Posts

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 16 June 2017

Sponsored

Conference: CenSAMM: 500 years: The Reformation and its Resonations

September 14–15, 2017

Bedford, United Kingdom

More information

Calls for papers

Anthology: Religious Violence Today: Faith and Conflict in the Modern World

Deadline: N/A

More information

Conference: Going Viral: Religion and Health

October 14, 2017

Boston University, USA

Deadline: June 30, 2017

More information

Conference: Re-imagining the Christian Body

November 2–3, 2017

University of Turku, Finland

Deadline: June 20, 2017

More information

Conference: On Memory, Spirits and Selves

March 9–10, 2018

Derby, UK

Deadline: September 1, 2017

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Conference: ISA World Congress of Sociology

July 14–21, 2018

Deadline: September 30, 2017

Toronto, Canada

More information

Journal: Religion, State & Society

Special issue: Religion and the Rise of Populism: Migration, Radicalism and New Nationalisms

Deadline: August 15, 2017

More information

Jobs

Postdoc: Jewish Life in Modern Islamic Contexts

University of Pennsylvania, USA

Deadline: October 31, 2017

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Research Fellowships 2018/2019

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

Deadline: August 31, 2017

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Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 31 May 2017

Exciting news!

You may now advertise with the Religious Studies Project!

Platforms include podcasts, web pages, opportunities digest, and social media.

Send an e-mail to editors@religiousstudiesproject.com to learn more!

Of course, you may still send or forward submissions regarding calls for papers, events, jobs, awards, grants, etc. to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com for free advertisement in this (currently fortnightly but usually) weekly digest.

Sponsored

Conference: CenSAMM: 500 years: The Reformation and its Resonations

September 14–15, 2017

Bedford, United Kingdom

More information

Calls for papers

Book proposals: Bloomsbury Studies in Material Religion

Bloomsbury Publishing

Deadline: N/A

More information

Book proposals: The Secular Studies Series

NYU Press

Deadline: N/A

More information

Conference: The International Congress on Higher Religious Education

November 16–19, 2017

Istanbul University, Turkey

Deadline: June 22, 2017

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Conference: ANU: Sacred Sites/Sacred Stories: Global Perspectives

April 5–7, 2018

Australian National University, Australia

Deadline: October 15, 2017

More information

Conference: Hermeneutics of Symbol, Myth and “Modernity of Antiquity” in Italian Literature and the Arts from the Renaissance up to the Present Day

December 15–16, 2017

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

Deadline: September 10, 2017

More information

Workshop: Talk on Trust and Europe’s Crisis of Representation

December 7–8, 2017

Woolf Institute, UK

Deadline: June 2, 2017

More information

Events

Conference: Religious Imaginations and Global Transitions: How narratives of faith are shaping today’s world

June 14, 2017

London, UK

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Conference: SocRel: On the Edgte? Centres and Margins in the Sociology of Religion

July 12–14, 2017

University of Leeds, UK

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Conference: Holism: Possibilities and Problems

September 8–10, 2017

University of Essex, UK

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Symposium: Symposium Classicum Peregrinum

June 18, 2017

Scarbantia, Hungary

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Symposium: The Uses of Euhemerism

July 17–18, 2017

Aberdeen, UK

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Jobs and funding

Teaching fellow: Anthropology of South Asian Religions

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: June 6, 2017

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Four PhD positions

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: June 11, 2017

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Lecturer: Classics and Religious Studies

Washington University in St. Louis, USA

Deadline: June 30, 2017

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Jameel Scholarship: Islam in Contemporary Britain

Cardiff University, UK

Deadline: June 12, 2017

More information

Associate Lecturer: New Religious Movements, Hinduism

University of Chidester, UK

Deadlines: N/A

More information: NRMs, Hinduism

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 27 April 2017

Exciting news!

You may now advertise with the Religious Studies Project!

Platforms include podcasts, web pages, opportunities digest, and social media.

Send an e-mail to editors@religiousstudiesproject.com to learn more!

Of course, you may still send or forward submissions regarding calls for papers, events, jobs, awards, grants, etc. to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com for free advertisement in this (mostly) weekly digest.

Calls for papers

Conference: The Impact of Religion: Challenges for Society, Law and Democracy

April 24–26, 2018

Uppsala University, Sweden

Deadline: May 31 and October 31, 2017

More information

Conference: History of Religions and Archaeology II: Cult Places

July 11–15, 2017

Rome, Italy

Deadline: May 1, 2017

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Conference: International Conference on Religious Studies

August 25–26, 2017

Warsaw, Poland

Deadline: June 10, 2017

More information

Conference: Dynamics of Religious Diversity: The Study of Different Religions and Religious Difference in Postcolonial Configurations

October 19–20, 2017

Utrecht University, The Netherlands,

Deadline: May 19, 2017

More information

Conference: The Evolution of Religion II: How Biology, Psychology and Culture Interact

November 12–15, 2017

Santa Ana Pueblo, USA

Deadline: June 1, 2017

More information

Conference: ISA World Congress of Sociology: Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses, Responsibilities

July 15–21, 2018

Toronto, Canada

Deadline: September 30, 2017

More information

Events

Conference: Remembering Beliefs: The Shifting Worlds of Religion in Faith in Secular Society

July 14–15, 2017

Leeds Trinity University, UK

More information

Conference: On the Edge? Centres and Margins in the Sociology of Religion

July 12–14, 2017

University of Leeds, UK

More information

Symposium: Researching the Church of England

July 25, 2017: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Aston University, UK

More information

Jobs

Director, School of Religious Studies

McGill University, Canada

Deadline: July 9, 2017

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PostDoc: Global Network for Christian Muslims Studies

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: May 11, 2017

More information

Maclaurin Goodfellow Chair in Theological and Religious Studies

University of Auckland, New Zealand

Deadline: May 29, 2017

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Assistant Professor of Comparative Religious Studies

Radboud University, The Netherlands

Deadline: May 7, 2017

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 14 February 2017

Exciting news!

You may now advertise with the Religious Studies Project!

Platforms include podcasts, web pages, opportunities digest, and social media.

Send an e-mail to editors@religiousstudiesproject.com to learn more!

Calls for papers

Conference: Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences

October 19–21, 2017

University of Memphis, USA

Deadline: May 1, 2017

More information

Conference: SSSR: Going Public: The Social Impact of Scientific Research on Religion

October 13–15, 2017

Washington, D.C., USA

Deadline: March 31, 2017

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Conference: Social Movements

April 10–12, 2017

Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2017

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Conference: Heavenly Acts IV

May 8–9, 2017

University of Sheffield, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2017

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Conference: Religion(s) and Power(s)

October 5–6, 2017

Deadline: April 1, 2017

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Conference: The Life and Legacy of Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Movements in Scholarly Perspective

May 29–30, 2017

Antwerp, Belgium

Deadline: February 28, 2017

More information

Conference: Holism: Possibilities and problems

September 8–10, 2017

University of Essex, UK

New deadline: March 31, 2017

More information

Conference panel: RGS-IBS: Faith and the “practising” of social justice

August 29–September 1, 2017

London, UK

Deadline: February 8, 2017

More information

Journal: International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

Special issue: Negotiating Belief in Health and Social Care

Deadline: September 15, 2017

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Journal: Palgrave Communications

Special issue: Religion and poverty

Deadline: September 30, 2017

More information

Journal: Journal for Religion and Society in Central and Eastern Europe

Special issue: Religion and Non-religion in Contemporary Societies

Deadline: May 15, 2017

More information

Symposium: Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern Studies Post-graduate Symposium

May 18, 2017

University of Birmingham, UK

Deadline: February 22, 2017

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Symposium: The Cognition of Belief

June 2, 2017

Georgetown University, USA

Deadline: February 17, 2017

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Events

Seminar: The Reformation and the Arts around the North Sea

March 6, 2017

Bergen, Norway

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Summer school: “Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion and Gender: Postcolonial, Post-secular and Queer Perspectives”

May 17–21, 2017

Deadline: March 1, 2017

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Workshop: SOCREL: “Let’s get critical”

February 24, 2017

University of Westminster, UK

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Jobs and funding

Award: Early Career Awards

University of Kent / John Templeton Foundation

Deadline: June 1, 2017

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Professorship: History of Religions with focus on indigenous religions

The Arctic University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: March 3, 2017

More information

PhD position: Religion and morality policy: An analysis of the influence of religious groups during the implementation stage

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

Deadline: March 1, 2017

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 10 January 2017

Dear subscriber,

Please note this week’s special opportunity from the RSP itself! Want to become part of our vital team? Scroll all the way down to “Jobs” (but do stop by the other opportunities on the way… :)).

Do you have a call for papers, an event announcement, a job vacancy, grant or award you would like others to distribute?

How about having your notification posted with the Religious Studies Project’s weekly Opportunities Digest? It’s easy, just send them to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com, which is now back in order!

Don’t worry if you keep sending to oppsdigest@gmail.com; e-mails will be forwarded to the proper address.

Thank you!

You can find previous Opportunities Digests here: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/categ…/opportunities/

Calls for papers

Conference: Creatures of the Night: Mythologies of the Otherworld and Its Denizens

June 8–10, 2017

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: March 15, 2017

More information

Conference: The Beasts of the Forest: Denizens of the Dark Woods

July, 2017 (date TBA)

St Mary’s University, UK

Deadline: April 14, 2017

More information

Conference: The Talking Sky: Myths and Meaning in Celestial Spheres

July 1–2, 2017

Bath, UK

Deadline: January 15, 2017

More information

Conference: The Place of Religion in Film

March 30–April 1, 2017

Syracuse University, USA

Deadline (extended): January 15, 2017

More information

Conference: Egyptian and Eastern Cults in the Roman Empire

June 15–18, 2017

Szombathely/Savaria, Hungary

Deadline: March 1, 2017

More information

Conference panel: SISR/ISSR: Global Pentecostal Charismatic Christianities

July 4–7, 2017

Lausanne, Switzerland

Deadline: January 10, 2017

More information

Conference panel: ESA: Sociology of Religion: Religion and (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities

August 29–September 1, 2017

Deadline: February 1, 2017

More information

Journal: Open Theology

Special issue: Phenomenology of Religious Experience

Deadline: June 1, 2017

More information

Workshop: Ritual ‘Litter’ Redressed

May 5, 2017

University of Hertfordshire, UK

Deadline: January 15, 2017

More information

Open access

Journal: Journal for the Study of Religious Experience

Special issue: Fieldwork in Religion: Bodily Experience and Ethnographic Knowledge

More information

Jobs

Interviewers and audio interns

Religious Studies Project

Deadline: January 23, 2017

More information

Opportunities Digest – 3 January 2017

Dear subscriber,

Do you have a call for papers, an event announcement, a job vacancy, grant or award you would like others to distribute?

How about having your notification posted with the Religious Studies Project’s weekly Opportunities Digest? It’s easy, just send them to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com, which is now back in order!

Don’t worry if you keep sending to oppsdigest@gmail.com; e-mails will be forwarded to the proper address.

Thank you!

You can find previous Opportunities Digests here: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/categ…/opportunities/

Calls for papers

Colloquium: Education: East and West

March 17–18, 2017

Bath Spa University, UK

Deadline: January 20, 2017

More information

Conference: Exploring the spiritual in music: Interdisciplinary dialogues in music, wellbeing and education

December 9–10, 2017

London, UK

Deadline: February 28, 2017

More information

Conference: Holism: Possibilities and problems

September 8–10, 2017

University of Essex, UK

Deadline: February 17, 2017

More information

Conference: European Sociological Association

August 29–September 1, 2017

Athens, Greece

February 1, 2017

More information

Conference: The Religious and Ethnic Future of Europe

June 12–13, 2017

Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Deadline: January 31, 2017

More information

Journal: New Directions in Folklore

Special Issue: The Folk Awakens: Star Wars and Folkloristics in Popular Culture

Deadline: January 31, 2017

More information

Journal: Changing Societies & Personalities

Special issue: Freedom of Conscience in [the] Post-Secular World

Deadline: November 30, 2017

More information

Journal: Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion

Special issue: The Marketing and Consumption of Spirituality and Religion

Deadline: January 10, 2017

More information

Workshop: Religions Consuming Surveillance

March 22, 2017

Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: January 15, 2017

More information

Events

Conference: Mani in Cambridge

March 25, 2017

Cambridge, UK

More information

Symposium: Places and processes of pilgrimage, past and present

January 11, 2017

Tartu, Estonia

More information

Jobs

Professor: History of Religions with Focus on Indigenous Religions

University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: March 3, 2017

More information

Postdoctoral Scholarship: Chinese Buddhism

University of California – Berkeley, USA

Deadline: March 24, 2017

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 30 August 2016

Do you have a call for papers, an event announcement, a job vacancy, grant or award you would like others to distribute?

How about having your notification posted with the Religious Studies Project’s weekly Opportunities Digest? It’s easy, just forward them to oppsdigest@gmail.com! Please be aware that the old e-mail address oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com does not currently work.

You can find previous Opportunities Digests here: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/categ…/opportunities/

Calls for papers

Special issue: Journal for the Study of Religion

Theme: The Role of Religion in Violence and Peacebuilding

Deadline: November 15, 2016

More information

Reviews and overviews: Material Religion

Theme: Museums, exhibitions

More information

Conference: Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

April 20-23, 2017

New York City, USA

Deadline: September 19, 2016

More information

Conference: Modern Hadith Studies Between Arabophone and Western Scholarship

January 9-10, 2017

Pembroke, Oxford, UK

Deadline: October 15, 2016

More information

Symposium & Ph.D. course, workshop: Death Online: Method and content

March 6-8; 9-10, 2017

Aarhus University, Denmark

Deadline: September 10, 2016

More information

Symposium: Simpósio sobre Religião e Política

October 17-21, 2016

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Deadline: September 20, 2016

More information (Portuguese)

Events

“Om at tage animisme alvorligt – men ikke for alvorligt?”

September 1, 8 PM – 10 PM

Copenhagen, Denmark

More information (Danish)

Jobs

University researchers, Postdoctoral researchers, Doctoral students

University of Helsinki, Finland

Deadline: September 18, 2016

More information

Interdisciplinary Fellowships: Sacred Music, Religion, and the Arts

Yale Institute of Sacred Music, USA

Deadline: November 1, 2016

More information

Assistant Professor, Tenure Track: Religion and Environment

University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Deadline: October 31, 2016

More information

Assistant Professor: Hinduism

University of California, Davis, USA

Deadline: October 31, 2016

More information

Associate / Full Professor: Latin American/Latino/LatinX Christianity

Emory University, USA

Deadline: August 26, 2016

More information

Assistant / Associate Professor: Buddhist Philosophy

University of New Mexico, USA

Deadline: October 19, 2016

More information

Assistant Professor: South Asian Religions

University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada

Deadline: October 17, 2016

More information

Fellowships: Research Group “Editing Metaphysics”

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany

Deadline: October 15, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 19 July 2016

Calls for papers

Conference: Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism

June 6–7, 2017

Rome, Italy

Deadline: December 30, 2016

More information

Conference: Understanding and explanation in the study of religions

November 7–9, 2016

Jagiellonian University, Poland

Deadline: September 7, 2016

More information

Conference: Meditation in Buddhist-Christian Encounter: A Critical Analysis

June 29–July 3, 2016

Abbey of Montserrat, Spain

Deadline: February 28, 2017

More information

Journal: Antisemitism Studies

Deadline: September 15, 2016

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Jobs and funding

PhD grant

University of Antwerp, Belgium

Deadline: August 15, 2016

More information

Lecturer in Sociology

Loughborough University, UK

Deadline: August 11, 2016

More information

Peer Review College member

Arts & Humanities Research Council

Deadline: September 22, 2016

More information

Social Media Assistant

Sociology

Deadline: July 22, 2016

More information

Writing fellowships

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany

Deadline: July 31, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 24 May 2016

Calls for papers

BASR: Religion Beyond the Textbook

September 5–7, 2016

University of Wolverhampton, UK

Deadline: May 31, 2016

More information

First International Congress of the Chilean Society for the Sciences of Religions: Dialogue, Education and Religious Tolerance

May 23–26, 2017

Concepción, Chile

Deadline: August 30, 2016

More information

The Reception of the Church Fathers and Early Church Historians, c.1470-1650

September 23, 2016

Trinity College, Cambridge, UK

Deadline: June 1, 2016

More information

The politics of marginalised groups in the UK and Ireland: Perspectives and approaches

September 21, 2016

University of Manchester, UK

Deadline: June 17, 2016

More information

Evolving through Context: The Transformation of Buddhism(s) and their Legitimation(s)

March 24–25, 2017

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany

Deadline: September 4, 2016

More information

Compassion, Social Engagement, and Discontent: Believing and the Politics of Belonging in Europe Today

November 10–11, 2016

Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion, The Netherlands

Deadline: June 1, 2016

More inormation

Exodus: Migrants and frontiers

September 21–23, 2016

University of Aveiro, Portugal

Deadline: June 12, 2016

More information

Comparative Study of Religious Seminaries

October 5, 2016

UCL, UK

Deadline: June 30, 2016

More information

The Ethnographic Archive: History, Anthropology and the Sudan Archive Durham

26-28 September 2016

Durham University, UK

Deadline: May 31, 2016

More information

Graduate Conference on Religious Studies: Protest, Public Religion, and Social Change

October 1, 2016

Boston University, USA

Deadline: June 1, 2016.

More information

Middle East – Topics and Arguments

Special issue: Iconography

Deadline: June 30, 2016

More information

Open Journal of Social Sciences

Special issue: Cross-Cultural Studies

Deadline: May 31, 2016

More information

Events

Modern Religious History

June 14–15, 2016

University of Stirling, UK

More information

Public Religions and Their Secrets, Secret Religions and Their Publics

October 27–28, 2016

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

NEW DEADLINE: June 1, 2016

More information: Conference, Master Class

Summer school: Doing and Communicating Qualitative Research

July 4–8, 2016

Kingston University London, UK

More information

Religion and Greater Scotland Christianity and Scottish Global Networks, 1603-1950

June 3–4, 2016

Aberdeen, Scotland

More information

Religion, Gender and Sexualities

July 1, 2016

Aston University, UK

More information

The Role of the Church in a Pluralist Society: Good Riddance or Good Influence?

June 22–24, 2016

The Loyola Institute in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

More information

Translating Buddhism

June 30–July 2, 2016

York St John University, UK

More information

Awards

Sofja Kovalevskaja Award

Humboldt Foundation

Deadline: July 31, 2016

More information

Jobs

PhD position: Indigenous Religion(s): Local Grounds, Global Networks

University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: June 1, 2016

More information

University Teacher in Islamic Studies

University of Glasgow, UK

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

Tutor: Theology and Religious Studies

University of Glasgow, UK

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

University Teacher

University of Glasgow, UK

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

Doctoral scholarships

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

PhD positions: History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Deadline: July 15, 2016

More information

PhD positions

Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Deadline: June 15, 2016

More information

PhD positions: Medieval Studies

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: August 1, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – March 29, 2016

Dear Subscriber

We are pleased to bring you this week’s opportunities digest and would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has submitted calls for papers, event notifications, job vacancies, etc. Our inbox seems to be a little quiet of late, so don’t forget to send us any opportunities you come across. It is super easy to have a Religious Studies call for papers, exciting event, or alluring job vacancy appear in future Opportunities Digests! Simply use the submission form, forward them to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com or, better yet, include said e-mail address in your mailing list for such e-mails!

We thank you for your contribution. If you notice anything weird this week, it’s because Chris has compiled this digest while Jane enjoys a well-earned holiday.

Calls for Papers

British Association for the Study of Religions Annual Conference

Theme: ‘Religion Beyond the Textbook’

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Martin Stringer (Swansea University)

University of Wolverhampton, UK, 5-7 September 2016

Deadline: 31 May 2016

More details here (.doc)

Costruzione e Definizione del Concetto di Religione

12-13-14-15-16 Luglio 2016

Velletri (Roma)

Call for Papers (English)

Deadline: 15 April 2016

Celtic migrations and territories: tradition, religion and beliefs

Trilingual international conference

Rennes (France), 20-21 October 2016.

Deadline: 15 April 2016

http://mitecelt.sciencesconf.org/?lang=en

Sermon Studies journal

Sponsored by Marshall University, Sermon Studies is a new online, open access journal that is looking for submissions. The journal can be found at: http://mds.marshall.edu/sermonstudies/

Further details (pdf).

Conferences

ICSA Annual Conference

Theme: Recovery From Cults and High-Control Groups

Dallas, Texas, June 30, 2016—July 2, 2016

http://www.icsahome.com/events/conferenceannual

1st International Congress on Religious-Spiritual Counselling & Care

7-10 April 2016, Grand Cevahir Hotel & Convention Center, Istanbul

http://mdrk.org/en

Jobs

Permanent Research Fellow

Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society, Newman University.

‘Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum’ project.

Project overview: http://sciencereligionspectrum.org

Closing date for applications: 15th April 2016 – 1pm BST

Further particulars can be obtained from the vacancies web page www.newman.ac.uk/jobs  or alternatively e-mail: recruitment@newman.ac.uk or telephone 0121 476 1181 ext. 2398

Director, School of Religious Studies

McGill University,

Deadline: May 2, 2016

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=52758

Associate or Full Professor of Religious Studies and Chaplain

Centenary College of Louisiana

Deadline: June 13 2016

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=52730

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – March 15, 2016

Dear subscriber,

We are pleased to bring you this week’s opportunities digest and would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has submitted calls for papers, event notifications, job vacancies, etc. On that note, we would also like to encourage you to continue to do so (and invite those who remain hesitant to begin)!

It is super easy to have a Religious Studies call for papers, exciting event, or alluring job vacancy appear in future Opportunities Digests! Simply use the submission form, forward them to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com or, better yet, include said e-mail address in your mailing list for such e-mails!

We thank you for your contribution.

Calls for papers and applications

Workshop: Translations: indigenous, religion, tradition, culture

University of Tromsø, Norway

August 17–19, 2016

Deadline: June 1, 2016

More information

Travel grants: Religious Pluralisation – A Challenge for Modern Societies

October 4–6, 2016

Hanover, Germany

More information (travel grants, program)

Summer school: Religion and water

June 13–24, 2016

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: April 1, 2016

More information

Summer school: Religion, Culture and Society: Entanglement and Confrontation

August 28–September 3, 2016

Antwerpen, Belgium

Deadline: May 15, 2016

More information

Events

Conference: Islam and Peaceful Relations

April 5, 2016

Coventry University, UK

More information

Conference: Radicalisaton and Violent Extremism: Society, Identity and Security

July 22–23, 2016

University of Leeds, UK

April 15, 2016

More information

Conference: Reconsidering Religious Radicalism

May 21, 2016

University of Cambridge, UK

More information

Symposium: Muslims in the UK and Europe

May 13–15, 2016

University of Cambridge, UK

More information

Jobs

Funded postgraduate positions

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Deadline: March 31, 2016

More information

Full-time PhD studentships

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: April 4, 2016

More information

Faculty Fellow: Japanese Religions

University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Deadline: May 15, 2016

More information

Professor: Alevism in Europe

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Deadline: April 13, 2016

More information

Professor: History of Modern/Contemporary Christianity

University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Deadline: April 14, 2016

More information

Religious Studies as a Discipline

Aaron Hughes (University of Rochester) has been a vocal critic of some of the theories and methods used by religious studies scholars working on Islam. In this podcast, he discusses his critique of the discipline and practice of religious studies he has made through works such as Situating Islam (Equinox, 2008), Theorizing Islam (Equinox, 2012), Abrahamic Religions (Oxford, 2012), The Study of Judaism (SUNY, 2013), and, most recently, Islam and the Tyranny of Authenticity (Equinox, 2015).

This sustained focus on the field of religious studies is not only a concern with identity–the political boundaries of the field as established by its scholars and professional organizations–but also with method. What should be the critical orientation of our field? Which methods are more or less suited for religious studies when it the discipline is viewed as a critical endeavor? When and how should we critique the way our field is responding to the context of the 21st Century? Are area studies especially vulnerable to these criticisms? What happens when identity politics begins to mix with scholarship?

Listeners might also be interested in our previous podcasts on Religion as Sui Generis, The Relationship between Theology and Religious Studies, Teaching and Learning in Contemporary Religious Studies, The Critical Study of Religion, and Biblical Studies and Religious Studies. You can download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us . And remember, you can use our Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com, or Amazon.ca links to support us at no additional cost when buying academic texts, storage boxes, tiny shoes and more.

SPSP 2016 Report: The state of religion in social and personality psychology

This past January, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology had its biggest turn out to date for its 17th Annual Convention in San Diego, California. Despite religion, as a broad category of research, all to often being missing in action in the psychological sciences, researchers embracing the study of religion were hard to miss throughout SPSP 2016. Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Adam Baimel, University of British Columbia.

The Religion and Spirituality Preconference meeting kicked off as Aiyana Willard presented her work on the cognitive foundations of belief. Much ink has been spilled as to what sorts of cognitive processes make supernatural beliefs ‘easy to think’ – Willard’s work demonstrates how we can actually test these theoretical and causal models in the minds of real believers (for more on this, see here). What this type of work demonstrates is that what we need, as psychologists, to understand religion in any sort of systematic way, is access to empirical data.

ARDA database hub.

ARDA Research Hub.

Representatives from the Association of Religion Data Archives (the ARDA) drove this very point home by presenting both the existing (and quite impressive) database that they have built and what sorts of features users can expect from the ARDA in the near future.  The ARDA currently offers researchers a large collection of international and national survey data on the broad topic of religion – and they have recently made mining through these surveys by topic and specific questions of interest all that much easier. Joining in on the benefits of open and transparent science – the ARDA has made a call for researchers to publish their data sets of all varieties (experimental, ethnographic, etc.) on the website in the hopes of the ARDA becoming the premier location of all that is empirical data on religion. Best of all, their databases are open-access – so get digging, I know I will be.

The remainder of this year’s Religion and Spirituality Preconference emphasized how (1) the psychological sciences can add to our broader understanding of religion as well as (2) how believers can be an important population of individuals to study in furthering our understanding of more typical social psychological hypotheses. For example, Zhen Cheng and Kimberly Rios presented their work on the how stereotype threat – feeling at risk of confirming a stereotype of one’s social group – might play an important role in keeping religious believers from pursuing interests and performing in scientific domains.  This is important to consider given the demographic majority of liberals, and atheists (or at the very least less-fervently devoted) amongst psychologists. Speaking to the complexity of how ‘religion’ manifests in human psychological processes and behavior, Joni Sasaki presented her lab’s work exploring how interactions between genetic differences in oxytocin receptor genes and social contexts moderate the strength of religious reminders in promoting self-control (full paper here). The theme of this bi-directional interest and value in exploring religion in the psychological sciences persisted throughout the remainder of the conference.

The issue of replicability (and non-replicability) is currently a pressing concern for researchers in psychology, and was a topic of a number of presentations at SPSP 2016 (for more info see here). At the forefront of this ‘crisis’, and of particular interest to those who study religion, is work on priming. Psychological priming, the method of exposing individuals to some stimulus (often done outside of the individual’s awareness) to detect its effects on a later stimulus, is used in all sorts of psychological research. For example, Shariff & Norenzayan (2007), in their now foundational study, had participants complete a sentence unscrambling task that either involved god-related (e.g., blessed, divine), government (e.g., jury, contract), or neutral words. The mere presence of these words serve as a prime, making the concepts of god or government more readily accessible to the minds of their subjects. What they demonstrated is that activating god or government related concepts shifted the norm from being selfish (not giving much at all), to being more fair – as participants, on average, gave up just under half of their allotted windfall of money in a dictator game. These findings have served as the bedrock for continued exploration into the role of religion in sustaining human cooperation.

Despite its varied applications (not just in the study of religion), recent efforts to replicate priming studies have lead psychologists to understand how complicated (finicky) these methods really are. However, as part of a symposium organized to demonstrate important examples of how and when priming is useful – Aiyana Willard presented the results of a meta-analysis (a statistical approach to studying an effect over a number of studies – in this case, 93 studies) that suggests that religious priming is indeed an effective method for studying the effects of activating ‘religion’ on a number psychological processes and behaviors. This effect holds even after statistically correcting for publication bias (the reality that there are many an unpublished study hiding in the physical and virtual file-drawers of researchers around the world).

The psychological sciences face another important problem in understanding religion and more broadly, the psychological foundations of human nature – the over-representation of WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic) populations in our studies. Religion is by no means a monolithic phenomenon, and our understanding of religion should reflect the rampant theodiversity that exists across cultures today, and has existed throughout our collective cultural histories. In one symposium session, researchers representing the Cultural Evolution of Religion Consortium (CERC), with its home at the University of British Columbia, demonstrated how the study of religion is an ideal test case for breaking through this boundary.

Michael Muthukrishna introduced the audience to the Database of Religious History and its goals of becoming a premier source for quantified religious history. This database is being built with the help of religious scholars and historians from around the world whose knowledge of diverse religious beliefs and practices is being mapped and quantified in order for history to move off the page and become subject to statistical inquiry. Edward Slingerland spoke to the value of moving beyond the laboratory and seeking answers to our questions about religion in what he called the untapped population of ‘dead minds’ in the process of quantifying and statistically mining the literary corpus at the core of many religions.

Joe Henrich presenting.

Joe Henrich presenting.

Joseph Henrich and Coren Apicella presented results from a cross-cultural study exploring the relationship between big moralizing gods and prosociality in eight diverse societies around the world. Henrich spoke to the broader goals of such a massive undertaking, in that understanding cultural variation is key to understanding anything about human nature. Apicella presented her work on this project with the Hadza – indigenous hunter-gatherers in Tanzania who serve as an interesting case study for questions regarding religion and morality given that previous ethnographies have indicated that they have no religion at all. In (very) brief, this study supports the hypothesis that belief in omniscient, punishing, moralizing gods extends the bounds of prosociality to distant others – and thus may have played an important role in the expansion of human societies. For the complete report of the work presented at SPSP, check out Benjamin Purzycki et al.’s recently published piece in Nature.

The work highlighted here is just beginning to scratch the surface of what was on offer at SPSP 2016 on the study of religion. However, what is clear across the board is that the general interest in religion as a psychological phenomenon is growing – with the countless poster presentations by the next generation of researchers as evidence. Furthermore, there is a growing consensus in the field that religion is not only an interesting phenomenon to study – but an essential one to explore in furthering our understanding of human psychological processes and behaviors.

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 16 February 2016

Calls for papers

Journal: Open Theology

Special issue: Alternative Religiosities in the Soviet Union and the Communist

East-Central Europe: Formations, Resistances and Manifestations

Deadline: June 30, 2016

More information

Journal: Culture and Society: Journal of Social Research

Special issue: Religion and Belief in the Public Sphere of Eastern Europe

Deadline: February 28, 2016

More information

Conference: ISASR: Religion and Revolution

June 16–17, 2016

University College Cork, Ireland

Deadline: February 19, 2016

More information

Conference: Implicit Religion

May 20–22, 2016

Salisbury, UK

Deadline: February 26, 2016

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Conference: Reconsidering Religious Radicalism

May 21, 2016

University of Cambridge, UK

Deadline: March 11, 2016

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Workshop on Gender, Religion and Family Violence

September 13–14, 2016

New Brunswick, Canada

Deadline: April 1, 2016

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Conference: Historical Re-Enactment, Contemporary Paganism and Fantasy-Based Movements

May 20–21, 2016

Kaunas, Lithuania

Deadline: March 21, 2016

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Conference: Border Crossings: Exploring the ‘visible’ and the ‘invisible’ in the humanities

June 3, 2016

University of Stirling, UK

Deadline: March 20, 2016

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Events

Conference: Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions

April 15–17, 2016

Cardiff University, UK

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Conference: Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe

April 6–8, 2016

Munich, Germany

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Jobs

Three PhD studentships

Lunds universitet, Sweden

Deadline: March 1, 2016

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Tenure-track position in American Church History

Catholic University of America, DC, USA

Deadline: March 7, 2016

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Sabbatical replacement: Buddhist Traditions and Asian Religions

Vanderbilt University, TN, USA

Deadline: April 28, 2016

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PhD studentship

Coventry University, UK

Deadline: March 7, 2016

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Instructor: Sanskrit and Buddhist Studies

Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages

Deadline: May 8, 2016

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Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship in East Asian Religions

Washington University in St. Louis, USA

Deadline: March 16, 2016

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Report: 2015 Joint Conferences of the New Zealand and Australian Associations for the Study of Religion

Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Bruno Marshall Shirley and John H. Shaver

The biennial conference of the New Zealand Association for the Study of Religions (NZASR) and the annual conference of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions (AASR) were held together in Queenstown, New Zealand from December 8-10 2015. Interdisciplinary perspectives and theoretical approaches across the humanities and social sciences were evident in the wide-range of papers presented. Islam, and Asian religions more generally, were the most consistent objects of focus, perhaps unsurprising given Australasia’s proximity to Asia and recent increased media attention to the Islamic State.

The Manata room at the Mercure Resort Queenstown, which hosted the conference.

The Manata room at the Mercure Resort Queenstown, which hosted the conference.

The conference’s emphasis on Asia and Islam were evident in the keynote lectures. In a talk entitled “Creativity and Ethical Life in India,” Tulasi Srinivas (Emerson College) described religious innovations in Bangalore and the sense of “wonder” that they often inspire. She argued that scholars ought to take emerging religious practices seriously, rather than as anomalies or deviations from established, textually-based understandings of religion. Turning to Japan, Douglas Ezzy (University of Tasmania) argued that Shint­ō is best considered a “religion of practice” in contrast to those traditional conceptions of religion as belief-oriented. He suggested that while a non-Christian can attend mass at a Christian place of worship and not be “doing Christianity,” a tourist at a Shint­ō shrine participating in its various ritual practices might be said to be “doing Shint­ō.” For many Japanese Shint­ō is not associated with doctrinal belief (shūkyō), which allows people to engage with Shint­ō ritual practice while not accepting its cosmology. Some in the audience disagreed with Ezzy’s analysis of Shint­ō and its relationship to shūkyō, but his call for a renewed focus on religious practice was generally appreciated. Sally McAra (University of Auckland), looked at one traditionally Asian religion, Buddhism, in the Australasian context. She discussed the problems facing an anthropologist conducting ethnographic research among their own group, principally a difficulty in carrying out objective analyses, due to a positive bias towards group ideals.

The final keynote lecture, from Gary D. Bouma (Monash University), turned to Islam and to Western discourses about the “threat” that each other poses. Bouma argued that both anti-Western and anti-Muslim narratives shared several key features: both narratives assert that the “other” is incorrect in some way; each is reinforced due to media bias; and both narratives are responsible for the perpetuation of conflict. Bouma’s most significant point was that Religious Studies scholars have a responsibility to discredit these discourses – particularly anti-Muslim narratives in the West, such as those put forth by Trump or Abbot. These narratives, Bouma argued, serve to legitimise attempts to gain power at the expense of civil liberties, and/or to divert attention from their own violence (including structural violence, domestic violence, or even climate change).

Comfort Max-Wirth presenting her paper "Political Manipulation of the Occult in Ghana: Embracing the Occult," in the panel "Religion in/and Politics."

Comfort Max-Wirth presenting her paper “Political Manipulation of the Occult in Ghana: Embracing the Occult,” in the panel “Religion in/and Politics.”

The panel “Contemporary Religions” continued the central foci on Asian religions and Islam. A paper by Douglas Osto (Massey) (based on his forthcoming book, Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America, Columbia UP, 2016) outlined the history of “Psychedelic Buddhism” from the 1950s into the present, and the changing attitudes of American Buddhist practitioners towards mind-altering drugs. Osto described how some practitioners used psychedelic drugs as a “door” to advanced states of mind, before graduating to “pure” meditation practices, while others (notably Joan Halifax) continued to use drugs to supplement their meditative practices. Although psychedelia has been investigated before, Osto’s study represents the first serious examination of psychedelic Buddhism as a non-systemic religious movement, and is sure to lead to further studies of other hybrid Buddhist practices in the West. Buddhism was also the focus of a panel on “Buddhist Tales and Territories,” which featured a paper by Chaisit Suwanvarangkul (University of Otago) on the relevance of dharmakāya and the tathāgatagarbha doctrine to Therāvada Buddhism, as well as to the Mahāyāna. Suwanvarangkul’s paper was partially in response to an earlier paper by Michael Radich (Victoria University of Wellington), presented at the 2007 Australian Association of Buddhist Studies conference, entitled “There is no Dhammakāya in the Pāli Canon.” Suwanvarangkul’s inclusion of the Chinese Āgama as Theravāda was the subject of some controversy, as Osto pointed out that, despite parallels to the Theravāda nikāya, the Chinese āgama contain several key differences from the Theravāda texts. The panel also included papers by Anna Halafoff and Matthew Clarke (both of Deakin University) on the role of Songdhammakalyani monastery (Thailand) in promoting gender equality; Chiew Hui Ho (University of Sydney) on Chinese tales about the Diamond Sutra and their role in encouraging faith; and Phra Akbordin Rattana (University of Otago) on the model of Buddha devotion expressed in the Mārabandha chapter of the Paṭhamasambodhi-kathā.

Papers in the panel “Religion and the State” shared a common theme of distinctions between “religious practice” and “political actions” breaking down, in cases drawn from China, Japan, and Sri Lanka. Melissa Inoue (University of Auckland) discussed China’s True Jesus Church and its “miraculous” discourse. She argued that by directing attention to this-worldly affairs, the discourse indirectly both critiques and affirms contemporary Chinese society and the stewardship of the party-state. Ben Schonthal (University of Otago) turned to Sri Lanka and the (legal) case of a Buddhist monk who was denied an application for a driver’s license on the grounds that it was not appropriate for monks to drive. He argued that this was fundamentally a problem of contested authority over religious practice in Sri Lanka, arising from an ambiguous constitutionalising of religion. Bruno M. Shirley (Victoria University of Wellington) called for a post-secular rethinking of “religious violence” using the case study of Sri Lanka’s Bodu Bala Senā. Shirley suggested that explanations for religious violence, generally and in Sri Lanka specifically, have tended to assume a secularist dichotomy of “religion” and “politics” that is inadequate for dealing with the relationship between Buddhism, politics, and violence in Sri Lanka. Shirley suggested instead that we might reconsider this relationship within a framework of identity politics.

Dr. Will Sweetman (University of Otago) presenting his paper "Is ISIS Islamic? Category Formation in the Academic Study of Religion," in the panel "Naming Islamism."

Dr. Will Sweetman (University of Otago) presenting his paper “Is ISIS Islamic? Category Formation in the Academic Study of Religion,” in the panel “Naming Islamism.”

The panel “Naming Islamism,” was by far the most controversial of the conference. Will Sweetman (University of Otago), Christopher van der Krogt (Massey University), Douglas Pratt (University of Waikato), William E. Shepard (University of Canterbury), and audience members debated whether or not the Islamic State could be considered an authentic iteration of “Islam.” Van der Krogt argued that such a debate represents a misunderstanding of religion, and Islam in particular, while Sweetman argued that there is no basis for denying the Islamic State’s self-identification as Muslim. Several audience members disagreed with this assertion, instead arguing that Islam did indeed have some core norms and values with which the Islamic State does not conform. This panel also included less controversial papers by Shepard (University of Canterbury), on the development of Sayyid Qutb’s views on gender relations, and Pratt, on the Islamic State’s “theological ideology.”

Not all of the panels at the conference focussed on Asia or on Islam, and of these the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) panel is particularly notable for being the most empirically-oriented of the conference. The first NZAVS talk was delivered by the director of the study, Chris Sibley, a psychologist from the University of Auckland. Sibley described the breadth of the study and some of the many challenges inherent to large-scale longitudinal data collection. Joseph Bulbulia (Victoria University of Wellington) then detailed a few of the more significant findings pertaining to religion that have emerged from the NZAVS, including his work on the distinct “faith signatures” that span and defy traditional denominational categorization. Following these talks, Geoffrey Troughton (Victoria University of Wellington) described the history of the “Christian Not Further Declared (NFD)” designation in the New Zealand census, and then used NZAVS data to describe the demographic characteristics of those individuals that have recently come to identify with this tremendously growing group. The panel concluded with John Shaver (Victoria University of Wellington) describing the complex, but unique, picture of religion and prejudice/ tolerance in New Zealand. Although highly religious New Zealanders are more tolerant of many social groups (including ethnic and religious out-groups) than their secular counterparts, they are also less tolerant of some other groups (e.g., homosexuals). Shaver interpreted this pattern as a result of the differential flexibility of human values. He argued that those values associated with conservatism are necessary for the cultural transmission of religion and are therefore less free to vary across cultures, while those that are less relevant to transmission are subject to greater environmental influence.

Perhaps due to the University of Otago’s excellent choice to host the conference in scenic Queenstown, the conference was relatively well-attended by NZASR standards, and a strong Australian presence was a welcome addition to the conference’s academic and social events. While Asia and Islam were focal, the range of perspectives and disciplinary approaches made for interesting discussions, both in panels and informally. The conference demonstrated that the study of religions in New Zealand and Australia continues to broaden its interdisciplinary focus.

Podcasts

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 16 June 2017

Sponsored

Conference: CenSAMM: 500 years: The Reformation and its Resonations

September 14–15, 2017

Bedford, United Kingdom

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Calls for papers

Anthology: Religious Violence Today: Faith and Conflict in the Modern World

Deadline: N/A

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Conference: Going Viral: Religion and Health

October 14, 2017

Boston University, USA

Deadline: June 30, 2017

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Conference: Re-imagining the Christian Body

November 2–3, 2017

University of Turku, Finland

Deadline: June 20, 2017

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Conference: On Memory, Spirits and Selves

March 9–10, 2018

Derby, UK

Deadline: September 1, 2017

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Conference: ISA World Congress of Sociology

July 14–21, 2018

Deadline: September 30, 2017

Toronto, Canada

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Journal: Religion, State & Society

Special issue: Religion and the Rise of Populism: Migration, Radicalism and New Nationalisms

Deadline: August 15, 2017

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Jobs

Postdoc: Jewish Life in Modern Islamic Contexts

University of Pennsylvania, USA

Deadline: October 31, 2017

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Research Fellowships 2018/2019

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

Deadline: August 31, 2017

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Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 31 May 2017

Exciting news!

You may now advertise with the Religious Studies Project!

Platforms include podcasts, web pages, opportunities digest, and social media.

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Of course, you may still send or forward submissions regarding calls for papers, events, jobs, awards, grants, etc. to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com for free advertisement in this (currently fortnightly but usually) weekly digest.

Sponsored

Conference: CenSAMM: 500 years: The Reformation and its Resonations

September 14–15, 2017

Bedford, United Kingdom

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Calls for papers

Book proposals: Bloomsbury Studies in Material Religion

Bloomsbury Publishing

Deadline: N/A

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Book proposals: The Secular Studies Series

NYU Press

Deadline: N/A

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Conference: The International Congress on Higher Religious Education

November 16–19, 2017

Istanbul University, Turkey

Deadline: June 22, 2017

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Conference: ANU: Sacred Sites/Sacred Stories: Global Perspectives

April 5–7, 2018

Australian National University, Australia

Deadline: October 15, 2017

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Conference: Hermeneutics of Symbol, Myth and “Modernity of Antiquity” in Italian Literature and the Arts from the Renaissance up to the Present Day

December 15–16, 2017

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

Deadline: September 10, 2017

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Workshop: Talk on Trust and Europe’s Crisis of Representation

December 7–8, 2017

Woolf Institute, UK

Deadline: June 2, 2017

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Events

Conference: Religious Imaginations and Global Transitions: How narratives of faith are shaping today’s world

June 14, 2017

London, UK

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Conference: SocRel: On the Edgte? Centres and Margins in the Sociology of Religion

July 12–14, 2017

University of Leeds, UK

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Conference: Holism: Possibilities and Problems

September 8–10, 2017

University of Essex, UK

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Symposium: Symposium Classicum Peregrinum

June 18, 2017

Scarbantia, Hungary

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Symposium: The Uses of Euhemerism

July 17–18, 2017

Aberdeen, UK

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Jobs and funding

Teaching fellow: Anthropology of South Asian Religions

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: June 6, 2017

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Four PhD positions

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: June 11, 2017

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Lecturer: Classics and Religious Studies

Washington University in St. Louis, USA

Deadline: June 30, 2017

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Jameel Scholarship: Islam in Contemporary Britain

Cardiff University, UK

Deadline: June 12, 2017

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Associate Lecturer: New Religious Movements, Hinduism

University of Chidester, UK

Deadlines: N/A

More information: NRMs, Hinduism

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 27 April 2017

Exciting news!

You may now advertise with the Religious Studies Project!

Platforms include podcasts, web pages, opportunities digest, and social media.

Send an e-mail to editors@religiousstudiesproject.com to learn more!

Of course, you may still send or forward submissions regarding calls for papers, events, jobs, awards, grants, etc. to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com for free advertisement in this (mostly) weekly digest.

Calls for papers

Conference: The Impact of Religion: Challenges for Society, Law and Democracy

April 24–26, 2018

Uppsala University, Sweden

Deadline: May 31 and October 31, 2017

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Conference: History of Religions and Archaeology II: Cult Places

July 11–15, 2017

Rome, Italy

Deadline: May 1, 2017

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Conference: International Conference on Religious Studies

August 25–26, 2017

Warsaw, Poland

Deadline: June 10, 2017

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Conference: Dynamics of Religious Diversity: The Study of Different Religions and Religious Difference in Postcolonial Configurations

October 19–20, 2017

Utrecht University, The Netherlands,

Deadline: May 19, 2017

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Conference: The Evolution of Religion II: How Biology, Psychology and Culture Interact

November 12–15, 2017

Santa Ana Pueblo, USA

Deadline: June 1, 2017

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Conference: ISA World Congress of Sociology: Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses, Responsibilities

July 15–21, 2018

Toronto, Canada

Deadline: September 30, 2017

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Events

Conference: Remembering Beliefs: The Shifting Worlds of Religion in Faith in Secular Society

July 14–15, 2017

Leeds Trinity University, UK

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Conference: On the Edge? Centres and Margins in the Sociology of Religion

July 12–14, 2017

University of Leeds, UK

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Symposium: Researching the Church of England

July 25, 2017: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Aston University, UK

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Jobs

Director, School of Religious Studies

McGill University, Canada

Deadline: July 9, 2017

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PostDoc: Global Network for Christian Muslims Studies

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: May 11, 2017

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Maclaurin Goodfellow Chair in Theological and Religious Studies

University of Auckland, New Zealand

Deadline: May 29, 2017

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Assistant Professor of Comparative Religious Studies

Radboud University, The Netherlands

Deadline: May 7, 2017

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Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 14 February 2017

Exciting news!

You may now advertise with the Religious Studies Project!

Platforms include podcasts, web pages, opportunities digest, and social media.

Send an e-mail to editors@religiousstudiesproject.com to learn more!

Calls for papers

Conference: Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences

October 19–21, 2017

University of Memphis, USA

Deadline: May 1, 2017

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Conference: SSSR: Going Public: The Social Impact of Scientific Research on Religion

October 13–15, 2017

Washington, D.C., USA

Deadline: March 31, 2017

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Conference: Social Movements

April 10–12, 2017

Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2017

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Conference: Heavenly Acts IV

May 8–9, 2017

University of Sheffield, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2017

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Conference: Religion(s) and Power(s)

October 5–6, 2017

Deadline: April 1, 2017

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Conference: The Life and Legacy of Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Movements in Scholarly Perspective

May 29–30, 2017

Antwerp, Belgium

Deadline: February 28, 2017

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Conference: Holism: Possibilities and problems

September 8–10, 2017

University of Essex, UK

New deadline: March 31, 2017

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Conference panel: RGS-IBS: Faith and the “practising” of social justice

August 29–September 1, 2017

London, UK

Deadline: February 8, 2017

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Journal: International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

Special issue: Negotiating Belief in Health and Social Care

Deadline: September 15, 2017

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Journal: Palgrave Communications

Special issue: Religion and poverty

Deadline: September 30, 2017

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Journal: Journal for Religion and Society in Central and Eastern Europe

Special issue: Religion and Non-religion in Contemporary Societies

Deadline: May 15, 2017

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Symposium: Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern Studies Post-graduate Symposium

May 18, 2017

University of Birmingham, UK

Deadline: February 22, 2017

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Symposium: The Cognition of Belief

June 2, 2017

Georgetown University, USA

Deadline: February 17, 2017

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Events

Seminar: The Reformation and the Arts around the North Sea

March 6, 2017

Bergen, Norway

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Summer school: “Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion and Gender: Postcolonial, Post-secular and Queer Perspectives”

May 17–21, 2017

Deadline: March 1, 2017

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Workshop: SOCREL: “Let’s get critical”

February 24, 2017

University of Westminster, UK

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Jobs and funding

Award: Early Career Awards

University of Kent / John Templeton Foundation

Deadline: June 1, 2017

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Professorship: History of Religions with focus on indigenous religions

The Arctic University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: March 3, 2017

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PhD position: Religion and morality policy: An analysis of the influence of religious groups during the implementation stage

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

Deadline: March 1, 2017

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Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 10 January 2017

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Please note this week’s special opportunity from the RSP itself! Want to become part of our vital team? Scroll all the way down to “Jobs” (but do stop by the other opportunities on the way… :)).

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Calls for papers

Conference: Creatures of the Night: Mythologies of the Otherworld and Its Denizens

June 8–10, 2017

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: March 15, 2017

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Conference: The Beasts of the Forest: Denizens of the Dark Woods

July, 2017 (date TBA)

St Mary’s University, UK

Deadline: April 14, 2017

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Conference: The Talking Sky: Myths and Meaning in Celestial Spheres

July 1–2, 2017

Bath, UK

Deadline: January 15, 2017

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Conference: The Place of Religion in Film

March 30–April 1, 2017

Syracuse University, USA

Deadline (extended): January 15, 2017

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Conference: Egyptian and Eastern Cults in the Roman Empire

June 15–18, 2017

Szombathely/Savaria, Hungary

Deadline: March 1, 2017

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Conference panel: SISR/ISSR: Global Pentecostal Charismatic Christianities

July 4–7, 2017

Lausanne, Switzerland

Deadline: January 10, 2017

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Conference panel: ESA: Sociology of Religion: Religion and (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities

August 29–September 1, 2017

Deadline: February 1, 2017

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Journal: Open Theology

Special issue: Phenomenology of Religious Experience

Deadline: June 1, 2017

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Workshop: Ritual ‘Litter’ Redressed

May 5, 2017

University of Hertfordshire, UK

Deadline: January 15, 2017

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Open access

Journal: Journal for the Study of Religious Experience

Special issue: Fieldwork in Religion: Bodily Experience and Ethnographic Knowledge

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Jobs

Interviewers and audio interns

Religious Studies Project

Deadline: January 23, 2017

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Opportunities Digest – 3 January 2017

Dear subscriber,

Do you have a call for papers, an event announcement, a job vacancy, grant or award you would like others to distribute?

How about having your notification posted with the Religious Studies Project’s weekly Opportunities Digest? It’s easy, just send them to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com, which is now back in order!

Don’t worry if you keep sending to oppsdigest@gmail.com; e-mails will be forwarded to the proper address.

Thank you!

You can find previous Opportunities Digests here: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/categ…/opportunities/

Calls for papers

Colloquium: Education: East and West

March 17–18, 2017

Bath Spa University, UK

Deadline: January 20, 2017

More information

Conference: Exploring the spiritual in music: Interdisciplinary dialogues in music, wellbeing and education

December 9–10, 2017

London, UK

Deadline: February 28, 2017

More information

Conference: Holism: Possibilities and problems

September 8–10, 2017

University of Essex, UK

Deadline: February 17, 2017

More information

Conference: European Sociological Association

August 29–September 1, 2017

Athens, Greece

February 1, 2017

More information

Conference: The Religious and Ethnic Future of Europe

June 12–13, 2017

Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Deadline: January 31, 2017

More information

Journal: New Directions in Folklore

Special Issue: The Folk Awakens: Star Wars and Folkloristics in Popular Culture

Deadline: January 31, 2017

More information

Journal: Changing Societies & Personalities

Special issue: Freedom of Conscience in [the] Post-Secular World

Deadline: November 30, 2017

More information

Journal: Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion

Special issue: The Marketing and Consumption of Spirituality and Religion

Deadline: January 10, 2017

More information

Workshop: Religions Consuming Surveillance

March 22, 2017

Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: January 15, 2017

More information

Events

Conference: Mani in Cambridge

March 25, 2017

Cambridge, UK

More information

Symposium: Places and processes of pilgrimage, past and present

January 11, 2017

Tartu, Estonia

More information

Jobs

Professor: History of Religions with Focus on Indigenous Religions

University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: March 3, 2017

More information

Postdoctoral Scholarship: Chinese Buddhism

University of California – Berkeley, USA

Deadline: March 24, 2017

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 30 August 2016

Do you have a call for papers, an event announcement, a job vacancy, grant or award you would like others to distribute?

How about having your notification posted with the Religious Studies Project’s weekly Opportunities Digest? It’s easy, just forward them to oppsdigest@gmail.com! Please be aware that the old e-mail address oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com does not currently work.

You can find previous Opportunities Digests here: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/categ…/opportunities/

Calls for papers

Special issue: Journal for the Study of Religion

Theme: The Role of Religion in Violence and Peacebuilding

Deadline: November 15, 2016

More information

Reviews and overviews: Material Religion

Theme: Museums, exhibitions

More information

Conference: Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

April 20-23, 2017

New York City, USA

Deadline: September 19, 2016

More information

Conference: Modern Hadith Studies Between Arabophone and Western Scholarship

January 9-10, 2017

Pembroke, Oxford, UK

Deadline: October 15, 2016

More information

Symposium & Ph.D. course, workshop: Death Online: Method and content

March 6-8; 9-10, 2017

Aarhus University, Denmark

Deadline: September 10, 2016

More information

Symposium: Simpósio sobre Religião e Política

October 17-21, 2016

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Deadline: September 20, 2016

More information (Portuguese)

Events

“Om at tage animisme alvorligt – men ikke for alvorligt?”

September 1, 8 PM – 10 PM

Copenhagen, Denmark

More information (Danish)

Jobs

University researchers, Postdoctoral researchers, Doctoral students

University of Helsinki, Finland

Deadline: September 18, 2016

More information

Interdisciplinary Fellowships: Sacred Music, Religion, and the Arts

Yale Institute of Sacred Music, USA

Deadline: November 1, 2016

More information

Assistant Professor, Tenure Track: Religion and Environment

University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Deadline: October 31, 2016

More information

Assistant Professor: Hinduism

University of California, Davis, USA

Deadline: October 31, 2016

More information

Associate / Full Professor: Latin American/Latino/LatinX Christianity

Emory University, USA

Deadline: August 26, 2016

More information

Assistant / Associate Professor: Buddhist Philosophy

University of New Mexico, USA

Deadline: October 19, 2016

More information

Assistant Professor: South Asian Religions

University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada

Deadline: October 17, 2016

More information

Fellowships: Research Group “Editing Metaphysics”

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany

Deadline: October 15, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 19 July 2016

Calls for papers

Conference: Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism

June 6–7, 2017

Rome, Italy

Deadline: December 30, 2016

More information

Conference: Understanding and explanation in the study of religions

November 7–9, 2016

Jagiellonian University, Poland

Deadline: September 7, 2016

More information

Conference: Meditation in Buddhist-Christian Encounter: A Critical Analysis

June 29–July 3, 2016

Abbey of Montserrat, Spain

Deadline: February 28, 2017

More information

Journal: Antisemitism Studies

Deadline: September 15, 2016

More information

Jobs and funding

PhD grant

University of Antwerp, Belgium

Deadline: August 15, 2016

More information

Lecturer in Sociology

Loughborough University, UK

Deadline: August 11, 2016

More information

Peer Review College member

Arts & Humanities Research Council

Deadline: September 22, 2016

More information

Social Media Assistant

Sociology

Deadline: July 22, 2016

More information

Writing fellowships

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany

Deadline: July 31, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 24 May 2016

Calls for papers

BASR: Religion Beyond the Textbook

September 5–7, 2016

University of Wolverhampton, UK

Deadline: May 31, 2016

More information

First International Congress of the Chilean Society for the Sciences of Religions: Dialogue, Education and Religious Tolerance

May 23–26, 2017

Concepción, Chile

Deadline: August 30, 2016

More information

The Reception of the Church Fathers and Early Church Historians, c.1470-1650

September 23, 2016

Trinity College, Cambridge, UK

Deadline: June 1, 2016

More information

The politics of marginalised groups in the UK and Ireland: Perspectives and approaches

September 21, 2016

University of Manchester, UK

Deadline: June 17, 2016

More information

Evolving through Context: The Transformation of Buddhism(s) and their Legitimation(s)

March 24–25, 2017

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany

Deadline: September 4, 2016

More information

Compassion, Social Engagement, and Discontent: Believing and the Politics of Belonging in Europe Today

November 10–11, 2016

Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion, The Netherlands

Deadline: June 1, 2016

More inormation

Exodus: Migrants and frontiers

September 21–23, 2016

University of Aveiro, Portugal

Deadline: June 12, 2016

More information

Comparative Study of Religious Seminaries

October 5, 2016

UCL, UK

Deadline: June 30, 2016

More information

The Ethnographic Archive: History, Anthropology and the Sudan Archive Durham

26-28 September 2016

Durham University, UK

Deadline: May 31, 2016

More information

Graduate Conference on Religious Studies: Protest, Public Religion, and Social Change

October 1, 2016

Boston University, USA

Deadline: June 1, 2016.

More information

Middle East – Topics and Arguments

Special issue: Iconography

Deadline: June 30, 2016

More information

Open Journal of Social Sciences

Special issue: Cross-Cultural Studies

Deadline: May 31, 2016

More information

Events

Modern Religious History

June 14–15, 2016

University of Stirling, UK

More information

Public Religions and Their Secrets, Secret Religions and Their Publics

October 27–28, 2016

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

NEW DEADLINE: June 1, 2016

More information: Conference, Master Class

Summer school: Doing and Communicating Qualitative Research

July 4–8, 2016

Kingston University London, UK

More information

Religion and Greater Scotland Christianity and Scottish Global Networks, 1603-1950

June 3–4, 2016

Aberdeen, Scotland

More information

Religion, Gender and Sexualities

July 1, 2016

Aston University, UK

More information

The Role of the Church in a Pluralist Society: Good Riddance or Good Influence?

June 22–24, 2016

The Loyola Institute in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

More information

Translating Buddhism

June 30–July 2, 2016

York St John University, UK

More information

Awards

Sofja Kovalevskaja Award

Humboldt Foundation

Deadline: July 31, 2016

More information

Jobs

PhD position: Indigenous Religion(s): Local Grounds, Global Networks

University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: June 1, 2016

More information

University Teacher in Islamic Studies

University of Glasgow, UK

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

Tutor: Theology and Religious Studies

University of Glasgow, UK

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

University Teacher

University of Glasgow, UK

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

Doctoral scholarships

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

PhD positions: History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Deadline: July 15, 2016

More information

PhD positions

Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Deadline: June 15, 2016

More information

PhD positions: Medieval Studies

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: August 1, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – March 29, 2016

Dear Subscriber

We are pleased to bring you this week’s opportunities digest and would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has submitted calls for papers, event notifications, job vacancies, etc. Our inbox seems to be a little quiet of late, so don’t forget to send us any opportunities you come across. It is super easy to have a Religious Studies call for papers, exciting event, or alluring job vacancy appear in future Opportunities Digests! Simply use the submission form, forward them to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com or, better yet, include said e-mail address in your mailing list for such e-mails!

We thank you for your contribution. If you notice anything weird this week, it’s because Chris has compiled this digest while Jane enjoys a well-earned holiday.

Calls for Papers

British Association for the Study of Religions Annual Conference

Theme: ‘Religion Beyond the Textbook’

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Martin Stringer (Swansea University)

University of Wolverhampton, UK, 5-7 September 2016

Deadline: 31 May 2016

More details here (.doc)

Costruzione e Definizione del Concetto di Religione

12-13-14-15-16 Luglio 2016

Velletri (Roma)

Call for Papers (English)

Deadline: 15 April 2016

Celtic migrations and territories: tradition, religion and beliefs

Trilingual international conference

Rennes (France), 20-21 October 2016.

Deadline: 15 April 2016

http://mitecelt.sciencesconf.org/?lang=en

Sermon Studies journal

Sponsored by Marshall University, Sermon Studies is a new online, open access journal that is looking for submissions. The journal can be found at: http://mds.marshall.edu/sermonstudies/

Further details (pdf).

Conferences

ICSA Annual Conference

Theme: Recovery From Cults and High-Control Groups

Dallas, Texas, June 30, 2016—July 2, 2016

http://www.icsahome.com/events/conferenceannual

1st International Congress on Religious-Spiritual Counselling & Care

7-10 April 2016, Grand Cevahir Hotel & Convention Center, Istanbul

http://mdrk.org/en

Jobs

Permanent Research Fellow

Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society, Newman University.

‘Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum’ project.

Project overview: http://sciencereligionspectrum.org

Closing date for applications: 15th April 2016 – 1pm BST

Further particulars can be obtained from the vacancies web page www.newman.ac.uk/jobs  or alternatively e-mail: recruitment@newman.ac.uk or telephone 0121 476 1181 ext. 2398

Director, School of Religious Studies

McGill University,

Deadline: May 2, 2016

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=52758

Associate or Full Professor of Religious Studies and Chaplain

Centenary College of Louisiana

Deadline: June 13 2016

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=52730

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – March 15, 2016

Dear subscriber,

We are pleased to bring you this week’s opportunities digest and would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has submitted calls for papers, event notifications, job vacancies, etc. On that note, we would also like to encourage you to continue to do so (and invite those who remain hesitant to begin)!

It is super easy to have a Religious Studies call for papers, exciting event, or alluring job vacancy appear in future Opportunities Digests! Simply use the submission form, forward them to oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com or, better yet, include said e-mail address in your mailing list for such e-mails!

We thank you for your contribution.

Calls for papers and applications

Workshop: Translations: indigenous, religion, tradition, culture

University of Tromsø, Norway

August 17–19, 2016

Deadline: June 1, 2016

More information

Travel grants: Religious Pluralisation – A Challenge for Modern Societies

October 4–6, 2016

Hanover, Germany

More information (travel grants, program)

Summer school: Religion and water

June 13–24, 2016

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: April 1, 2016

More information

Summer school: Religion, Culture and Society: Entanglement and Confrontation

August 28–September 3, 2016

Antwerpen, Belgium

Deadline: May 15, 2016

More information

Events

Conference: Islam and Peaceful Relations

April 5, 2016

Coventry University, UK

More information

Conference: Radicalisaton and Violent Extremism: Society, Identity and Security

July 22–23, 2016

University of Leeds, UK

April 15, 2016

More information

Conference: Reconsidering Religious Radicalism

May 21, 2016

University of Cambridge, UK

More information

Symposium: Muslims in the UK and Europe

May 13–15, 2016

University of Cambridge, UK

More information

Jobs

Funded postgraduate positions

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Deadline: March 31, 2016

More information

Full-time PhD studentships

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: April 4, 2016

More information

Faculty Fellow: Japanese Religions

University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Deadline: May 15, 2016

More information

Professor: Alevism in Europe

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Deadline: April 13, 2016

More information

Professor: History of Modern/Contemporary Christianity

University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Deadline: April 14, 2016

More information

Religious Studies as a Discipline

Aaron Hughes (University of Rochester) has been a vocal critic of some of the theories and methods used by religious studies scholars working on Islam. In this podcast, he discusses his critique of the discipline and practice of religious studies he has made through works such as Situating Islam (Equinox, 2008), Theorizing Islam (Equinox, 2012), Abrahamic Religions (Oxford, 2012), The Study of Judaism (SUNY, 2013), and, most recently, Islam and the Tyranny of Authenticity (Equinox, 2015).

This sustained focus on the field of religious studies is not only a concern with identity–the political boundaries of the field as established by its scholars and professional organizations–but also with method. What should be the critical orientation of our field? Which methods are more or less suited for religious studies when it the discipline is viewed as a critical endeavor? When and how should we critique the way our field is responding to the context of the 21st Century? Are area studies especially vulnerable to these criticisms? What happens when identity politics begins to mix with scholarship?

Listeners might also be interested in our previous podcasts on Religion as Sui Generis, The Relationship between Theology and Religious Studies, Teaching and Learning in Contemporary Religious Studies, The Critical Study of Religion, and Biblical Studies and Religious Studies. You can download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us . And remember, you can use our Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com, or Amazon.ca links to support us at no additional cost when buying academic texts, storage boxes, tiny shoes and more.

SPSP 2016 Report: The state of religion in social and personality psychology

This past January, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology had its biggest turn out to date for its 17th Annual Convention in San Diego, California. Despite religion, as a broad category of research, all to often being missing in action in the psychological sciences, researchers embracing the study of religion were hard to miss throughout SPSP 2016. Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Adam Baimel, University of British Columbia.

The Religion and Spirituality Preconference meeting kicked off as Aiyana Willard presented her work on the cognitive foundations of belief. Much ink has been spilled as to what sorts of cognitive processes make supernatural beliefs ‘easy to think’ – Willard’s work demonstrates how we can actually test these theoretical and causal models in the minds of real believers (for more on this, see here). What this type of work demonstrates is that what we need, as psychologists, to understand religion in any sort of systematic way, is access to empirical data.

ARDA database hub.

ARDA Research Hub.

Representatives from the Association of Religion Data Archives (the ARDA) drove this very point home by presenting both the existing (and quite impressive) database that they have built and what sorts of features users can expect from the ARDA in the near future.  The ARDA currently offers researchers a large collection of international and national survey data on the broad topic of religion – and they have recently made mining through these surveys by topic and specific questions of interest all that much easier. Joining in on the benefits of open and transparent science – the ARDA has made a call for researchers to publish their data sets of all varieties (experimental, ethnographic, etc.) on the website in the hopes of the ARDA becoming the premier location of all that is empirical data on religion. Best of all, their databases are open-access – so get digging, I know I will be.

The remainder of this year’s Religion and Spirituality Preconference emphasized how (1) the psychological sciences can add to our broader understanding of religion as well as (2) how believers can be an important population of individuals to study in furthering our understanding of more typical social psychological hypotheses. For example, Zhen Cheng and Kimberly Rios presented their work on the how stereotype threat – feeling at risk of confirming a stereotype of one’s social group – might play an important role in keeping religious believers from pursuing interests and performing in scientific domains.  This is important to consider given the demographic majority of liberals, and atheists (or at the very least less-fervently devoted) amongst psychologists. Speaking to the complexity of how ‘religion’ manifests in human psychological processes and behavior, Joni Sasaki presented her lab’s work exploring how interactions between genetic differences in oxytocin receptor genes and social contexts moderate the strength of religious reminders in promoting self-control (full paper here). The theme of this bi-directional interest and value in exploring religion in the psychological sciences persisted throughout the remainder of the conference.

The issue of replicability (and non-replicability) is currently a pressing concern for researchers in psychology, and was a topic of a number of presentations at SPSP 2016 (for more info see here). At the forefront of this ‘crisis’, and of particular interest to those who study religion, is work on priming. Psychological priming, the method of exposing individuals to some stimulus (often done outside of the individual’s awareness) to detect its effects on a later stimulus, is used in all sorts of psychological research. For example, Shariff & Norenzayan (2007), in their now foundational study, had participants complete a sentence unscrambling task that either involved god-related (e.g., blessed, divine), government (e.g., jury, contract), or neutral words. The mere presence of these words serve as a prime, making the concepts of god or government more readily accessible to the minds of their subjects. What they demonstrated is that activating god or government related concepts shifted the norm from being selfish (not giving much at all), to being more fair – as participants, on average, gave up just under half of their allotted windfall of money in a dictator game. These findings have served as the bedrock for continued exploration into the role of religion in sustaining human cooperation.

Despite its varied applications (not just in the study of religion), recent efforts to replicate priming studies have lead psychologists to understand how complicated (finicky) these methods really are. However, as part of a symposium organized to demonstrate important examples of how and when priming is useful – Aiyana Willard presented the results of a meta-analysis (a statistical approach to studying an effect over a number of studies – in this case, 93 studies) that suggests that religious priming is indeed an effective method for studying the effects of activating ‘religion’ on a number psychological processes and behaviors. This effect holds even after statistically correcting for publication bias (the reality that there are many an unpublished study hiding in the physical and virtual file-drawers of researchers around the world).

The psychological sciences face another important problem in understanding religion and more broadly, the psychological foundations of human nature – the over-representation of WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic) populations in our studies. Religion is by no means a monolithic phenomenon, and our understanding of religion should reflect the rampant theodiversity that exists across cultures today, and has existed throughout our collective cultural histories. In one symposium session, researchers representing the Cultural Evolution of Religion Consortium (CERC), with its home at the University of British Columbia, demonstrated how the study of religion is an ideal test case for breaking through this boundary.

Michael Muthukrishna introduced the audience to the Database of Religious History and its goals of becoming a premier source for quantified religious history. This database is being built with the help of religious scholars and historians from around the world whose knowledge of diverse religious beliefs and practices is being mapped and quantified in order for history to move off the page and become subject to statistical inquiry. Edward Slingerland spoke to the value of moving beyond the laboratory and seeking answers to our questions about religion in what he called the untapped population of ‘dead minds’ in the process of quantifying and statistically mining the literary corpus at the core of many religions.

Joe Henrich presenting.

Joe Henrich presenting.

Joseph Henrich and Coren Apicella presented results from a cross-cultural study exploring the relationship between big moralizing gods and prosociality in eight diverse societies around the world. Henrich spoke to the broader goals of such a massive undertaking, in that understanding cultural variation is key to understanding anything about human nature. Apicella presented her work on this project with the Hadza – indigenous hunter-gatherers in Tanzania who serve as an interesting case study for questions regarding religion and morality given that previous ethnographies have indicated that they have no religion at all. In (very) brief, this study supports the hypothesis that belief in omniscient, punishing, moralizing gods extends the bounds of prosociality to distant others – and thus may have played an important role in the expansion of human societies. For the complete report of the work presented at SPSP, check out Benjamin Purzycki et al.’s recently published piece in Nature.

The work highlighted here is just beginning to scratch the surface of what was on offer at SPSP 2016 on the study of religion. However, what is clear across the board is that the general interest in religion as a psychological phenomenon is growing – with the countless poster presentations by the next generation of researchers as evidence. Furthermore, there is a growing consensus in the field that religion is not only an interesting phenomenon to study – but an essential one to explore in furthering our understanding of human psychological processes and behaviors.

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 16 February 2016

Calls for papers

Journal: Open Theology

Special issue: Alternative Religiosities in the Soviet Union and the Communist

East-Central Europe: Formations, Resistances and Manifestations

Deadline: June 30, 2016

More information

Journal: Culture and Society: Journal of Social Research

Special issue: Religion and Belief in the Public Sphere of Eastern Europe

Deadline: February 28, 2016

More information

Conference: ISASR: Religion and Revolution

June 16–17, 2016

University College Cork, Ireland

Deadline: February 19, 2016

More information

Conference: Implicit Religion

May 20–22, 2016

Salisbury, UK

Deadline: February 26, 2016

More information

Conference: Reconsidering Religious Radicalism

May 21, 2016

University of Cambridge, UK

Deadline: March 11, 2016

More information

Workshop on Gender, Religion and Family Violence

September 13–14, 2016

New Brunswick, Canada

Deadline: April 1, 2016

More information

Conference: Historical Re-Enactment, Contemporary Paganism and Fantasy-Based Movements

May 20–21, 2016

Kaunas, Lithuania

Deadline: March 21, 2016

More information

Conference: Border Crossings: Exploring the ‘visible’ and the ‘invisible’ in the humanities

June 3, 2016

University of Stirling, UK

Deadline: March 20, 2016

More information

Events

Conference: Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions

April 15–17, 2016

Cardiff University, UK

More information

Conference: Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe

April 6–8, 2016

Munich, Germany

More information

Jobs

Three PhD studentships

Lunds universitet, Sweden

Deadline: March 1, 2016

More information

Tenure-track position in American Church History

Catholic University of America, DC, USA

Deadline: March 7, 2016

More information

Sabbatical replacement: Buddhist Traditions and Asian Religions

Vanderbilt University, TN, USA

Deadline: April 28, 2016

More information

PhD studentship

Coventry University, UK

Deadline: March 7, 2016

More information

Instructor: Sanskrit and Buddhist Studies

Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages

Deadline: May 8, 2016

More information

Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship in East Asian Religions

Washington University in St. Louis, USA

Deadline: March 16, 2016

More information

Report: 2015 Joint Conferences of the New Zealand and Australian Associations for the Study of Religion

Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Bruno Marshall Shirley and John H. Shaver

The biennial conference of the New Zealand Association for the Study of Religions (NZASR) and the annual conference of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions (AASR) were held together in Queenstown, New Zealand from December 8-10 2015. Interdisciplinary perspectives and theoretical approaches across the humanities and social sciences were evident in the wide-range of papers presented. Islam, and Asian religions more generally, were the most consistent objects of focus, perhaps unsurprising given Australasia’s proximity to Asia and recent increased media attention to the Islamic State.

The Manata room at the Mercure Resort Queenstown, which hosted the conference.

The Manata room at the Mercure Resort Queenstown, which hosted the conference.

The conference’s emphasis on Asia and Islam were evident in the keynote lectures. In a talk entitled “Creativity and Ethical Life in India,” Tulasi Srinivas (Emerson College) described religious innovations in Bangalore and the sense of “wonder” that they often inspire. She argued that scholars ought to take emerging religious practices seriously, rather than as anomalies or deviations from established, textually-based understandings of religion. Turning to Japan, Douglas Ezzy (University of Tasmania) argued that Shint­ō is best considered a “religion of practice” in contrast to those traditional conceptions of religion as belief-oriented. He suggested that while a non-Christian can attend mass at a Christian place of worship and not be “doing Christianity,” a tourist at a Shint­ō shrine participating in its various ritual practices might be said to be “doing Shint­ō.” For many Japanese Shint­ō is not associated with doctrinal belief (shūkyō), which allows people to engage with Shint­ō ritual practice while not accepting its cosmology. Some in the audience disagreed with Ezzy’s analysis of Shint­ō and its relationship to shūkyō, but his call for a renewed focus on religious practice was generally appreciated. Sally McAra (University of Auckland), looked at one traditionally Asian religion, Buddhism, in the Australasian context. She discussed the problems facing an anthropologist conducting ethnographic research among their own group, principally a difficulty in carrying out objective analyses, due to a positive bias towards group ideals.

The final keynote lecture, from Gary D. Bouma (Monash University), turned to Islam and to Western discourses about the “threat” that each other poses. Bouma argued that both anti-Western and anti-Muslim narratives shared several key features: both narratives assert that the “other” is incorrect in some way; each is reinforced due to media bias; and both narratives are responsible for the perpetuation of conflict. Bouma’s most significant point was that Religious Studies scholars have a responsibility to discredit these discourses – particularly anti-Muslim narratives in the West, such as those put forth by Trump or Abbot. These narratives, Bouma argued, serve to legitimise attempts to gain power at the expense of civil liberties, and/or to divert attention from their own violence (including structural violence, domestic violence, or even climate change).

Comfort Max-Wirth presenting her paper "Political Manipulation of the Occult in Ghana: Embracing the Occult," in the panel "Religion in/and Politics."

Comfort Max-Wirth presenting her paper “Political Manipulation of the Occult in Ghana: Embracing the Occult,” in the panel “Religion in/and Politics.”

The panel “Contemporary Religions” continued the central foci on Asian religions and Islam. A paper by Douglas Osto (Massey) (based on his forthcoming book, Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America, Columbia UP, 2016) outlined the history of “Psychedelic Buddhism” from the 1950s into the present, and the changing attitudes of American Buddhist practitioners towards mind-altering drugs. Osto described how some practitioners used psychedelic drugs as a “door” to advanced states of mind, before graduating to “pure” meditation practices, while others (notably Joan Halifax) continued to use drugs to supplement their meditative practices. Although psychedelia has been investigated before, Osto’s study represents the first serious examination of psychedelic Buddhism as a non-systemic religious movement, and is sure to lead to further studies of other hybrid Buddhist practices in the West. Buddhism was also the focus of a panel on “Buddhist Tales and Territories,” which featured a paper by Chaisit Suwanvarangkul (University of Otago) on the relevance of dharmakāya and the tathāgatagarbha doctrine to Therāvada Buddhism, as well as to the Mahāyāna. Suwanvarangkul’s paper was partially in response to an earlier paper by Michael Radich (Victoria University of Wellington), presented at the 2007 Australian Association of Buddhist Studies conference, entitled “There is no Dhammakāya in the Pāli Canon.” Suwanvarangkul’s inclusion of the Chinese Āgama as Theravāda was the subject of some controversy, as Osto pointed out that, despite parallels to the Theravāda nikāya, the Chinese āgama contain several key differences from the Theravāda texts. The panel also included papers by Anna Halafoff and Matthew Clarke (both of Deakin University) on the role of Songdhammakalyani monastery (Thailand) in promoting gender equality; Chiew Hui Ho (University of Sydney) on Chinese tales about the Diamond Sutra and their role in encouraging faith; and Phra Akbordin Rattana (University of Otago) on the model of Buddha devotion expressed in the Mārabandha chapter of the Paṭhamasambodhi-kathā.

Papers in the panel “Religion and the State” shared a common theme of distinctions between “religious practice” and “political actions” breaking down, in cases drawn from China, Japan, and Sri Lanka. Melissa Inoue (University of Auckland) discussed China’s True Jesus Church and its “miraculous” discourse. She argued that by directing attention to this-worldly affairs, the discourse indirectly both critiques and affirms contemporary Chinese society and the stewardship of the party-state. Ben Schonthal (University of Otago) turned to Sri Lanka and the (legal) case of a Buddhist monk who was denied an application for a driver’s license on the grounds that it was not appropriate for monks to drive. He argued that this was fundamentally a problem of contested authority over religious practice in Sri Lanka, arising from an ambiguous constitutionalising of religion. Bruno M. Shirley (Victoria University of Wellington) called for a post-secular rethinking of “religious violence” using the case study of Sri Lanka’s Bodu Bala Senā. Shirley suggested that explanations for religious violence, generally and in Sri Lanka specifically, have tended to assume a secularist dichotomy of “religion” and “politics” that is inadequate for dealing with the relationship between Buddhism, politics, and violence in Sri Lanka. Shirley suggested instead that we might reconsider this relationship within a framework of identity politics.

Dr. Will Sweetman (University of Otago) presenting his paper "Is ISIS Islamic? Category Formation in the Academic Study of Religion," in the panel "Naming Islamism."

Dr. Will Sweetman (University of Otago) presenting his paper “Is ISIS Islamic? Category Formation in the Academic Study of Religion,” in the panel “Naming Islamism.”

The panel “Naming Islamism,” was by far the most controversial of the conference. Will Sweetman (University of Otago), Christopher van der Krogt (Massey University), Douglas Pratt (University of Waikato), William E. Shepard (University of Canterbury), and audience members debated whether or not the Islamic State could be considered an authentic iteration of “Islam.” Van der Krogt argued that such a debate represents a misunderstanding of religion, and Islam in particular, while Sweetman argued that there is no basis for denying the Islamic State’s self-identification as Muslim. Several audience members disagreed with this assertion, instead arguing that Islam did indeed have some core norms and values with which the Islamic State does not conform. This panel also included less controversial papers by Shepard (University of Canterbury), on the development of Sayyid Qutb’s views on gender relations, and Pratt, on the Islamic State’s “theological ideology.”

Not all of the panels at the conference focussed on Asia or on Islam, and of these the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) panel is particularly notable for being the most empirically-oriented of the conference. The first NZAVS talk was delivered by the director of the study, Chris Sibley, a psychologist from the University of Auckland. Sibley described the breadth of the study and some of the many challenges inherent to large-scale longitudinal data collection. Joseph Bulbulia (Victoria University of Wellington) then detailed a few of the more significant findings pertaining to religion that have emerged from the NZAVS, including his work on the distinct “faith signatures” that span and defy traditional denominational categorization. Following these talks, Geoffrey Troughton (Victoria University of Wellington) described the history of the “Christian Not Further Declared (NFD)” designation in the New Zealand census, and then used NZAVS data to describe the demographic characteristics of those individuals that have recently come to identify with this tremendously growing group. The panel concluded with John Shaver (Victoria University of Wellington) describing the complex, but unique, picture of religion and prejudice/ tolerance in New Zealand. Although highly religious New Zealanders are more tolerant of many social groups (including ethnic and religious out-groups) than their secular counterparts, they are also less tolerant of some other groups (e.g., homosexuals). Shaver interpreted this pattern as a result of the differential flexibility of human values. He argued that those values associated with conservatism are necessary for the cultural transmission of religion and are therefore less free to vary across cultures, while those that are less relevant to transmission are subject to greater environmental influence.

Perhaps due to the University of Otago’s excellent choice to host the conference in scenic Queenstown, the conference was relatively well-attended by NZASR standards, and a strong Australian presence was a welcome addition to the conference’s academic and social events. While Asia and Islam were focal, the range of perspectives and disciplinary approaches made for interesting discussions, both in panels and informally. The conference demonstrated that the study of religions in New Zealand and Australia continues to broaden its interdisciplinary focus.