Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 5 October 2012

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In this issue:

  • Journals
  • Books
  • Call for Papers
  • Conferences
  • Events
  • Jobs
  • Funding

And don’t forget, you can always get involved with the Religious Studies Project by writing one of our features essays or resources pages. Contact the editors for more information.


Paranthropology: Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal

Contemporary Islam, vol 6, no. 3

Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol 21, no.3


Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History

Eric Reinders and Fabio Rambelli

Four-volumes anthology on “Buddhism and Religious Diversity”

Perry Schmidt-Leukel

University of Muenster

Volume one in on Buddhism’s relation to other Eastern Religions, volume two on Buddhism’s relation to Christianity, volume three on its relations to Islam and Judaism and volume four on the inner-Buddhist discourse on religious diversity as such and the place of Buddhism among the religions.

All texts in these books present or reflect on Buddhist perspectives or focus on socio-historical aspects of its relations to the religious other. For more information see:

The Invention of Religion in Japan

Jason Ananda Josephson

University of Chicago, 2012

Throughout its long history, Japan had no concept of what we call “religion.” There was no corresponding Japanese word, nor anything close to its meaning. But when American warships appeared off the coast of Japan in 1853 and forced the Japanese government to sign

treaties demanding, among other things, freedom of religion, the country had to contend with this Western idea. In this book, Jason Ānanda Josephson reveals how Japanese officials invented religion in Japan and traces the sweeping intellectual, legal, and cultural changes that followed.


CFP Deadline extended: Viennese Jews and the Christian Question (NEMLA 2013)

Location: Massachusetts

Deadline: 2012-10-05

Description:  Seeking proposals for papers on the engagement of assimilated Jewish writers and artists in discourses on Christianity, religion and spirituality in Viennese Modernism. Literary or interdisciplinary approaches to topics such as Jewish perspectives on Christianity vis vis science, philosophy….

Contact: ckita [at]

Announcement ID: 197484

CFP: Beyond Binaries: Toward a Continuum Model of Religious Normativity

Location: Tennessee

Date: 2012-11-27

Description:  Beyond Binaries: Toward a Continuum Model of Religious Normativity March 23-24, 2013 The University of Texas, Austin, TX The keynote speakers for this conference are:Professor David BrakkeJoe R. Engle Chair in the History of Christianity at The Ohio State University Professor Kevin TrainorProfessor …

Contact: byebyebinaries[at]

Announcement ID: 197451

CFP: Politics of Religion Graduate Student Symposium

Location: Florida

Date: 2012-12-01

Description:  This years symposium will be centered on the theme Politics of Religion. Due to our commitment to collaborative scholarship, students from all fields with interdisciplinary interests in the study of religion and at all levels of graduate study are encouraged to submit paper proposals.

Contact: fsureligionsymposium [at]

Announcement ID: 197507


Religion, utopias and alternatives to contemporary dilemmas

Havana, July 2-5, 2013

The Department of Socio-religious Studies of the Center for Psychological and Sociological Research (CIPS) of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment of Cuba calls scholars on religion, academics and religious believers to participate in the SEVENTH INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON SOCIO-RELIGIOUS STUDIES, sponsored by religious institutions and non-governmental organizations, that will be held on July 2-5, at the Hotel Nacional in El Vedado, Havana.

It is well-known the role of religion as an important producer of interpretation frameworks of social reality, and as generator of social transformation practices, halting or reproducing injustice situations. Amid a turbulent international scene, marked by unresolved socioeconomic and political crises, to approach some of these processes requires complex analyses that transcend mere description to think of alternative proposals or to contribute to spread initiatives, from small religious spaces, that attempt to bring about a more equitable and just world with greater respect for nature and greater opportunities for all human beings.

From this perspective, the event aims to focus the reflections on the following topics:

·         Religion, power and hegemony

·         Religion and the environment

·         Religion and social inequities

·         Religion and diversity

·         Theoretical and methodological approaches

·         Religion, migration and cultural  identity

·         Religious actors, dialogues and transformation.

·         Religion and mass media

·         Institutions, spirituality and religious networks

·         Religion, consumption and market

The Seventh Meeting, like the previous ones held by the Department of Socio-religious Studies, every three years since 1995, aims at creating an environment conducive to dialogue among the participants, exchange of knowledge and sharing experiences.

The official language of the event is Spanish, but translation requests by English speakers can be addressed upon previous notice by the Organizing Committee. All participants will receive documentation related to the event and information of interest about the city and the country.

Presentations can be made in lectures, workshops, panels, posters and by means of audiovisual aids.

The official travel agency is CUBATUR. Contact Person: Arlene Alvarez (eventos1 [at] ).

The registration fee is 150.00 CUC (Cuban Convertible Currency Cubana) for participants; 120.00 CUC for accompanying persons; and 75.00 CUC for students (previous accreditation).

All those interested in participating must fill the data form and e-mail it to: desr_encuentro [at], before November 15, 2012 to be considered by the Organizing Committee:

Dra. Ofelia Pérez Cruz

Head of the Organizing Committee

VII Encuentro Internacional de Estudios Sociorreligiosos

Calle B No. 352 esquina a 15, El Vedado. Ciudad de la Habana

CP 10400, Cuba.

Telephones: (53-7) 831-3610 y 833-5366  FAX: (53-7) 833-4327

Web Site:


CFP: January 2013 issue of Paranthropology will have the theme of “Thinking About Experience.”

Some of the general themes for this issue will include:

* Different ways of talking about experience

* Different ways of interpreting experience

* How to write about personal and social experience meaningfully

* Experience as an aspect of consciousness

* The consequences of taking experience seriously… and so on.

The deadline for submissions to the January issue will be 15th December 2012. Please see for submission guidelines. If you have an idea for an article that you would like to discuss with the editor please get in touch via discarnates [at]


Call for Panels and Papers – 1st Announcement

The Departments of Folkloristics and Comparative Religion at the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, together with the Donner Institute, are organizing an international interdisciplinary conference to honour the work of Professor Lauri Honko (1932–2002)

21–23 August 2013

University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University, Finland


Call for papers, deadline 31 March 2013

Registration, deadline 31 May 2013

For more information, please visit the conference website at: (this will open soon)

Additional information: honko-conference [at]

CFP: Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia

Call for Papers mid-term Conference “Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia”

Date: June 26 to 29, 2013

Place: University of Goettingen, Germany Organized by: Competence network “Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia” (DORISEA), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. See

Keynote Speaker: Robert Hefner, Boston University.

Deadline for the submission of abstracts: November 30th, 2012. Please send your abstracts to dorisea [at] and indicate in which panel you would like to participate.

Conference topic

In global comparison, Southeast Asia stands out as a region marked by a particularly diverse religious landscape. Various “ethnic religions”

interact with so-called “world religions”, all of the latter – with the exception of Judaism – being represented in the region. While religion has oftentimes been viewed as an antithesis to modernity, scholarship has shown that religion shapes (or: is intertwined with?) modernization processes in crucial ways and that its role in contemporary Southeast Asian societies is intensifying. The mid-term conference “Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia” will explore this link between “religion”

and “modernity” by focusing on three dimensions of religious dynamics, namely mediality, politics and mobility. In the spirit of Southeast Asian studies as a holistic, i.e. trans-disciplinary approach, we invite papers from fields as diverse as history, anthropology, sociology, political science, media studies, geography or linguistic studies that investigate the peculiar dynamics of religion in times of globalization, and the ways in which these dynamics mediate change and continuity in Southeast Asia.

Panel 1: materializing Religion: on Media, Mediation, Immediacy

Given that religion “is the practice of making the invisible visible, of concretizing the order of the universe, the nature of human life and its destiny, and the various dimensions and possibilities of human interiority itself” (Robert Orsi 2005: 74), the study of religion necessarily has to scrutinize correlating processes and resources of its materialization. Accordingly, we have to acknowledge that the worlds of religions and the media are not separate or competing spheres of influence, but converge. The study of religion, then, is interrelated with the study of media, mediation and audience perception, of sacred books and images, material objects and the human senses, of religious practices in a public sphere, which is extensively permeated by modern communication technologies. Research on the dynamics of religion in modern Southeast Asia will profit from such a perspective.

Invited are papers on the interface of media and religions in Southeast Asia. Hereby, priority is given to four dimensions of the media and mediation of religions.

  • Concept of “medium” beyond mass media. This involves discussing the medium not only as a means of communication between humans but also between humans and spiritual powers (ritual activities and visual representations through the medium photography; performing arts; ghost pictures and films). In its modern genealogy, the term “medium” always carries a double meaning. Therefore, we include and discuss spirit possession and mediumship as distinct forms of materialization – creating immediacy through embodiment Particular attention will be paid to the modalities of processes of mediation.

  • Constitution and circulation of codes of representation: norms and deviation. The communication of “religious” contents via media is subject to regulation, from legal restrictions and censorship to historically and culturally constituted codes of representation (including aesthetic ones). In this context, the question may arise as to what medium / media are considered “apt” to communicate religious contents. Hereby, the authoritative role of the medium “text” has to be taken into serious consideration.

  • Medium, loss and preservation. Media (be it textual, pictorial or material) are used in an effort to document and to preserve, or to remind: this relates to loss, to death (portraits) and cultures of remembrance. Questions surrounding individuality / collectivity emerge here as well as questions of temporal mediation and transmission (the medium as transcending time).

  • Relation between religious authority and medium / media. New media such as radio or the Internet allow persons without formal religious training to get to a position of religious authority. The effects can be considered as dissolving religious authority and/or as fundamentally democratising. On the other hand, the spread of religious teachings increases through the use of such media, and they are, of course, used intensely by religious authorities.

Papers should address at least one of the above-mentioned dimensions, be empirically grounded and theoretically informed.

Panel 2: Secularization of Religion, Sacralization of Politics? The State of Religion in Southeast Asia

Scholars of Southeast Asia have tirelessly emphasized the tight interplay between politics and religion in the region and questioned the very salience of “religion” and “politics” as separate spheres. From the veneration of national heroes in Vietnamese temples to the declaration by former Prime Minister Mahathir that Malaysia was an Islamic state, a neat distinction between the “religious” and the “political” seems hard to sustain. In terms of theory, this observation has generally led to a refutation of the cornerstone of modernization theory, namely secularism, as a Eurocentric line of thought. This panel seeks to go beyond the simple refutation of the secularization thesis and welcomes contributions that are both theoretically informed and empirically grounded in their investigation of the manifold relations between “religion” and “politics” in Southeast Asia – from the much noted politicisation of religion, to the ritual and performative dimensions of the political.

Historical accounts have long emphasized the mutually constitutive ties of religion and politics in the region. Religion in Southeast Asia has indeed never been solely a tradition, a belief system, the combination of belief and ritual or an instrument to explain the world. Since the introduction of the world religions Hinduism, Buddhism (both vehicles), later Islam and Christianity from the neighboring regions, these world religions have been, like their tribal beliefs systems, which existed before and together with them, instruments to create and to legitimize rules and rulers and to organize societies. This is a general feature since the times when the earliest kingdoms and empires were founded along the trade routes between India and China in the first centuries AD.

Postcolonial nation-states have intervened directly in the definition of what “religion” entails, from designating a particular religion as “state religion”, incorporating certain religious idioms into national ideology, to legally regulating the religious sphere. Indonesia’s Pancasila ideology that incorporated various “world religions” under a Judeo-Christian-Muslim notion of “religion” (Ramstedt 2004), the parallel processes of representational re-vitalization and institutional weakening of Buddhism in Laos (Morev 2002), or, more recently, the “nationalisation of Islam” in the context of globalization and neoliberal capitalism in Malaysia (Fischer 2008) are all examples of possible articulations of the national and the religious in contemporary Southeast Asia. While processes of globalization, migration, economic, ecological or demographic changes are reaching today the “last frontiers” of Southeast Asia’s rural, jungle and highland areas, so does the reach of the modern state: intensifying globalization has not brought about the demise of the nation-state. Yet, transnational religious networks – such as the Pentecostal Church – do contest the monopoly of the state over certain arenas, such as education, or reject the national as the main frame of reference and identity marker by referring to a land “in which God, not the (…) state, has dominion”

(Glick Schiller & Karagiannis 2006:160).

Rather than to equate “politics” with “the state”, in this panel, we seek to explore the manifold linkages between the “religious” and the “political” in globalized Southeast Asia, from the formal institutions and regulatory mechanisms policing the religious sphere to the political claims of religious networks. Importantly, we are not only interested in the ways in which the secular and the religious are respectively defined in local, national and global contexts, but also how religious and state officials draw the internal boundaries of what “religion” entails, marginalizing, for instance, “(its) less objectified and less rationalized manifestations” labeled as “animism” (Lambek 2012).

Papers may address – without being limited to – the following set of questions:

Which political strategies do social actors deploy in the struggle for political, or, respectively, religious authority and to which ends? How are such attempts subverted, instrumentalized or resisted? How is religious authority used to gain political authority and how is the latter used to ‘authenticate’ (e.g. national, religious) identities and its ‘others’? How does the regulation of religion by the nation-state – for instance through law and education – relate to the context of economic globalization? How are transnational religious influences ‘mediated’ with national religiosities?

Panel 3: Spatial Dynamics of Religion between Modulation and Conversion

The panel aims at exploring the spatial dimension of religious change. A reflection on religious practices in Southeast Asia, where different religions share sacred places, multi-religious rituals are common and religious mobility blurs into other forms of travel, clearly shows that religious change is always entangled with dynamics of movement and place-making. But how are these entanglements to be approached empirically and conceptually? Change can be understood on a conceptual and experiential continuum between modulation – as a reproduction and variation within conventional sets of rules, orientations and meanings – and conversion – as a break with previous social and cosmological orientations. The spatial can be conceived as being constituted through the triality of extension, place and movement. Depending on the ways these formal dimensions of change and space take material shape, the dynamics of religion are articulated in historically specific ways which will be the focus of the panel. Papers may address – without being limited to – the following topics:

The movement between places can be understood as a spatial articulation of dynamics of religion. Pilgrimage, for example, potentially facilitates experiences of connectivity, similarity and alterity of places and religions. How do such experiences of movement and distant places mediate experiences and conceptualizations of religious change unfolding between modulation and conversion?

Even without geographic mobility, conversions often imply a spatial dimension. They may involve a shift of or a reorientation within spatial orders (e.g., the integration of certain groups in new structures of religious centers and peripheries). How do such shifts within spatial orders mediate religious change? How are social, political, economic and cultural dynamics related to religion through encompassing spatial orders?

Places are constituted through practices of inclusion and exclusion which can both accommodate a diversity of religious forms as well as demonstrate the purity of a single religious form. What are the different ways of dealing with diversity in religious places? How are spatial articulations of inclusion and exclusion practically implemented in processes of place-making and how are they related to experiences of modulation or conversion?

Religious places are neither self-contained nor mono-functional in yet another dimension. They may, for example, simultaneously be sites of sacred power, national remembrance, tourism and commerce. How are multiple connectivity and multi-functionality achieved and managed through spatial practices of movement and place-making (e.g., pilgrimage, migration, spatial distribution of objects and activities, establishing of topographies, etc.) in relation to religious change?



30th October 2012

10.00 – 4.30

University of Chester

Speakers and Papers include:

Dr Irene Ayallo (Gladstone Fellow in Contextual Theology): ‘HIV-AIDS and Public Policy Making Processes in Kenya: Assessing the Participation of People Living with HIV and the role of the Anglican Church of Kenya’

Dr Chris Baker (University of Chester): ‘Religion and the Public Sphere’

Dr Wayne Morris (University of Chester): ‘HIV-AIDS in International Policy Frameworks: Reflections in Light of a Theology of Personhood’

Jacqui Baverstock (Croydon NHS): ‘Disclosing HIV-AIDS: Reflections from Practice in a Multi-Faith Context’

Dan Nield (University of Chester): Taking a HIV Test: A Spiritual Experience?

Further Details and a booking form can be found at:<>

Conference Costs: £40.00 (£20.00 for unwaged/students) including all refreshments and lunch.

For further details, please contact Wayne Morris: w.morris [at]<mailto:w.morris [at]>

The Congress of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion (IAPR)

27 – 30 of August 2013

Lausanne, Switzerland.

For more information, please visit the congress website

Registration and abstracts submission will be open in October 2012.


The Forum on Religion at LSE is pleased to announce the Michaelmas Term 2012 events

Full details are below, and can also be found on the website of the Programme for the Study of Religion and Non-Religion at

The seminar by Linda Woodhead on 7 November is an opportunity to interact with one of the leading sociologists of religion in the world, and someone who has a unique vantage point on religion and society, via her stewardship of the AHRC/ESRC programme. The seminar room holds about 40 people, so come early to avoid disappointment.

The next day, November 8, we will welcome Charles Hirschkind, an anthropologist from UC Berkeley; this is a rare visit for Charles to the UK, and his perspective on Salafi Islam is one you’ll not want to miss.

On December 6, the Forum will further last Summer Term’s focus on ethics, by co-hosting a debate among Julian Baggini, Angus Ritchie, and Mark Vernon.

In addition to these events, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the launch of a new MSc on Religion in the Contemporary World. This is a welcome development to the portfolio of LSE MSc programmes, and the first intake will start in October 2013. The MSc is based in the Anthropology Department, but is open to all who have an interest in studying religion, secularism, humanism, and related topics from a social-scientific perspective. Students will be able to take courses from across a range of LSE Departments, from Anthropology to International Relations, Government, and more. Further details can be found here:


Assistant Professor in East Asian Religions


Florida State University, Religion

For full consideration, applicants should submit a vita and supporting materials (transcripts, course outlines, samples of written work, and at least three letters of recommendation) by Wednesday, October 31, 2012. Materials may be submitted via email to sstetson [at] fsu.eduor by mail to East Asian Religions Search, Florida State University, Department of Religion, Dodd Hall M05, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1520. The Florida State University is a Public Records Agency and an Equal Opportunity/Access/Affirmative Action Employer.

Hamilton College – 2-Year Post Doctoral Fellow in Japanese History

Montana State University – Bozeman – Assistant Professor, Asian History

St. Bonaventure University – Assistant Professor, Asian History


University of Wisconsin – Whitewater – Assistant Professor, Asian History

Leibniz Institute of European History – Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter/-innen Digital Humanities (Digital History / Digital Theology)

Temple University – Indian Religions

University of Pennsylvania – Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies

University of Pennsylvania – Assistant Professor in religion and community in modern South Asia (1600-present)

University of Pennsylvania – Assistant Professor in religion and

community in modern South Asia (1600-present)

Tulane University – Assistant Professor, Islamic/Middle Eastern


University of Pennsylvania – Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies


Details of a call for Large Grants under the Science in Culture, Digital Transformations and Translating Cultures themes are now available.

Successful proposals under the Large Grants call are expected to support research activities of a scale and ambition beyond that normally required for a standard AHRC grant.  They should display significant transformative potential within the relevant theme area.

Funding for each grant awarded will be between £1m and £2m (fEC) over a period of between 36 and 60 months. Approximately 2-4 Large Grants are expected to be funded under each theme (subject to quality and overall balance within the theme).

Closing dates for outline proposals are as follows:

  • Digital Transformations – 4pm on Thursday 10 January 2013
  • Science in Culture – 4pm on Tuesday 15 January 2013
  • Translating Cultures – 4pm on Thursday 17 January 2013

Further information: