Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 9 November 2012

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In this issue:

  • Journals
  • Books
  • Special Offer – Ashgate Publishing
  • Call for Papers
  • Conferences
  • 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.


Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception, vol. 2, issue 2:

New Journal: Asian Literature and Translation (ALT): A Journal of Religion and Culture ISSN: 2051-5863

Asian Literature and Translation (ALT) is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal established by the Centre for the History of Religion in Asia (CHRA), Cardiff University. The main objective of the journal is to publish research papers, translations, and reviews in the field of Asian religious literature (construed in the widest sense) in a form that makes them quickly and easily accessible to the international academic community, to professionals in related fields, such as theatre and storytelling, and to the general public.

The scope of the journal covers the cultural, historical, and religious literature of South, Southeast, East and Central Asia in the relevant languages (e.g. Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese, et al.). We particularly welcome literary translations, including extracts from longer works in progress, manuscript reports and commentarial material, new adaptations of classic texts, archive stories and debate pieces, and the discussion of new approaches to translation. Book and performance reviews, including visual material, and letters to the editor, including responses to published material, are also solicited.

As an open access online publication, ALT (Online) can be more flexible and creative than a standard print journal. The texts are in pdf-format and can be published and downloaded at virtually no cost. To increase the speed with which material can be accessed and disseminated, all contributions are issued individually in numerical order.

Contributions are welcome on a wide range of topics in the research area as defined above. All contributions should be sent electronically to altjourn [at] The covering email should have two copies of the submission attached, one as a word.doc and one as a pdf. A short abstract of the piece must also be included. For further information, see


Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular

Edited by Abby Day, AHRC British Council Fellow, University of Kent, UK, Giselle Vincett and Christopher R. Cotter, Lancaster University, UK

Focusing on the important relationship between the ‘sacred’ and the ‘secular’, this book demonstrates that it is not paradoxical to think in terms of both secular and sacred or neither, in different times and places. International experts from a range of disciplinary perspectives draw on local, national, and international contexts to provide a fresh analytical approach to understanding these two contested poles. Exploring such phenomena at an individual, institutional, or theoretical level, each chapter contributes to the central message of the book – that the ‘in between’ is real, embodied and experienced every day and informs, and is informed by, intersecting social identities.


The Ashgate History and Religion lists have just launched a new series, Compostela International Studies in Pilgrimage History of Culture. We have just published the first book in the series by Anton M. Pazos, Pilgrims and Politics. If you would like to know more about this series, please click here and read our blog post:

20% discount on Gender, Nation and Religion in European Pilgrimage with Ashgate Publishing…

By Willy Jansen and Catrien Notermans

Old pilgrimage routes are attracting huge numbers of people. Religious or spiritual meanings are interwoven with socio-cultural and politico-strategic concerns and this book explores three such concerns of hot debate in Europe: religious identity construction in a changing European religious landscape; gender and sexual emancipation; and (trans)national identities in the context of migration and European unification. Through the explorations of such pilgrimages by a multidisciplinary range of international scholars, this book shows how the old routes of Europe are offering inspirational opportunities for making new journeys.

October 2012   £55.00  £44.00

Here is how to claim your discount:

·         Make a note of the code C12GYU20

·         When entering the checkout stage, enter the code C12CYU20 in the box marked Promotional Code in Step one of the basket.

·         Click the update basket button and you will see the discount applied to all qualifying titles.

·         Continue through the checkout to make your purchase.

·         This discount is valid until 31st January 2013.


CFP: 2nd Annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium, 9-10 March 2013, Oxford.

Date: 2012-12-15

Description:  project Southeast Asia, University of Oxford invites paper proposals for the 2nd Annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium, to be held 9-10 March 2013 in Oxford. The Call for Papers is open until 15 December 2012. Papers focusing on any topic relating to Southeast Asia are welcome. In particular, pap …

Contact: pingtjin [at]


Announcement ID: 198441

Religion, Spirituality, and the Politicization of Sexualities – French Association for American Studies annual

meeting 2013

Date: 2012-12-15

Description:  French Association for American Studies annual meeting 2013 Angers, France, 22-26 May 2013. Panel on “Religion, Spirituality, and the Politicization of Sexualities in the United States.” Chair: Guillaume may be in French or English. This CFP addresses historians, sociologists, and political scienti …

Contact: gmarche [at]

URL: 10

Announcement ID: 198498

CFP: An Interdisciplinary Workshop on Locative Materiality organised by Laura Veneskey and Annette Hoffmann

20th/21st June 2013

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut

The study of holy places has long been a central concern of not only the humanities, but also the social sciences. Much of this body of scholarship has focused on pilgrimage and sacred centers, either as theoretical constructions or as concrete places, such as Jerusalem, Mecca or Benares. These subjects have been explored, on the one hand, through the study of ritual and liturgy, and on the other, through various modes of representation, be they architectural, cartographic, iconic, or textual. Complementary to these lines of inquiry, we invite papers that explore the material and tactile dimensions of locative sacrality across religious traditions. How is a sense of place communicable through physical means? What can a consideration of matter tell us about the often fraught relationship between the tangible world and its representation?

We seek analyses of all materials evocative of a particular sacred milieu, not only earth, dust, stone, but also wood, metal, pigments, oil, or water. Presentations exploring either the substances and places themselves or textual and iconic depictions thereof are equally welcome. We invite papers from all disciplines on any locale conceived of as sacred, whether scriptural, pilgrim, monastic, ascetic, or cultic, between antiquity and the early modern period. The workshop is aimed at young researchers, and is intended to bring together graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and those in the early stages of their teaching or professional careers.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Sacred landscapes (deserts, mountains, caves, etc.)

  • The material dimensions of topographic representation (iconic or textual)

  • Earthen, geographic, and locative relics

  • Transportable versus site-specific sanctity

  • The physicality of built environments and places of worship

Interested applicants should send a current c.v. and an abstract of no more than 250 words (for presentations of twenty minutes) to Proposals must be received by date 30th November 2012.

For questions and further information please contact:

Laura Veneskey (lv2308 [at]

or Annette Hoffmann (hoffmann [at]

CFP: Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

16 17 18 May 2013

In the contemporary Western European world traditional, institutionalized religions are losing ground, while alternative religions, literature and the arts, film and media, as well as commercial enterprises are offering alternatives. Old concepts, symbols and rituals are translated into new forms.  This is a recurrent phenomenon: as sensitivities change throughout the ages, the ways to express this changed interiority change and result in new manifestations of spirituality.

This multi- and interdisciplinary Conference on Aesthetics and Spirituality looks at how, both in the past and the present, people devise(d) new ways of conceiving and manifesting interiority. In order to look at the forms interiority has received throughout the ages we use different approaches: literature, cultural studies, theology, art (iconography/iconology), history (of ideas) and architecture, anthropology, political sciences/sociology, psychology, philosophy…

How do exteriority and interiority relate? What does it mean to be in a place, to be at home in the world or with oneself (cf Pierre Nora, Les lieux de m魯ire)?  How can urban planning, public and private buildings, furniture and other material things, clothes, prescribed attitudes, etc. be conducive to interiorization (conscious or unconscious reflections, contemplation)? Or, conversely, how can material factors repress interiority (cf repressive political systems)? In order to imagine a topology of interiority that would draw on an inter-disciplinary field of studies and research we invite papers on the different kinds of language which translate outside to inside and vice versa.

If interiority is a question of presence and orientation we need to look at

(a) Bodily expressions: a religious community prescribed a certain body language which could bring about a spirituality (cf. nineteenth-century feminine congregations focusing on nursing, weaving and embroidering); manifold forms of biblical spirituality (Schneider et al) inspire the body, while psychology of religion and psychoanalysis develop ways of reading religious bodies (Vergote, Lacan, Vasse, Moyaert et al).

(b) Expressions through things, images (iconology), words:

-changes in the attitude to relics, books, icons, devotional cards, rosaries,

-different links between theology, art and literature produce different forms: the bondieuserie in France (1850s) differed from Pre-Raphaelite depictions of the divine (criticized by Dickens), or from the Pilgrims Movement in Flanders; after the Great War Benedictine spirituality was revived, while Franciscan spirituality brought a new attention for nature and animals in literature; 21st-century ecocriticism brings a new attitude to representations of nature, as do gender studies to aspects of spirituality

(c) Changes in Ritual, as a means to link physical and metaphysical aspects of experience: which forms of ritual are depicted, developed, in contemporary literature, to mark forgiveness, reconciliation, or other transitions (to adulthood, married life, divorce, healing from sickness, death,) Which theories of performativity are used in liturgy these days? Which kind of poetics are used in contemporary prayer? How do contemporary political symbols (fail to) develop? (Cf. prevalence of Christian symbols in commemorations of British army casualties et al). Can ritual help in conflict situations, and how are new rituals validated? How do religious institutions relate to the secularization?

(d) Contributions relating to or focusing on Irish topics will be especially welcomed.

Are Celtic symbols still known, used, adapted?  How does Irish urbanization, architecture, make space for interiority? How is interiority conceived at all in contemporary art and philosophy? Which places, moments, figures, phenomena, concepts, does contemporary film, drama, poetry, fiction, art, hold in special reverence? Does nature (stone, plant, animal) still harbour something sacred, and if so, how? Do angels still figure?

Are there still references to the Jewish, Greek, Christian stories? Is twentieth-century and contemporary art, literature and film reacting or indifferent to this tradition, does it translate archaic symbols (animals and trees, food and drink, textile and books, home and travel, ) into new forms, or does it divest these old icons of their symbolism?

The conference is hosted by the KU Leuven, the Faculties of the Arts, Theology and KADOC (Interfaculty Institute of the KU Leuven for Documentation and Research for Religion, Culture and Society) in cooperation with the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies (LCIS). It will take place in the newly refurbished Irish college in Leuven (the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe). The Scientific Committee consists of Barbara Baert (KU Leuven, Arts), Reimund Bieringer (KU Leuven, Theology), Ralph De Koninck (Universit頃atholique de Louvain, Arts), Jan De Maeyer (KADOC, KU Leuven, History/Heritage), Borbala Farago (Central European University Budapest, Gender Studies), Veerle Fraeters (U Antwerpen, Literature), Christine Greer (University Bern, Arts), Hedwig Schwall (KU Leuven/Kortrijk, Literature), Paul Vandenbroeck (KU Leuven/ Anthropology/Social sciences), Henrik von Aachen (University of Bergen, Norway, Arts)

Papers should not exceed 2500-3000 words (20 minutes delivery). Proposals for papers (250 words) and a short biography should be sent by e-mail to

Hedwig Schwall , Hedwig.schwall [at]

You will be notified by 20 December.

More information about the conference will be posted on


Religion and the Idea of a University’ Conference

Date: 2013-04-03

Description:  On April 3 -5 2013, at Clare College, Cambridge (UK), the ‘Religion and the Idea of a Research University project will host an exciting international and interdisciplinary conference exploring the question of: What place does religion have in the Western research university?

From John Henry Newman …

Contact: jh343 [at]


Announcement ID: 198352

NSRN Annual Lecture 2012

In Spite of Christianity: Humanism and its Others in Contemporary Britain

By Matthew Engelke

What do we talk about when we talk about religion? What do we recognize as essential and specific to any given faith, and why? In this lecture, I address these questions by drawing on fieldwork among humanists in Britain, paying particular attention to humanism’s relation to Christianity. In one way or another, humanists often position themselves in relation to Christianity. In a basic way, this has to do with humanists’ commitment to secularism—the differentiation of church and state. In more complex ways, though, it also has to do with an effort to move “beyond” Christianity—to encourage a world in which reason takes the place of revelation—while often, at the same time, recognizing what’s worth saving and even fostering from the legacies of faith. All these various relations and perspectives suggest how we should understand social life in contemporary Britain as what it is in spite of Christianity—and not.


Matthew Engelke is a Reader in the Department of Anthropology and co-ordinates the School’s recently launched Programme for the Study of Religion and Non-Religion. His research career has focused on the connections between religion and culture (amongst other things) but he has recently completed pioneering ethnographic fieldwork working with British humanists. In this lecture, Matthew will reflect upon the various and complex dynamics between contemporary British humanism and Christian cultures, past and present.

The NSRN Annual Lecture for 2012 will be held at the Conway Hall in London on Wednesday 28 November at 6.30pm (doors from 6pm; the lecture will be followed by a drinks reception). This event is free to attend, but places are limited. To register, please email Lois Lee at l.a.lee [at] A poster for this event is attached, and further and up-to-date details of the event can also be found at the NSRN Online.

Contemporary religion in historical perspective: engaging outside academia

The Open University, Milton Keynes – 15-16 May 2013

What is the relevance of research on historical and contemporary religion for today? How might such research inform current debates on religion, and the practice and self-understanding of religious groups and practitioners? What might historical perspective bring to research on contemporary religion? This conference will address such issues under the broad theme of ‘contemporary religion and historical perspective’. There will be two parallel streams. The first is ‘engaging with the past to inform the present’ and the relevance of religious history for the contemporary context. The second is ‘the public value of research on contemporary religion’; here papers on cross-cultural identities and new religions and popular spiritualities are particularly welcomed.

The backdrop for this conference is the growing acknowledgement that Religious Studies and other disciplines must engage with the wider society. Public ‘engagement’ takes many forms – from extensive projects to ad hoc engagement and involving diverse activities such as media work, lectures, workshops and online engagement. This conference will include practitioner perspectives on different themes, and reflect also on the ways in which academic research on religion might engage with communities of interest and place and private; interact with public and third sector institutions and organisations; and influence public discourse and the social, cultural and environmental well-being of society.

We invite paper and panel proposals for either stream. Papers could include case studies of previous or ongoing outreach, knowledge exchange or public engagement. Topics discussed might include (but are not limited to):

·         integrating ‘religious history’ and contemporary religious practitioners;

·         the relevance of historical research on religion for contemporary debates on religion; and for present-day religious groups, organisations and institutions;

·         intersections between research on contemporary religion and present-day contemporary understanding and practice of religion;

·         the idea of ‘applied’ or ‘public’ Religious Studies;

·         methodological, theoretical and ethical issues relating to Religious Studies and knowledge exchange;

·         relationships between academic and practitioner, or academic institution(s) and non-academic ‘partner’ and their implications and challenges.

Confirmed speakers include Ronald Hutton (Bristol), Steven Sutcliffe (Edinburgh), David Voas (Essex) and John Wolffe (Open University).

The conference is organised by the Open University’s Religious Studies Department.

Cost: £20 per day + £20 for conference dinner on the evening of 15 May. Lunch and refreshments (except conference dinner) are included in the day cost; but we ask attendees to book/fund their own accommodation (advice on local hotels and B&Bs available on request).

Please send proposals to Dr John Maiden (j.maiden [at] by 25 January 2013. To book, please contact Taj Bilkhu (t.bilkhu [at] by 23 March 2013.


Bucknell University – Assistant Professor in Chinese history

Gallaudet University – Tenure Track Assistant Professor; History of

Asia, Africa, or the Middle East

Marywood University – Assistant Professor East Asian/Asian Studies

University of Alberta – Assistant Professor in Korean Studies

University of Cambridge – Two Postdoctoral Fellowships (Research

Associate) in modern Japanese/East Asian History for three year


Lecturer in New Testament – International Christian College, Glasgow, Scotland

Salary: £22,090 – £25,740 pa

Lecturer in Philosophy, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Closing Date:  3 December 2012

Please quote ref:  ME8808

Salary:  £37,012 – £45,486 per annum

Start Date:  1 September 2013, as soon as possible


Senior Research Assistant, Centre for Social Relations

Coventry University

Fixed Term for 2 years

Salary: £29,250 – £37,014 per annum

Application Closing Date: 29/11/2012

Coventry University will shortly be launching an innovative Applied Research Centre focused around the study of social relations. The new internationally focused Centre will direct its research and teaching towards one of the prime challenges and responsibilities of our time: how we can live together in peaceful relationships in a world of difference.

 Acting as a space for cross- and inter-disciplinary dialogue, education and research, the centre will encourage work in applied and policy research in areas of integration and cohesion, while simultaneously expanding the portfolio to include multi- and inter-cultural relations, community relations, trust, identity, social policy as well as tension monitoring, conflict management, migration, diversity, integration, secularism and belief, the role of science in society, and international relations.

The successful candidate will have a PhD (or nearing completion) in an appropriate subject such as social sciences, sociology, humanities, anthropology, social psychology or other relevant discipline.

Further details can be found here:

For all enquiries and to submit expressions of interest please contact Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker:

Fern.Elsdon-Baker [at]


The publishing house Brill (Leiden) is generously sponsoring an annual research Fellowship at the Warburg Institute’s Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE). The Fellowship has been made possible by the “Sheikh Zayed Book Award” which was awarded to Brill Publishers in March 2012 for publishing excellence in Middle East and Islamic Studies.

The Brill Fellowship at CHASE to be held in the academic year 2013-14 will be of two or three months duration and is intended for a postdoctoral researcher. The Fellowship will be awarded for research projects on any aspect of the relations between Europe and the Arab World from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.

The closing date for applications is the 30 November 2012. Please visit our website for application details (