dedicated office space. For further information about the Institutional research environment or the Theology subject area and its staff, please visit our website:

The application form is available from and should be returned by post or e-mail to:

John Howard

Graduate School Administrator

Newman University College

Genners Lane

Bartley Green


B32 3NT



Religion and the Arts is planning a special issue on Opera and Religion for its issue 17.3 (published in June, 2013). Articles on all aspects of opera and all faith traditions will be considered. We prefer articles of between 4,000 and 9,000 words using parenthetical citation. Send complete articles to by October 1, 2012.

James Najarian, Editor

Call for Papers

for a special issue for the Journal of Muslims in Europe

“Europe with or without Muslims – narratives of Europe”

Guest editors:             Göran Larsson, University of Gothenburg

Riem Spielhaus, University of Copenhagen

We are seeking papers for a special issue of the new double blind-peer reviewed Journal on Muslims in Europe by BRILL to come out in Spring 2013. This special issue seeks to take up tensions in conflicting stories about and different perspectives on Europe’s history and identity that present Europe without Muslims or contrastingly portray Muslims as part of Europe’s past and present.

Under the headline “Europe with or without Muslims – narratives of Europe” we aim to bring together a number of perspectives from multiple disciplinary fields such as history, religious studies, cultural anthropology, political science and sociology in an analysis of diverging accounts and notions of Europe over time and places throughout the continent, open as well to external perspectives. The initial question thereby is, what role Islam and Muslims have played and still play in the imagining of what Europe means. (See more details on different possible themes for contributions below.)

This way we aim to direct our view at the nexus between constructions of Europe and developments within contemporary European Islam providing space both for a critical review of academic approaches and the development of new impulses for future research.

Besides empirical papers we strongly encourage theoretical papers that challenge current research on Islam and Muslims in Europe and reflect on the own position of the researchers and his or her contributions to the construction of Europe and the role and function of Islam and Muslims.

We invite papers that address one of the topics of two sessions described below. Deadline for sending your abstracts: July the 1st, 2012<>. Accepted participants will be notified by July 20, 2012<>. If your paper is accepted, you must submit the final paper (max 10,000 words inclusive of footnotes) by 20 October 2012<>.

Applications to submit a short paper should include: 1. Proposer’s name and affiliation, 2. a title for the paper, 3. a ca. 500 word abstract.

All abstracts and paper should be written in English.

Time frame:

Deadline for abstracts (ca. 500 words)                               1.July 2012

Deadline for sending final papers                                        20.October 2012

Publication                                                                           15.March 2013

Paper proposals should be send electronically in Microsoft Word formats to Göran Larsson, University of Gothenburg:<> and Riem Spielhaus, University of Copenhagen:<>.

For this special issue we invite papers on the narratives imagining Europe with and without Muslims analyzing contents, actors and setting of those narratives that relate to one or several of the following questions:

1. Localizing debates connecting Europe and Islam:

•     In what way are debates about Europe and its identity mentioning the European past with reference to Muslim’s presence in Europe on the local, regional, national or European Union level? How do these different levels (local, regional, national, transnational) intersect?

2. Imagining Europe without Muslims:

•    What are the main patterns of the dominant constructions of Europe’s heritage like notions of a Judaeo-Christian heritage? Where and by whom are these narratives told? To what extent are they embedded in European integration or projects of community or nation-building?

3. Narratives of Europe inclusive of Muslims:

•    In what cases is the Muslim history of Europe used as counter narrative to question the construction of Europe as a Christian continent? What groups of people insist on an imagination of Europe with Muslims? How are these narratives used to strengthen a feeling of belonging and responsibility of current Muslims?

4. Contextualizing Islam debates in European history of thought:

•    Is it possible to make any comparison between current debates about Islam and Muslims and previous debates about ties between religions and national identities e.g. different Christian denominations in early modern Europe?

5. Imagining Europe from outside:

•    How is the relationship between Europe and its Muslim inhabitants viewed beyond the Mediterranean? Do accounts of European history and presentations of the contemporary Europe from within and without bear considerable differences?

Title: Special Issue on the Temples of Bengal

Date: 2012-05-30

Description: Special Issue on the Temples of Bengal We are happy

to announce that the next issue of Chitrolekha Magazine (Vol.

II, No. 1) is going to be on the Temples of Bengal (from the

Ancient Period to the 19th Century). Since we want to bring out

a collection having holistic approaches to the topics, we hav



Announcement ID: 194455

Title: Religions: Fields of research, methods and perspectives CFP

Date: 2012-06-15

Description: The First International Krakow Study of Religions

Symposium, 12-14 September 2012 Religions: Fields of research,

methods and perspectives Call for papers Keynote speakers:

Prof. Grace Davie (University of Exeter) Prof. Ralph W. Hood Jr

(University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) Prof. Barnaba Maj

(Univ …



Announcement ID: 194503


Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions

PUBLIC LECTURE (all welcome)

Prof Tadhg Foley (Professor of Irish Studies, NUI Galway)

“Max Arthur Macauliffe and The Sikh Religion”

Date:  Friday 25 May 2012

Venue: Boole Lecture Theatre, University College Cork, Cork

Time: 5.15pm

Max Arthur Macauliffe (1838-1913), author of the monumental six-volume work, The Sikh Religion, began the preface to his magnum opus with the words: ‘I bring from the East what is practically an unknown religion’. Though regarded by Sikhs as perhaps the most important western figure in the history of their religion, Macauliffe himself is all but unknown in the west. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography does not notice him and he is unknown in his native country, Ireland. He was born as common or garden Michael McAuliffe in Monagea, Co. Limerick and educated at Queen’s College Galway, graduating in modern languages in 1860.  In 1862 he was appointed to the Indian Civil Service and was posted to the Punjab, becoming Deputy Commissioner in 1882 and two years later a Divisional Judge. Based in Amritsar, he developed an intense interest in the Sikh religion, producing the classic English translation of its holy book, the Granth, and, it seems, eventually converting to it. In 1893 he resigned from the Indian Civil Service to devote himself fully to the work of translation. In 1909, Oxford University Press published The Sikh Religion which incorporated his translation of the Granth. He died in London in 1913.

This paper will first address some inaccuracies in existing scholarship concerning Macauliffe’s date and place of birth and indeed the religion into which he was born. It will consider his conception of Sikhism, particularly in relation to Hinduism but also in the context of Christianity, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. He was also a reformer of the Sikh religion, being a leading member of Tat Khalsa, the radical section of the Singh Sabha reform movement, founded in Amritsar in 1873. But he saw his primary role as that of an evangelist for the Sikh religion in the west. He opposed ‘caste exclusiveness’ and ‘sati’, which he called the ‘concremation of widows’. He defended the translation of sacred scripture into vernacular languages and he saw himself as a pioneering figure in his systematic consultation with indigenous Sikh scholars. Indeed he saw his work as, in part, giving the permanency of writing to what had formerly been the orally transmitted wisdom of the gyanis. The paper will conclude with a discussion of Macauliffe’s views on how religion, especially Sikhism, should relate not only to the state as such but also to the British Empire.

The lecture will be followed by an informal Reception for all attending sponsored by the School of Asian Studies, Study of Religions Department and College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, University College Cork (UCC).

Enquiries to Prof Brian Bocking, Study of Religions, UCC, email:  b.bocking[at]

Title: Religion in the Gallery: Two Talks and a Conversation,

Exhibiting Asia in the 21st Century

Location: District of Columbia

Date: 2012-05-24

Description: Join us at the Freer Gallery of Art on May 24, 2012

for two lectures on the role and use of religion in a gallery

setting, followed by an open discourse. Gregory Levine,

associate professor of Asian visual culture at the University

of California, Berkeley, will discuss Zen iconography from past

to p …



Announcement ID: 194447


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