Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 26 July 2013

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In this issue:

  • Journals

  • Books

  • Call for papers

  • Conferences/events

  • Jobs


Focaal – Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, issue 66

Journal of the Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia

Volume 1, Issue 1, Summer 2013



“Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding Religion as Everyday Life” – Graham Harvey – has been published today by Acumen. Here’s a link to the catalogue page (and its already at a bargain price).
There will be a launch party at the EASR conference in Liverpool in September


CFP: why study religion?

Illinois State University Philosophy and Religious Studies Department has announced a call for papers for the upcoming conference on religion in higher education, Why Study Religion?, which will be held October 25-26, 2013


The Bodily and Material Cultures of Religious Subjectivation? Conference project,

Venue: Department of Anthropology, UCL, Intended date: 17-18 June 2014

Statement of Purpose and Call for Papers

 There is no known religious practice that does not involve bodily motions (bowing, standing, walking, fasting, feasting, etc.) and their associated emotions, nor the use of given material things (shrines, musical instruments, substances of various kinds). Both involve the sensory apparatus of touch, sight, smell, etc.

 Without disregarding the religions discourses and creeds, the conference will focus on the bodily and material cultures of religious practice with a strong emphasis on both ethnographic documentation and theoretical elaboration based on a few basic principles:

 1/ Bodily and material culture. Whereas scholarly approaches have tended to deal independently with the body and with material culture (with journals and publications focusing on either one), we suggest to consider that, in the human species, there is hardly any technique of the body that is not propped against material culture, and, vice versa, no item of material culture that is not embodied and disembodied at a turn.

 2/ Religious subjectivation. Bodily and material cultures provide technologies of the self by means of which the religious subject shapes his/her identity and is subjected to an Other. The notion of a subject departs significantly from the notion of an individual insofar as being a subject means being produced by a collective and being subjected to it while acting on oneself in order to govern oneself.

 3/ Theoretical inputs. The theme of bodily and material cultures of religion has been explored by the path-breaking publications of the journal Material Religion (see Meyer et Al., 2010). In addition to the various theoretical suggestions published in the Journal, we propose to take into account the publications of the ?Matière à Penser? (MàP) network (see Warnier 2007, 2009, Naji & Douny 2009, Julien & Rosselin eds. 2009, and, below, ?the MàP approach in a nutshell?).

 4/ Aims of the conference and call for papers and films. We welcome proposals from students, faculty and independent researchers based on ethnographic fieldwork focused on both bodily and material cultures of religious practice as part of the production of a religious subject in different areas and religious settings (Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Asiatic, African and other religions, etc.). The papers should address theoretical issues, whatever theoretical references may be put to use, provided they articulate bodily and material cultures. We aim at establishing discussions between various academic traditions on both sides of the Atlantic and the Channel. Short documentary films (e.g. 20mn maximum as a rule) showing the intertwinement of bodily and material cultures in religious practice are welcome. The proposals (of ca. one page) should be addressed to the convenors. They will be assessed by the organizing committee of the conference. Ultimately, we expect to end up with producing an edited volume. Deadline for the submissions: 31st December 2013. Reply by the convenors by January 31st 2014.

 5/ The ?MàP? (Matière à Penser) approach in a nutshell. It relies on theoretical contributions from Schilder onwards on the Körperschema as a means to conceptualize a) the body as a bodily synthesis acquired by apprenticeship. It has been criticized, refined and much diversified by various scholarly traditions, notably, of late, the neuro-°©?cognitive sciences; and b) the way the body is not coterminous with its coetaneous envelope but extends beyond its limit to incorporate material objects in motion, emotion and perception. That is, the ?MàP? approach takes bodily and material culture as a systemic whole. It should be stressed that this approach draws a clear distinction between the body as a corporeal entity, and its representations. This notion of bodily and material culture, however, falls short of articulating them into larger social, cultural and political settings. For that purpose, the ?MàP? approach relies mostly on the contribution of Michel Foucault to a theory of the subject in a post Kantian, post Freudian context. The subject is a body and has a body. It is divided up. Yet it bridges the gap between object and subject. It governs itself by implementing techniques of the self that rely extensively on given bodily and material cultures. By these means, s/he subjects itself to an encompassing sovereignty. Foucault, in that respect, belongs with other contemporary philosophers such as Zizek, Certeau and others who have rejected the notion of a thinking, neo-°©?Kantian, transparent and entirely free subject. They provide alternative ways of looking at the religious subject.

 The convenors: Urmila Mohan Jean-Pierre Warnier References JULIEN, M.-P. & C. ROSSELIN (eds.) 2009 Le Sujet contre les objets? tout contre. Ethnographies de cultures matérielles, Paris, CTHS.

MEYER, B., D. MORGAN, C. PAINE, S. B. PLATE, 2010 ?The origin and mission of Material Religion?, Religion 40 (2010) 207-211 (

NAJI, M. & DOUNY, L. 2009 ?Editorial? in: ?Special Issue: ?Making? and ?Doing? the Material World: Anthropology of Techniques revisited?, Journal of Material Culture, 14(4): 411-432.

WARNIER, J.-P. 2007 The Pot-King. The Body and Technologies of Power.

Leiden, Boston: Brill.

2009 ?Technology as Efficacious Action on Objects? and Subjects?, Journal of Material Culture, 14(4): 459-470.

NB: Anouk Cohen and Damien Mottier will organize another conference, along similar lines, at Musée du Quay Branly in Paris, in the Fall of 2014. The two organizing teams are coordinating their efforts.


The 11th annual meeting of the Midwestern Consortium on Ancient Religions CFP, posted here on behalf of Celia Schultz and Ian Moyer:

1-2 November 2013, University of Michigan

 The Religious Life of Things

We invite participants to consider ancient religions as populous and varied worlds of things: statues, altars, figurines, amulets, papyri, tablets, baskets, pots, knives, garments, votives . . . the examples are almost endless. Papers on any topics related to the material accoutrements of religion in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East are most welcome.

Participants may also take this as an invitation to indulge in a little “methodological fetishism”: a chance to endow religious objects with lives and follow them around to see what light they cast on the human world of religion (à la Appadurai in his introduction to The Social Life of Things).

What can we learn from tracing the biographies of things as they passed through various social contexts, physical places, events, and states of being? How did they come to be (or cease to be) “religious”? In what ways were they special or marked? How can physical “articles of faith” help to illuminate the different ontologies and cosmologies in which they were implicated? Can we even go a bit further, and ask “What did religious things do?” Can we consider them not only as the products and objects of human beliefs and practices, but also as having reciprocal effects? In what ways, for example, could things elicit responses, generate beliefs, and even shape human subjects?

 Anonymous abstracts of 250 words for papers to run 25-30 minutes should be submitted by 31 July to Anna Moyer at the University of Michigan ( The committee will notify participants whether their proposals have been accepted by 15 August.

CFP for Media and Religion: The Global View conference

extended till 1 Aug 2013


Registration is open for the fifth annual Exploring the Extraordinary conference, which will talk place in York on the 20th-22nd September.


Parapsychology: Contemporary research

Reflections on extraordinary research

Extraordinary journeys

Spiritualism and shamanism

Ghosts and hauntings

Imagination, space and the extraordinary in popular culture Theory and experience Methods and tools Ghosts and hauntings in Asia

There will be two experiential sessions this year – a shamanic journey, and a cave experience.


Caroline Bennett, Dr Zoe Bran, Dr David Clarke, Cal Cooper, Dr Donnalee Dox, Prof Charles Emmons, Sarah Grierson, Rachael Hayward, Aaron Lomas, Dr Sara MacKian, Dr Christel Mattheuws, Maria Papspyrou, Dr James Riley, Dr Paul Rogers, Dr Tamlyn Ryan, Andy Sharp, Mark Valentine, Dr Jon Weinel, Dr Andrew Fergus Wilson, Dr David Gordon Wilson

To see the full programme, and for more information, please visit<>


European Association for the Study of Religions Annual Conference & International Association for the History of Religions Special Conference

Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th September 2013, Liverpool Hope University

The 12th EASR Annual Conference will be hosted by the British Association for the Study of Religions at Liverpool Hope University, Tuesday 3rd – Friday 6th September 2013.  The conference will also host an International Association for the History of Religions Special Conference.

The conference theme will be RELIGION, MIGRATION, MUTATION.

– See more at:


International Seminar On South Asian Literature & Culture

Date: 2013-09-06

Description: the seminar commits to engage with the following  areas in regard with South Asian Literature and Culture:  Emergence of the Post-Colonial South Asian Identity South Asia and the World Literature Compatibility of Western Poetics in South Asian Studies

Eco-Critical Persp …

Contact: sudhirnikam [at]


Announcement ID: 205170



Equality vs. Patriarchy in Early Christianity

Location: California

Date: 2013-10-04

Description: A regional Jesus Seminar on the Road program that brings religious studies scholars into conversation with  members of the public. Join us and learn more about the world of early Christianity and the historical Jesus! Oct 4 7:30-9pm, and Oct 5 9:30am-4pm. Event location: Pilgrim United Church of Chri …



Announcement ID: 205347


January 2014: US Holocaust Museum Faculty Seminar–Holocaust Literature: Teaching Fiction and Poetry

Location: District of Columbia

Date: 2013-10-21

Description: 2014 US Holocaust Museum Seminar in Washington, DC. Holocaust Literature: Teaching Fiction and PoetryJANUARY 38, 2014 Applications due October 21, 2013. The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies announces the 2014 Hess Faculty Seminar. The seminar is designed for professors teaching or preparing t      …

Contact: dkuntz [at]


Announcement ID: 205256



 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen – Ph.D. Position, Indology / Buddhist Studies


 Singapore Management University – Associate Professor (Education Track), International and Asian Studies (IAS)


 Stanford University – Open-rank Faculty Position in Middle Eastern Studies


 University of Chicago – Assistant Professor of Anthropology


 University of South Carolina – Columbia – Assistant Professor, South Asian/Indian History


University of Toronto – St. George – Assistant Professer, Tenure-Stream Appointment, History of China


University of Utah – Entry-level tenure-track assistant professor in Southeast Asian History


University of Toronto – St. George – Assistant Professer, Tenure-Stream Appointment, History of China


Virginia Military Institute – Assistant Professor, Chinese and World History


 Aarhus University – Professor with special responsibilities (MSO) in Dogmatics


 Harvard Divinity School – Research Associate and Visiting Faculty in Women’s Studies and Religion for 2014-15


 Postdoctoral Fellowships for Academic Diversity at the University of Pennsylvania

Application deadline is August 30, 2013.

For complete details please see

 IDHMC at TAMU is offering a Postdoc in Digital Humanities for the academic year 2013-2014