Religious Studies Opportunities Digest (1 June 2012) – Calls for Papers, Jobs, Conferences and more…

1 June 2012 Issue

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In this issue:

  • Advanced Notice – Journals
  • Conference Announcements
  • Jobs
  • Calls for Papers
  • New Course


Contemporary Buddhism, vol 13, Issue 1, 2012

Sociology of Religion, May 2012

Theology and Science,vol 10, Issue 2, 2012

The second volume of the annual journal Religion and Society: Advances in Research is now available. The contents are listed below. For information on the journal and how to subscribe go to

Volume 2



Simon Coleman and Ramon Sarró: Dialogues and Trajectories

I. PORTRAIT – José Casanova

De-Privatization, the Public Sphere and Popular Religion

Hubert Knoblauch

Public and Private in the Study of Religion: Innovative Approaches

Grace Davie

Casanova, Asad and the Public Debate on Religion in Modern Societies

Kim Knibbe

Toward a Post-Weberian Sociology of Global Religions

Manuel A. Vásquez

From Modernization, to Secularization, to Globalization: An Autobiographical Self-Reflection

José Casanova


Encountering the Supernatural: A Phenomenological Account of Mind

Julia Cassaniti and Tanya Luhrmann

The Case for Religious Transmission: Time and Transmission in the Anthropology of Christianity

Vlad Naumescu

On and Off the Margin: The Anthropology of Contemporary Jewry

Andrew Buckser

Inter-Publics’: Hindu Mobilization Beyond the Bourgeoisie Public Sphere

Ursula Rao

Pentecostalism and ‘National Culture’: A Dialogue Between Brazilian Social Sciences and the Anthropology of Christianity

Cecilia Mariz and Roberta Campos


Religious Violence as Folklore

William T. Cavanaugh

Reflections on ‘Religious Violence’: Reconsidering Durkheim

Wendy James

Religion and Civil War in Africa: Durkheim and Douglas Revisited

Paul Richards


Around Ruth Marshall’s Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria


John Peel, Daniel Smith, Joel Robbins, Jean-François Bayart

Response to Comments

Ruth Marshall


The Anthropology of Religious Controversy: A Masters Level Course

Peter Collins and Yulia Egorova




Epigraphical Evidence for the Formation and Rise of Early Śaivism: The Religious Landscape at the Time of the Composition and Spread of the Skandapurāṇa

June 4-5 2012, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Towards the end of the Gupta-Vākāṭaka period, religious sectarian movements started to feature prominently in the political landscape of early medieval India (ca. 400 – 900 CE). One of the most dominant religious traditions in this period is Śaivism, revolving around the worship of the god Śiva. Its propagators developed strong ties to royal houses and grew to be successful in establishing a range of religious institutions under its authority throughout the Indianized world, as recently laid out in Sanderson’s seminal work ‘The Śaiva Age’ (2009). The theology, mythology and ritual codes of the various branches of Śaivism are recorded in an array of textual material but the most important sources for assessing their historical reality on the ground are contained in the epigraphical corpus. These traces of institutional activities often long predate our extant textual evidence.

The contributors of the symposium will present religious epigraphical data on early forms of Śaivism and its competitors pertaining to its formative period in India, Nepal, Cambodia and Campā. These data will be contextualized and correlated with the political history and findings from the study of the religious textual corpus. Insights generated in this symposium aim to contribute towards a more differentiated understanding of the historical and social reality of these religious traditions themselves, as well as of the religious milieu and socio-political dynamics which facilitated the creation and dissemination of a large body of religious scriptures. One important example of such a scripture is the oldest extant version of the Skandapurāṇa, which is our earliest evidence of a systematization of Śiva mythology and contains the earliest extant origination myths of the Śaiva Pāśupata tradition, the precursor of the various forms of Tantric Śaivism. By linking epigraphical material with such textual evidence and vice versa, we hope to shed more light on the religious developments in this transitional period from the classical to the medieval.

For the programme, please see (PDF).

Symposium Organization: Nina Mirnig ( and Natasja Bosma (

BSA Teaching Group

Inaugural Conference

28th – 30th September 2012

Menzies Strathallan Hotel, Birmingham


  • Professor John Holmwood (University of Nottingham), Former Chair of the Council of UK Heads & Professors of Sociology, Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences & the incoming President of the British Sociological Association
  • Professor Corrine Squire (University of East London), Humanities & Social Sciences, Author of ‘Women & AIDS: Physiological Perspectives’
  • Dr Paul Bagguley (University of Leeds), Researcher in the Sociology of Protest, Author of ‘Riotous Citizens: ethnic conflict in multicultural Britain’

Exam Training Sessions – delegates will be able to attend exam training sessions run by chief examiners from the major exam boards, select from workshop sessions to match specific career development targets and see recent subject specific resources.

Workshops will include sharing Ofsted experiences, Differentiation, Gifted & Talented and ICT in the Classroom.

               Postgraduate Micro-lectures covering areas such as: culture & identity creation; differentiation; inequality & stratisfication; demography; welfare & government policy in most fields of life; family & households; the role of women; minority groups; aging; youth culture; all aspects of education especially potential changes & their effects on different groups within sociology; health & welfare; wealth & poverty & welfare provision; politics & power; globalisation in all its many aspects; religion; crime & deviance; methodology; theory & the role of research.

Conference Registration Cost:

Full Conference (including accommodation & food):

BSA Members £260; BSA Teaching Group Members: £285; Non-members: £350

Saturday Day Delegate (excludes Conference dinner & accommodation)

BSA Members £70; BSA Teaching Group Members: £90; Non-members: £120

Thanks to the generous support from The Higher Education Academy, the BSA Teaching Group committee is able to offer 10 FREE places, to include Conference fees, meals, accommodation and dinner for the successful candidates.    To qualify you must be: a postgraduate student and not have access to institutional or other alternative funding; a PGCE Student and those who have qualified in the last year.

Early bird discount ends 17th August 2012, any bookings received after this date will incur an additional £50 charge.

For further information on how to join the BSA, the Teaching Group and funded places, please go to

Please direct any enquiries to: Tel: (0191) 383 0839.


Postdoctoral and research assistant possibilities in Buddhist / S. Asian Studies

Expressions of interest (not applications) are sought for possible appointments on a year-long cross-disciplinary project starting in October 2012 (contingent on grant decisions). The period of study is the late 19th – early 20th century.

The postdoctoral researcher will ideally have both Hindi-Urdu and Sinhala sufficient for archival research, training or experience in archival work and a background in religious studies or history, but candidates with cognate profiles may be considered. The appointment will be based in Ireland but involve 3 months work in S. Asia.

The research assistant will ideally hold an MA or be pursuing a PhD in social movements or a related field of history, but candidates with cognate profiles may be considered. The appointment will be based in Ireland but involve 2 months work in N. America.

Posts will be formally advertised in due course (subject to funding decisions to be announced in early August) but with a tight deadline. For further information and to be kept informed of advertisements please contact Dr Laurence Cox at .

Please note that this is not a job advertisement and these positions may not be appointed if funding is not secured: this call for expressions of interest is made because of the tight timeframe if grant applications are successful.

Accepting Applications for the Initial Two Integral Chairs

The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (Amman, Jordan – website) invites applications for the following two endowed Chairs:

  1. The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work
  2. The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi’s Work

Below you’ll find out more about this monumental project, requirements for application, and links to further information.

The Major Challenge

The sciences of traditional Islamic knowledge are very poorly understood in the Islamic World, and taught only in selective, abbreviated versions. Ignorance has spread in the mosques while secular academic methodologies rule the institutes of learning in the Islamic World. Even in the West, though Muslims have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to create professorial chairs and academic centres in leading western universities, these chairs and centres are invariably run or occupied by non-Muslims (or secular Muslims), and so the centres and chairs – funded by Muslims! – wind up being hostile, or at least unhelpful, to traditional Islam. This situation is leading to intellectual and spiritual impoverishment in the Islamic World, a rise in fundamentalism, and ironically, at the same time, a rise in secularism.

Purpose and Goal

The purpose of this initiative is to restore knowledge and teaching of traditional Islamic orthodox high culture and scholarship in philosophy, theology, mysticism, jurisprudence, Qur’anic exegesis, sociology, history and Arabic language and grammar in the Islamic World in combination with traditional Islamic teaching and preaching methods.

The goal of this initiative is to set up around 50 Integral Chairs in the Islamic World each as a waqf (religious endowment) in mosques and universities combined, occupied by practicing Muslim scholars, and dedicated to the intellectual and spiritual legacy of the greatest Muslim scholars and sages. Thereafter, an international institute to connect and support their activities will be established.

Brochure: Learn more by downloading the brochure about this initiative.

The First Two Chairs

The first two Chairs have been created with complete funding and a waqf established for each. We are now accepting applications for both.

Imam Al-Ghazali Chair

Named After: Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad Al-Ghazali (450–505 AH / 1058–1111 CE)

Primary Book: Ihya Ulum ad-Din

Chair based in: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and Al-Quds University.

Waqf Status: Waqf and complete funding established on 30 January 2012; professor to be appointed.

Summary: The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work was established in Jerusalem at the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s three holiest sites, and Al-Quds University. The Chair enjoys full independent administration and is the sole party in charge of selecting students, offering scholarships and awarding the King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Prize for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Scholarly Legacy.

Brochure: Learn more by downloading the brochure.

Imam Al-Razi Chair

Named After: Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi (543–606 AH / 1149–1209 CE)

Primary Book: Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir

Chair based in: King Hussein bin Talal State Mosque, Amman, Jordan, and Jordan University and the World Islamic Sciences and Education (W.I.S.E.) University, Amman, Jordan.

Waqf Status: Waqf and complete funding established on 30 January 2012; professor to be appointed.

Summary: The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi’s Work was established at the King Hussein bin Talal Mosque, the University of Jordan and W.I.S.E. University. The Chair enjoys full independent administration and is the sole party in charge of selecting students, offering scholarships and awarding the King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Prize for the Study of Imam Al-Razi’s Scholarly Legacy.

Brochure: Learn more by downloading the brochure.


The professor for each chair has to meet the following conditions:

  • That he be Muslim of the Ahl al-Sunnah (Ash’arite, Maturidi) and committed to following one of the four Madhabs (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali).
  • That he observe prayers and be of fair and reputable character.
  • That he be a hafiz of the Holy Qur’an.
  • That he be specialized and highly qualified in Islamic Sciences with in-depth knowledge of the great scholar that his particular chair focuses on, his work and scholarly legacy.
  • That he be fluent in both Arabic and English; reading, writing, and speaking.
  • That he be a PhD holder and a professor or associate professor at an accredited university or universities.
  • Priority of appointment will be for a local scholar, then those hailing from Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
  • If applicants for the Integral Chairs are found to be of equal qualifications, priority will be given to those who are members of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.
  • The Board may reduce the condition of the professor being a hafiz of the Holy Qur’an to being a hafiz of six parts (ajza’) of the Qur’an.
  • The Board must recommend to the Board of Trustees to dismiss the professor if he breaches a critical condition of the professorship.

Rights and Privileges of the Professor

  • A monthly stipend of 5,000 Jordanian Dinars (approximately $7,000 US).
  • Suitable accommodation and health insurance for the professor and his/her family.
  • Administrative support and secretarial work.
  • If the professor is not a citizen of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, he will be granted diplomatic status.

Applications should be submitted along with a resume, a recent photograph and a copy of the applicant’s passport. Applicants should also include photocopies of cover pages of any published works, including research papers. The names of three references should also be included and sent to the following address no later than 6th June, 2012:

The World Islamic Sciences and Education University

Amman, Jordan.

Learn more about the Chairs and download application forms by visiting the following pages on W.I.S.E. University’s website:


University of Bristol, UK – Teaching Fellow in East Asian Religions


University of Oxford – Departmental Lecturer in Early Islamic History


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Visiting

Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern History




Catachreses? ‘Gender’, ‘Religion’, and ‘Postcoloniality’

December 17–19 2012

Hosted by the Centre for Gender and Religions Research School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London

on behalf of the ‘Innovations in the Study of Religion and Gender Project’ funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research

The intimate bonds between colonial scholarship, European colonialism, and the discursive production and employment of ‘religion’ have by now been well charted as have the alternately fruitful and vexed exchanges between feminist, gender-critical, and postcolonial bodies of theory. It is curious, therefore, that there has been so sparse an engagement in the field of Religion and Gender (R&G) concerning the potential intersections between its eponymous objects of study and the constellation of concepts marked as and by ‘postcoloniality’. Even a cursory review of literature in the field in the last decade reveals a startling absence of sustained reflection by R&G scholars on the implications that postcolonial theory might have for their theorizations of gendered practices, identifications, and discourses within religious traditions, or of the ways in which the field itself might require reformulation and revision in light of the compelling epistemological and ontological challenges posed to metropolitan academia by a variety of postcolonialisms. Also worthy of note is the parallel lack of direct attention in postcolonial literature to the assertion of, or resistance to the imposition of ‘religious’ identities in response to colonial valuations of culture, communal identity, and social formations. Under the rubric of ‘postsecularism’, considerations of the overlooked relationship between gender and religion are only now beginning to garner attention, as postcolonial scholars have started to attend more forcefully to the ways that religious affiliation provides rich contexts within which women are able articulate political imaginaries that are consciously resistant to secular-liberalist and feminist frameworks of organising. There is as yet, however, little analysis of the possible formulations of masculinity that are enabled, prevented, or dissimulated via the conjunction of ‘religion’ and ‘postcoloniality’. Furthermore, little attention has been paid to the imperative question as to how ‘postcoloniality’ challenges, criticizes and moves forward discussions initiated by queer theory in relation to religion.

This workshop offers a timely, perhaps overdue, opportunity to (re)visit the question of the necessary triangulation of ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’ or, put differently, to pose the question of the necessity of thinking these categories together. What imperatives demand their assemblage, what constraints might require their dispersal? To what extent might the field of Religion and Gender need to undergo a process of ‘coming to terms’ such that the theoretical categories that underpin its intellectual itineraries are subjected to renewed critical reflection and reform? With these questions in mind, the workshop proposes a preliminary framework of the ‘catachresis’, defined by Gayatri Spivak as the act of ‘reversing, displacing, and seizing the apparatus of value-coding’ , a definition that extends with political intent the Derridean formulation of catachresis as indicating the original and indeed originary incompleteness that is inherent in all systems of meaning. As Derrida has put it, catachresis ‘concerns first the violent and forced, abusive inscription of a sign, the imposition of a sign upon a meaning which did not yet have its own proper sign in language. So much so that there is no substitution here, no transport of proper signs, but rather the irruptive extension of a sign proper to an idea, a meaning, deprived of their signifier. A “secondary” original”’ (This ‘secondary origin’ produces ‘a new kind of proper sense, by means of a catachresis whose intermediary status tends to escape the opposition of the primitive [sense] and the figurative [sense], standing between them as a “middle”’.  Catachresis, as the ‘middle’, is here also a ‘between’, an interval that is neither purely semantic nor purely syntactic; a spacing in other words. As such, the conceptual richness of catachresis as a thematic focus for the triadic formulation of ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’ may enable some ground clearing, a space for reflection on the variety of naming and conceptualizing mechanisms, the forging of connections, the imposition of systems of intellectual prescription that have been wielded, challenged and refused with the field of Religion and Gender. It is the catachrestic nature of these three concepts that we seek to probe and push here such that the relationship between categorization and value coding can be disclosed, undone, displaced, and rethought. What do the terms ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’ disclose about their own and their respective incompleteness? What might the assumption of their intersection or dialogic necessity imply about their inscription in a particular type and time of ‘worlding’? Is the neglect of their intersection by R&G scholars a sign of their incompatibility or possible emptiness as intellectual constructs—indeed, as lived realities—or of a troubling lacuna in the field? What impropriety is promised by the conjunction of these three concepts and which boundaries might their coalition begin to transgress?

We invite papers on any and all of these preliminary questions. We particularly welcome papers that combine theoretical reflection with empirical analysis in exploring and examining the intersections of ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted by email to

Deadline: 29th June 2012

The primary purpose of the workshop will be to identify strategic areas for future research in the area, contributing to the development and enrichment of the interdisciplinary study of religion and gender from the perspective of postcolonial theory and to create a network for future research collaboration and exchange. Selected papers from the workshop will be published in the international journal Religion and Gender.

Contacts: Dr Sîan Hawthorne ( and Dr Adriaan van Klinken (

Centre for Gender and Religions Research, Department of the Study of Religions, School of Oriental & African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Centre email:

Rethinking Religion in India IV

Call for papers

The deadline for submission of abstracts and proposals is 15 August 2012.

*The Impact of Religion:

Challenges for Society, Law and Democracy*

An interdisciplinary conference at Uppsala University

Uppsala, Sweden, 20-22 May 2013

Submissions are invited on the following themes, which – broadly speaking – mirror the Impact programme. Further sub-themes will be developed as the submitted papers arrive; these will be displayed on the conference website. Papers on comparative research are particularly welcome.  Theoretical, methodological and substantive issues will be given equal weight.

A variety of formats are envisaged:  plenary sessions, paper sessions, roundtables, academic exchanges and policy debates. Please indicate your preference when you submit your abstract. Pre-organised sessions are welcome.

•                    Religious and social change – including the role of the media in these shifts

•                    Integration, democracy and political culture

•                    Families, law and society

•                    Well-being and health

•                    Welfare models – their organization and values

•                    Science and religion

Deadline for the submission of abstracts (max 200 words): *30th November 2012*

The conference is hosted by *The Impact of Religion programme* and *Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre* at Uppsala University.

Up to date information on the programme, registration, abstract format, venue etc. will be made available at:, where you also find more details about the Impact of Religion programme itself.

Spirituality and spiritual movements in Hungary and Eastern Central Europe 11th Szeged Conference on Ethnology of Religion Szeged, 10-12 October 2012

Spirituality and spiritual movements in Hungary

and Eastern Central Europe

11th Szeged Conference on Ethnology of Religion

Szeged, 10-12 October 2012

Venue: University of Szeged, Conference Room of the Arts Faculty, 6722 Szeged, Egyetem u. 2. fszt.

In November 2012 Pope Benedict XVI is launching the “Year of Faith”. This is an occasion for us to examine the forms taken by manifestations of faith, historically and in our time, in religious life and the whole of religious culture.

Faith is manifested differently in different historical periods, among different social strata, in different age groups, occupational groups and by place of residence, among men and women, children and adults, and linguistic/ethnic features can also be discovered (or are thought to exist). And naturally, it is manifested differently in all those contexts within the various Christian and non-Christian denominations.

We welcome for the conference concrete empirical case studies that deal with manifestations of spirituality in word, action/rhythm, in art (representational arts, poetry, music, architecture, applied arts: metalwork, embroidery, etc.), in pedagogy (e.g. religious instruction); that take a social approach to both lay or clerical communities (characteristics of the spirituality of orders, monastic schools, third orders, charismatics, Focolare and other spirituality), especially to the 19th-20th century movements (Legion of Mary, Schönstatt, etc.), or spiritual movements associated with beatification and canonisation procedures in the 20th-21st centuries (Saint Margaret of Hungary, István Kaszap, Mária Bogner, etc.); and which examine the presentation of these spiritualities/cults in the press, their small printed materials, periodicals, manuscript legacy, aim; which analyse the growing ecumenical movements of the turn of the 20th-21st century, as well as the virtual communities.

We also welcome papers on the life and spirituality of religious but not church-type associations, such as charitable associations, denominational reading circles, youth movements and circles, etc.

On behalf of our department and the Sándor Bálint Institute for Research on Religion we respectfully invite applications for participation in the conference from Hungarian ethnologists, folklorists and anthropologists, as well as art historians, literary historians, photography historians, cultural historians, theologians, church historians, liturgical historians, music historians, dance researchers, educators, sociologists, philosophers, psychologists and representatives of other disciplines.

The conference will have a Hungarian and an international section, the languages of the conference will be Hungarian, English and German.

Papers can be on any theme within the range of themes listed. Our circular is intended as a general guide rather than setting strict frames covering all aspects.

Papers should be 20 minutes (approx. 13,000 characters) in length including any illustrations, and will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Deadline for applications: 15 June 2012

The organisers reserve the right to accept or reject papers. Depending on the interest shown, the conference is planned to last two or three days. Students may also apply to participate without presenting a paper. Applications should be submitted on the attached form with an abstract of the proposed paper.


Participants are to cover their own costs. The participation fee of 5,000 HUF covers participation in the work of the conference sections, attendance at auxiliary events and refreshments during the breaks.

Accommodation can be provided at a very favourable rate (approx. 3,800 HUF/night) in university guest rooms and 2-3-bed hostel rooms (most of these have shared bathroom in the corridor) if reserved in advance through the Department of Ethnology. The cost of accommodation is to be paid by participants at the place of accommodation. To make a reservation in a hotel, pension or guest house in Szeged, visit , where accommodation to suit your requirements can be found if you make your reservation in time (!).

Participants make their own arrangements for meals in restaurants and university canteens in the vicinity of the conference venue.

Books for sale

During the conference we are planning to offer books for sale. If you have a publication that fits into the theme of the conference or more broadly the field of ethnology of religion, we will be happy to handle sales on the basis of prior agreement.

Please send your application by the deadline to


MA in Dialogue Studies

School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE), Keele University, UK

The MA in Dialogue Studies is designed for graduates who wish to examine and understand theories of dialogue and their applications in peace-building and in developing intercultural understanding and social cohesion. While definitions of “dialogue” will be explored in the course of the year, it might be loosely defined here as “a range of activities, including but not confined to discussion, through which people of different social, cultural and religious groups deliberately come together for meaningful and constructive interaction.” The MA course explores the theory and practice of dialogue through a unique combination of taught subjects, research, skills-based training and a London-based internship.

The course fills a gap in postgraduate education provision by not only exploring the use of dialogue in conflict and post-conflict situations but also examining its use in combating discrimination, ghettoisation and extremism in countries such as the UK. The main core module accordingly both introduces dialogue for peace-building and explores the UK context for dialogue, drawing on the fields of sociology and history as well as politics.

The degree has a practical outlook and will equip students with knowledge, understanding and skills to effectively engage in and lead dialogue to advance intercultural interaction and understanding and social cohesion. It includes a work placement during which students will gain professional experience with the Dialogue Society. Practical elements will be supported by rigorous, reflective examination of the approaches of governmental and nongovernmental agencies to dialogue, social cohesion and reconciliation. The course’s broad scope and interdisciplinary nature will encourage students to bring broad perspectives to bear on any specific local issues with which they engage professionally.

Students will be able to pursue their particular interests within the degree’s broad remit through a wide choice of elective taught modules and through their dissertation. It will accordingly be possible for each student to choose whether to devote more attention to domestic or to international contexts for dialogue and whether to focus on its applications in peacebuilding or in the promotion of social cohesion.

The course consists of:

•Core module 1: Approaches in Dialogue

•Core module 2: Power, Knowledge and the World

•2 elective taught modules

•A work placement at the Dialogue Society, with practical experience, further training, meetings at relevant government departments and NGOs, and trips exploring multicultural London

•A 15,000 word dissertation

Who is it for?

•Students wishing to explore the theory and practice of intercultural dialogue in the UK context, and in conflict situations abroad

•Professionals and aspiring academics interested in core social issues such as intercultural dialogue, community relations and citizenship

•Activists and dialogue practitioners looking to develop their understanding of relevant social theory while enhancing essential dialogue skills

The MA offers:

•A cutting-edge combination of taught academic subjects, research, skills-based training and internship

•A postgraduate course designed and delivered in partnership by Keele University’s internationally renowned School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, and the Dialogue Society, a dynamic London-based dialogue charity

•A broad range of elective modules allowing students to pursue their own particular academic interests

•A head start in professional experience through an internship at the Dialogue Society in the heart of multicultural London

•Cultivation of an unusually wide range of valuable transferable skills, comprising academic, professional and personal skills

•Bursaries available to overseas students through the Dialogue Society in addition to those bursaries offered by SPIRE to selected postgraduates

•Quality research training and support

Aims of the Course

The course aims to provide students with the conceptual and analytical skills and the factual knowledge to develop a critical understanding of theoretical and practical approaches to dialogue, peace-building and community cohesion. This understanding will be supported by understanding of key contexts for dialogue, in the UK and in selected conflict situations. The course also aims to equip students with practical skills to engage in and lead intercultural dialogue, chiefly through the professional experience and training provided through the Dialogue Society placement. Further, the course will prepare students for research and support them in producing a dissertation on their chosen topic.

Career Destination Information

The Dialogue Studies Masters is aimed at people who wish to pursue careers in a whole range of sectors. It is relevant to those wishing to gain employment in the civil or government service at the sub-national, national or global level, or to those looking to work with sub-national, national or international NGOs. The course will also be a good preparation for further postgraduate study and is ideally suited to those interested in pursuing study of the theory and practice of dialogue at PhD level and beyond.

In addition, students will graduate with a range of transferable skills beneficial in any number of contexts. These skills will include at least: cultural sensitivity, empathy, teamwork and leadership skills, project management skills, research skills, public speaking skills, ability to lead and chair discussions, dialogue facilitation skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Course Structure and Content

All students will complete two core taught modules as follows:

1.     Approaches to Dialogue (30 credits)

This module will place the practice of dialogue in the context of key concepts, debates and positions relating to multiculturalism, political community and citizenship in Britain and other national contexts. It will explore social, demographic and political issues in the recent (1945-present) history of immigration in Britain including public and political debates about diversity during this period. It will critically review British national state policies for the management of diversity since 1945, focusing on their ideological underpinnings (including multiculturalism, integration and cohesion). Current political and theoretical debates about multiculturalism will inform analysis of the limits and possibilities for dialogue.

The module will focus primarily on the UK context for dialogue. However, select case studies from other national contexts (e.g. Yugoslavia, South Africa) will be drawn upon to critically explore opportunities for, and barriers to, conflict resolution and peace building.

2.     Power, Knowledge and the World (30 credits)

This module aims to provide a foundation in the philosophy of the social sciences and an examination of the core assumptions that underpin different approaches to knowledge generation. It also aims to provide an understanding of the politics and international relations of knowledge generation and circulation. In other words, it examines how social scientists have approached the questions of what to study, how to study, and the ways in which these issues are bound up with historical and current power structures in the world.

The module will prepare students to engage critically and reflectively with the content of the MA course and to undertake the research involved in writing their dissertation.

Elective Modules

Students will be able to pursue their own interests related to theories, practices and contexts for dialogue in choosing from an eclectic range of elective modules.

Elective modules will be chosen from a wide range of SPIRE modules. It may also be possible for students to take modules in Politics, Diplomatic Studies, Management, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Public Policy and History. The precise list of available modules may vary from year to year.

SPIRE modules:

•                Power, Knowledge and the World

•                Environmental Decision Making: the Case of Complex Technologies

•                Global Environmental Change

•                The Theory of Global Security

•                Contemporary Political Philosophy

•                Environmental Ethics

•                Contesting International Relations

•                Parties and Democracy

•                The Changing International Agenda

•                Comparative European Politics

•                Environmental Movements: North and South

•                Environmental Problems and Policies in the US

•                Diplomatic Law

•                Dimensions of Environmental Politics

•                Environmental Diplomacy

•                The Politics of Sin: Culture Wars in the US

•                Race and Justice: Civil Rights in the US

Relevant modules from other Schools:

NB not all these modules will be available every year and they will not always be compatible with Dialogue Studies students’ core commitments.

* Public Policy modules allowing students to expand their understanding of a key element of UK society which may significantly influence intercultural and interreligious relations and social cohesion. Relevant modules include:

* Politics, Political Economy and Public Policy: Explaining and Making Public Policy (MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)

* Policy Implementation and Governance: Policy in Action (30 credits, MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)

* Global Media and Culture modules giving students the opportunity to develop understanding of key factors shaping British and international contexts for dialogue: globalisation and media in contemporary culture. Relevant modules include:

* Globalisation, Culture, Society (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)

* Contemporary Cultural and Media Theory (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)

* Sociology modules, through which students may deepen their understanding of the UK context for dialogue. Relevant modules include:

* City Cultures (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)

* Urban Governance and Policy Making (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)

* History modules

* Imperialism (BA History, School of Humanities)

* Right-Wing Movements in Inter-War Europe (BA History, School of Humanities)

* Africa Since 1800 (BA History, School of Humanities)

* Management School skills modules, through which students may pursue valuable professional development to enhance their future career

* Leading People

* People, Processes and Operations

* Right-Wing Movements (20 credits, adapted from BA History, School of Humanities)

Students may also choose to study a modern foreign language (other than English).

Work Placement

10-week placement at the Dialogue Society during the Spring semester (30 credits). Students’ activities will include:

• Helping London-based community centres to branch out and run dialogue projects to bring local communities together, with the support of Dialogue Society staff and resources. Students will work in small teams and will each have the opportunity to manage a small-scale dialogue project. 2011 projects included a seminar on knife crime for local residents, Mothers’ Day visits to local care homes with children who use the community centres, and an official opening celebration for one community centre.

• Supporting ongoing Dialogue Society projects and events.

• Attending weekly sessions at the Dialogue Society’s Dialogue School. This will enable students to further explore and discuss different approaches to dialogue as well as providing training in a number of key skills for organised dialogue.

• Networking at external events.

• Exploring the cultural, religious and political landscape of multicultural London through visits to relevant government departments, other dialogue NGOs, places of worship and areas of particular historical/cultural interest. The 2011 placement included visits to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a historical tour of East London and visits to a Gurdwara, a Buddhist Centre and a Synagogue.

• Keeping records of the placement and producing a reflective diary.


·       Examination of taught modules will be by written coursework and assessment of tutorial performance only (no written examinations)

The work placement will be assessed on:

·       Attendance

·       Performance and management of assigned tasks

·       The student’s written plans and records

·       The student’s placement diary

·       Students demonstrating an outstanding level of work will receive their degree with distinction.


SPIRE offers a limited number of bursaries to postgraduate students. Details are available on SPIRE’s website.

The Dialogue Society offers a limited number of bursaries for the Dialogue Studies MA postgraduate degree. The bursary only covers the difference between overseas and home fee rate. Effectively therefore, successful students will only pay University fee at home fee rate. To apply for a Dialogue Society bursary, students must first receive an offer from Keele University for this degree.

Further information

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