Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 22 Feb 2013

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In this issue:

  • Future podcasts
  • Website Update
  • Journals
  • Call for papers
  • Conferences
  • Jobs



The following are some of the themes which will be covered in future podcasts

  • World Religions Paradigm
  • Religious Experience
  • Personality Types
  • Pilgrimage/Tourism
  • Faith development theory
  • Religion and the Law



A number of new links have been added to the web resources page:


Sociology of Religion, advance access



The 2013 NAASR annual meeting, held jointly with the annual meetings of both the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL), will take place inBaltimore from Nov. 22-24. The NAASR Program Committee accepts proposals for both individual papers and complete panels. We welcome proposals for rigorous, critical, theoretically sophisticated scholarship on any aspect of religion.

NAASR Presidential Panel

The NAASR Presidential Panel is a special program dealing with an important topic in the critical, analytical study of religion, selected annually by NAASR’s president. The president also seeks out the panelists. This year, President William Arnal has chosen the topic, “pedagogy and theory,” focused on critical engagement with Jonathan Z. Smith’s new collection, On Teaching Religion. While NAASR will not accept unsolicited submissions to the presidential panel, paper and panel proposals in any area that link up with the president’s topic are encouraged.

Programming Focus

This year’s programming will focus on relationships between explanatory and critical-historical theory in the study of religion. Such varied theorists of religion as Émile Durkheim, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Clifford Geertz, and Jonathan Z. Smith can all be described as seeking scientific explanations, and indeed all described themselves so. All can equally be described as engaged in and developing critical and cultural theory of various kinds, and indeed all have arguably been most influential in those modes of theory. All are also among the constellation of distinguishedthinkers to whom theoretically-informed scholars of religion continue to look for inspiration. And yet, much current scholarship insists upon a separation, usually exclusive, between these two dimensions of theory. Beyond the classic theoretical authors already mentioned, the Program Committee directs attention to the following article for consideration: Bruno Latour, “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern,” Critical Inquiry 30, no. 2 (Winter 2004): 225-248,

For the Annual Meeting, we seek papers and panels that engage with aspects or dimensions ofthis fundamental theoretical binary.



The Committee welcomes proposals for individual papers or sessions from researchers at alllevels (including graduate students, chaired professors, and independent scholars). It welcomes proposals from those new to NAASR, regardless of discipline or field, as well as those familiar with the Association and its aims. Applicants are encouraged to propose sessions that include a diverse mix of participants: multinational origins, a mix of men and women, a range of professional ranks, etc. Preference will be given to panels whose presenters have diverse institutional affiliations.

The Program Committee continues to welcome unconventional sessions, in which the formatdiverges in useful ways from the typical three/four papers with comment: round-table sessions, workshops with papers pre-circulated, “author meets critics” sessions, etc. Traditional paper panels are equally welcome.


Proposals for individual papers must include:


A one-page abstract (maximum 500 words)


A one-page curriculum vitae, including current postal and e-mail addresses

Proposals for complete sessions must include:


A description of the session that explains how individual papers contribute to an overall theme (maximum 300 words)


The names and paper titles of the presenters


For each presenter, a one-page summary (maximum 500 words)


For the commentator, chair, and each presenter: a one-page curriculum vitae, including current postal and e-mail addresses

Non-traditional proposals must include:


A one-page description of the proposed activity or material (maximum 500 words)


For each participant (including the proposing organizer), a one-page curriculum vitae, including current postal and e-mail addresses

Proposals should be submitted electronically to NAASR Vice President Christopher I. Lehrich.Word, WordPerfect, and RTF formats are preferred.

For more information please visit NAASR on the Web– – . For general questions about the Society, please email NAASR Executive Secretary Craig Martin.

Call for Papers and Panels for the 12 EASR conference that will take place at Liverpool Hope University,

3-6 September 2013.

The topic is the conference is RELIGION, MIGRATION, MUTATION. But as this conference is also a special IAHR conference all associations linked to the IAHR or the EASR that want to organise a panel, are invited to do so. Please contact the conference team if you want to seek further clarification (email: frethes [at]

The 12th EASR Annual Conference will be hosted by the British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR) at Liverpool Hope University. This will also be a Special Conference of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR).

The conference theme will be RELIGION, MIGRATION, MUTATION.

The conference invites papers and panels  that examine what happens to religious beliefs and practices when they are displaced, and what occurs to religions when new cultural practices interact with them. The focus on transformation is not only to be taken in connection with movements of people but panels and papers are invited that deal with the issue of mutation in the broadest sense. We invite scholars from different disciplines to participate in the conference. RELIGION, MIGRATION, MUTATION is the 12th annual conference of the EASR and the second to be organised in collaboration with the BASR.

Panels will be 2 hours long and consist of 4 speakers (papers should be no more than 25 minutes long, allowing a 20 minute discussion period). Proposals should include Panel/Papers information: title, abstract for the panel and the individual papers (150 words), any unusual IT required, list of chair, panellists, and abstracts for both the panel and the individual papers.

Individual papers are welcomed.

Submission deadline: 1st June 2013

CFP: Changing Boundaries: Mindfulness, Spirituality and Education



CFP: “The Christian Mystery. Early Christianity and the pagan mystery cults in the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) and in the history of scholarship.”

13-15 September 2013 in Ghent

The theme of this international conference, hosted by Franz Cumont’s alma mater Ghent University, is the way Cumont and his contemporaries conceived the relationship of Early Christianity to the pagan mystery cults. We will also include predecessors and more recent scholarship on this topic. Cumont was a pioneer of the scientific study of the oriental religions. Many of his publications (e.g. The Mysteries of Mithras, 1900) fuelled the early 20th century debates about Christianity’s dependence on the pagan cults through the similarities they suggested between these religious traditions. Cumont expressed his opinion only indirectly and ambiguously, but other scholars have been more explicit in demonstrating or denying such influences.

This conference serves multiple purposes. The first set of aims is to reconstruct, evaluate and contextualize Cumont’s views on this much debated topic in early 20th century history of religions, through the reconstruction of his ideas, as well as of those of his contemporaries. We are e.g. thinking of Cumont’s long time friend and correspondent Alfred Loisy, but also of comparative historians of religions, belonging to Cumont’s network, like Eugène Goblet d’Alviella, Raffaele Pettazzoni, Nicolà Turchi, James George Frazer, Arthur Darby Nock, Salomon Reinach, Prosper Alfaric, Hermann Usener, Richard Reitzenstein, Carl Clemen, … We also want to include and discuss the different scientific, social, religious and ideological backgrounds of these scholars, so as to create a nuanced synthesis of the factors which could have influenced the different positions in this discussion.

This conference aims at uniting specialists of historiography of religion, whose contributions will together cover various methodological and geographical traditions, so as to come to a broad overview of this issue within the early 20th century history of science.

The languages of the conference will be English, French, and German.

Publication of Acts is intended.

Scholars interested in submitting a proposal for a lecture should do so by March 31st 2013 at the latest. Proposals of no more than 300 words should be submitted by sending an e-mail to Annelies Lannoy, at the following address: annelies.lannoy [at] All proposals should be accompanied by a short CV.

More information is available on the conference website:


CFP: Risk and Rapture: Apocalyptic Imagination in Late Modernity

Centre for Faiths and Public Policy, University of Chester

Wednesday 11th September 2013

Keynote Speaker: Professor Scott Lash (Goldsmiths College, University of London)

Apocalypse captivates the human imagination. Once synonymous with ‘end of the world’ scenarios and confined largely to the religious, the term is part of vernacular language in the West and is used to describe a myriad of events from the fiscal difficulties of the Eurozone to nuclear war, from environmental disaster to the dangers of digital technology.

The advancement of science and technology has assisted in expediting anxiety with regard to apocalyptic catastrophe because such ‘progress’ has produced unforeseen hazards and risks. Critical theories of risk have been developed that harness and organise responses to scientific developments in an attempt to provide solutions to possible catastrophe. It is suggested that in order to prevent global catastrophe, modern society must be reflexive. Moreover, the advent of such hazards has served as a recruiting sergeant for fundamentalist religious groups who have clear and explicit eschatologies. Rather than viewing possible risks and hazards as by-products of late modernity—‘signs of the times’, they are re-interpreted as ‘signs of the end times’. Consequently, one strand that runs through the above is the political implications of apocalyptic ideology and theories of risk. Whether this is the focus some Christian dispensationalist groups put on the role of the state of Israel in the Middle East, or the so-called catastrophic acceleration of global-warming, decisions based on interpretations of these inevitably have political ramifications.

The purpose of this inter-disciplinary conference is to investigate and evaluate some of the variety of apocalyptic discourse that exists in contemporary popular western culture along with critical theories of risk. Papers are invited that explore both the secular and religio-political dimensions of apocalyptic language in contemporary society and include, but not restricted to, the following themes:

Secular interpretations of apocalypse;

Religio-political apocalyptic discourse;

Critical theories that seek solutions to contemporary notions of risk;

Correlations between critical theories of risk and apocalyptic ideology;

The growth of fundamentalisms as a reaction to risk culture(s).

Proposals for short papers are invited on any aspects or themes related to the above. Papers will be 20 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes discussion. Applications to submit a paper should include:

Proposer’s name and affiliation;

Title of the paper;

250-word abstract;

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

Short paper proposals should be submitted to Riskraptureconf [at] by no later than 4pm on Friday 6th April 2013.

Conference costs: £50 (£25 unwaged and students) inclusive of lunch and refreshments.

Conference registration will open in due course

Talk on the political theology of the Event, by Professor Michael Dillon (University of Lancaster)

Date: 2013-02-18

Description: Research Unit in Politics & Ethics Seminar series 2013 Goldsmiths University of London Political Theology seminar series 2013 (Research Unit for Politics and Ethics) presents a talk by: Professor Michael Dillon (University of Lancaster) ‘Fiat Lux: Politics of Truth, Theology and the Event’ Monday 18



Announcement ID: 201418

The British Museum is running the following study day in March. Please feel free to circulate details to others. Thank you.

Encountering the sacred in museums

Friday 15 March, 10.30-17.00

What role do museums play in visitors’ religious and spiritual lives? Join us for a unique day of discussions on the varied ways visitors practise their faith and encounter the sacred in museums. Featuring speakers from a mix of museum and academic backgrounds, this event will explore the visitor experience at venues including the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall, the Creation Museum in Kentucky and the recent ‘spiritual journeys’ exhibitions at the British Museum.

Confirmed speakers include Karen Armstrong, British Museum Trustee; Rickie Burman, The National Gallery; Qaisra Khan, Project Curator at The British Museum; and Dr John Troyer, Deputy Director of the Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath

Book online at:

Event details:

£35, Members/concessions £28

The Stevenson Lecture Theatre, the British Museum, London Morning and afternoon refreshments will be provided The Museum will remain open until 20.30


University of Warwick – Assistant Professor of South Asian History

St. Francis College – Assistant Professor, Religious Studies,

Tenure-Track (emphasis on Buddhism)

University of Cape Town – Dean and Professor, Faculty of Humanities

Director of charity

Central London

£40,000-55,000 per annum

Inform collects, evaluates and disseminates objective information about minority religions.  The Director is responsible for ensuring that it achieves its aims.

Inform is a registered charity that collects, evaluates and disseminates information about minority religions which is as reliable and objective as possible. The Director is responsible to Inform’s Board of Governors for ensuring that these aims are achieved.  The job requires ‘vision’ in the sense of setting the directions in which research needs to be steered in order to investigate the constantly changing landscape of minority religions and the reactions to them.  The Director also needs to be a ‘self-starter’ and ‘doer’ who not only initiates new areas of research but also sees them through to completion, including the dissemination of findings for the benefit of stakeholders and the public.

Further particulars and the application form can be downloaded from Applications and any questions to be sent to informdirector [at]

The closing date for applications is March 1st 2013