Opportunities Digest (4 May 2012) – Books, Conferences, Journals, Jobs and more…

4 May 2012 Issue

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In this issue:

  • New books
  • Conference Announcements
  • Journals – advance notice
  • Calls for Papers
  • Jobs



If there is a new publication that we should share, please email us.

BENZAITEN GUIDEBOOK – Evolution of Benzaiten in Japanese Art and Lore

Date: Tue, 01 May 2012

Benzaiten Guidebook. 68 pages, 250 images.


This illustrated guide traces the evolution of Benzaiten iconography in Japanese artwork and explores her role as a beacon of Japan’s combinatory Deva-Buddha-Kami religious matrix. To a lesser degree, it also examines the ritualistic context of her worship – how her art was employed in religious rites, state functions, Shintō ceremonies, and folk practices. It includes special sections on her Hindu associations, Kami associations, and Animal associations. It ends with

twelve mini case studies of her main sanctuaries in Japan, concluding remarks, and bibliography. Meticulously referenced. I hope it will augment the efforts of students, teachers, art historians, and scholars of Benzaiten art and lore for years to come.


Virtual Worlds Research Network – 16-18 May 2012, Edinburgh

The Virtual Worlds Research Network is a knowledge-sharing tool for virtual worlds researchers. The network features a mailing list and a website, and will officially launch with an inaugural conference at the University of Edinburgh, May 16-18, 2012.

Places are limited, so please register at www.vwrn.org


Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol 27, no. 2 (May 2012)



Theme: Religion, Value, and a Secular Culture

Type: International Conference

Institution: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (CRVP)

University of Kwazulu-Natal

Location: Durban (South Africa)

Date: 5.–6.11.2012

By the term “secular culture” is meant one which problematizes the foundations for the various religious beliefs that make up the traditions of that society, though the public order may not be

founded on any particular expression in those traditions, of the ethical framing of life together. The shift from a premodern culture is characterized by two central changes: (i) the greater degree of individual freedom. This is recognized as a key value in changing societies and is given expression in the democratic institution of universal suffrage; and (ii) the emergence and prestige of the sciences and of scientific method as the default paradigm of human knowledge.

As the major religious traditions acquired their canonical expression in premodern culture, they do not to any great extent deal with a thought-out response to the major factors or key values which characterize contemporary culture. Thus the first factor challenges the traditions to re-think attitudes to women, to moral rules and values, and to hierarchy; the second factor calls upon religious thinkers and leaders to be involved in dialogue with the sciences and knowledge acquired thereby.

One response to these changed conditions of society has been to remove religion and religious beliefs altogether from public debate. This is then framed solely in terms of individual human rights and the values of equality and tolerance. However, in the absence of any foundation for these rights and values, this framework might itself seem arbitrary and imposed, in particular in a global situation of the interaction of more developed with still developing cultures and economies. A purely procedural democracy and ethical framework might disallow real dialogue on substantive values or with persons.

Not amenable to scientific inquiry strictly speaking. Religious fundamentalism, for its part, sees no possibility of such dialogue, and can be seen, as does Karen Armstrong, rather as a reaction


Papers are invited from any discipline whether philosophical, theological-religious, sociological, psychological, legal, political, and on any issue arising out of these intellectual challenges:

  • Developments within religious traditions in response to secularity

  • Conflicts and divisions within religious traditions in meeting the new conditions for religious beliefs

  • Differing political frameworks for regulating interaction between state and religion

  • Legal matters arising from separation of church and state

  • Religious traditions as challenging dominant models of secular ethics, in particular a possible bias towards individualism

  • The problems of building human community and countering fragmentation in conditions of a secular culture

  • Fundamentalism as response and resistance to secularity; recourse to violence

  • Secularisation in relation to neo-colonialism

  • Responses of particular countries in the face of secularism – South Africa, Turkey, United States, and others

  • Secularism depicted and problematized in fiction – Pamuk’s Snow, Dastgir’s A Small Fortune, for example

  • Secularism and particular religious traditions – Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, for example

  • Romantic love as a theme in religious responses to secular changes – Pamuk, Dastgir, Shutte’s Conversion, for example

  • Transcendence in a framework of immanence in the religious traditions

  • African traditional thought and response to secularism

  • Debates between science and religion – open and closed versions of neo-Darwinism

  • Studies of a contemporary writer on these theological themes: Karen Armstrong; Keith Ward; Mustafa Akyol; Mark Johnston; for example; or on the ethical themes: Alisdair MacIntyre, Herbert

McCabe, Marilynn Robinson, for example

  • Philosophical frameworks for fruitful dialogue between secular culture and religious traditions: B. Lonergan; Charles Taylor; and others


Professor John Patrick Giddy

University of Kwazulu-Natal


South Africa

Email: Giddyj [at] ukzn.ac.za

Web: http://www.crvp.org/conf/2012/durban.htm

CFP: Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal

Deadline of June 15th

Submissions can be blind peer-reviewed

Get in touch if you have an idea for an article you would like to submit, or would like to know more.

More details, and submission guidelines, are available here:


Conference on Historiography of Religion

Senior and emerging researchers are invited to apply.

This conference is organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF) in partnership with Linköping University (LiU). The conference will take place on 10-14 September 2012 in Scandic Linköping Väst, Linköping, Sweden.

Submission Deadline: 14 May 2012

Grants for Young and Early Stage Researchers available.

Further information can be found below and at: www.esf.org/conferences/12386


Historiography of Religion

10-14 September 2012

Chaired by:

Jörg Rüpke – Max-Weber-Centre, University of Erfurt, DE

Susanne Rau – Department of History, University of Erfurt, DE

How to Participate*

Attendance is possible only after successful application. Application form is accessible from www.esf.org/conferences/12386


A certain number of grants are available for students and early stage researchers to cover the conference fee and possibly part of the travel costs.

Closing date for applications: 14 May 2012


The conference will focus on the question: How, under which conditions and with which consequences are religions historicized? The conference aims at furthering the study of religion as of historiography by analysing how religious groups (or their adversaries) employ historical

narratives in the construction of their identities or how such groups are invented by later historiography (comparative historiography). Thus the biases and elisions of current analytical and descriptive frames have to be analysed, too (history of research). Combing disciplinary

competences of Religious Studies and History of Religion, Confessional Theologies, History, History of Science, and Literary Studies, the participants will help to initiate a /comparative historiography of religion/ by applying literary comparison and historical contextualization to those texts that have been used as central documents for histories of individual religions and analyze their historiographic character, tools and strategies. Furthermore they will stimulate /the history of historical research on religion/; that is, identifying key steps in the early modern and modern history of research. The comparative approach will address Circum-Mediterranean and European as well as Asian religious traditions from the first millennium BCE to present. More


Call for Papers

Alternative Salvations

University of Chester, 18th September 2012, 10:30-4:30

The Conference

To speak of salvation is, broadly, to speak about transformation from one present reality into a new, transformed and better reality. While the language of salvation itself is not necessarily found in every religious tradition, the hope of, or incentive to work towards, such transformation is a widespread characteristic of many religious traditions. In Christianity, there are a number of dominant perspectives on salvation associated with particular traditions, usually expressed in grand future eschatological narratives. But what of alternative approaches to salvation that have developed outside of established religious orthodoxies? The conference will explore how ‘unorthodox’ readings of sacred texts inform salvation experience; how life transformations outside of religious contexts might be considered spiritual; how  ideas of this-worldly salvation are politicised; how ideas of salvation are simultaneously secularised and infused with new power; what alternative salvations can be discovered within Christianity and how might they be practised. In particular, we are seeking to explore the ways that alternative religious, spiritual and secular understandings of the notion of salvation already shape, and have the potential to shape, how people live and act in Christian and post-Christian contexts.

Call for Papers

This exciting conference breaks new ground in exploring alternative approaches to salvation. Proposals for short papers are invited on any aspect of the theme of ‘alternative salvations’ as outlined here. Papers will normally be 20 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes for discussion. Applications to submit a short paper should include:

·         Proposer’s name and affiliation

·         a title for the paper

·         a 200 word abstract

·         Details of any audio-visual equipment you will need to deliver your paper

Short paper proposals should be submitted to alternativesalvations@chester.ac.uk by no later than 4:00pm on 8th May 2012. Applicants should know the outcome of

their proposal by 18th May 2012.

Conference costs: £28 (£18 for unwaged and students) inclusive of lunch and refreshments.

More details about the conference and a booking form can be found at: http://www.chester.ac.uk/sites/files/chester/salvation%20conference.pdf


Theme: Globalization and Theories of Religion

Publication: Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory

Date: Special Issue

Deadline: 1.9.2012

In the past two decades the phrase “globalization” has been used increasingly and extensively to describe, characterize, or vilify the current state of world affairs. The expression early on had

primarily an economic, and to a certain extent a “neo-liberal”, set of connotations. But increasingly the word has come to be used to theorize a wide and diverse range of interrelated global trends, tendencies, and phenomena that are not only economic, but social, cultural, and political. The notion that specific religions, or religion as a whole, are becoming qualitatively different in this new “globalized” setting has been advanced by such well-known European

philosophers as Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Olivier Roy. Different conclusions have also been drawn by thinkers who represent the emerging world or the so-called “global south.”

This special issue of the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory seeks article submissions that address the broader problem of globalization and religion. It also seeks shorter, critical, and

reflective essays (2000-4000 words) that deal with one or more of the following questions:

What do we really mean by the expression “globalization”?

  • How are the varied and complex theories of globalization affecting theories of religion as a whole?

  • In what ways have different world or indigenous religions become “globalized”? And what has been the short-term or long-term effect on them?

  • What is the shape of the emerging world order and how does it significantly challenge, or change, our understanding of the idea of “religion”, or the importance of religion, within the various disciplinary, subdisciplinary, and interdisciplinary matrices?

  • In what measures can and should theories of religion be integrated with current or prevailing theories of globalization (social, cultural, political, economic, social, etc.), and what priority should they be given?

  • How can the new forms of “political theology” be leveraged to illuminate and perhaps answer more discerningly many of the foregoing questions?

  • What insights do certain prominent and widely recognized philosophers and religious theorists or theorists – postmodern, postcolonial, “decolonial”, etc. – have to say, either explicitly or implicitly, about the question of globalization.

Deadline: September 1, 2012


Carl Raschke

Email: carl.raschke [at] du.edu


Call for Papers: Journal of Modern Jewish Studies Essay Prize 2013

Journal of Modern Jewish Studies are inviting submissions to their annual

essay prize for scholars in the early stages of their career. Papers are invited on

topics in Jewish history, social studies, religion, thought, literature and the arts from the 16th century to the present day. They should not be under consideration for publication elsewhere, and should not be submitted to any other journal until the outcome of the competition is known.

The Prize:

  • Cash prize of £150 GBP/$244 USD
  • Publication of the winning essay in Journal of Modern Jewish Studies as
  • the opening article of the July 2013 issue (volume 11, issue 2)
  • The winning essay will also be promoted on the journal website

For further information about the jury and the prize conditions, please click here.




We invite postgraduate students and research fellows to submit proposals for papers on

psychoanalysis or psychoanalytically informed research. Papers may be from any academic

discipline, including psychology, sociology, cultural studies, psychosocial studies, history,

literature, art, religious studies or philosophy. We also welcome proposals on clinical or

theoretical topics from students on psychoanalytic trainings.

This one-day conference is designed to give postgraduate students from all disciplines who

are interested in psychoanalysis an opportunity to present and discuss their research in an

informal and intellectually stimulating setting.

Abstracts of 300 words (maximum) should include a title, the name of your university or

training organisation and a telephone number. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes

long. A further 10 minutes will be allowed for discussion. Sessions of 1½ hours will have

space for three papers. There will be concurrent panels to accommodate as many papers as

possible. The day will end with a plenary.

The conference takes place at the Hendon Campus of Middlesex University (30 minutes from

central London) between 9:30 and 5:30 on Saturday, 9 June, 2012. Tea, coffee and a light

lunch will be provided. The conference fee is £40 for presenters and attendees.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is Friday, 18 May, 2012. Early submission and

registration is recommended. Abstracts and queries should be sent to: David Henderson,


The abstract registration for the conference  ENDS AND BEGINNINGS (EASR annual conference, IAHR special conference) that is to be held in Stockholm on August 23-26, will remain open until May 7th.

Please register your abstract to the conference on www.sh.se/easr2012

The Memphis Theological Seminary Journal is an online journal devoted to promoting public scholarship by combining the speed of journalism with the rigor of academic scholarship. Following this commitment, we invite substantive essays that examine all areas of religious studies. We especially welcome essays that contribute to theory, advance an understanding of an existing method or the development of new ones, extend or challenge a current paradigm, bridge a divide, clarify a term or concept, or examine practical and pragmatic applications of ministerial functions. The Journal welcome all types of essays—theoretical, historical, qualitative, quantitative, and rhetorical or a book review essay.

To facilitate double-blind peer review, manuscripts should be free of any material identifying the author(s) or their affiliation(s). Before submission, authors should be sure their manuscripts do not exceed 25 pages (including work cited page), are double-spaced throughout, and are saved in a standard word processor format (.doc, .docx, .wpd, or .rtf). Authors must ensure their accepted manuscripts conform to sixth edition of the Modern Language Association of Style and use inclusive language. Authors are responsible for acquiring any permission for the reproduction of texts, images, tables, illustrations, or other materials, as well as for providing camera-ready copies of tables, figures, and images.

All submissions are by email only and you may send them to: Andre E. Johnson, PhD at ajohnson@memphisseminary.edu

Please also include in the subject line: MTS Submission. For further information about the journal, please go to http://mtsjournal.memphisseminary.edu/


please feel free to distribute the job announcement for the position of Director for the Donner Institute, Turku, Finland.

In Swedish:


In English: