January 10, 2014

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 10 January 2014

wordleWelcome to the second RSP Opportunities Digest for 2014. As ever, please remember that we are not responsible for any content contained herein unless it is directly related to the RSP. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page. If you are enquiring about any of the opportunities listed below, please contact the organizers directly.

To skip to specific content within this digest, please use the table of contents to the right of your screen. This week there were SO MANY calls for papers that these have been omitted from the contents listing. New Year/New Problems.

RSP Recruiting Assistant Editor

As part of our restructuring process, we are currently looking to add a new assistant editor to our team. This individual – or, potentially, these individuals – will be responsible for producing and promoting these very opportunities digests. The ‘Opps Digest’ is one of the essential services that we provide through the RSP and requires a little bit of work on a weekly basis. Essentially, we have an email account – oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com – which can be signed up to a variety of relevant mailing lists. In addition, others from within the team and from outside occasionally send through relevant job adverts, conference announcements, CfPs etc. to this address. The Opps Digest Editor simply needs to collate relevant material from these emails once a week, and place them into a post for the website, whilst also actively sourcing new sources of information. Louise and Chris, who have previously filled this role, will be able to liaise with the successful applicant\s on how they have done this up until now, but there is plenty of room for innovation.

The successful applicant should:

  • Be involved – whether as a student (of any level) or a professional academic – within the academic study of religion (broadly conceived)
  • Have a basic familiarity with WordPess\other blogging packages, in addition to general computing and social media skills.
  • Be a reliable and independent worker. It is essential that these digests are produced to a schedule every week, although the scheduled day can be negotiated. Other members of the team can cover the occasional week, but this must be arranged well in advance.
  • Be able to commit around one hour per week for the majority of the year to this role.

At this stage, and as will all positions on the RSP editorial team, this role will be for an initial period of one year – 2014 – after which there will be the opportunity to change roles/extend commitment as appropriate. Given our current financial situation, we are unable to offer any financial incentive to the successful applicant/s. However, we hope that the chance to be involved in what is arguably the primary hub for Religious Studies online, and the opportunities which accompany this, will be incentive enough.

If you are interested in this position, please send an academic CV and a brief note of interest detailing your suitability for the role to David and Chris at  editors@religiousstudiesproject.com by 31 January 2014.

Calls for Papers

Religion in the Public Domain

European Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Research Network Bi-annual Conference

3-5 September 2014 in Belfast.

Conference Theme – Religion in the Public Domain

In long-standing theories about secularization it is generally held that the social and public significance of religion has declined in most Western countries. Religion is conceived as privatized, individualized and de-institutionalized. But has religion truly become a privatized phenomenon? Increasingly, it is argued in academia that the separation between state and church in Western countries is less stable than assumed: state policy is often biased towards particular religious traditions while even the French installment of laicité may be understood as a civic religion (e.g., Casanova). In general, we are witnessing a re-emergence of religion in the public domain. Religion has a new position in the public sphere, struggling for recognition alongside other groups. Empirical studies demonstrate the sustaining influence of religion on voting in ‘secular’ countries, an open attitude towards religious-spiritual beliefs and practices in business organizations and the production and consumption of religious symbols and images in popular culture. The role of media is pivotal here: it has made new forms of power emerge, but also simultaneously opened the way for activist practices aimed at visibility. So on the one hand, television, radio and newspapers socially construct the public-political discourse on Muslims, the alleged dangers of Islam and religious-ethical issues concerning circumcision, vaccinations, abortion and ritual slaughter. On the other hand, in the struggle for recognition and visibility, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hinduists, new religious movements, and spiritual groups, appropriate the internet and (social) media as public platforms to debate the role of religion, to strengthen social cohesion and to reach out to the general public.

This return of religion in the public domain is also a socially, politically, legally and morally contested issue. In a ‘post-secular’ society, Jurgen Habermas argued, religious groups, organizations and individuals should be included within the public sphere in the civic debate about the problems of modernity, i.e., individualism, excessive consumption and the loss of moral values. Claims like these – made in academia, politics or culture – activate secular groups like the ‘new atheists’ to revitalize ‘rationalist’ values of the Enlightenment and take on a fundamentalist position on the subject. Social conflicts are increasingly religious conflicts (e.g., Calhoun). Theoretically, developments such as these invoke substantial doubt about modern distinctions between the public and the private, the secular and religious and the profane and the sacred. They invite research on the (historical) formation of such categories – in the social sciences and modern cultures alike – and its relation to social conflict and cultural power (e.g., Assad).

Against this background, the ESA Research Network Sociology of Religion calls for papers on ‘Religion in the Public Domain’ for the mid-term conference in Belfast. Particularly papers are welcomed that discuss the following topics:

  • Studies focusing on the modern separation of state and church, the formation of the religious and the secular and the public and the private domain in European countries and beyond.
  • Studies discussing the social significance of religion and its re-emergence in the institutional and public domain, i.e., the role of Islamic, Christian or spiritual beliefs, practices and experiences in politics, voting, banking, business life etc.
  • Studies focusing on the role of religious-spiritual narratives in popular culture, i.e., their meanings, commercial and commodified manifestations in books, music, film, computer games, advertising, marketing and branding.
  • Studies discussing the role of the media, i.e., the way religion is framed at television, radio and in newspapers, and the appropriation and use of (social) media by religious individuals, groups and organization.
  • Studies focusing on social conflicts between secular and religious groups and public debates about Islam, i.e., about integration, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, women’s rights, headscarves, abortion etc.
  • Studies focusing on the public value of the sociology of religion, including studies on religion and politics, religion and the welfare state, religion and human security in ‘failed’ states, and the significance of the study of religion to policy makers and grassroots activists.
  • These topics are rough guidelines; papers dealing with Religion in the Public Domain beyond other than these outlined above are also very welcome. Furthermore we invite PhD and post-doc candidates to contribute to a poster session, including work in progress; the best poster will get a small, but nice prize.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Dates & Deadlines in 2014

March 14 Submission of abstracts and online registration starts (Please email your abstracts, both in the text of the email and as a Word attachment, to belfast2014@esareligion.org. Abstracts can be submitted both for papers and the postgraduate posters and should not exceed 250 words.)

  • April 18 Submission of abstracts ends
  • May 9 Acceptance of abstracts
  • June 30 Early-bird registration ends
  • September 3 – 5 Conference

Contact: belfast2014@esareligion.org

The Marriage of Heaven and Earth

Conference on The Marriage of Heaven and Earth: Images and Representations of the Sky in Sacred Space

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture,

School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology

Annual Sophia Centre Conference

Second Call for Papers

28-29 June 2014

Venue: Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Bath, England

Keynote Speakers:

  • Juan Antonio Belmonte (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Tenerife, Spain), ‘Cosmic landscapes in ancient Egypt: a diachronic perspective’.
  • Kim Malville (Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado), ‘The Parallelism of Heaven and Earth in Andean Cultures’
  • Nicholas Campion (School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David), ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Earth in Twentieth-Century Art: Mysticism, Magic and Astronomy in Surrealism’

Conference Theme

All human cultures have both identified the sacred in the landscape, and created structures which embody the sacred. In many cases these sacred spaces are related to the stars, planets and sky. This academic conference will consider the construction, creation and representation of the sky in sacred space.

Proposals are invited for 30 minute papers, addressing the conference title, which may feature studies of the relationship between the sky and the land, built environment, and material culture in any culture and time period, from ancient to modern, and may range from theory to practice, to architecture, artefacts, ritual, text, literature, film, iconography and the visual arts.

We welcome submissions from across the humanities and social sciences, in history, anthropology, archaeology, the history of art, philosophy and study of religions.

Likely topics may include astronomical symbolism in art and architecture, material representations of the zodiac, stars or planets and celestial iconography.

The Proceedings will be published by the Sophia Centre Press.

Please send an abstract of 100-200 words and a biography of 50-100 words to Dr Nicholas Campion, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, n.campion@tsd.ac.uk

Deadline (please note extension) for applications to speak: 30 January 2014

The Programme will be confirmed by 15 February 2014

RGS-IBG Annual Conference

Session: Witchcraft, spiritual beliefs, and the co-production of development knowledges and practices in the Majority World

*Call for papers: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014: *London, 26th–29th August 2014

Convenor: *Tom Smith*, Department of Geography, The University of

Sheffield, t.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

*Sponsored by the Developing Areas Research Group (DARG)*

*Session Abstract:*

Traditionally a domain of anthropological study, witchcraft, occult and spiritual practices in the Majority World have received considerably less attention from geographers. Yet the continued importance of these knowledges and practices in Africa and elsewhere prompts this session to call for discussion over their contemporary role in the co-production of development knowledges and practices.

Whilst there has been some influential work on the history of magic and occult thinking in early geographical/scientific thought (Livingstone 1990; Matless 1991), and the embodied practices of witchcraft in the Minority World (Rountree 2002), much less consideration has been offered from the realms of Development Geographies (broadly defined) to the intersections between witchcraft, occult practices, and spiritual beliefs with development in the Majority World. Yet these themes seem ripe for discussion, particularly concerning the nature of rationality, or rationalities, being applied to contemporary development agendas at a range of geographic scales. Whilst current thinking on local knowledges *for*development and local participation *in* development have done away with privileging knowledges and technologies from the Minority World, a focus on witchcraft and the occult, and its role in development practice, might ask more fundamental questions about the kinds of rationalities, moralities and ethics being applied to development agendas and goals. In Africa, witchcraft and magical practices have not receded under the variegated forms of development which have and continue to operate across a range of national contexts (Kohnert 1996; Luongo 2010). This should prompt us to consider: What role does witchcraft and spiritual belief play in contemporary forms of development practice and knowledge at a range of scales? How do such practices and beliefs intersect with the current participatory/local knowledges agenda? Do witchcraft and spiritual beliefs contribute to the co-production of development knowledges and imaginaries, both locally and nationally?

This session invites contributions which discuss how witchcraft, occult practices, and spiritual beliefs intersect with the geographies of development at a range of scales and contexts. This might include the relationship between such practices and environmental management, education, rural and urban livelihoods, healthcare and medicine, law, community organisation, among others, whilst broader theoretical, conceptual and methodological reflections are also encouraged. I would also like to invite those from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds to


Please email proposals (title, 250 word abstract) and/or questions to: t.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

*Deadline for abstracts: 3rd February 2014*


  • Kohnert, D. (1996) Magic and witchcraft: implications for democratisation and poverty-alleviating aid in Africa, *World Development* 24(8), 1347-1355.
  • Livingstone, D. N. (1990) Geography, tradition and the scientific revolution: an interpretive essay, *Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers* NS: 15(3), 359-373.
  • Luongo, K. (2010) Polling places and “slow punctured provocation”: occult-driven cases in postcolonial Kenya’s High Courts, *Journal of East African Studies* 4(3), 577-591.
  • Matless, D. (1991) Nature, the modern and the mystic: tales from early twentieth century geography, *Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers* NS: 16(3), 272-286.
  • Rountree, K. (2002) How magic works: New Zealand feminist witches’ theories of ritual action, *Anthropology of consciousness* 13(1), 42-59.
Special Session: The Politics and Poetics of Managing Tourism in Sacred Cities

Amos S. Ron – Ashkelon Academic College, Israel

Daniel H. Olsen – Brandon University, Canada

26 to 29 August 2014, at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London

Sacred cities are one of the oldest and most prevalent forms of urban organization and can be found in several cultures and locations throughout human history. Cities such as Varanasi, Lourdes, Mecca, Lalibela and Jerusalem have long attracted pilgrims, merchants, and other tourists. However, although there has been much written on sacred cities from various disciplines, such as comparative religion (e.g. Diana Eck on Varanasi), history (e.g. Ruth Harris on Lourdes) and anthropology (e.g. Abdellah Hammoudi on Mecca), very little has been written by geographers and tourism scholars. Furthermore, in studies on sacred cities the focus has been descriptive and case study-oriented with little focus on the management of pilgrimage and other forms of tourism.

This session therefore aims to bring together a range of papers that examine sacred cities from various theoretical, methodological and practical perspectives, in different historical, cultural and geographical contexts with a focus on tourism management. Submissions can be case study oriented, comparative or conceptual, and may address, but are not be limited to, the following areas:

  • The history of sacred site management
  • Challenges, problems and solutions in management of sacred destinations
  • Modern mass tourism to ancient sacred cities
  • Modernity, technology and visiting the sacred
  • Contested spaces in sacred cities
  • Sustainable development of sacred cities
  • Commodification in sacred cities
  • The resilience of sacred cities
  • The shared characteristics of sacred cities
  • Patterns of globalization in sacred cities
  • Spatial patterns of beggars and begging in sacred cities

Abstracts (max. 250 words) should be submitted by Sunday 23 February, 2014. For more details, and to submit an abstract, please contact:

Dr. Amos S. Ron, Department of Tourism and Leisure Studies, Ashkelon Academic College, Ashkelon, Israel: amosron@gmail.com

Dr. Daniel H. Olsen, Department of Geography, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada: olsend@brandonu.ca


International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania, 7th Annual

Academic Conference, April 4-5, 2014

Date: 2014-04-04

Description: Migration continues to radically rearrange the makeup

of populations all over the world. Migrants are often very

different than native populationsin language, religion and

culture. The Baltic region and Eastern Europe, as well as

Europe more generally, struggle with the effects of demographic

transf …

Contact: jdmininger@lcc.lt

URL: www.lcc.lt/academic-conference/

Announcement ID: 209105


Society of Biblical Literature

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature will be held November 22-25 in San Diego, CA. Members wishing to present papers should submit proposals on the SBL website at http://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/AnnualMeeting.aspx by March 5th, 2014.

The SBL Blogger and Online Publication section invites proposals for papers for its 2014 annual meeting session. The open session calls for papers focusing on any area of blogging, online publication, and social media in relation to biblical studies, theology, and archaeology of the Levant. Proposals which relate to the different types of online presence scholars maintain, and different approaches to blogging (self-hosted vs. large multi-blog hubs, frequent vs. occasional, highly focused and purely scholarly vs. diverse and sometimes frivolous), are especially welcome.

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Dr. James F. McGrath, Butler University, Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, 4600 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46208, or email jfmcgrat@butler.edu.

Buddhism and Healing

University of Leeds 1-2nd July 2014

Call for Papers – Postgraduate Panel

This is the first call for graduate student papers for the Postgraduate panel at the next UKABS two-day conference at the University of Leeds, 1-2nd July 2014. As part of the conference, which has drawn a number of high-profile international speakers, there will be an opportunity for a select number of graduate students to present short papers on their research. Note that you do not need to present a polished final version of your work. If you are not yet at an advanced stage, you can present your current ideas and plans, with a view to gaining some feedback from more established Buddhist Studies scholars – a fantastic opportunity for graduate students. Your paper does not need to follow the theme of the conference. Conference attendance and reasonable travel costs will be funded.

To apply, please send an abstract and a statement of your university affiliation and stage of studies, to reach me by 28th March 2014. Could academic staff please inform your students of this, and encourage those who are interested to submit an abstract.

Caroline Starkey (c.starkey@leeds.ac.uk) Post-Graduate Representative, UKABS Committee.

ISASR Conference

Third annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR)

In collaboration with Queen’s University, Belfast, Fri-Sat 23rd-24th May 2014.

Conference theme: ‘Religion and Remembering’

Cross-Disciplinary Conference

We are pleased to invite scholars to take part in the third annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR). For information on ISASR see http://isasr.wordpress.com/. The conference will take place from the morning of Friday May 23rd to lunchtime on Saturday May 24th, 2014 in collaboration with Queen’s University, Belfast. The conference is open to scholars of all disciplines that approach religions, both past and present, from a non-confessional, critical, analytical and cross-cultural perspective.

As usual with ISASR conferences, proposals for papers are not restricted to the conference theme ‘Religion and Remembering’ but may focus on any other aspect of the Society’s work in the history, anthropology, folklore and sociology of religion in Ireland or among the Irish diaspora, or may represent the work of Irish-based researchers on topics in the academic study of religions anywhere else in the world. For this Belfast-based conference we very warmly welcome also contributions from members of BASR on any topic in the academic study of religions.

Memory studies has become one of the most popular research areas in the humanities and social sciences producing a vast number of studies examining how nations, communities and cultures remember, re-construct or indeed forget the past. The theme of the conference encourages paper proposals across disciplines, being open to topics including (but not restricted to) remembering in the form of rituals, public commemorations, anniversaries, festivals, bodily practices, physical objects and places or in the form of orality, literacy, narratives and language.

Please send a 150-200 word abstract for papers to Dr Jennifer Butler (j.butler@ucc.ie) by the closing date of Friday 7th March 2014. Notification of abstract acceptance will be given by Friday 28th March, 2014.

For those wishing to reserve accommodation in advance (recommended), the conference location is the Queens Quarter of Belfast (among several streets beginning ‘University…’). Nearby hotels include Holiday Inn Express and Hotel Ibis Queens Quarter and there is plenty of budget accommodation in the area.

Further information on the ISASR Conference 2014 will be posted at: http://isasr.wordpress.com/

IAHR World Congress

XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religion


The XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) will take place August 23 to 29, 2015 in Erfurt, Germany. The Congress will address Dynamics of Religion: Past and Present. We now invite contributors to submit Panel Proposals addressing the topic in any of the areas outlined below. 

Religion is a human, historical, social and cultural phenomenon. As such, religious ideas, practices, discourses, institutions, and social expressions are constantly in processes of change. The Congress will address the processes of change, the dynamics of religions past, present, and future, on several interconnected levels of analysis and theory, namely that of the individual, community and society, practices and discourses, beliefs, and narrations.

These will be addressed within four areas:

  • Religious communities in society: Adaptation and transformation
  • Practices and discourses: Innovation and tradition
  • The individual: Religiosity, spiritualities and individualization
  • Methodology: Representations and interpretations

We invite contributions from all disciplines of religious studies and related fields of research to allow for broad, interdisciplinary discussion of the Congress topic to register their panels for the XXI World Congress of the IAHR.

Each panel lasts two hours. Panel papers should be limited to 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of panel participants. Panel conveners are asked to approach possible participants from different nations to reflect the scope and internationality of the IAHR Congress.

To propose a panel, please submit a general proposal of the panel as well as individual proposals of all papers included in the panel. Both panel and papers of a proposed panel will be evaluated by the Academic Program Committee to ensure a high academic standard of the Congress program. We therefore ask panel conveners to submit the proposals of all prospective panel participants of a proposed panel as indicated by the submission form. Proposals of panels and of papers should not exceed 150 words.

The deadline for submission of proposals is Sunday, September 14, 2014. All proposals must be submitted electronically via the IAHR 2015 website (www.iahr2015.org). This site will be available for submissions from Sunday, September 1, 2013 through Sunday, September 14, 2014. As part of the submission process, you will be asked to indicate the area in which you would like your proposal considered. Your proposal will then be forwarded to the appropriate member of the Academic Program Committee.

You will receive notice concerning the status of your proposal as soon as possible and certainly before March 1, 2015. If your panel or paper has been accepted by the Academic Program Committee, please note that you will have to register as Congress participant before May 15, 2015 to be included in the Congress program.

Philosophy, Religion and Public Policy

A two-day conference at the University of Chester as part of the AHRC Philosophy and Religious Practices Research Network, 8th-9th April 2014.


Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Clayton Crockett, University of Central Arkansas
  • Adam Dinham, Goldsmiths College, London
  • Elaine Graham, University of Chester

Call for Papers

Public policy, philosophy of religion and research on religion generally seem to live in their own separate bubbles without realising or even acknowledging the mutual benefit of dialogue etc. Hence, philosophers of religion (in both the continental and analytic traditions) have long been accused of distancing themselves from concrete religious practices. A key aim of the conference is thus potentially to reconnect philosophy with research on religion. We intend to investigate how philosophers and religious communities can communicate fruitfully, producing the kind of change outlined by Scott-Baumann, ‘Scepticism about philosophy [among faith communities] is replaced by a dialectical process of using philosophy to help people live together and look forward, alert to new possibilities.’

Public debate and policy often takes place at a superficial level that skirts and fights shy of the substantive issues underpinning conflict between religions and between religious and secular worldviews. The visibility of the New Atheist critique of religion is perhaps the most obvious example of this.

The rationale of this conference is then both to start bringing these three discourses into a mutually-beneficial dialogue, but also to model ways in which such a dialogue can and should be undertaken. To this end, we welcome papers in one of the following three areas of debate and research

Strand One: Economic and Political Regeneration

  • Case studies or thematic accounts of how philosophical and theological ideas and virtues (for example solidarity and discipline) speak into the post-2008 vacuum in European and US public life caused by the banking crash and subsequent global recession
  • The emergence of the postsecular as a potential vehicle for the rebalancing of public life in favour of (for example) the eudemonic alongside the hedonic, and virtuous alongside the utilitarian, common responsibilities alongside the rights of the individual, the sacred alongside the secular.
  • How public policy initiatives aimed at strengthening civil society through concepts such as the Third Way, Localism and most recently, the Big Society could be enhanced and/or critiqued by the application of insights praxes associated with Philosophy of Religion and world religions.
  • The use of themes and ideas from Philosophy of Religion and world religious traditions in developing strategic resources for the development of alternative discourses, imaginings and praxes towards more just and equitable ends and an expanded understanding of what it is to be human and live in a flourishing environment

Strand Two: Rethinking Philosophy of Religion

  • Need to make Philosophy of Religion more aware of diversity and complexity of religious practices
  • How incorporate greater variety of sociological, anthropological or ethnographical data into philosophising about religion?
  • Relation of philosophical analysis to faith, but also to methodologies in other fields concerned with religion. I.e. does analysis necessarily falsify religious thought?
  • More participative – how can Philosophy of Religion engage and ‘talk’ better to religious practitioners? What models for dialogue are there?
  • How capture impact that Philosophy of Religion can and should have on religious communities whilst maintaining critical questioning of the impact agenda?
  • How might work in philosophy open up thinking about research on lived religious practice?

Strand Three: Engaging the Public in Research on Religion

  • Improving the visibility of academic debate on religion and its relationship to philosophy
  • Improving and enhancing the quality of public debate
  • Ensuring that policy makers are aware of the core issues at stake in e.g. discrimination debates.
  • Bringing research to bear on religious discrimination cases and other zeitgeist-y public issues

Paper Proposals: Please submit abstracts of 250 words for 20 minute papers that will locate themselves in one of these three streams by 28th February 2014.

Panel Proposals: Proposals for complete panels will also be welcomed. Please send an abstract of no more than a side of A4 for a panel proposal 28th February 2014.

For Stream 1 please send proposals to Chris Baker at chris.baker@chester.ac.uk. For Stream 2 please send proposals to Daniel Whistler daniel.whistler@liverpool.ac.uk. For Stream 3 please send proposals to either Chris Baker or Daniel Whistler.


Registration Per Person: £40.00 for one day, £80.00 for two days (including lunch and tea and coffee, but excluding breakfast and dinner).


Secure online registration is available at: http://storefront.chester.ac.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=288&zenid=5e1qjbugh1ig6t9g84q77nrir1

For any enquiries, please contact Carly McEvoy: c.mcevoy@chester.ac.uk +44 1244 511031

Please visit http://www.chester.ac.uk/find-us and click Riverside Campus for travel and location instructions


Research into Sikh studies is relatively young and is rapidly growing as a mainstream academic discipline. This annual conference aims to bring together academics, scholars and researchers and to encourage a spirit of collaboration within UK Sikh studies academia.

The conference aims to explore research and academic inquiry into various aspects of Sikh studies. The conference will provide an environment where academics, researchers and scholars can come together to pursue critical debate, discussion and inquiry into the many aspects of Sikh research in an open, constructive and collegiate manner.

The conference is being organised by Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, Harjinder Singh Lallie and Gurinder Singh Mann. Further details can be found on the Conference website:


Social Relations, Transformation and Trust

Friday 28th – Saturday 29th March

Centre for Social Relations, Coventry University

Both national and local communities have long been heterogeneous and therefore living with differences is not new. However, the scope, scale and pace of change in recent years are unprecedented. Over the last decades the UK have seen dramatic demographic shifts, e.g. in its ethnic composition, demographic and socio-economic distribution leading to an increasingly plural society.

By crossing disciplines, bridging and bringing together academia, policy makers and practitioners, this conference focuses on how societies cope with change, overcome inequality, and how resilience to negative impacts of change can be developed and harnessed through attention to social relations and trust as transformative agents.

We are inviting academics from social sciences and humanities as well as practitioners to present and discuss applied research, empirical studies and critical theoretical papers on the topics including, but not limited to:

  • Social relations and social cohesion: Living together in diverse and changing societies.
  • Trust processes and impact in organisations: The importance of trust in creating communities better prepared to deal with change.
  • Tensions within communities: Understanding the causes and consequences of tensions between and within local communities
  • Inter-group conflict and building peace: Processes contributing to inter-group conflict and building trust.

Knowledge Transfer: What do practitioners and policy makers need from academia? Generating real world impact.

Keynote Speakers Include:

  • Prof. Danny Dorling School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

Nature of the conference

As an applied research centre our work focuses not only on academic work leading to evidenced based recommendations for policy, but also on knowledge exchange with partnership organizations. This will be reflected in the conference programme. Next to focusing on current academic discussions this conference will facilitate opportunities for direct exchange between policy makers, practitioners and academics. To facilitate personal face to face interactions, fruitful exchange of knowledge and ideas, as well as vivid discussions, this conference will have a small number of parallel sessions per day and therefore a limited number of delegates presenting.

Submission Guidelines:

Abstract for individual papers should be no more than 250 words, not contain footnotes and be comprehensible to a non-specialist audience. Please submit by 31.1.2014 to:


Presentations will be grouped into thematic sessions of 90min – 2 hours length, with three or four papers per session (20 minutes per presentation plus 10 minutes discussion). Panel submissions to deepen discussion around one topic of interests are also welcome. If you would like to submit a panel, please submit:

  • Title of the panel including the name and affiliation of each speakers
  • Abstract for the panel
  • Abstract for each presentation

Proposals for alternative types of session (e.g. round-table or witness seminar) are strongly encouraged. Please discuss this with us in advance of the Call for Papers deadline. The Centre for Social Relations is committed to academic development and the showcasing of new ideas and thoughts, therefore submissions from early career researchers are particularly welcome and attendance may be subsidised.

For further information or questions please contact Dr. Carola Leicht, carola.leicht@coventry.ac.uk, or visit our centre’s webpage www.socialrelations.org.uk

Round Table Session, EASR 2014

“The Study of Religions and Religion in Secular Education”

at the EASR conference in Groningen on “Religion and Pluralities of Knowledge” (May 11-15, 2014) has been extended to Dezember 15, 2013:

The EASR working group on religion education (RE) in public schools and the academic study of religions was established in Bremen in 2007. One early outcome of this initiative was the NVMEN 2008 Special Issue on the same theme. We have since then had regular panel sessions on the academic study of religion and RE at all EASR conferences, and we now want to take stock of the work done, on the current state of affairs and new directions in research on RE from the perspective of the academic study of religions. What has been achieved, where are “we’, and where do we need and want to move in the years ahead. The round table session opens with a report by Wanda Alberts & Tim Jensen on the work done and the research areas so far covered. Following that, invited scholars on RE, scholars who have contributed to the work of the group will deliver brief statements, including their ideas for future directions and research. Apart from these invited speakers, we herewith invite other colleagues working in the field to send proposals for short papers (max 10 minutes) that reflect on the state of art and desiderata, also as regards collaborative future research and publications.

Please send proposals (of no more than 150 words) directly to the EASR RE Working Group organizers, Wanda Alberts <wanda.alberts@ithrw.uni-hannover.de>, and Tim Jensen <t.jensen@sdu.dk>.

For further information on the conference, please take a look at the conference website:



Death in Scotland

Death in Scotland from the Medieval to the Modern: beliefs, attitudes and practices,

31st January 2014 – 2nd February 2014, New College, University of Edinburgh.

I would like to draw your attention to the forthcoming international conference on Scottish Death. Plenary speakers include:

  • Professor Jane Dawson (John Laing Professor of Reformation History, Edinburgh University) ‘With one foot in the grave’: death in life and life in death in Reformation Scotland
  • Professor Richard Fawcett (School of Art History, University of St Andrews) ‘The architectural setting of prayers for the dead in later medieval Scotland’
  • Dr Lizanne Henderson (Lecturer in History, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow) ‘Fairies, Angels and the Land of the Dead: Robert Kirk’s Lychnobious People’
  • Professor Sarah Tarlow (Director of the Centre for Historical Archaeology, University of Leicester) ‘Beliefs about bodies: contradictions and conundrums in Early Modern Scotland’

We have an amazing programme of 42 speakers (see the full list of speakers and the conference programme here: http://bit.ly/1foNO25) The conference contains several papers on sociological and religious analyses of death including:

  • Edward Small, University of Dundee, on the Influences of Scottish Funeral on the Church of Scotland
  • Lizzie Swarbrick, University of St Andrews, on Piety and the Dead in Scottish Late Medieval Ecclesiastical Art
  • Dr Lakhbir K. Jassal, University of Edinburgh, on The Politics of Death Care

Please can you forward the attached conference details to anyone you think might be interested. Conference costs are £27 for Friday, £55 for Saturday and £27 Sunday or £100 for the weekend and places can be booked via http://bit.ly/18LO5bm

For more information see https://www.facebook.com/deathinscotland

Beyond Consent and Dissent

Beyond Consent and Dissent: Women, Power and Religions in Modern Africa

Dates of Event: 17th January 2014 – 18th January 2014

Last Booking Date for this Event: 18th January 2014

Studies of gender and religion in Africa have been dominated by interpretations that view religious practice and adherence as a source of power for women, on the one hand, or as a mechanism of female subjugation, on the other hand. This interdisciplinary and comparative workshop proposes to both build upon and move beyond these polarities by investigating the practices and ideas linked to female religiosity in both Christianity and Islam that extended ‘beyond consent and dissent’.

Speakers will interrogate the significance of religious adherence for female subjectivity in ways that move beyond religion as a mechanism for engendering either subjugation and/or emancipation. A range of historians, anthropologists and religious studies scholars will address Muslim and Christian case-studies from regions including Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Niger – as well as further afield from the European world. We will also feature speakers who address how Christianity and Islam intersect in specific gendered religious practices (for example, the new ‘Chrislam’ movement in present-day Nigeria).

Booking and further details: http://onlinesales.admin.cam.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=124&catid=574&prodid=881

Inform Anniversary Conference

Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future

New Academic Building, London School of Economics, London

Friday 31 January – Sunday 2 February 2014

Inform is celebrating over a quarter of a century of providing information that is as reliable and up-to-date as possible about minority religions with an Anniversary Conference to be held at the London School of Economics, UK.

Registration for the full conference (including Friday Ashgate-Inform book launch and reception with refreshments, Saturday and Sunday tea/coffee/lunch) is £100 standard and £75 concession for students and unwaged. Tickets booked after January 6th will be £120 or £85.

We are offering single day registrations for £45, or £55 after January 6th.

Inform will also be hosting an Anniversary Dinner at Dicken’s Inn, St Katharine Dock, near the Tower of London on Saturday 1 February.

The cost, which is not included in the registration fee, of the three course set meal and coffee is £38.50. The menu for the dinner can be seen here. Dietary requirements can be catered for. Drinks are not included although there will be a cash bar. Booking and payment for the dinner must be done by January 6th and is non-refundable.

How to Pay: Registration for the conference and Saturday evening dinner can be completed online here, using a credit/debit card or through a PayPal account if you have one or by posting a completed booking form and cheque made out to Inform in pounds sterling and sent to ‘Inform, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE’

For more on the Ashgate-Inform book series, please visit the website www.ashgate.com/inform.


Open University

AHRC PhD Studentships in Art History, Classical Studies, English (including Creative Writing), History, Music, Religious Studies and Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

AHRC CHASE PhD Studentships

circulation date : 12/12/2013

closing date : 31/01/2014

The Faculty of Arts is pleased to announce Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding through the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts, South-East England (CHASE). CHASE is matching AHRC funding of £17m and will be awarding more than 375 AHRC-studentships over a five-year period starting in 2014/15. Up to 75 studentships are available across the consortium for autumn 2014 entry.

CHASE AHRC studentships are available to UK and EU residents at The Open University in the Faculty’s subject areas. Awards for UK residents include fees and maintenance while EU residents are eligible for fees only.

Please see the Faculty’s Research Areas and Academic Profiles for more information about staff research interests and current PhD projects

Closing date for applications: 31 January 2014

Equal Opportunity is University Policy.

Further particulars

Aarhus University/Queen’s University

A new Doctoral programme in the cognitive the science of religion has been established by Aarhus University (Graduate School of Arts/Religion, Cognition and Culture Research Unit–see http://www.rcc.au.dk/) and Queen’s University, Belfast (School of History and Anthropology/Institute of Cognition and Culture—see http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/InstituteofCognitionCulture/).

Students should apply for admission via one of the two Universities, and will be considered in line with their normal Postgraduate Admission Procedures, which require, among other things, a research proposal on a topic relevant to the cognitive science of religion. The normal duration of the Doctoral programme is full time for three years. In general, admitted students will spend the first six months and the last six months of their doctoral studies at the University where they are admitted. The intervening 24 months are spent according to a PhD plan established for each individual student. In completion, the student receives a single degree certificate issued by Aarhus University and Queen’s University.

Each University agreed to provide two fellowships to support the programme. One fellowship shall be available each year—Queen’s University will allocate funding in the academic years 2014-15 and 2016-17, while Aarhus University will allocate funding in academic years 2015-16 and 2017-18. Students who wish to compete for a fellowship will be required to apply to the University responsible for offering the support in the related year. For more information about the programme, please contact Armin W. Geertz (AWG@teo.au.dk) or Paulo Sousa (p.sousa@qub.ac.uk)

Methods Training


Monday 17rd – Friday 21st March 2014

Department of Religious Studies, University of Kent

**Editors Note – RSP Editor-in-Chief Chris Cotter attended this event last year, and thoroughly recommends it.**

This training programme is available for doctoral students (or post-doctoral fellows) registered at any higher education institution in the UK/EU. It is based on previous training developed by the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society, funded by the AHRC, which led to the development of the Religion Methods website, and aims to provide students with a core training in fieldwork approaches to the study of religion.

Topics covered by the training will include:

  • Conceptualising religion for research
  • Key elements and processes of research design
  • The role of theory in social research
  • The politics and ethics of research
  • Sampling
  • Rigour and validity in research
  • Using quantitative data-sets for research on religion
  • Ethnographic approaches in theory and practice
  • Visual methods
  • Developing research interviews
  • Using qualitative data analysis software
  • Researching objects and spaces
  • Producing research proposals

To attend this training programme, students not registered at the University of Kent will be required to pay a £100 registration fee, which would cover attendance at all sessions and the costs of training materials. Delegates would need to make their own arrangements for accommodation, and there is a wide selection of affordable B&B provision in the Canterbury area. For those planning to commute on a daily basis, Canterbury is now less than an hour from London St Pancras on the high speed train link.

Space on the programme is limited and the deadline to register your interest to attend this programme is Friday 10th January. To register your interest, please email Ruth Sheldon (R.H.Sheldon@kent.ac.uk) with a short statement (no more than 250 words) stating the university at which you are studying, the project you are undertaking and the relevance of this training programme for your work and academic development.


University of Washington

Lecturer in Religious Studies


Aarhus University

Postdoctoral scholarship at the Grundtvig Study



Summer Courses



We are pleased to announce the 2014 summer seminar at Harvard Divinity School for scholars, other writers or artists, religious leaders, and activists who are working on a first large project in which they hope to change the terms of current debates around religion and sexuality. For scholars, this project would be either a doctoral dissertation or a first book. For other writers and artists, religious leaders, and activists, it might be a first book, though it might also be a new curriculum, a series of public presentations and performances, or a media piece. The seminar understands both “religion” and “sexuality” broadly. Though its staff will have done specialized work mostly in “Western” religious traditions and expressions of sexuality, participants’ projects may cover a wide range of religions and sexual cultures. The seminar welcomes various methods in religious studies and theology, from the most focused ethnography or local history to the grandest policy proposal or normative argument. It is also interested in projects about media communication, public policy, religious advocacy, and religious education. It especially seeks participants from outside the United States. Harvard Divinity School will pay for participants’ travel to Cambridge and lodging and meals during the seminar. The seminar will be directed by Mark D. Jordan (Washington University in St. Louis) and Mayra Rivera Rivera (Harvard University). Faculty from Harvard and other institutions or organizations will lead sessions in their areas of interest. Large portions of the seminar’s time will be devoted to discussing participants’ writing in workshop format. Applications are due February 5, 2014. Invitations to the seminar will be issued by February 20.

Details of the application and further information about the program are available online at http://www.hds.harvard.edu/faculty-research/conferences-and-seminars/debates-about-religion-and-sexuality. Questions may be directed to rsseminar@hds.harvard.edu.


Religious Unity and Diversity Within Hinduism and Buddhism in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Place: Kathmandu, Nepal

Dates: July 27th-August 10th, 2014

Host: Aarhus University Summer School

Two of the world’s largest religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, have peacefully coexisted in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal for centuries. Many of the commonr eligious practices Nepalis perform either occur at sites shared by both communities or the participants themselves do not self-identify as exclusively Hindu or Buddhist. Over the course of two weeks of lectures and visits to key field-sites, we will explore the historical and contemporary intersections between Hinduism and Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley. We will also introduce relevant theories for the study of religious pluralism and the research methods traditionally employed in the field drawing on philology, history, ethnography, sociology, and visual studies.

The course will be relevant to students from Anthropology, Asian Studies, and the Study of Religion. Students will be required to be present at lectures and fieldtrips and write a final exam. The number of ECTS points for international students will be arranged through the Aarhus Summer School program. Lectures will be conducted in English. Final exams will be in English or Danish.

Students will pay for their own travel and accommodations, but we will arrange for mutual housing during the course period. Students are encouraged to travel on their own in Nepal or other parts of Asia at the conclusion of the course.


Jørn Borup, Associate Professor

Marianne Fibiger, Associate Professor

Bjarne Wernicke Olesen, PhD Candidate

Cameron David Warner, Assistant Professor

Contact: Cameron David Warner, etncw@hum.au.dk

Apply by 15 March 2014 at:

International Students: http://www.au.dk/en/summeruniversity/application/

New Book

Charming Beauties and Frightful Beasts: Non-Human Animals in South Asian Myth, Ritual and Folklore

Edited by Fabrizio Ferrari and Thomas Dahnhardt

  • HB £60 9781908049582
  • PB £19.99 9781908049599
  • 288pp, 234 x 156mm
  • Equinox Publishing Ltd,

Special offer: Quote the code ‘Charming’ when ordering from www.equinoxpub.com and receive 25% off the retail price until the end of March 2014



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