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From Non-Religion to Unbelief? A developing field…

The twenty-first century has witnessed growing academic and popular interest in a variety of categories which are related to ‘religion’ but conceptualized as ‘other’… atheism, non-religion, secularity, religious indifference, and so on. Each of these categories can be conceptualized as aspects of the general category ‘unbelief’—‘used in a wide sense, implying a generalized lack of belief in a God or gods’ (Lee and Bullivant 2016).

Back in 2012, Chris sat down – with friend and colleague Ethan Quillen – to speak to Lois Lee, on the topic of ‘non-religion’. Since then, a lot has changed. Lee has climbed the academic ladder, publishing her first monograph with OUP in 2015 – Recognizing the Non-Religious: Re-Imagining the Secular – and currently serving as project leader on the Understanding Unbelief programme. This is a major new research programme aiming to advance scientific understanding of atheism and other forms of ‘unbelief’ around the world through core research and an additional £1.25 million being spent on additional projects and public engagement activities. Chris’s career has also progressed, with recent work including co-editing New Atheism: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates, and beginning a postdoctoral project engaging in a comparative study of ‘unbelief’ in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In this podcast, we check in with the state of the field, discuss developments beyond the Anglophone “West”, some of the many exciting projects being worked on under the “Understanding Unbelief” banner, the utility and pitfalls of the terminology of “unbelief”, and some of the critical issues surrounding the reification of survey categories.

Of relevance to the themes discussed, include Marta Trzebiatowska’s blog post on gender issues in non-religion studies: Not for Girls? Gender and Researching Nonreligion. This blog is part of the NSRN/SSNB blog series on research methods. The full series is introduced here: Research Methods for the Scientific Study of Nonreligion, by Lois Lee, Stephen Bullivant, Miguel Farias and Jonathan Lanman, Nonreligion & Secularity Research Network, 2016.

Specific Understanding Unbelief projects mentioned in the podcast include:

* Mapping the Psychology of Unbelief Across Contexts and Cultures, PI: Jonathan Jong, Psychology, Coventry University, UK
* Nonreligious Childhood: Growing Up Unbelieving in Contemporary Britain, PI: Dr Anna Strhan, Religious Studies, University of Kent, UK,

Listeners may also be interested in our podcasts on “Understanding the Secular“, “Permutations of Secularism“, “Non-Religion”, “Secular Humanism“. “The Post-Secular“, “Studying Non-Religion within Religious Studies“, “The Secularization Thesis” and more…

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 finding UNBELIEVABLE deals on academic texts, strawberry jam, vintage clothing, and more.

A transcription of this interview is also available, and has been pasted below.

From Non-Religion to Unbelief? A Developing Field

Podcast with Lois Lee (26 February 2018).

Interviewed by Christopher Cotter

Transcribed by Helen Bradstock.

Audio and transcript available at: Lee_-_Non-Religion_to_Unbelief_-_A_Developing_Field_1.1

 

Christopher Cotter (CC): Greetings, Religious Studies Project listeners! I am speaking to you from London, in the abode of Dr Lois Lee, who’s returning to the Religious Studies Project. Hi, Lois.

Lois Lee (LL): Hi. Lovely to be here again.

CC: Lois was one of our first interviewees back in 2012. I can’t remember the specific date, or why it was happening. I can remember sitting in a seminar room in New College – along with my then colleague, and still good friend Ethan Quillen – talking about the concept of non-religion with Lois. And now, five, well possibly six years on – depending how we calculate that – we’re checking in again to talk about non-religion, unbelief, the development of the field, how we go about studying this, other major developments that are happening in the field at the moment, and anything else that we can fit into the next 25 minutes! So, when we last spoke to you I remember you saying, “If we’re still having this conversation in 10 years about non-religion, something’s gone wrong.”

LL: Yes.

CC: We’re not quite having the same conversation – but maybe I’ll just throw that at you as a way to kick things off.

LL: And we’re not quite ten years on – so I don’t have to falsify the thesis, or prove or disprove it at this stage! But no, it’s very interesting to reflect on that. I remember saying that, and I’ve referred to that quite often since then. A bold claim from someone who’s argued that we need to look at non-religion and that there’s practical, methodological and analytic utility in using that concept to research religion, and something we might think about as religion, religious-like, or religion-related. But I was saying at the time, “Look, it’s a means to an end. And ten years on, hopefully, we won’t need that means to an end anymore.” I would revise that view now, which is good: we need to be moving forward and so on. Because I think that the discursive study of non-religion is much, much more important than I was engaging with in my work at the time. Not that it wasn’t recognised, because work of critical secular scholars and critical religion scholars were showing that quite clearly. So Johannes Quack worked on and so on – these non-religious discourses are very widespread. They are, as all these scholars show and would argue, definitional of a whole epoch, perhaps, and vast swathes of the world. So I think there’s actually a lot of water in looking at – and Jim Beckford has made this point very clearly – that we really need a strong discursive study of non-religion. And I don’t see that disappearing any time soon. So we’re going to need non-religion in the longer term and be engaging with it. But I’m going to stand by the spirit of the claim, if not the letter of the claim, in that what I was getting at was that – and probably this points to my own research interests – is that many people and things that are identified as non-religious are identified because of attachments that are not purely discursive. They’re not just about relationality to religion, they’re a way of describing lots of different things. And I’ve been particularly interested in what I’ve called in my book “existential cultures”, what Baker and Smith call “cosmic meaning systems”, what other scholars refer to as “worldviews”. And what we see now – and this is very timely to address this question now, because all of the work I’ve just mentioned has been published in the last three years at the longest – is a lot of play around working with how we’re going to describe this stuff that is underlying what’s expressed as “non-religious identities”, “non-religious practices” and “positionalities” and so on. Or analytic language: so, identifying as scholars identifying people as non-religious. And really, what we have in mind are, for example, naturalist worldviews and so on. So I feel totally vindicated in fact, in that claim, in that I think in five years, a lot of the work that’s fallen within the language on non-religion – that we use the language of non-religion to identify – we won’t be using that language any more. (5:00)And it’s precisely because there’s so much dynamism at the moment around developing better analytic categories – to get at what a lot of us have been getting at. And learning from our research and so on, that’s important to the people we’re talking with. So a lot of the work that we talk about in terms of non-religion is going to fall within – well, I’m not going to say what, just now! But maybe it’s the study of worldviews, maybe it’s existentiality, maybe it’s cosmic meaning systems, who knows?

CC: Excellent. I’ve just realised that I completely omitted to properly introduce you at this beginning of this interview!

LL: (Laughs) But surely I need no introduction, Chris?

CC: Exactly! But you’ve already touched on it, just there. So, Lois is a research fellow at the University of Kent, where she’s currently principal investigator on the Understanding Unbelief programme, which is something that we’ll get to very shortly. She’s also a founding director of the Non-Religion and Secularity Research Network, which you’ll have heard plenty about on this podcast thus far. And her 2015 book with OUP was called Recognising the Non-Religious: Re-Imagining the Secular. So you’ve heard about the book, just there. And we’ll get on to some of this just now. Maybe the book’s actually something to springboard from, since again we didn’t speak about that last time.

LL: Yes

CC: Maybe just tell us about your own trajectory, and how you got to this stage of being PI in a project looking at unbelief.

LL: That’s right. Well, I suppose when we last talked it was a twinkle in the eye! But the book is a culmination of what we were talking about in that earlier podcast, which I’m sure is available to listeners, if they’re interested, to return to it. And as you say, I’ve already sort of alluded to some of the work in that book, which was about identifying and engaging with populations. In particular, I was most interested in populations we identify as non-religious, and saying we need to understand them in their capacity of identifying as non-religious or being identified as others, by others as non-religious. And that many of the claims that are made about the religious would be partial if we didn’t work much more closely with that population. That book arose from work that began in 2006, when sociology – my area – but the human sciences more broadly had not really engaged with this non-religious population, in any detail. They’d had sporadic forays – significant, but sporadic forays – into that area. So the book was very much a kind-of “call to arms” in way. But the title sort-of summarises, I guess, recognising the non-religious: that as researchers we need to recognise the non-religious, as societies we need to recognise the non-religious. I talk a bit about the commitments, investments, social attachments and so on, of non-religious people that lead them to feel a sense of grievance if societies only recognise the analogous needs of religious people. So there’s a political argument there in the end. So where have we got to? How does that lead to the Understanding Unbelief programme?

CC: Yes.

LL: Well, I think we’ve touched on that trajectory slightly already, which is that my kind-of emerging interest was particularly in the kinds of what I shall call “existential beliefs and cultures”. The “worldviews” is a more commonplace word we might think about. I think it’s slightly problematic, and we probably don’t have time to get into that. But I think it’s going to lead to some really interesting conversations with people really engaging closely with that concept, and critically, which hasn’t happened around worldview in the same way it’s happened with religion. So it will be really interesting to see that work. But what I’m interested in is the way in which humans conceptualise their own existence and the nature of reality. That conceptualisation is intrinsically transcendent – so it’s stepping back to take to a perspective on reality and existence – and, in that way, is something that is very much shared between, well, cuts across religious and non-religious divides. Whether all humans are as interested in this conceptualisation is a very open question. And that’s very much where the book ends up, is saying there are lots of things going on when people self-identify or are identified as others, by others as non-religious. There are lots of political things going on. There are lots of socio-cultural things, some of which we might feel very sympathetic to and some of which we might be very, very concerned about (10:00). There’s a lot going on. But one important thing that’s going on is that non-religious people have worldviews and they aren’t recognised clearly enough in the conceptual language we have, or in the academy, for example, or other places in public life. So we have the Sociology of Religion, and it’s not clear how well that makes space for the sociology of non-traditional, nonreligious worldviews, and I’m very much arguing we should do that. The Unbelief programme builds on that in that . . . . So, the focus on belief – there’s a couple of different reasons we’re using the term “unbelief”. And we always use it in scare quotes. I think it’s important to say that one of the reasons that we have turned to that term is that we think it’s very obviously a folk category that emerged from Christian traditions. It can’t be confused with a viable analytic concept. And we had some concerns about atheism, secularism – and non-religion, actually – that they had acquired a kind of veneer of analytic coherence that wasn’t always borne out. And so we wanted to . . . . And this arises from conversations with others in the field about where the field was at. We wanted to slightly step back from that and invite people to be a bit critical about what they’re doing and not close off questions, as well. For example, I’ve spoken recently about the disproportionate focus on positive atheists over and above strong agnostics in research. We now have an emerging scholarship around Atheism, with a capital A, and very little about agnostics. But there are lots of people who make the strong agnostic claim that humans can’t know about the nature of human reality and existence, or God, or whoever. We didn’t want to foreclose on that by having a programme on atheism, for example. So, partly, one of the strengths of unbelief is that it’s very, very broad. It allows people to focus on different things that are going on within that rubric, to not imagine they’ve got a specific or coherent analytic category to start off with, but to think about what they’re doing. But it is a word that includes belief. That’s partly because one stage that I think the field is at is that there’s been a lot of energy in the last ten years . . . . The Non-Religion and Secularity Research Network: I founded that in 2008, so we’re ten years on now. And in that period there’s been a kind of intense period of field-building in lots of different human science disciplines. A group who discussed the formation of this programme said that one of the issues in the field was that there was no longer strong communication between different human science disciplines within the field. At the beginning there was, because there was so little scholarship we were absolutely thrilled to read anything that emerged. Now that it’s a success story it’s great. There’s lots to read. And one of the kind-of unintended consequences of that is that some of that interdisciplinary engagement has faded. You know, it’s enough to keep up with the Sociology of Non-Religion or Secularism – as it might be called in the US – as well as trying to keep up with the Psychology of Atheism which is probably the favoured term in Psychology. And that’s fine, but also a shame, because we could learn from each other and from that material. And, partly, the language of belief just reflects different disciplinary conventions: a focus on the cognitive in Cognitive Anthropology, Cognitive Science; belief is very meaningful and significant within Psychology and Social Psychology. So, we’re trying to kind-of bring those things together and find a language that makes sense to different researchers.

CC: Yes. I mean, I can see perhaps some of our listeners bristling in that we’ve been trying – “we” in Religious Studies – to get way from a belief-centred model of religion, in a sense. You know, because it’s so much more than that, potentially. So then, to take this other side of the coin, and then also say it’s “unbelief”, it’s potentially got the same problems as reifying belief. But it’s under-theorised. It doesn’t have that cachet – as you were saying – that it’s potentially an analytic term. And it also . . . And I’ve got to say that my current project is a comparative study of unbelief in Scotland and Northern Ireland, partly piggy-backing on the UU programme. But also, I found that was a much easier word to utilise with funders, and people who were assessing applications who were outside of these debates. Unbelief wasn’t as problematic in a sense as religion, non-religion – a lot less baggage, but made a bit of intuitive sense (15:00). So that’s part of it.

LL: I think that’s really important point, actually. And I think, sometimes, there are different modes of scholarship. My mode has been to work out what concepts are useful to me and what aren’t and then run away with the ones that are useful to me. But that shuts off a lot of conversation with people who are using different concepts. And unbelief, I think, is really useful, because it’s sort-of salient and intelligent to broader populations. They know where you’re at. Some of the preparatory work for this programme was developed in a programme called the Scientific Study of Non-Religious Belief. And if you’ve read work around relational theories of non-religion, non-religious belief is something that makes sense. But if you haven’t, and this is something that in earlier iterations of the project we came up against, you are not clear what a non-religious belief is. “Is that just any belief, that isn’t religious?” “Well, no. That’s not what we meant.” But that kind of confusion isn’t always helpful to having kind-of knowledge exchange with different kinds of audiences and research partners in a way that unbelief is helpful. It draws out its controversies, too. But a lot of that discussion can be very helpful. I think we have a sense that one of the major goals of the project, which is very descriptive in its intention . . . . So, you can summarise its core research question as being: “To summarise the nature and diversity of – scare quotes – “unbelief”. And I tend to think of one of the major outcomes of the programme being the ability to identify different profiles of unbelievers within national populations, and maybe breaking that down further still. We could think about them as denominations of unbelievers perhaps, but maybe that’s not a helpful way of going about it.

CC: Hmm.

LL: But I think, in doing that, we should be able to identify much more concrete positive language that will hopefully replace, in many ways, the concept of unbelief. I think unbelief is . . . . I’d be interested to know what you think, with your project. But for me, I’m not sure there’s going to be analytic validity usefulness. It’s quite clearly a kind of folk category.

CC: Mmm.

LL: But it’s a gateway to hopefully identifying a set of better, more interesting concepts – better and more interesting also than atheism and secularism and non-religion. And again, that’s a bit of a concern with those concepts, because they’re slightly helpful. They are all helpful in lots of different ways, but because they’re helpful they sort-of close down options to push further in certain directions. Whereas, in a way, unbelief is so clearly a sort-of folk category, it sort of invites us to think: “Well, what am I talking about here?” So I might be inclined to say, again, that unbelief is another transitional concept, like non-religion. And, if I’m still using the concept in 10 years’ time . . . . (Laughs)

CC: (Laughs) Why not?

LL: So we can meet again in a few years, and see what’s come to pass.

CC: Exactly, and what new . . .

LL: I think it’s a productive conversation. And in the programme we’re also concerned to broaden out the conversation from academia and engage much more effectively with broader audiences. And again, a sort of language that makes sense to broader audiences will help us to do that and help us to learn from perspectives outside of academia.

CC: Excellent. Now, there’s a few directions we could go in here. And part of me is wanting to push that button again about: are we potentially reifying groups here, by talking about types of unbelievers and dichotomising the world? But, listen to our previous interview – listen to my interview with Johannes Quack, back from 2015 and also read some of Lois’s work, some of my work where we do engage with this, alright?

LL: (Laughs)

CC: To skip to a debate that hasn’t been had before – well this will just be re-treading ground – but tell us about this Understanding Unbelief programme, then. So, there are four other . . . . You are the principal investigator, there’s a core team and then there’s a whole bunch of other different projects going on?

LL: There’s a lots of people- I won’t mention everyone by name. I hope they’re not offended. But there’s a lot going on

CC: So what is it? What is going on?

LL: I think it does say something about where the field has got to. So, as I sort-of said earlier, I think there’s been a phase of field-building which has been a lot of conceptual work, which has involved a lot of making the argument about why we need to study this group to our colleagues in academia (20:00). And that’s something that you’ve been involved with, and several others have been involved with. And I think that argument has clearly been won, aided and abetted by broader social contexts in which there’s a recognition of non-religious actors: people describing themselves as non-religious. So I think that’s great. And we’re moving into a new phase now, where we’re concreting or pushing that more general work further. There are lots of different ways in which people are seeking to break down those populations and be more specific again. That’s something you’ve done in your work, and I’ve done in my work. So, when we first started discussing this programme there was a sense that . . . . I mentioned some sort-of field-wide interests and concerns: about the usefulness of some inter-disciplinary work; about moving on from some of the conceptual debates we’ve been having; not encouraging a new round of work about concepts, but really getting involved in empirical settings. But, very chiefly, was a sense that, empirically, we needed to work outside of the West; that learning about atheists, people who identify as atheists and go to the atheist church, for example, or read new atheist material, was something that had been quite well-covered in the field by that point. And we needed to think beyond that, so: outside of Anglophone settings; outside of Northern European settings and the US and Canada; but also – within those settings and beyond – thinking about demographic groups that had not been well studied. Matt Sheard has a paper in Secularism and Non-Religion about non-elite, non-religious people within the UK and how little they’ve been researched. I agree. I agree: non-white, women, agnostics rather than atheist. So, there’s a very big population. We’ve done the work of saying: “This is why we need to engage with them. Here are some ways of engaging with all these different groups.” And now we really need to do it. And also, yes, get outside of the kind-of well-worn tracks. So, we wanted to consolidate some of the work that had been done. And from that basis, really, hopefully be part of ushering in this new phase. Which . . . I think there’s lots of other work that’s going on concurrently, which is a part of that. So the approach has been . . . I’m working with a multi-disciplinary team to lead the programme. So we have Jonathan Lanman who’s a cognitive anthropologist, Miguel Farias who’s a social psychologist, and Stephen Bullivant who’s a theologian and also a sociologist with expertise in quantitative work. I’m a sociologist with a focus on qualitative work. So that team – we’re doing research across five different countries, I can’t think how many continents, a few continents – is kind-of the centre of that project. But we also now have 21 project teams working around the world to do work much, much more widely than a small team could ever do, given that, as I’ve already sort of alluded to, actually the empirical work was fairly narrow. And in order to answer questions about the nature and diversity of non-belief we really needed to be very broad. Our core project is working strategically with five countries that are revealing about broader global trends and so on. But actually, it’s great to have work going on in lots of different places. So one of the projects which is grounded in Psychology is working with – I can’t think in total how many countries it is – ten or so countries that have very high numbers of people who identify as non- religious. So that includes South Korea, Australia, Japan, Azerbaijan, Vietnam and so forth. So, a really diverse set of countries that they’ll be going to and using psychological methods to engage with those populations. At the same time, we have close ethnographic research going on. A project based . . . . I should say all of the information on these projects and all the other projects is available on our website.

CC: Which is?

LL: The easiest URL is understanding-unbelief.net. It also lives with the University of Kent system, but you can find it there. And no doubt it will be available on the podcast website. (25:00) I say that, because there are so many projects, and they’re very exciting and so much worth looking at

CC: Yes, we could spend an hour talking about each one.

LL: Yes. But, to just to give a sense of the kind of contrast, there’s an ethnographic project that’s looking at magical thinking in two different European settings and working very closely, very much exploring kind-of unbelief: people who are cast as and cast themselves as unbelievers. And they’re working with a very typical population of rationalist thinkers. But looking at things we might identify, and they, as anthropologists, are used to identifying as magical thinking within those populations. So between those very broad quantitative studies, and those very detailed and nuanced qualitative studies, we’re hoping . . . we’re not going to be able to map the world of unbelievers, but we’re hoping to be able to join a lot of dots and get a much, much broader picture of . . . . How are they described? Is it the fourth-largest faith group in the world? The non-religious, or people who don’t affiliate with a religion are the third-largest religion, and unbelievers are the fourth-largest faith group. To put it somewhat crudely.

CC: Right.

LL: So there’s a lot to learn. And we hope to learn something about that group.

CC: Excellent. And listeners can keep an eye on that website over the coming couple of years. So when’s the project wrapping up? It’s 2019, isn’t it?

LL: Yes. I think it officially ends in late 2019, but there’ll be activity ongoing I would think – with a sense of all these different projects and work coming through from that – for the longer term, I would think.

CC: Absolutely. We’re already coming up to sort-of the end of our time. I’m going to ask you a question now that I didn’t prep you with, so feel free if I have to rewind. But we were saying, before we started recording, that there’s maybe a sort of dearth of female voices speaking in this area and researching in this area. So I just wondered if you have any comments on that. A final thought as a sort-of leading light in this area?

LL: A topical theme in societies more broadly. No, that’s a good thing to focus on. A good question, thank you. Yes, in the last project I was involved with – the Scientific Study of Non-Religious Belief- we had a series of blogs on methods, one of which focuses on gender and talks about a concern, in the study of non-religion and atheism, about the way in which both that field is gendered and the study of that area is gendered. Partly this comes down to kind of quite interesting feedback loops. So, for example, we have studies that show that the language of atheism is slightly more popular with men than it is with women. And that’s reflected in research. So I am a woman. And I quickly said, “I don’t like atheism, that’s not my main framework – I prefer non-religion.” And that’s typical, actually, of quite a lot of researchers, to slightly generalise. But there is a kind of way of engaging with very male dominated atheist cultures – like the New Atheism and so on – that interests men. And then other voices – really interesting work that prefers concepts like non-religion or secularity, or secularism, and so on – that’s sort-of been lost a bit. I’ve noticed that happening. And there are several collections that are very male-dominated. And as much as this is not distinctive to our field, there is, as I say, a sort of relationship between what we’re studying and how we study it that is specific to our field. And actually, that sort-of brings us back to the topic of agnosticism. So we, in my field, are very generally acquainted – and so are sociologists of religion – with the idea that religious people are more likely to be women, and non-religious people are more likely to be men. So wherever you’re coming from, this gendered phenomenon is known. It shouldn’t be overstated, but it is marked. And it’s interesting, within the non-religious field, if you break that down between people who have strong atheistic beliefs and have sort-of strong agnostic beliefs, then the gender profile looks quite different. And the agnostics are more female overall and atheists are more male. So again, there’s that concern that gender may be a factor in what we’re researching, what we’re choosing to research, and what’s being neglected. In the UK the agnostics are a larger group than the atheists. Why haven’t we looked at them? (30:00) Part of the answer to that question is about gender, and it’s by no means the whole answer to that question, but I think it’s an element – or something we should at least be exploring and concerned about. I’m really thrilled, actually, that we have so many research teams on the Understanding Unbelief programme and it is a very gender-balanced set of researchers. And because of the way in which our own perspective shapes the questions we ask and how we look at them, and so on, I think that’s a very good sign for the work we’ll . . . what we’ll learn through the programme. But I do think it’s an interesting topic for us to reflect upon. As I say, there’s an NSRN blog that’s been written on it and I think there’s scope for a bit more work around reflecting on . . . . It’s sort of the other side of the coin of the focus on the study of elites – even within particular cultural settings – is thinking about who’s researching them. And that very much relates to broader questions in academia at the moment about non-elite voices having space to be heard. And the perspectives we might be missing. You know, I think it’s a question of good and bad science in those kinds of terms. Because we will find out new things if we include a broader range of perspectives. This we know. This we know. So yes, I think that would be a good thing for us to be reflecting on as field, going forward into the next phase. I can’t remember if we’re reflecting on the last 5 years or the last 10 years, but . . . looking forward anyway!

CC: Well, reflecting on a lot, anyway! Good. And hopefully the Understanding Unbelief programme will contribute a lot to that as well. So, we’re out of time, Lois. But it’s been wonderful to speak to you.

LL: And you.

CC: And I’m sure the listeners will come back in another 5 years and we’ll see where the conversation is next time. Alright.

LL: (Laughs).

Citation Info: Lee, Lois, and Christopher Cotter. 2018. “From Non-Religion to Unbelief? A Developing Field”, The Religious Studies Project (Podcast Transcript). 26 February 2018. Transcribed by Helen Bradstock. Version 1.1, 23 February 2018. Available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/from-non-religion-to-unbelief-a-developing-field/

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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

More information

Conference: Holism: Possibilities and Problems

September 8–10, 2017

University of Essex, UK

More information

Symposium: Symposium Classicum Peregrinum

June 18, 2017

Scarbantia, Hungary

More information

Symposium: The Uses of Euhemerism

July 17–18, 2017

Aberdeen, UK

More information

Jobs and funding

Teaching fellow: Anthropology of South Asian Religions

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: June 6, 2017

More information

Four PhD positions

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: June 11, 2017

More information

Lecturer: Classics and Religious Studies

Washington University in St. Louis, USA

Deadline: June 30, 2017

More information

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 Opportunities Digest – 11 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: Radical/ized Religion: Religion as a Resource for Political Theory and Practice

June 9-11, 2017

University of Chichester, UK

Deadline: April 14, 2017

More information

Symposium: CenSAMM: 500 Years: The Reformation and its Resonants

September 14–15, 2017

Bedford, UK

Deadline: April 30, 2017

More information

Events

Conference: The Future of Religion: Civilization or Barbarism

April 24–29, 2017

Dubrovnik, Croatia

More information

Reading Room: Sanskrit

Various dates, spring/summer 2017

University of Oxford, UK

More information

Jobs and funding

One-Year Position: East Asian Religions

Grinnell College, USA

Deadline: June 26, 2017

More information

Lecturer: Religious Studies

Mahidol University, Thailand

Deadline: May 31, 2017

More information

Visiting Lecturer: Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Language

Kathmandu University, Nepal

Deadline: June 29, 2017

More information

Research Fellow: Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre

Birmingham, UK

Deadline: April 28, 2017

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 28 March 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: SOCREL: On the Edge? Centres and Margins in the Sociology of Religion

July 12–14, 2017

University of Leeds, UK

Deadline: April 28, 2017

More information

Conference: Verbal Charms and Narrative Genres

December 8–10, 2017

Budapest, Hungary

Deadline: May 1, 2017

More information

Conference: ISASR: Religion, Myth and Migration

June 16, 2017

Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland

Deadline: April 10, 2017

More information

Conference: Sacred Journeys: Pilgrimage and Religious Tourism

October 26–27, 2017

Beijing, China

Deadline: June 1, 2017

More information

New journal: The Journal of Festive Studies

First issue

Deadline: November 1, 2017

More information

Events

Workshop: New perspectives on the secularization of funerary culture in 19th-and 20th-century Europe

June 15, 2017

Ghent, Belgium

More information

Workshop: Irish Network for the Study of Esotericism and Paganism

March 31, 2017

University College Cork, UK

More information

Open access

Journal: Anthropology & Materialism

Special issue: Walter Benjamin and philosophy

More information

Jobs and funding

Postdoctoral Research Fellows: Religion, science, atheism

University of Queensland, Australia

Deadline: April 16, 2017

More information

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Racialization of Islam

Yale University, USA

Deadline: April 21, 2017

More information

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: East Asian Buddhism

University of British Columbia, Canada

Deadline: May 1, 2017 (closing date says May 2, but announcement says May 1)

More information

Tenure-Track Faculty Position: Hassenfeld Chair in Islamic Studies

Brandeis University, USA

Deadline: June 21, 2017

More information

Professorship: History of Religion and the Religious in Europe

University of Konstanz, Germany

Deadline: April 13, 2017 (closing date says April 15, but announcement says April 13)

More information

University Lecturer: Religion in International Relations

Leiden University, The Netherlands

Deadline: April 17, 2017

More information

EASR 2017 Bursaries

Deadline: May 18, 2017

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 29 November 2016

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

Anthology: Religion and Ethics in Contemporary Speculative Fiction

Deadline: January 1, 2017

More information

Conference: Old Norse Myth and Völkisch Ideology

September 6–8, 2017

Basel, Switzerland

Deadline: January 31, 2017

More information

Conference: Apocalypse and Authenticity

July 11–13, 2017

University of Hull, UK

Deadline: December 1, 2016

More information

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

July 12–14, 2017

University of Leeds, UK

Deadline: December 9, 2016

More information

Conference: British Association for Islamic Studies

April 11–13, 2017

University of Chester, UK

Deadline: November 30, 2016

More information

Conference: SISR/ISSR: Religion, Cooperation, and Conflict in Diverse Societies

4–7 July 2017

Lausanne, Switzerland

Deadline: January 10, 2017

More information

Journal: American Psychological Association

Special issue: American Atheism, Agnosticism, and Non-Religious Worldviews: Theoretical Models and Psychological Measurement

Deadline: March 31, 2017

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

Journal: Religions

Special issue: Religion and Genocide

Deadline: March 15, 2017

More information

Summer School: Prophétologies musulmanes: discours et représentations

June 29 – July 5, 2017

Aix en Provence, France

Deadline: January 4, 2017

More information

Symposium: 500 years: The Reformation and Its Resonations

September 14–15, 2017

Bedford, UK

Deadline: April 30, 2017

More information

Symposium: Climate and Apocalypse

June 29–30, 2017

Bedford, UK

Deadline: February 28, 2017

More information

Symposium: Violence and Millenarian Movements

April 6–7, 2017

Bedford, UK

Deadline: December 31, 2016

More information

Events

Conference: Communicative Figurations

December 7–9, 2016

Universität Bremen, Germany

More information

SSNB Lecture Series: Evangelical and Tablighi Pioneers on Post-Atheist Frontiers

December 1, 2016, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

London, UK

More information

SSNB Roundtable: Who cares about unbelief?

December 2, 2016, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

London, UK

More information

NSRN Annual Lecture: Is atheism a religion?

December 2, 2016, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

London, UK

More information

SSNB Lecture Series: Jewish atheists in foxholes? Phenomenologies of violence and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

December 7, 2016, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

London, UK

More information

Jobs and funding

Faculty Fellowships: Summer Institute for Israel Studies

Brandeis University, USA

Deadline: January 20, 2017

More information

Lecturer: Modern Jewish Studies

Pennsylvania State University, USA

Deadline: March 19, 2017

More information

Postdoctoral position: Religion and Its Publics

University of Virginia, USA

Deadline: December 15, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 27 September 2016

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 forward them to oppsdigest@gmail.com! Please be aware that the old e-mail addressoppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com does not currently work.

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

Calls for papers

Conference: Religion: Bridging Gaps and Breaking Paths

February 2–4, 2017

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Deadline: October 31, 2016

More information

Conference: Transformation of Identity and Space in the Middle East and North Africa

May 29–31, 2017

University of Eastern Finland

Deadline: November 30, 2016

More information

Journal: Czech and Slovak Journal of Humanities

Deadline: December 15, 2016

More information

Jobs and funding

Six Grants: Global Religion Research Initiative

University of Notre Dame, USA

Deadline: October 17, 2016

More information

Assistant Professor: Judaism

Michigan State University, USA

Deadline: December 22, 2016

More information

Assistant/Associate Professor: Judaic Studies

University at Albany, USA

Deadline: December 1, 2016

More information

Assistant Professor: Material Culture Studies and Religion

University of Pennsylvania, USA

Deadline: November 12, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 1 March 2016

Calls for papers

Freedom of/for/from/within Religion: Differing DImensions of a Common Right?

September 8–11, 2016

Oxford, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2016

More information

Public Religions and Their Secrets, Secret Religions and Their Publics

October 27–28, 2016

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Deadline: April 1, 2016

More information: Conference, Master Class

CHAOS-symposium: Religion og materialitet

April 29–30, 2016

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: March 1, 2016

More information (Norwegian)

AAR panel: Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group

November 19–22, 2016

San Antonio, TX, USA

Deadline: March 1, 2016

More information

AAR panel: Religion, Media, and Culture Group

Deadline: March 1, 2016

November 19–22, 2016

San Antonio, TX, USA

More information

Events

Religious Diversity and Cultural Change in Scotland: Modern Perspectives

April 19, 2016

University of Edinburgh, UK

More information

Les Politiques du Blasphème: Perspectives Comparées

March 7, 2016

Paris, France

More information

Postgraduate Workshop on the Materiality of Divine Agency in the Graeco-Roman World

August 29–September 2, 2016

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: May 31, 2016

More information

Open Access

Open Theology: Cognitive Science of Religion

Available here

Jobs and funding

Postdoctoral teaching fellowship

Kenyon College, OH, USA

Deadline: March 25, 2016

More information

Lecturer in Hebrew

University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Deadline: April 30, 2016

More information

University Lectureship in Anthropology and Islamic Studies

Leiden University, The Netherlands

Deadline: May 18, 2016

More information

Editor: Shambhala and Snow Lion Publications

Boulder, CO, USA

Deadline: May 17, 2016

More information

Assistant professor of Religious Studies

Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Deadline: March 11, 2016

More information

Instructor in Religion and Culture

Virginia Tech, VA, USA

Deadline: March 14, 2016

More information

AAR-Luce Fellowships in Religion and International Affairs

Deadline: March 31, 2016

DC, USA

More information

Dean of Graduate Jewish Studies

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Deadline: May 22, 2016

More information

Postdoctoral Fellow in Judaic Studies

Virginia Tech, VA, USA

March 14, 2016

More information

Funding

CSA Research Fellowship

Deadline: March 1, 2016

More information

Two fully funded PhD positions, one Postdoctoral position in the Study of Religions

Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: “Hidden galleries” in the secret police archives in 20th Century Central and Eastern Europe

University College Cork, Ireland

Deadline: April 22, 2016

More information: PhDs, Postdoc

 

Teaching and Learning in Contemporary Religious Studies

As we career forward into the twenty-first century, in a context where more and more students have access to higher education, where technology advances at an exponential rate, and where the logics of neoliberalism and management seemingly creep further into every aspect of everyday life, critical reflection about the role of academics in teaching has never been more necessary. In this our first podcast of 2016, Chris was joined by Dr Dominic Corrywright of Oxford Brookes University in the UK, to discuss current developments in higher education pedagogy, the challenges and opportunities that these present for Religious Studies, and some practical examples from Dominic’s own experience.

Dominic Corrywright is Principal Lecturer for Quality Assurance, Enhancement and Validations, and Course Coordinator for Religion and Theology at Oxford Brookes. Alongside other research interests, including alternative spiritualities and new religious movements, Dominic has a strong research focus on teaching and learning in higher education, and pedagogy in the study of religions. He is Teaching & Learning representative on the executive committees of both the Particularly relevant publications include a co-edited issue of the BASR’s journal DIskus on Teaching and Learning in 2013, including his own article Landscape of Learning and Teaching in Religion and Theology: Perspectives and Mechanisms for Complex Learning, Programme Health and Pedagogical Well-being, and a chapter entitled Complex Learning and the World Religions Paradigm: Teaching Religion in a Shifting Subject Landscape, in a certain forthcoming volume edited by the RSP’s Christopher Cotter and David Robertson.

Listeners might also be interested in our previous interview with Doe Daughtrey on Teaching Religious Studies Online. 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, ink cartridges, My Little Ponies, and more!

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 15 December 2015

Calls for papers

EASR panel: Religion and youth culture

June 28–July 1, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

Deadline: December 31, 2015

More information

EASR panel: “Boring, detached, heap of facts – and disregarding the really important questions”? – Outsider representations of the academic Study of Religions

January 28–29, 2016

Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Deadline: December 18, 2015

More information

EASR panel: Thinking pluralism

June 28–July 1, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

Deadline: December 31, 2015

More information

EASR panel: Hindu pilgrimage and tourism

June 28–July 1, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

Deadline: December 31, 2015

More information

The Gender of Apocalypse: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

January 28–29, 2016

Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Deadline: December 18, 2015

More information

Pew Research Center: Advancing the Demographic Study of Religion

March 30, 2016

Washington, DC, USA

Deadline: February 1, 2016

More information

Events

SOCREL: Religion and the Media

January 20, 2016

London, UK

More information

Jobs and funding

CREST research program

Lancaster University and others, UK

Deadline: February 5, 2015

More information

Visiting Assistant Professor of South Asian Religions

Oberlin College, OH, USA

Deadline: February 1, 2016

More information

PhD fellow: Ancient History of Religion

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: January 15, 2016

More information

PhD Scholarships: Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science

University of Leeds, UK

Deadline: February 5, 2016

More information

Jameel Scholarships

Cardiff University, UK

Deadline: January 29, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 18 November 2014

Welcome to the RSP opportunities digest!

This week’s digest is packed! Make sure you take the time to scroll through all of it!

We would also like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who submit calls for papers, information on conferences, events, jobs, networks, grants, and funding.

As per usual:

  • If you have material you would like to see in next week’s digest, or at some point in the future, please send an e-mail tooppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com
  • If you would like to contact us for any other reason, please use our contact page.
  • Please note that RSP is not responsible for any of the content presented below.
  • If you have questions regarding any of the opportunities listed, please contact the respective organizers directly.

Calls for papers

Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity

August 24–28, 2015

York St John University, UK

Deadline: N/A

More information

The Power of the Word International Conference IV

June 17–20, 2015

Pontifical University of St Anselm, Italy

Deadline (extended): November 30, 2014

More information

Beyond ‘Gays in the Church’: New Approaches to the Histories of Christianity  and Same-Sex Desire

September 25–26, 2015

London, UK

Deadline: January 1, 2015

More information (pdf)

IV International scientific and practical conference: Religion and/or Everyday Life

April 16–18, 2015

Minsk, Belarus

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information (pdf, English, Russian)

European Conference on Ethics, Religion and Philosophy

July 6–8, 2015

Brighton, UK

Deadline: March 1, 2015

More information

Sociology of Religion: Foundations and Futures

July 7–9, 2015

Kingston University London, UK

Deadline: December 1, 2014

More information (scroll down a bit)

James Legge Conference: Missions to China and the Origins of Sinology

11-13 June 2015

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2015

More information (pdf)

7th Israeli Conference for the Study of Contemporary Religion and Spirituality

May 3–4, 2015

Tel Aviv University, Israel

Deadline: November 30, 2014

More information

ISSR panel: Bodily Dimension, Experience, and Ethnographic Research

July 2–5, 2015

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

ISSR panel: Rethinking Spirituality through Gender and Youth

Repenser la spiritualité à travers le genre et la jeunesse

July 2–5, 2015

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conferences and events

Inform seminar: Innovation, violence and paralysis: how do minority religions cope with uncertainty?

February 7, 2015

London School of Economics, UK

More information (pdf)

Banal, benign or pernicious? The relationship between religion and national identity from the perspective of religious minorities in Greece

November 25, 2014

European Institute, UK

More information (pdf)

Networks

Research School on Peace and Conflict

University of Oslo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Peace Research Institute Oslo

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information

Grants, awards, funding

Doctoral scholarship competition: Unitarianism

The Hibbert Trust

More information (pdf)

Funding for postgraduate teachers training

Department for Education, UK

More information

Jobs

(Up to) 18 fully funded PhD scholarships in Theology and Religious Studies

University of Leeds, UK

Deadline: February 2, 2015

More information

Fellowships at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg:  “Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe”

Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

Deadline: March 15, 2015

More information

AHRC Doctoral Studentships

University of Aberdeen, UK

Deadline: January 12, 2015

More information

PhD Research Fellowships: Theology of Mission and Religious Studies: “Cracks and In-Betweens”

The MHS School of MIssion and Theology, Norway

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

Studentships: Image and Representation in Religion in England and Wales, 1700 to 1900

Oxford Brookes University, UK

Deadline: November 24, 2014

More information (pdf)

wordle

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 7 February 2014

wordleWelcome to the sixth RSP Opportunities Digest for 2014. As ever, please remember that we are not responsible for any content contained herein unless it is directly related to the RSP. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page. If you are enquiring about any of the opportunities listed below, please contact the organizers directly.

To skip to specific content within this digest, please use the table of contents to the right of your screen. This digest has been significantly pared down to basic details and web links. We hope this meets with your approval.

Those supplying calls for papers etc. must provide a link to external information, or a pdf containing the relevant information, otherwise we will not be able to include these in the digest.

Exhibition – Edinburgh Jews

Opens on Tuesday, June 4th 2013, at New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, and runs until Friday, April 4th 2014. Open to the public Monday to Friday, from 9 AM to 5 PM. 

http://jewishstudies.div.ed.ac.uk/exhibition/

Studentships

Religion Knowledge – Discourse

Structured Doctoral Programme: Religion Knowledge – Discourse

http://zope.theologie.hu-berlin.de/phd-rkd

Christian and Jewish Religious Conversions

Faculty of Humanities, School of History, and Department for Middle Eastern History, University of Haifa

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=210238

Calls for Papers

Human-Animal Relationships in Religious Traditions

Dept. of Comparative Religion, University of Bonn, Germany.

25-27 September 2014. Deadline March 31 2014.

More information in the attached pdf.

Paul Tillich: Theology and Legacy

A conference in Oxford engaging with Tillich’s work. 14th-15th July 2014.

Deadline for Abstracts: 14 February 2014.

http://tillichoxford2014.wordpress.com

(Mis-)Representing Cultures and Objects

(Mis-)Representing Cultures and Objects: Critical Approaches to Museological Collections

University of Stirling, 16 May 2014.

Deadline for applications: 7 February 2014

http://misrepresentingcultures.wordpress.com/

Abraham’s Trials: Obedience and Rebellion

18-19 December 2014, University of Antwerp.

http://www.uantwerpen.be/ijs

AAR Indigenous Religious Traditions Group

American Academy of Religion, San Diego, 22-25 November 2014.

Deadline 3rd March 2014.

http://papers.aarweb.org/content/indigenous-religious-traditions-group

Disability in Jewish Thought and Culture

Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of

the blind: Disability in Jewish Thought and Culture

http://www.uantwerp.be/en/rg/ijs/lectures-and-conferences/conferences-2013—2/disability-in-jewish/

Gender, Religion and the Atlantic World

Newcastle University, May 15, 2014

http://genderreligionatlantic.wordpress.com/

Religion & Crisis

BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Annual Conference 2014

Wednesday 2 – Friday 4 July 2014, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Deadline extended to 17 February 2014.

http://www.socrel.org.uk

Wandering Myths

Wandering Myths: Transcultural Uses of Myth in the Ancient World

Somerville College, University of Oxford,14-16 April 2014

http://www.classics.ox.ac.uk/Wandering-Myths.html

Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=210435

Jobs

Research Associate – Islamic Studies

The University of Cambridge, Centre of Islamic Studies. Start date no later than October 2014. Two-year, fixed-term position. The successful candidate will design and conduct original research into Islam or Muslims in the UK or Europe.

Deadline 5pm, 3 March 2014.

Contact: Professor Yasir Suleiman, Centre of Islamic Studies, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA, cis@cis.cam.ac.uk

4 Jobs at the University of Copenhagen

Associate Professor in Hebrew and Modern Israel

Associate Professor in Migration Studies

Associate Professor in the History of Religions (1)

Associate Professor in the History of Religions (2)

Study on researchers post-PhD

The AHRC and British Academy are supporting a study to understand the issues faced by individuals in the period immediately following the award of their doctorate. Part of the study is a survey for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) asking them about their experiences. See here for the survey and more information:

http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/News-and-Events/News/Pages/AHRC-and-British-Academy-Post-PhD-Study.aspx

Islamic Studies Pedagogy in Britain

Islamic Studies Pedagogy in Britain: Interrogating the Secular and the Sacred

4th March 2014, Multi-faith Centre, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB

http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/=events/detail/2014/Seminars/AH/GEN905_University_of_Derby

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 10 January 2014

wordleWelcome to the second RSP Opportunities Digest for 2014. As ever, please remember that we are not responsible for any content contained herein unless it is directly related to the RSP. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page. If you are enquiring about any of the opportunities listed below, please contact the organizers directly.

To skip to specific content within this digest, please use the table of contents to the right of your screen. This week there were SO MANY calls for papers that these have been omitted from the contents listing. New Year/New Problems.

RSP Recruiting Assistant Editor

As part of our restructuring process, we are currently looking to add a new assistant editor to our team. This individual – or, potentially, these individuals – will be responsible for producing and promoting these very opportunities digests. The ‘Opps Digest’ is one of the essential services that we provide through the RSP and requires a little bit of work on a weekly basis. Essentially, we have an email account – oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com – which can be signed up to a variety of relevant mailing lists. In addition, others from within the team and from outside occasionally send through relevant job adverts, conference announcements, CfPs etc. to this address. The Opps Digest Editor simply needs to collate relevant material from these emails once a week, and place them into a post for the website, whilst also actively sourcing new sources of information. Louise and Chris, who have previously filled this role, will be able to liaise with the successful applicant\s on how they have done this up until now, but there is plenty of room for innovation.

The successful applicant should:

  • Be involved – whether as a student (of any level) or a professional academic – within the academic study of religion (broadly conceived)
  • Have a basic familiarity with WordPess\other blogging packages, in addition to general computing and social media skills.
  • Be a reliable and independent worker. It is essential that these digests are produced to a schedule every week, although the scheduled day can be negotiated. Other members of the team can cover the occasional week, but this must be arranged well in advance.
  • Be able to commit around one hour per week for the majority of the year to this role.

At this stage, and as will all positions on the RSP editorial team, this role will be for an initial period of one year – 2014 – after which there will be the opportunity to change roles/extend commitment as appropriate. Given our current financial situation, we are unable to offer any financial incentive to the successful applicant/s. However, we hope that the chance to be involved in what is arguably the primary hub for Religious Studies online, and the opportunities which accompany this, will be incentive enough.

If you are interested in this position, please send an academic CV and a brief note of interest detailing your suitability for the role to David and Chris at  editors@religiousstudiesproject.com by 31 January 2014.

Calls for Papers

Religion in the Public Domain

European Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Research Network Bi-annual Conference

3-5 September 2014 in Belfast.

Conference Theme – Religion in the Public Domain

In long-standing theories about secularization it is generally held that the social and public significance of religion has declined in most Western countries. Religion is conceived as privatized, individualized and de-institutionalized. But has religion truly become a privatized phenomenon? Increasingly, it is argued in academia that the separation between state and church in Western countries is less stable than assumed: state policy is often biased towards particular religious traditions while even the French installment of laicité may be understood as a civic religion (e.g., Casanova). In general, we are witnessing a re-emergence of religion in the public domain. Religion has a new position in the public sphere, struggling for recognition alongside other groups. Empirical studies demonstrate the sustaining influence of religion on voting in ‘secular’ countries, an open attitude towards religious-spiritual beliefs and practices in business organizations and the production and consumption of religious symbols and images in popular culture. The role of media is pivotal here: it has made new forms of power emerge, but also simultaneously opened the way for activist practices aimed at visibility. So on the one hand, television, radio and newspapers socially construct the public-political discourse on Muslims, the alleged dangers of Islam and religious-ethical issues concerning circumcision, vaccinations, abortion and ritual slaughter. On the other hand, in the struggle for recognition and visibility, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hinduists, new religious movements, and spiritual groups, appropriate the internet and (social) media as public platforms to debate the role of religion, to strengthen social cohesion and to reach out to the general public.

This return of religion in the public domain is also a socially, politically, legally and morally contested issue. In a ‘post-secular’ society, Jurgen Habermas argued, religious groups, organizations and individuals should be included within the public sphere in the civic debate about the problems of modernity, i.e., individualism, excessive consumption and the loss of moral values. Claims like these – made in academia, politics or culture – activate secular groups like the ‘new atheists’ to revitalize ‘rationalist’ values of the Enlightenment and take on a fundamentalist position on the subject. Social conflicts are increasingly religious conflicts (e.g., Calhoun). Theoretically, developments such as these invoke substantial doubt about modern distinctions between the public and the private, the secular and religious and the profane and the sacred. They invite research on the (historical) formation of such categories – in the social sciences and modern cultures alike – and its relation to social conflict and cultural power (e.g., Assad).

Against this background, the ESA Research Network Sociology of Religion calls for papers on ‘Religion in the Public Domain’ for the mid-term conference in Belfast. Particularly papers are welcomed that discuss the following topics:

  • Studies focusing on the modern separation of state and church, the formation of the religious and the secular and the public and the private domain in European countries and beyond.
  • Studies discussing the social significance of religion and its re-emergence in the institutional and public domain, i.e., the role of Islamic, Christian or spiritual beliefs, practices and experiences in politics, voting, banking, business life etc.
  • Studies focusing on the role of religious-spiritual narratives in popular culture, i.e., their meanings, commercial and commodified manifestations in books, music, film, computer games, advertising, marketing and branding.
  • Studies discussing the role of the media, i.e., the way religion is framed at television, radio and in newspapers, and the appropriation and use of (social) media by religious individuals, groups and organization.
  • Studies focusing on social conflicts between secular and religious groups and public debates about Islam, i.e., about integration, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, women’s rights, headscarves, abortion etc.
  • Studies focusing on the public value of the sociology of religion, including studies on religion and politics, religion and the welfare state, religion and human security in ‘failed’ states, and the significance of the study of religion to policy makers and grassroots activists.
  • These topics are rough guidelines; papers dealing with Religion in the Public Domain beyond other than these outlined above are also very welcome. Furthermore we invite PhD and post-doc candidates to contribute to a poster session, including work in progress; the best poster will get a small, but nice prize.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Dates & Deadlines in 2014

March 14 Submission of abstracts and online registration starts (Please email your abstracts, both in the text of the email and as a Word attachment, to belfast2014@esareligion.org. Abstracts can be submitted both for papers and the postgraduate posters and should not exceed 250 words.)

  • April 18 Submission of abstracts ends
  • May 9 Acceptance of abstracts
  • June 30 Early-bird registration ends
  • September 3 – 5 Conference

Contact: belfast2014@esareligion.org

The Marriage of Heaven and Earth

Conference on The Marriage of Heaven and Earth: Images and Representations of the Sky in Sacred Space

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture,

School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology

Annual Sophia Centre Conference

Second Call for Papers

28-29 June 2014

Venue: Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Bath, England

Keynote Speakers:

  • Juan Antonio Belmonte (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Tenerife, Spain), ‘Cosmic landscapes in ancient Egypt: a diachronic perspective’.
  • Kim Malville (Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado), ‘The Parallelism of Heaven and Earth in Andean Cultures’
  • Nicholas Campion (School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David), ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Earth in Twentieth-Century Art: Mysticism, Magic and Astronomy in Surrealism’

Conference Theme

All human cultures have both identified the sacred in the landscape, and created structures which embody the sacred. In many cases these sacred spaces are related to the stars, planets and sky. This academic conference will consider the construction, creation and representation of the sky in sacred space.

Proposals are invited for 30 minute papers, addressing the conference title, which may feature studies of the relationship between the sky and the land, built environment, and material culture in any culture and time period, from ancient to modern, and may range from theory to practice, to architecture, artefacts, ritual, text, literature, film, iconography and the visual arts.

We welcome submissions from across the humanities and social sciences, in history, anthropology, archaeology, the history of art, philosophy and study of religions.

Likely topics may include astronomical symbolism in art and architecture, material representations of the zodiac, stars or planets and celestial iconography.

The Proceedings will be published by the Sophia Centre Press.

Please send an abstract of 100-200 words and a biography of 50-100 words to Dr Nicholas Campion, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, n.campion@tsd.ac.uk

Deadline (please note extension) for applications to speak: 30 January 2014

The Programme will be confirmed by 15 February 2014

RGS-IBG Annual Conference

Session: Witchcraft, spiritual beliefs, and the co-production of development knowledges and practices in the Majority World

*Call for papers: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014: *London, 26th–29th August 2014

Convenor: Tom Smith, Department of Geography, The University of

Sheffield, t.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

Sponsored by the Developing Areas Research Group (DARG)

Session Abstract:

Traditionally a domain of anthropological study, witchcraft, occult and spiritual practices in the Majority World have received considerably less attention from geographers. Yet the continued importance of these knowledges and practices in Africa and elsewhere prompts this session to call for discussion over their contemporary role in the co-production of development knowledges and practices.

Whilst there has been some influential work on the history of magic and occult thinking in early geographical/scientific thought (Livingstone 1990; Matless 1991), and the embodied practices of witchcraft in the Minority World (Rountree 2002), much less consideration has been offered from the realms of Development Geographies (broadly defined) to the intersections between witchcraft, occult practices, and spiritual beliefs with development in the Majority World. Yet these themes seem ripe for discussion, particularly concerning the nature of rationality, or rationalities, being applied to contemporary development agendas at a range of geographic scales. Whilst current thinking on local knowledges fordevelopment and local participation in development have done away with privileging knowledges and technologies from the Minority World, a focus on witchcraft and the occult, and its role in development practice, might ask more fundamental questions about the kinds of rationalities, moralities and ethics being applied to development agendas and goals. In Africa, witchcraft and magical practices have not receded under the variegated forms of development which have and continue to operate across a range of national contexts (Kohnert 1996; Luongo 2010). This should prompt us to consider: What role does witchcraft and spiritual belief play in contemporary forms of development practice and knowledge at a range of scales? How do such practices and beliefs intersect with the current participatory/local knowledges agenda? Do witchcraft and spiritual beliefs contribute to the co-production of development knowledges and imaginaries, both locally and nationally?

This session invites contributions which discuss how witchcraft, occult practices, and spiritual beliefs intersect with the geographies of development at a range of scales and contexts. This might include the relationship between such practices and environmental management, education, rural and urban livelihoods, healthcare and medicine, law, community organisation, among others, whilst broader theoretical, conceptual and methodological reflections are also encouraged. I would also like to invite those from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds to

participate.

Please email proposals (title, 250 word abstract) and/or questions to: t.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

Deadline for abstracts: 3rd February 2014

References:

  • Kohnert, D. (1996) Magic and witchcraft: implications for democratisation and poverty-alleviating aid in Africa, *World Development* 24(8), 1347-1355.
  • Livingstone, D. N. (1990) Geography, tradition and the scientific revolution: an interpretive essay, *Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers* NS: 15(3), 359-373.
  • Luongo, K. (2010) Polling places and “slow punctured provocation”: occult-driven cases in postcolonial Kenya’s High Courts, *Journal of East African Studies* 4(3), 577-591.
  • Matless, D. (1991) Nature, the modern and the mystic: tales from early twentieth century geography, *Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers* NS: 16(3), 272-286.
  • Rountree, K. (2002) How magic works: New Zealand feminist witches’ theories of ritual action, *Anthropology of consciousness* 13(1), 42-59.
Special Session: The Politics and Poetics of Managing Tourism in Sacred Cities

Amos S. Ron – Ashkelon Academic College, Israel

Daniel H. Olsen – Brandon University, Canada

26 to 29 August 2014, at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London

Sacred cities are one of the oldest and most prevalent forms of urban organization and can be found in several cultures and locations throughout human history. Cities such as Varanasi, Lourdes, Mecca, Lalibela and Jerusalem have long attracted pilgrims, merchants, and other tourists. However, although there has been much written on sacred cities from various disciplines, such as comparative religion (e.g. Diana Eck on Varanasi), history (e.g. Ruth Harris on Lourdes) and anthropology (e.g. Abdellah Hammoudi on Mecca), very little has been written by geographers and tourism scholars. Furthermore, in studies on sacred cities the focus has been descriptive and case study-oriented with little focus on the management of pilgrimage and other forms of tourism.

This session therefore aims to bring together a range of papers that examine sacred cities from various theoretical, methodological and practical perspectives, in different historical, cultural and geographical contexts with a focus on tourism management. Submissions can be case study oriented, comparative or conceptual, and may address, but are not be limited to, the following areas:

  • The history of sacred site management
  • Challenges, problems and solutions in management of sacred destinations
  • Modern mass tourism to ancient sacred cities
  • Modernity, technology and visiting the sacred
  • Contested spaces in sacred cities
  • Sustainable development of sacred cities
  • Commodification in sacred cities
  • The resilience of sacred cities
  • The shared characteristics of sacred cities
  • Patterns of globalization in sacred cities
  • Spatial patterns of beggars and begging in sacred cities

Abstracts (max. 250 words) should be submitted by Sunday 23 February, 2014. For more details, and to submit an abstract, please contact:

Dr. Amos S. Ron, Department of Tourism and Leisure Studies, Ashkelon Academic College, Ashkelon, Israel: amosron@gmail.com

Dr. Daniel H. Olsen, Department of Geography, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada: olsend@brandonu.ca

Demography–Multiculturalism–Citizenship

International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania, 7th Annual

Academic Conference, April 4-5, 2014

Date: 2014-04-04

Description: Migration continues to radically rearrange the makeup

of populations all over the world. Migrants are often very

different than native populationsin language, religion and

culture. The Baltic region and Eastern Europe, as well as

Europe more generally, struggle with the effects of demographic

transf …

Contact: jdmininger@lcc.lt

URL: www.lcc.lt/academic-conference/

Announcement ID: 209105

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=209105

Society of Biblical Literature

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature will be held November 22-25 in San Diego, CA. Members wishing to present papers should submit proposals on the SBL website at http://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/AnnualMeeting.aspx by March 5th, 2014.

The SBL Blogger and Online Publication section invites proposals for papers for its 2014 annual meeting session. The open session calls for papers focusing on any area of blogging, online publication, and social media in relation to biblical studies, theology, and archaeology of the Levant. Proposals which relate to the different types of online presence scholars maintain, and different approaches to blogging (self-hosted vs. large multi-blog hubs, frequent vs. occasional, highly focused and purely scholarly vs. diverse and sometimes frivolous), are especially welcome.

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Dr. James F. McGrath, Butler University, Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, 4600 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46208, or email jfmcgrat@butler.edu.

Buddhism and Healing

University of Leeds 1-2nd July 2014

Call for Papers – Postgraduate Panel

This is the first call for graduate student papers for the Postgraduate panel at the next UKABS two-day conference at the University of Leeds, 1-2nd July 2014. As part of the conference, which has drawn a number of high-profile international speakers, there will be an opportunity for a select number of graduate students to present short papers on their research. Note that you do not need to present a polished final version of your work. If you are not yet at an advanced stage, you can present your current ideas and plans, with a view to gaining some feedback from more established Buddhist Studies scholars – a fantastic opportunity for graduate students. Your paper does not need to follow the theme of the conference. Conference attendance and reasonable travel costs will be funded.

To apply, please send an abstract and a statement of your university affiliation and stage of studies, to reach me by 28th March 2014. Could academic staff please inform your students of this, and encourage those who are interested to submit an abstract.

Caroline Starkey (c.starkey@leeds.ac.uk) Post-Graduate Representative, UKABS Committee.

ISASR Conference

Third annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR)

In collaboration with Queen’s University, Belfast, Fri-Sat 23rd-24th May 2014.

Conference theme: ‘Religion and Remembering’

Cross-Disciplinary Conference

We are pleased to invite scholars to take part in the third annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR). For information on ISASR see http://isasr.wordpress.com/. The conference will take place from the morning of Friday May 23rd to lunchtime on Saturday May 24th, 2014 in collaboration with Queen’s University, Belfast. The conference is open to scholars of all disciplines that approach religions, both past and present, from a non-confessional, critical, analytical and cross-cultural perspective.

As usual with ISASR conferences, proposals for papers are not restricted to the conference theme ‘Religion and Remembering’ but may focus on any other aspect of the Society’s work in the history, anthropology, folklore and sociology of religion in Ireland or among the Irish diaspora, or may represent the work of Irish-based researchers on topics in the academic study of religions anywhere else in the world. For this Belfast-based conference we very warmly welcome also contributions from members of BASR on any topic in the academic study of religions.

Memory studies has become one of the most popular research areas in the humanities and social sciences producing a vast number of studies examining how nations, communities and cultures remember, re-construct or indeed forget the past. The theme of the conference encourages paper proposals across disciplines, being open to topics including (but not restricted to) remembering in the form of rituals, public commemorations, anniversaries, festivals, bodily practices, physical objects and places or in the form of orality, literacy, narratives and language.

Please send a 150-200 word abstract for papers to Dr Jennifer Butler (j.butler@ucc.ie) by the closing date of Friday 7th March 2014. Notification of abstract acceptance will be given by Friday 28th March, 2014.

For those wishing to reserve accommodation in advance (recommended), the conference location is the Queens Quarter of Belfast (among several streets beginning ‘University…’). Nearby hotels include Holiday Inn Express and Hotel Ibis Queens Quarter and there is plenty of budget accommodation in the area.

Further information on the ISASR Conference 2014 will be posted at: http://isasr.wordpress.com/

IAHR World Congress

XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religion

http://www.iahr2015.org

The XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) will take place August 23 to 29, 2015 in Erfurt, Germany. The Congress will address Dynamics of Religion: Past and Present. We now invite contributors to submit Panel Proposals addressing the topic in any of the areas outlined below. 

Religion is a human, historical, social and cultural phenomenon. As such, religious ideas, practices, discourses, institutions, and social expressions are constantly in processes of change. The Congress will address the processes of change, the dynamics of religions past, present, and future, on several interconnected levels of analysis and theory, namely that of the individual, community and society, practices and discourses, beliefs, and narrations.

These will be addressed within four areas:

  • Religious communities in society: Adaptation and transformation
  • Practices and discourses: Innovation and tradition
  • The individual: Religiosity, spiritualities and individualization
  • Methodology: Representations and interpretations

We invite contributions from all disciplines of religious studies and related fields of research to allow for broad, interdisciplinary discussion of the Congress topic to register their panels for the XXI World Congress of the IAHR.

Each panel lasts two hours. Panel papers should be limited to 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of panel participants. Panel conveners are asked to approach possible participants from different nations to reflect the scope and internationality of the IAHR Congress.

To propose a panel, please submit a general proposal of the panel as well as individual proposals of all papers included in the panel. Both panel and papers of a proposed panel will be evaluated by the Academic Program Committee to ensure a high academic standard of the Congress program. We therefore ask panel conveners to submit the proposals of all prospective panel participants of a proposed panel as indicated by the submission form. Proposals of panels and of papers should not exceed 150 words.

The deadline for submission of proposals is Sunday, September 14, 2014. All proposals must be submitted electronically via the IAHR 2015 website (www.iahr2015.org). This site will be available for submissions from Sunday, September 1, 2013 through Sunday, September 14, 2014. As part of the submission process, you will be asked to indicate the area in which you would like your proposal considered. Your proposal will then be forwarded to the appropriate member of the Academic Program Committee.

You will receive notice concerning the status of your proposal as soon as possible and certainly before March 1, 2015. If your panel or paper has been accepted by the Academic Program Committee, please note that you will have to register as Congress participant before May 15, 2015 to be included in the Congress program.

Philosophy, Religion and Public Policy

A two-day conference at the University of Chester as part of the AHRC Philosophy and Religious Practices Research Network, 8th-9th April 2014.

http://philosophyreligion.wordpress.com/

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Clayton Crockett, University of Central Arkansas
  • Adam Dinham, Goldsmiths College, London
  • Elaine Graham, University of Chester

Call for Papers

Public policy, philosophy of religion and research on religion generally seem to live in their own separate bubbles without realising or even acknowledging the mutual benefit of dialogue etc. Hence, philosophers of religion (in both the continental and analytic traditions) have long been accused of distancing themselves from concrete religious practices. A key aim of the conference is thus potentially to reconnect philosophy with research on religion. We intend to investigate how philosophers and religious communities can communicate fruitfully, producing the kind of change outlined by Scott-Baumann, ‘Scepticism about philosophy [among faith communities] is replaced by a dialectical process of using philosophy to help people live together and look forward, alert to new possibilities.’

Public debate and policy often takes place at a superficial level that skirts and fights shy of the substantive issues underpinning conflict between religions and between religious and secular worldviews. The visibility of the New Atheist critique of religion is perhaps the most obvious example of this.

The rationale of this conference is then both to start bringing these three discourses into a mutually-beneficial dialogue, but also to model ways in which such a dialogue can and should be undertaken. To this end, we welcome papers in one of the following three areas of debate and research

Strand One: Economic and Political Regeneration

  • Case studies or thematic accounts of how philosophical and theological ideas and virtues (for example solidarity and discipline) speak into the post-2008 vacuum in European and US public life caused by the banking crash and subsequent global recession
  • The emergence of the postsecular as a potential vehicle for the rebalancing of public life in favour of (for example) the eudemonic alongside the hedonic, and virtuous alongside the utilitarian, common responsibilities alongside the rights of the individual, the sacred alongside the secular.
  • How public policy initiatives aimed at strengthening civil society through concepts such as the Third Way, Localism and most recently, the Big Society could be enhanced and/or critiqued by the application of insights praxes associated with Philosophy of Religion and world religions.
  • The use of themes and ideas from Philosophy of Religion and world religious traditions in developing strategic resources for the development of alternative discourses, imaginings and praxes towards more just and equitable ends and an expanded understanding of what it is to be human and live in a flourishing environment

Strand Two: Rethinking Philosophy of Religion

  • Need to make Philosophy of Religion more aware of diversity and complexity of religious practices
  • How incorporate greater variety of sociological, anthropological or ethnographical data into philosophising about religion?
  • Relation of philosophical analysis to faith, but also to methodologies in other fields concerned with religion. I.e. does analysis necessarily falsify religious thought?
  • More participative – how can Philosophy of Religion engage and ‘talk’ better to religious practitioners? What models for dialogue are there?
  • How capture impact that Philosophy of Religion can and should have on religious communities whilst maintaining critical questioning of the impact agenda?
  • How might work in philosophy open up thinking about research on lived religious practice?

Strand Three: Engaging the Public in Research on Religion

  • Improving the visibility of academic debate on religion and its relationship to philosophy
  • Improving and enhancing the quality of public debate
  • Ensuring that policy makers are aware of the core issues at stake in e.g. discrimination debates.
  • Bringing research to bear on religious discrimination cases and other zeitgeist-y public issues

Paper Proposals: Please submit abstracts of 250 words for 20 minute papers that will locate themselves in one of these three streams by 28th February 2014.

Panel Proposals: Proposals for complete panels will also be welcomed. Please send an abstract of no more than a side of A4 for a panel proposal 28th February 2014.

For Stream 1 please send proposals to Chris Baker at chris.baker@chester.ac.uk. For Stream 2 please send proposals to Daniel Whistler daniel.whistler@liverpool.ac.uk. For Stream 3 please send proposals to either Chris Baker or Daniel Whistler.

Registration

Registration Per Person: £40.00 for one day, £80.00 for two days (including lunch and tea and coffee, but excluding breakfast and dinner).

DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: March 28th 2014

Secure online registration is available at: http://storefront.chester.ac.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=288&zenid=5e1qjbugh1ig6t9g84q77nrir1

For any enquiries, please contact Carly McEvoy: c.mcevoy@chester.ac.uk +44 1244 511031

Please visit http://www.chester.ac.uk/find-us and click Riverside Campus for travel and location instructions

SIKH RESEARCH CONFERENCE

Research into Sikh studies is relatively young and is rapidly growing as a mainstream academic discipline. This annual conference aims to bring together academics, scholars and researchers and to encourage a spirit of collaboration within UK Sikh studies academia.

The conference aims to explore research and academic inquiry into various aspects of Sikh studies. The conference will provide an environment where academics, researchers and scholars can come together to pursue critical debate, discussion and inquiry into the many aspects of Sikh research in an open, constructive and collegiate manner.

The conference is being organised by Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, Harjinder Singh Lallie and Gurinder Singh Mann. Further details can be found on the Conference website:

www.sikhconference.com

Social Relations, Transformation and Trust

Friday 28th – Saturday 29th March

Centre for Social Relations, Coventry University

Both national and local communities have long been heterogeneous and therefore living with differences is not new. However, the scope, scale and pace of change in recent years are unprecedented. Over the last decades the UK have seen dramatic demographic shifts, e.g. in its ethnic composition, demographic and socio-economic distribution leading to an increasingly plural society.

By crossing disciplines, bridging and bringing together academia, policy makers and practitioners, this conference focuses on how societies cope with change, overcome inequality, and how resilience to negative impacts of change can be developed and harnessed through attention to social relations and trust as transformative agents.

We are inviting academics from social sciences and humanities as well as practitioners to present and discuss applied research, empirical studies and critical theoretical papers on the topics including, but not limited to:

  • Social relations and social cohesion: Living together in diverse and changing societies.
  • Trust processes and impact in organisations: The importance of trust in creating communities better prepared to deal with change.
  • Tensions within communities: Understanding the causes and consequences of tensions between and within local communities
  • Inter-group conflict and building peace: Processes contributing to inter-group conflict and building trust.

Knowledge Transfer: What do practitioners and policy makers need from academia? Generating real world impact.

Keynote Speakers Include:

  • Prof. Danny Dorling School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

Nature of the conference

As an applied research centre our work focuses not only on academic work leading to evidenced based recommendations for policy, but also on knowledge exchange with partnership organizations. This will be reflected in the conference programme. Next to focusing on current academic discussions this conference will facilitate opportunities for direct exchange between policy makers, practitioners and academics. To facilitate personal face to face interactions, fruitful exchange of knowledge and ideas, as well as vivid discussions, this conference will have a small number of parallel sessions per day and therefore a limited number of delegates presenting.

Submission Guidelines:

Abstract for individual papers should be no more than 250 words, not contain footnotes and be comprehensible to a non-specialist audience. Please submit by 31.1.2014 to:

socialrelations@coventry.ac.uk

Presentations will be grouped into thematic sessions of 90min – 2 hours length, with three or four papers per session (20 minutes per presentation plus 10 minutes discussion). Panel submissions to deepen discussion around one topic of interests are also welcome. If you would like to submit a panel, please submit:

  • Title of the panel including the name and affiliation of each speakers
  • Abstract for the panel
  • Abstract for each presentation

Proposals for alternative types of session (e.g. round-table or witness seminar) are strongly encouraged. Please discuss this with us in advance of the Call for Papers deadline. The Centre for Social Relations is committed to academic development and the showcasing of new ideas and thoughts, therefore submissions from early career researchers are particularly welcome and attendance may be subsidised.

For further information or questions please contact Dr. Carola Leicht, carola.leicht@coventry.ac.uk, or visit our centre’s webpage www.socialrelations.org.uk

Round Table Session, EASR 2014

“The Study of Religions and Religion in Secular Education”

at the EASR conference in Groningen on “Religion and Pluralities of Knowledge” (May 11-15, 2014) has been extended to Dezember 15, 2013:

The EASR working group on religion education (RE) in public schools and the academic study of religions was established in Bremen in 2007. One early outcome of this initiative was the NVMEN 2008 Special Issue on the same theme. We have since then had regular panel sessions on the academic study of religion and RE at all EASR conferences, and we now want to take stock of the work done, on the current state of affairs and new directions in research on RE from the perspective of the academic study of religions. What has been achieved, where are “we’, and where do we need and want to move in the years ahead. The round table session opens with a report by Wanda Alberts & Tim Jensen on the work done and the research areas so far covered. Following that, invited scholars on RE, scholars who have contributed to the work of the group will deliver brief statements, including their ideas for future directions and research. Apart from these invited speakers, we herewith invite other colleagues working in the field to send proposals for short papers (max 10 minutes) that reflect on the state of art and desiderata, also as regards collaborative future research and publications.

Please send proposals (of no more than 150 words) directly to the EASR RE Working Group organizers, Wanda Alberts <wanda.alberts@ithrw.uni-hannover.de>, and Tim Jensen <t.jensen@sdu.dk>.

For further information on the conference, please take a look at the conference website:

http://godsdienstwetenschap.nl/index.php?page=conference-2014

Conferences

Death in Scotland

Death in Scotland from the Medieval to the Modern: beliefs, attitudes and practices,

31st January 2014 – 2nd February 2014, New College, University of Edinburgh.

I would like to draw your attention to the forthcoming international conference on Scottish Death. Plenary speakers include:

  • Professor Jane Dawson (John Laing Professor of Reformation History, Edinburgh University) ‘With one foot in the grave’: death in life and life in death in Reformation Scotland
  • Professor Richard Fawcett (School of Art History, University of St Andrews) ‘The architectural setting of prayers for the dead in later medieval Scotland’
  • Dr Lizanne Henderson (Lecturer in History, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow) ‘Fairies, Angels and the Land of the Dead: Robert Kirk’s Lychnobious People’
  • Professor Sarah Tarlow (Director of the Centre for Historical Archaeology, University of Leicester) ‘Beliefs about bodies: contradictions and conundrums in Early Modern Scotland’

We have an amazing programme of 42 speakers (see the full list of speakers and the conference programme here: http://bit.ly/1foNO25) The conference contains several papers on sociological and religious analyses of death including:

  • Edward Small, University of Dundee, on the Influences of Scottish Funeral on the Church of Scotland
  • Lizzie Swarbrick, University of St Andrews, on Piety and the Dead in Scottish Late Medieval Ecclesiastical Art
  • Dr Lakhbir K. Jassal, University of Edinburgh, on The Politics of Death Care

Please can you forward the attached conference details to anyone you think might be interested. Conference costs are £27 for Friday, £55 for Saturday and £27 Sunday or £100 for the weekend and places can be booked via http://bit.ly/18LO5bm

For more information see https://www.facebook.com/deathinscotland

Beyond Consent and Dissent

Beyond Consent and Dissent: Women, Power and Religions in Modern Africa

Dates of Event: 17th January 2014 – 18th January 2014

Last Booking Date for this Event: 18th January 2014

Studies of gender and religion in Africa have been dominated by interpretations that view religious practice and adherence as a source of power for women, on the one hand, or as a mechanism of female subjugation, on the other hand. This interdisciplinary and comparative workshop proposes to both build upon and move beyond these polarities by investigating the practices and ideas linked to female religiosity in both Christianity and Islam that extended ‘beyond consent and dissent’.

Speakers will interrogate the significance of religious adherence for female subjectivity in ways that move beyond religion as a mechanism for engendering either subjugation and/or emancipation. A range of historians, anthropologists and religious studies scholars will address Muslim and Christian case-studies from regions including Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Niger – as well as further afield from the European world. We will also feature speakers who address how Christianity and Islam intersect in specific gendered religious practices (for example, the new ‘Chrislam’ movement in present-day Nigeria).

Booking and further details: http://onlinesales.admin.cam.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=124&catid=574&prodid=881

Inform Anniversary Conference

Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future

New Academic Building, London School of Economics, London

Friday 31 January – Sunday 2 February 2014

Inform is celebrating over a quarter of a century of providing information that is as reliable and up-to-date as possible about minority religions with an Anniversary Conference to be held at the London School of Economics, UK.

Registration for the full conference (including Friday Ashgate-Inform book launch and reception with refreshments, Saturday and Sunday tea/coffee/lunch) is £100 standard and £75 concession for students and unwaged. Tickets booked after January 6th will be £120 or £85.

We are offering single day registrations for £45, or £55 after January 6th.

Inform will also be hosting an Anniversary Dinner at Dicken’s Inn, St Katharine Dock, near the Tower of London on Saturday 1 February.

The cost, which is not included in the registration fee, of the three course set meal and coffee is £38.50. The menu for the dinner can be seen here. Dietary requirements can be catered for. Drinks are not included although there will be a cash bar. Booking and payment for the dinner must be done by January 6th and is non-refundable.

How to Pay: Registration for the conference and Saturday evening dinner can be completed online here, using a credit/debit card or through a PayPal account if you have one or by posting a completed booking form and cheque made out to Inform in pounds sterling and sent to ‘Inform, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE’

For more on the Ashgate-Inform book series, please visit the website www.ashgate.com/inform.

Studentships

Open University

AHRC PhD Studentships in Art History, Classical Studies, English (including Creative Writing), History, Music, Religious Studies and Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

AHRC CHASE PhD Studentships

circulation date : 12/12/2013

closing date : 31/01/2014

The Faculty of Arts is pleased to announce Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding through the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts, South-East England (CHASE). CHASE is matching AHRC funding of £17m and will be awarding more than 375 AHRC-studentships over a five-year period starting in 2014/15. Up to 75 studentships are available across the consortium for autumn 2014 entry.

CHASE AHRC studentships are available to UK and EU residents at The Open University in the Faculty’s subject areas. Awards for UK residents include fees and maintenance while EU residents are eligible for fees only.

Please see the Faculty’s Research Areas and Academic Profiles for more information about staff research interests and current PhD projects

Closing date for applications: 31 January 2014

Equal Opportunity is University Policy.

Further particulars

Aarhus University/Queen’s University

A new Doctoral programme in the cognitive the science of religion has been established by Aarhus University (Graduate School of Arts/Religion, Cognition and Culture Research Unit–see http://www.rcc.au.dk/) and Queen’s University, Belfast (School of History and Anthropology/Institute of Cognition and Culture—see http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/InstituteofCognitionCulture/).

Students should apply for admission via one of the two Universities, and will be considered in line with their normal Postgraduate Admission Procedures, which require, among other things, a research proposal on a topic relevant to the cognitive science of religion. The normal duration of the Doctoral programme is full time for three years. In general, admitted students will spend the first six months and the last six months of their doctoral studies at the University where they are admitted. The intervening 24 months are spent according to a PhD plan established for each individual student. In completion, the student receives a single degree certificate issued by Aarhus University and Queen’s University.

Each University agreed to provide two fellowships to support the programme. One fellowship shall be available each year—Queen’s University will allocate funding in the academic years 2014-15 and 2016-17, while Aarhus University will allocate funding in academic years 2015-16 and 2017-18. Students who wish to compete for a fellowship will be required to apply to the University responsible for offering the support in the related year. For more information about the programme, please contact Armin W. Geertz (AWG@teo.au.dk) or Paulo Sousa (p.sousa@qub.ac.uk)

Methods Training

RESEARCH METHODS FOR THE STUDY OF CONTEMPORARY RELIGION: AN INTENSIVE TRAINING PROGRAMME

Monday 17rd – Friday 21st March 2014

Department of Religious Studies, University of Kent

Editors Note – RSP Editor-in-Chief Chris Cotter attended this event last year, and thoroughly recommends it.

This training programme is available for doctoral students (or post-doctoral fellows) registered at any higher education institution in the UK/EU. It is based on previous training developed by the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society, funded by the AHRC, which led to the development of the Religion Methods website, and aims to provide students with a core training in fieldwork approaches to the study of religion.

Topics covered by the training will include:

  • Conceptualising religion for research
  • Key elements and processes of research design
  • The role of theory in social research
  • The politics and ethics of research
  • Sampling
  • Rigour and validity in research
  • Using quantitative data-sets for research on religion
  • Ethnographic approaches in theory and practice
  • Visual methods
  • Developing research interviews
  • Using qualitative data analysis software
  • Researching objects and spaces
  • Producing research proposals

To attend this training programme, students not registered at the University of Kent will be required to pay a £100 registration fee, which would cover attendance at all sessions and the costs of training materials. Delegates would need to make their own arrangements for accommodation, and there is a wide selection of affordable B&B provision in the Canterbury area. For those planning to commute on a daily basis, Canterbury is now less than an hour from London St Pancras on the high speed train link.

Space on the programme is limited and the deadline to register your interest to attend this programme is Friday 10th January. To register your interest, please email Ruth Sheldon (R.H.Sheldon@kent.ac.uk) with a short statement (no more than 250 words) stating the university at which you are studying, the project you are undertaking and the relevance of this training programme for your work and academic development.

Jobs

University of Washington

Lecturer in Religious Studies

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48289

Aarhus University

Postdoctoral scholarship at the Grundtvig Study

Centre

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48287

Summer Courses

HARVARD SEMINAR ON DEBATES ABOUT RELIGION AND SEXUALITY

HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL, JUNE 10-19, 2014

We are pleased to announce the 2014 summer seminar at Harvard Divinity School for scholars, other writers or artists, religious leaders, and activists who are working on a first large project in which they hope to change the terms of current debates around religion and sexuality. For scholars, this project would be either a doctoral dissertation or a first book. For other writers and artists, religious leaders, and activists, it might be a first book, though it might also be a new curriculum, a series of public presentations and performances, or a media piece. The seminar understands both “religion” and “sexuality” broadly. Though its staff will have done specialized work mostly in “Western” religious traditions and expressions of sexuality, participants’ projects may cover a wide range of religions and sexual cultures. The seminar welcomes various methods in religious studies and theology, from the most focused ethnography or local history to the grandest policy proposal or normative argument. It is also interested in projects about media communication, public policy, religious advocacy, and religious education. It especially seeks participants from outside the United States. Harvard Divinity School will pay for participants’ travel to Cambridge and lodging and meals during the seminar. The seminar will be directed by Mark D. Jordan (Washington University in St. Louis) and Mayra Rivera Rivera (Harvard University). Faculty from Harvard and other institutions or organizations will lead sessions in their areas of interest. Large portions of the seminar’s time will be devoted to discussing participants’ writing in workshop format. Applications are due February 5, 2014. Invitations to the seminar will be issued by February 20.

Details of the application and further information about the program are available online at http://www.hds.harvard.edu/faculty-research/conferences-and-seminars/debates-about-religion-and-sexuality. Questions may be directed to rsseminar@hds.harvard.edu.

AU SUMMER COURSE

Religious Unity and Diversity Within Hinduism and Buddhism in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Place: Kathmandu, Nepal

Dates: July 27th-August 10th, 2014

Host: Aarhus University Summer School

Two of the world’s largest religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, have peacefully coexisted in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal for centuries. Many of the commonr eligious practices Nepalis perform either occur at sites shared by both communities or the participants themselves do not self-identify as exclusively Hindu or Buddhist. Over the course of two weeks of lectures and visits to key field-sites, we will explore the historical and contemporary intersections between Hinduism and Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley. We will also introduce relevant theories for the study of religious pluralism and the research methods traditionally employed in the field drawing on philology, history, ethnography, sociology, and visual studies.

The course will be relevant to students from Anthropology, Asian Studies, and the Study of Religion. Students will be required to be present at lectures and fieldtrips and write a final exam. The number of ECTS points for international students will be arranged through the Aarhus Summer School program. Lectures will be conducted in English. Final exams will be in English or Danish.

Students will pay for their own travel and accommodations, but we will arrange for mutual housing during the course period. Students are encouraged to travel on their own in Nepal or other parts of Asia at the conclusion of the course.

Faculty:

Jørn Borup, Associate Professor

Marianne Fibiger, Associate Professor

Bjarne Wernicke Olesen, PhD Candidate

Cameron David Warner, Assistant Professor

Contact: Cameron David Warner, etncw@hum.au.dk

Apply by 15 March 2014 at:

International Students: http://www.au.dk/en/summeruniversity/application/

New Book

Charming Beauties and Frightful Beasts: Non-Human Animals in South Asian Myth, Ritual and Folklore

Edited by Fabrizio Ferrari and Thomas Dahnhardt

  • HB £60 9781908049582
  • PB £19.99 9781908049599
  • 288pp, 234 x 156mm
  • Equinox Publishing Ltd,

Special offer: Quote the code ‘Charming’ when ordering from www.equinoxpub.com and receive 25% off the retail price until the end of March 2014

https://www.equinoxpub.com/equinox/books/showbook.asp?bkid=543

Belief, Belonging, and Academic Careers

Almost twenty years ago, Grace Davie observed that despite plenty of studies into the ‘exotic edges’ of religion, ‘the picture in the middle remains remarkably blurred’. Seeking to address this imbalance and engage with the ‘beliefs of ordinary British people in everyday life’, Abby Day‘s recent book, Believing in Belonging (the first topic for this interview), builds upon her doctoral and later postdoctoral fieldwork, beginning within small communities in Yorkshire, and extending to a number of modern industrialised nations.

in this interview with Chris, recorded at the 2013 BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Conference at Durham University, Day introduces listeners to the concept of ‘belief’ and sets out her own inductive approach, using semi-structured interviews, whereby definitions were allowed to arise from the field. Her central thesis acts as a focal point for a wide-ranging and insightful discussion on a variety of topics from nationalism and secularisation, to the usefulness of censuses as tools for measuring ‘religion’, to gender and belief in destiny. These themes are also picked up and developed in a recent volume published by Ashgate – Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular – which was co-edited by Abby, Chris, and Giselle Vincett.

Wearing one of her other hats, Abby also presents regularly on how to build an academic career, win research funding, and get articles published, and has published the books academic publishing and building an academic career.

You can also 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.uk or Amazon.com links to support us at no additional cost when buying your important books etc.

wordle

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 14 Dec 2012

We are not responsible for any content contained herein, but have simply copied and pasted from a variety of sources. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page. wordle

pdf summary document can now be download. This can be printed and circulated to colleagues or put up on a notice board.

In this issue:

  • Journals
  • Portals
  • Call for Papers
  • Conferences
  • Training
  • Jobs
  • Grants/Funding

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


JOURNALS


Journal of Religion in Japan 1/3 (2012)

http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/22118349

New issue of electronic Journal “Quest”. Focus on memories of North African Jews

Description: The fourth issue of the online journal “Quest” is now entirely and freely available online.  http://www.quest-cdecjournal.it/ The focus section is dedicated to the memories of North African Jews, the discussion instead concerns the stimulating volume “Metamaus”. You will also find two book reviews.

Contact: mail [at] quest-cdecjournal.it

URL: www.quest-cdecjournal.it/

Announcement ID: 199156

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199156

Associate Managing Editor, Southern Jewish History

Location: South Carolina

Description: Associate Managing Editor, Southern Jewish History

Deadline for Application Submissions: January 10, 2013 The Southern Jewish Historical Society (SJHS) seeks a temporary, part-time associate managing editor (ME) of the societys      annual, peer-reviewed journal, Southern Jewish History (SJH).

Announcement ID: 199381

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199381


Euxeinos 8 onReligion and Society in Contemporary Bulgaria is now available online.

Description: Euxeinos 8 onReligion and Society in Contemporary  Bulgaria is now available online.Guest Editor Stefan Kube (Zurich)The current issue of Euxeinos originated in cooperation with G2W – kumenisches Forum fr Glauben, Religion und Gesellschaft in Ost und West in Zrich” (Oecumenical Forum for Faith, Relig …

Announcement ID: 199140

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199140


PORTAL


My-Parish.org – a new community platform for parish studies

Description: My-Parish.org – a new community platform for parish studies The Warwick Network for Parish Research is pleased to announce the launch of My-Parish.org , a portal to parish, history, heritage, art and culture! My-Parish is an online community and resource for everyone interested in parishes,  from the …

Contact: john.morgan [at] Warwick.ac.uk

URL: my-parish.org/

Announcement ID: 199274

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199274


CALLS FOR PAPERS


CFP: Third Asian Conference on Asian Studies: Conference Theme: Intersecting Belongings: Cultural Conviviality and Cosmopolitan Futures

Date: 2013-02-01

Description: Contemporary contexts of the local, regional, national and global raise urgent questions about cultural conviviality and cosmopolitan futures across Asia. These are      times when trans-cultural, trans-national and multicultural belonging are particularly being tested through environmental catastrophe,  …

Contact: baden.offord [at] scu.edu.au

URL: acas.iafor.org/

Announcement ID: 199303

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199303


CFP:Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences

Description: The Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences is calling for papers for the February 2013 issue. JAPSS is indexed and catalogued by EBSCOhost, DOAJ, and many others. The Journal is published both electronically and in print.  …

Contact: journalalternative [at] hotmail.com

URL: www.japss.org

Announcement ID: 199358

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199358


CFP: Sacred Space in Secular Institutions

Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December: chris.hewson@manchester.ac.uk

Venue: Humanities Bridgeford Street Building 1.69 (University of Manchester)

Date: Friday 18th January

The role, form and affect of sacred space(s) within secular institutions is a theme that is increasingly attractive to scholars within the social sciences. This Socrel study day will consider how different types of organisation including but not limited to educational establishments, hospitals and hospices, airports, public buildings, shopping centres, etc make space for faith, sacrality and religious practice(s) within their buildings, management structures and public offerings.

The study day will also consider: the key social, cultural and political drivers behind these spaces; precursors and ongoing developments; how such spaces are positioned within contemporary policy debates; and the practical issues practitioners should consider when designing and managing sacred space within a secular institution. The day will be centred around three axes:

 

  • A reflection upon the wide range of institutions that contain set-aside sacred space.
  • A close sociological reading of what happens within these spaces on a day-to-day basis, and how this might be conceptualised methodologically. For instance, how are they shared? How can effective use be measured?
  • A thoroughgoing assessment of the role and practice(s) of extant religious groups and traditions, within the provision and ongoing usage of these spaces.

We welcome contributions of any length (20 minute papers, 10-15 minute presentations) which address these, and any of the following questions:

  • What are these spaces for, and how are roles and designations contested?
  • What is or can be sacred about these spaces?
  • To what extent are these spaces multi-faith in either description or usage?
  • Do these spaces demonstrate novelty or continuity with existing forms?
  • What are the normative factors governing the development of these spaces (e.g. cohesion, diversity, customer focus, etc). Can these factors always be reconciled?

Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December: chris.hewson [at] manchester.ac.uk


CONFERENCES


Asian Conference on Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences 2013

Date: 2013-03-28

Description: The International Academic Forum, in conjunction with its global partners, is proud to announce the Third Asian Conference on Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences, to be held from March 28 – 31 2013, at the Ramada Osaka, Osaka, Japan. 2013 Conference Theme: “Connectedness & Alienation: The 21st Ce …

Contact: mchoi [at] iafor.org

URL: www.acp.iafor.org

Announcement ID: 199218

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199218


Theory and Philosophy Summer School.Theme: ‘Transgression and Normativity’

Date: 2013-03-01

Description: Theory and philosophy summer school 2013 offers a strongly student-centred & collaborative setting in which students participate in sessions led by academics from UCC & guest professors. Conventional didactic presentations are bolstered by small group work, student-led seminars & discussions, peer-g …

Contact: admin [at] tapss.ie

URL: www.tapss.ie/index.html

Announcement ID: 199142

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199142


Free conference

To the Academy and beyond: religious literacy in contemporary society

The Old Refectory, UCL, 22nd January 2013

As part of our series of free events, we are hosting a one-day

international conference highlighting the lessons learned from three

years of research into religious literacy in Higher Education and

focusing on how these can be applied beyond ‘the Academy’.

One of the key findings of our previous evaluation was the widespread

perception of the potential value added in HEIs by engagement with

issues of religious faith at a time of economic and social stress. For

example, working with faith groups institutions can provide a more

religiously literate student experience, avoid expensive and divisive

equality litigation, promote a culture of openness, trust and enquiry,

and work in community partnerships to prevent the divisions which often

arise when there is financial strain and high levels of unemployment.

These lessons can also be applied to sectors outside of Higher Education

and this conference will focus on this as well as highlighting the

findings and successes of the Religious Literacy Leadership Programme’s

work with Higher Education Institutions across the country. This free

conference will explore the processes, impacts and experiences of

developing strategy in relation to religion and belief. There will also

be opportunities to meet with counterparts in other institutions to

exchange skills and learning and consider potential for partnership and

networking around these issues.

Sessions will include workshops on religious literacy and:

The media

Equalities

Fashion

Confirmed speakers include:

Professor Stephen Prothero, Boston University

Professor Linda Woodhead, Lancaster University

Professor Reina Lewis, University of the Arts, London

Mr Michael Wakelin, Cambridge Coexist Programme

Places are limited and registration is now open at:

http://religiousliteracyhe.org/events-2/registration/


TRAINING


The Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF) Program of the Social Science Research Council, in conjunction with the University of Warwick, is pleased to announce the following research and training opportunity for early to mid-stage doctoral students within the U.S. and United Kingdom:

Postcolonial Identities and Decolonial Struggles: Creolization and Colored Cosmopolitanism

The Spring Workshop will be held May 28-June 2, 2013 in Coventry, England on the campus of the University of Warwick and the Fall Workshop will be held September 18-22, 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

http://www.ssrc.org/fellowships/subcompetitions/dpdf-fellowship/7A830765-EF37-E211-8EAC-001CC477EC84/52EE8588-EF37-E211-8EAC-001CC477EC84/


JOBS


Kalamazoo College – Visiting Instructor or Assistant Professor, East

Asian Studies

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=46027

Woolf Institute – Academic Director, Centre for the Study of

Muslim-Jewish Relations

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=46022

College of Charleston – Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=46034

The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen has an opening for 4 PhD positions (full employment), three of them for 3 years, and one of them for 4 years. Please see the announcement on our website at http://www.rug.nl/ggw/organization/vacancies/phd-positions/121208?lang=en


GRANTS


AHRC Large Grants

Closing date: January

Large Grants under the Science in Culture, Digital Transformations and Translating Cultures themes are now available. Successful proposals under the Large Grants call are expected to support research activities of a scale and ambition beyond that normally required for a standard AHRC grant.

http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Research-funding/Themes/Pages/Theme-Large-Grants.aspx


wordle

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 16 Nov 2012

We are not responsible for any content contained herein, but have simply copied and pasted from a variety of sources. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page.

A pdf summary document can now be download. This can be printed and circulated to colleagues or put up on a notice board.

In this issue:

  • Journals
  • Peer website
  • Call for Papers
  • Conferences
  • Projects
  • Jobs/Fellowships/PhD positions

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


JOURNALS


Material Religion: Special issue on Popularizing Islam: Muslims and Materiality http://www.bergpublishers.com/BergJournals/MaterialReligion/tabid/517/Default.aspx

Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology, http://adanewmedia.org/

The journal Religion and Gender has just published its latest issue at

http://www.religionandgender.org

It is a special issue addressing the theme ‘Religion and Masculinities: Continuities and Change’, guest edited by Björn Krondorfer and Stephen Hunt. The volume further includes one article in the open section, and nine book reviews. We invite you to review the Table of Contents here and then visit our website to review articles and items of interest.


PEER WEBSITE


TAROSA – Teaching Across Religions of South Asia

We are writing to let you know about an initiative we have recently been pursuing with funding support from the HEA, to set up a website aimed at promoting critical engagement with South Asian religious traditions in various teaching and learning contexts. Our aim has been to develop a resource which challenges the world religions optic through which most students (at both secondary and tertiary level) come to learn about South Asian traditions, by focusing instead on practices and ideas which seem to operate across such boundaries. The site is called Teaching Across Religions of South Asia, hence Tarosa, and you can view what we have so far put up at http://tarosaproject.wordpress.com/. As you will see, the main tool we use to promote a different way of looking at the religious traditions of south asia is a series of pedagogical case studies which provide students with the ability to look in depth at examples of practice/ideas, and challenges them to engage critically with the evidence presented therein.

We believe that the success of the website will depend upon us being able to develop a rich and varied archive of case studies, and it is primarily for this reason that we are writing to you now. If you have material from your research or wider knowledge which you would like to develop into a case study to contribute to the site, we would love to hear from you! We would of course fully credit your contribution to the site, and would be most eager to hear from anyone who would like to get further involved in this work. We also would welcome your feedback as peers and practitioners on the way we have set up and developed the site so far.


CALLS FOR PAPERS


CFP: Updated: International Conference “Buddhism & Australia 2013” on 23-25 January 2013

Description:  Buddhism ja Australia is pleased to inform you that the 2nd International Conference Buddhism & Australia will be held on 23-25 January, 2013 in Perth, Western

Australia.Acknowledging the history of Buddhism in the region the main goal of the conference is to research and investigate the buddhavac …

Contact: info [at] buddhismandaustralia.com

URL: www.buddhis.andaustralia.com

Announcement ID: 198653

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=198653


CFP: Florida State University Department of Religion Graduate Student Symposium

Location: Florida

Date: 2012-12-01

Description:  Call for Papers: The Florida State University Department of Religion is pleased to announce its 12th Annual Graduate Student Symposium to be held February 22-24, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida. Last years symposium was a huge success, allowing over 60 presenters from over 18 universities and departme …

Contact: fsureligionsymposium@gmail.com

URL: religion.fsu.edu

Announcement ID: 198521

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=198521


CFP: AFTERLIFE

Eighteenth Annual Postgraduate Religion and Theology Conference Hosted by the University of Bristol

8&9 March 2013

Keynote speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton

This conference brings together postgraduates and early-career academics working on the study of religions from a variety of perspectives and disciplines, creating a space for them to share their work and to further encourage research and collaboration within the University of Bristol (the host institution), and among members of other universities within the South West region and beyond.

The conference has a long history of drawing together postgraduate students and their supervisors from universities in the surrounding area and beyond.

Last year saw us expand to a record number of participating speakers, delegates, and partner institutions. Forty-nine papers, divided in seventeen sessions, were presented by postgraduate students and early career academics, from eighteen universities. Almost one hundred delegates attended at least part of the conference. A session for undergraduate papers was also held, with notable success.

Although we encourage applications that directly address the theme of the conference ‘Afterlife’, in all its interpretations, contributions are welcome from all disciplines and areas related to the study of religions:

theology, history, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, literature, art, music, etc.

Presentations will be grouped in panels, each consisting of three 20-minute papers followed by a 30-minute period for questions and discussion. Panels will be chaired by lecturers from Bristol and other partner universities.

We are also accepting submissions for research posters. Displayed in the conference common room, these will allow further communication of research.

A prize will be awarded to the poster voted best by the conference participants. Guidelines of the preparation of posters and a sample poster presentation can be found on the conference’s website. Please note that an applicant may submit a poster as well as a paper and that both may be accepted, on the condition that they cover different topics.

Please submit abstracts for papers and/or posters through our University’s ‘Stop Shop’ page at:

http://shop.bris.ac.uk/browse/product.asp?catid=521&modid=1&compid=1

The deadline for submitting proposals will be 12:00 noon on Tuesday 15 January 2013.

Kindly note that the organisers are not in a position to assist anyone with visas, and will not consider or accept abstracts from those who require assistance with visas.

Registration for the conference will open at 12:00 noon on 22 January 2013 and will include refreshments and lunch on both days. Early registration is free for members of partner institutions and £10 for participants from other institutions or for those who are unaffiliated. Please note that all registrations received after 12 noon, Friday 8 February, will incur a £10 late registration fee.

A limited amount of financial assistance may be available to presenters of papers and/or posters. The assistance may be used towards defraying travel or accommodation expenses, or the early registration fee for participants from non-partner institutions. Application details will be posted in late January 2013 on the conference website.

Optional social events will be held on both evenings of the conference.

For more information and registration, please visit:

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/gradschool/conferences/thrs/


CFP: Sacred Space in Secular Institutions

Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December:

chris.hewson [at] manchester.ac.uk

Venue: Humanities Bridgeford Street Building 1.69 (University of Manchester)

Date: Friday 18th January

The role, form and affect of sacred space(s) within ‘secular’ institutions is a theme that is increasingly attractive to scholars within the social sciences. This Socrel study day will consider how different types of organisation – including but not limited to educational establishments, hospitals and hospices, airports, public buildings, shopping centres, etc – ‘make space’ for faith, sacrality and religious practice(s) within their buildings, management structures and public offerings.

The study day will also consider: the key social, cultural and political drivers behind these spaces; precursors and ongoing developments; how such spaces are positioned within contemporary policy debates; and the practical issues practitioners should consider when designing and managing ‘sacred space’ within a secular institution. The day will be centred around three axes:

A reflection upon the wide range of institutions that contain set-aside ‘sacred space’.

A close sociological reading of what ‘happens’ within these spaces on a day-to-day basis, and how this might be conceptualised methodologically. For instance, how are they ‘shared’? How can effective use be measured?

A thoroughgoing assessment of the role and practice(s) of extant religious groups and traditions, within the provision and ongoing usage of these spaces.

We welcome contributions of any length (20 minute papers, 10-15 minute presentations) which address these, and any of the following questions:

What are these spaces for, and how are roles and designations contested?

What is or can be sacred about these spaces?

To what extent are these spaces multi-faith in either description or usage?

Do these spaces demonstrate novelty or continuity with existing forms?

What are the normative factors governing the development of these spaces (e.g. cohesion, diversity, customer focus, etc). Can these factors always be reconciled?

Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December: chris.hewson [at] manchester.ac.uk


CFP: MATERIALIZING THE SPIRIT: SPACES, OBJECTS AND ART IN THE CULTURES OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS

The History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland Annual Conference will be hosted  by the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, on 5-7 September 2013.

Paper proposals are now invited. Presentations should be 20 minutes in duration, and should address some element of the conference theme, with reference to British and/or Irish contexts.

The devotional and vocational activities of women religious sculpted the physical space of religious houses in unique ways. Patterns of use were etched into the fabric of buildings, guiding structural design and interior decoration. But buildings also shaped practice: whether the formal monastic sites of early or revived enclosed orders or the reused secular buildings of active congregations, women both adapted and adapted to their material surroundings.

A growing body of literature has addressed itself to convent art, exploring nuns as patrons, consumers and manufacturers of material and visual culture. These practices span the history of women’s religious life – from the early Middle Ages to the present day – and suggest a hidden but dynamic tradition of artistic enterprise. This conference explores the creative output of women religious including but not limited to textiles and the decorative arts, illuminated manuscripts and printed books, women’s patronage of painting and architecture, the commercial production of ecclesiastical textiles in the nineteenth-century, production of liturgical and devotional art in recent periods, and the development of unique convent and institutional spaces by and for women religious.

Key aims of the conference will be to highlight the scholarly value of these under-researched and little known spaces and collections and also to raise awareness and discuss the threats that they face as communities decline, buildings close, artefacts and archives are dispersed.

This conference will take a broad and diverse view on what constitutes ‘material culture’, emphasizing the conception, production, and meanings of the many material outputs of convents and monasteries.

Papers are welcomed from a diverse range of disciplines: scholars from social and religious history, art and architecture, theology, anthropology, psychology and beyond are invited to offer fresh and innovative perspectives in order to illuminate ways in which women religious in Britain and Ireland created and were formed by material histories for over a thousand years.

Please send 200-word proposals for 20-minute papers to kate.jordan.09 [at] ucl.ac.uk and ayla.lepine [at] gmail.com by no later than 1 February 2013.


CFP: Material Religion

Venue: Durham University, UK

Date: 9 – 11 April 2013

Dr Marion Bowman (Department of Religious Studies, Open University)

Professor David Morgan (Department of Religion, Duke University)

Professor Veronica Strang (Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University)

This conference will focus on the physical, material dimension of religious life and

practice, one of the major themes of religious research over the last decade. Material

forms express and sustain the human search for holiness, transcendence and identity,

and attention to the physical can lead scholars to unique and valuable insights.

Commitment to religious communities is learned and displayed through relationships

to clothing, food, ritual and decoration, in the home, workplace, street or place of

worship. This event will encourage interdisciplinary discussion of the significance of

material culture in contemporary religion, including the images and architecture of

sacred places and the objects and practices of everyday life.

Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Material religion in everyday life

  • The materiality of gender, class, age and ethnicity

  • Sacred objects: statues, icons, relics, holy books, architecture

  • Sacred objects in museums and galleries

  • Religion, landscape and the environment

  • Religion and the arts

  • Marketing and consuming religion

  • Religion and the body: ritual, experience and emotion

  • Health, sickness, disability, death and bereavement

  • The materiality of religious media and technologies

  • Research methods for the study of material religion

We invite proposals for conference papers (300 words), panels (3-4 papers on a

shared theme, 750 words) and posters (200 words). Alternative formats will also be

considered. Abstracts must be submitted by November 19th 2012 to Tim Hutchings

and Joanne McKenzie at materialreligionconference [at] gmail.com. Bursaries are

available for postgraduate and early career researchers.

SOCREL is the British Sociological Association’s study group on Religion. For more

details about the study group and conference please visit www.socrel.org.uk.


CFP: Nationalism, Identity and Belief Symposium

First joint symposium of Society, Religion and Belief and Identity, Culture and Representation Research Centres University of Derby 25 March 2013

Keynote speaker: Daniel Trilling author of Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britain’s Far Right (London: Verso, 2012), assistant editor The New Statesman, columnist for The Guardian.

The complexities and contradictions of globalized modes of identity have caused a reassessment of what constitutes national identity and how it is experienced. In late modernity there is a tendency for nationalism to be characterised as a reactive and reactionary response to the increasing cultural diversity evident in many Western societies. The British National Party and, latterly, the English Defence League typify this tendency. In continental Europe there are comparable groupings but many continental equivalents have demonstrated a greater capacity for organisation and have enjoyed a modicum of success in terms of parliamentary elections at national and European level: in France, the Front National; the Belgian/Flemish Vlaams Balang; the Danish Danske Folkparti; Jobbik in Hungary, The Golden Dawn in Greece and so on. The fortunes of these parties wax and wane but their social and media presence is constant. This symposium is a call to academics and activists to consider the ongoing appeal of nationalism, its cultural role, its strategies, localities and nature. We seek to explore the lure and repulsion of nationalism to its friends and critics and the many and varied cultural contexts through which it is reproduced.

Papers are invited to be considered for presentation in one of two parallel panels:

Panel One: Nationalism, Identity and Conflict Panel Two: Nationalism, Religion and Belief
Typical themes for the panels will include but are not limited to:
The organisation and activities of nationalist groups

The appeal of nationalism

Nationalism in crisis

Banal nationalism

Rethinking national identity

The cultures of nationalism

Nationalist rhetoric and the world faiths

‘The chosen people’ and globalization

Spiritual nationalisms

Subcultures and nationalist discourse

Considering nationalism as a faith

Please submit a 250 word proposal and a bio-note by 19 December, 2012 to Andrew Wilson (a.f.wilson [at] derby.ac.uk); Jason Lee (j.lee [ay] derby.ac.uk); and Frauke Uhlenbruch (f.uhlenbruch [at] derby.ac.uk)

CONFERENCES


Conference theme: Ireland, America and Transnationalism: studying religions in a globalised world

At The Clinton Centre, University College Dublin, 10th-12th May 2013

We are pleased to invite scholars to take part in the second annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR). For information on the society, see:

http://isasr.wordpress.com/. The Conference will take place Fri-Sun May 10th -12th , 2013 at the Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin (UCD), and is open to scholars of all disciplines that approach religions, both past and present, from a non-theological, critical, analytical and cross-cultural perspective.

Proposals for papers may relate to the conference theme ‘Ireland, America and Transnationalism’ or any other aspect of the Society’s work in the history, anthropology, folklore and sociology of religion in Ireland or the Irish diaspora, but also the work of Irish-based researchers on topics in the academic study of religions elsewhere in the world.

Although 19th and 20th century discourses often highlighted national, including Irish, religious uniqueness, this has always been at best a half truth. Megalithic architecture and pre-Christian myths are routinely studied in relation to other west European contexts. Christian conversion and medieval texts, early modern wars of religion and nineteenth-century ultramontanism also locate Ireland in a wider religious world. The conference theme encourages the study of religions in a global and comparative context, with particular reference to North America, the home of the largest Irish diaspora outside these islands.

From Ireland’s ‘spiritual empire’ of Catholic institutions to American enthusiasm for all things Celtic to imported Pentecostalisms, the religious exchange between the two has been intense. Adopting a transnational perspective highlights the networks of wider global relationships within which religions both in Ireland and among the Irish diaspora are enacted.

Please send a 150-200 word abstract for papers to Adrienne Hawley ( Adrienne.hawley[at]ucdconnect.ie ) by the closing date of Friday 22^nd February, 2012. Notification of abstract acceptance will be given by Friday March 15th, 2012.

*_

Proposals for themed panels from ISASR members are welcomed and may be made directly to the conference organisers via Adrienne Hawley (email above). The following panels have already been proposed:_* · Folk Religion in Ireland: Meaning and Context*__* · Children’s Subjectivities and the Experience of Religious Educations · Gender and Religion *_ If you wish to submit an abstract for these panels please indicate this in your abstract submission_*

*

Further information on the ISASR Conference 2013 will be posted at:  http://isasr.wordpress.com/ The conference is hosted by ISASR in collaboration with The Clinton Institute, UCD.


Contemporary religion in historical perspective: engaging outside academia

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

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

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

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

  • integrating ‘religious history’ and contemporary religious practitioners;
  • the relevance of historical research on religion for contemporary debates on religion; and for present-day religious groups, organisations and institutions;
  • intersections between research on contemporary religion and present-day contemporary understanding and practice of religion;
  • the idea of ‘applied’ or ‘public’ Religious Studies;
  • methodological, theoretical and ethical issues relating to Religious Studies and knowledge exchange;
  • relationships between academic and practitioner, or academic institution(s) and non-academic ‘partner’ and their implications and challenges.

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

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

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

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


AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme, University of Kent and Theos present

‘Big Society or Global Village? Religious NGOs, Civil Society and the United Nations’,

Wednesday 28th November, 6.30-8.30pm

Convocation Hall, Church House, Dean’s Yard, London, SW1P 3NZ.

Do religions in a world of globalization have to work with international institutions? What has religion got to do with the UN? How are religious NGOs shaping UN policies? Which religions and which issues? Can national civil society ignore the global realities of UN diplomacy?

Professor Jeremy Carrette (Religious Studies), Professor Hugh Miall (Politics and International Relations) and Dr Sophie Trigeaud (Religious Studies), all of the University of Kent, UK, will present findings of a three-year study on religious NGOs and the United Nations and discuss the role of religion in global civil society.

Chair:

Professor Jeff Haynes, London Metropolitan University

Respondents:

Elizabeth Oldfield , Director of Theos Think Tank

Carrie Pemberton Ford, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking

PROJECTS


The Critical Religion Research Group at the University of Stirling has initiated a new project: an international scholarly association using the name Critical Religion Association.  This is the first email from the new CRA.

We are publishing two blogs today – the first is an explanation in more detail of what this means and what we are intending, the second is an exploration of the breadth of the Critical Religion project by Timothy Fitzgerald.  Do read:

The new Critical Religion Association site:

http://criticalreligion.org/2012/11/09/the-new-critical-religion-association-site/

The breadth of Critical Religion:

http://criticalreligion.org/2012/11/09/the-breadth-of-critical-religion/

In particular, we draw your attention to the possibility for greater involvement from scholars not necessarily based at the University of Stirling (as outlined in the first blog posting above).

We are also expanding our social media coverage – if you are on Facebook, you can now ‘like’ us there, and receive updates and engage there.  We continue to use Twitter, and further forms of engagement will come.


JOBS


Lehigh University – Visiting Assistant Professor, Contemporary

Japanese Literature and Culture

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45834

Brooklyn College – Assistant Professor/Judaism in Late Antiquity and

Rabbinics

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45855

Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages – Post-Doctoral

Fellowship in Buddhist Studies

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45887


The University of Oxford’s Department of Education supports anthropologically focused Master’s and Doctoral research on religion and education:

http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/courses/pgce/subjects/religious-education/

Procedures and information:

http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/courses/d-phil/admission-procedure-for-dphil/

http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/courses/admission-procedure-msc/

November and January applications are encouraged.

Inquiries may be directed to the Higher Degrees Office:

higherdegreesoffice [at] education.ox.ac.uk


School of Health Sciences and Social Work

University of Portsmouth

PhD/MRes fees only bursaries: £3,500 per annum for 3 years (full time) or £1,600 per annum for 6 years (part time)

MRes fees only bursaries: £5,000 per annum for 1 year (full time) or £2,500 per annum for 2 years(part time)

Starting: February 2013 (PhD) or January 2013 (MRes)

Further details:  http://www.findaphd.com/search/ProgrammeDetails.aspx?PGID=1004


Building on her 2009-10 Religion and Society research into Old Hispanic Chant, Emma Hornby (Bristol University) has been awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant for a project called ‘Shaping text, Shaping melody, Shaping experience in and through the Old Hispanic Office’. Lasting for five years, this project will involve Hornby, her collaborator Professor Rebecca Maloy (University of  Colorado at Boulder), two postdoctoral researchers (in musicology and theology) and two PhD students (one musicologist and one composer).

The project team will explore the potential the Old Hispanic office chants had for promoting a particular religious experience within an almost-forgotten liturgy. The musicologists and theologians will bring the many-layered and cross-referential Old Hispanic approach to text choice, musical punctuation and melodic pacing explicitly to the attention of modern composers, encouraging them to explore compositional processes that evoke similar spiritual responses. The composers will act as a communicative channel between the pure scholarship demanded by the Old Hispanic material, and contemporary concert audiences and congregations.

Outputs will include a team-authored book, several peer-reviewed articles, a series of publicly performed compositions, an EU-workshop and an International Festival of new music inspired by the project findings. The Old Hispanic liturgy is one of the musical, intellectual and theological jewels of our European cultural heritage, and this project will give a wide audience a holistic understanding of its richness.

POSITIONS

  1. one postdoctoral research post in theology/liturgical studies (full time, 4 years):

<http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AFK858/postdoc-research-assistant/>

  1. one postdoctoral research post in medieval musicology (full time, 4

years):

<http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AFK873/postdoc-research-assistant-in-medieval-musicology/>

  1. one fully funded 4-year PhD studentship in medieval musicology:

<http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AFJ040/phd-studentship-music-medieval-musicology/>

  1. one fully funded 4-year PhD studentship in music (composition):

<http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AFJ039/phd-studentship-music-composition/>

Informal enquiries are welcome, and should be addressed to emma.hornby [at] bris.ac.uk

Read more about Emma Hornby’s original Religion and Society grant here: http://www.religionandsociety.org.uk/research_findings/featured_findings/cracking_the_code_of_old_hispanic_chant_brings_it_to_life_for_the_first_time


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

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

The closing date for applications is the 30 November 2012. Please visit our website for application details (http://warburg.sas.ac.uk/fellowships/short-term/).

Podcasts

From Non-Religion to Unbelief? A developing field…

The twenty-first century has witnessed growing academic and popular interest in a variety of categories which are related to ‘religion’ but conceptualized as ‘other’… atheism, non-religion, secularity, religious indifference, and so on. Each of these categories can be conceptualized as aspects of the general category ‘unbelief’—‘used in a wide sense, implying a generalized lack of belief in a God or gods’ (Lee and Bullivant 2016).

Back in 2012, Chris sat down – with friend and colleague Ethan Quillen – to speak to Lois Lee, on the topic of ‘non-religion’. Since then, a lot has changed. Lee has climbed the academic ladder, publishing her first monograph with OUP in 2015 – Recognizing the Non-Religious: Re-Imagining the Secular – and currently serving as project leader on the Understanding Unbelief programme. This is a major new research programme aiming to advance scientific understanding of atheism and other forms of ‘unbelief’ around the world through core research and an additional £1.25 million being spent on additional projects and public engagement activities. Chris’s career has also progressed, with recent work including co-editing New Atheism: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates, and beginning a postdoctoral project engaging in a comparative study of ‘unbelief’ in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In this podcast, we check in with the state of the field, discuss developments beyond the Anglophone “West”, some of the many exciting projects being worked on under the “Understanding Unbelief” banner, the utility and pitfalls of the terminology of “unbelief”, and some of the critical issues surrounding the reification of survey categories.

Of relevance to the themes discussed, include Marta Trzebiatowska’s blog post on gender issues in non-religion studies: Not for Girls? Gender and Researching Nonreligion. This blog is part of the NSRN/SSNB blog series on research methods. The full series is introduced here: Research Methods for the Scientific Study of Nonreligion, by Lois Lee, Stephen Bullivant, Miguel Farias and Jonathan Lanman, Nonreligion & Secularity Research Network, 2016.

Specific Understanding Unbelief projects mentioned in the podcast include:

* Mapping the Psychology of Unbelief Across Contexts and Cultures, PI: Jonathan Jong, Psychology, Coventry University, UK
* Nonreligious Childhood: Growing Up Unbelieving in Contemporary Britain, PI: Dr Anna Strhan, Religious Studies, University of Kent, UK,

Listeners may also be interested in our podcasts on “Understanding the Secular“, “Permutations of Secularism“, “Non-Religion”, “Secular Humanism“. “The Post-Secular“, “Studying Non-Religion within Religious Studies“, “The Secularization Thesis” and more…

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 finding UNBELIEVABLE deals on academic texts, strawberry jam, vintage clothing, and more.

A transcription of this interview is also available, and has been pasted below.

From Non-Religion to Unbelief? A Developing Field

Podcast with Lois Lee (26 February 2018).

Interviewed by Christopher Cotter

Transcribed by Helen Bradstock.

Audio and transcript available at: Lee_-_Non-Religion_to_Unbelief_-_A_Developing_Field_1.1

 

Christopher Cotter (CC): Greetings, Religious Studies Project listeners! I am speaking to you from London, in the abode of Dr Lois Lee, who’s returning to the Religious Studies Project. Hi, Lois.

Lois Lee (LL): Hi. Lovely to be here again.

CC: Lois was one of our first interviewees back in 2012. I can’t remember the specific date, or why it was happening. I can remember sitting in a seminar room in New College – along with my then colleague, and still good friend Ethan Quillen – talking about the concept of non-religion with Lois. And now, five, well possibly six years on – depending how we calculate that – we’re checking in again to talk about non-religion, unbelief, the development of the field, how we go about studying this, other major developments that are happening in the field at the moment, and anything else that we can fit into the next 25 minutes! So, when we last spoke to you I remember you saying, “If we’re still having this conversation in 10 years about non-religion, something’s gone wrong.”

LL: Yes.

CC: We’re not quite having the same conversation – but maybe I’ll just throw that at you as a way to kick things off.

LL: And we’re not quite ten years on – so I don’t have to falsify the thesis, or prove or disprove it at this stage! But no, it’s very interesting to reflect on that. I remember saying that, and I’ve referred to that quite often since then. A bold claim from someone who’s argued that we need to look at non-religion and that there’s practical, methodological and analytic utility in using that concept to research religion, and something we might think about as religion, religious-like, or religion-related. But I was saying at the time, “Look, it’s a means to an end. And ten years on, hopefully, we won’t need that means to an end anymore.” I would revise that view now, which is good: we need to be moving forward and so on. Because I think that the discursive study of non-religion is much, much more important than I was engaging with in my work at the time. Not that it wasn’t recognised, because work of critical secular scholars and critical religion scholars were showing that quite clearly. So Johannes Quack worked on and so on – these non-religious discourses are very widespread. They are, as all these scholars show and would argue, definitional of a whole epoch, perhaps, and vast swathes of the world. So I think there’s actually a lot of water in looking at – and Jim Beckford has made this point very clearly – that we really need a strong discursive study of non-religion. And I don’t see that disappearing any time soon. So we’re going to need non-religion in the longer term and be engaging with it. But I’m going to stand by the spirit of the claim, if not the letter of the claim, in that what I was getting at was that – and probably this points to my own research interests – is that many people and things that are identified as non-religious are identified because of attachments that are not purely discursive. They’re not just about relationality to religion, they’re a way of describing lots of different things. And I’ve been particularly interested in what I’ve called in my book “existential cultures”, what Baker and Smith call “cosmic meaning systems”, what other scholars refer to as “worldviews”. And what we see now – and this is very timely to address this question now, because all of the work I’ve just mentioned has been published in the last three years at the longest – is a lot of play around working with how we’re going to describe this stuff that is underlying what’s expressed as “non-religious identities”, “non-religious practices” and “positionalities” and so on. Or analytic language: so, identifying as scholars identifying people as non-religious. And really, what we have in mind are, for example, naturalist worldviews and so on. So I feel totally vindicated in fact, in that claim, in that I think in five years, a lot of the work that’s fallen within the language on non-religion – that we use the language of non-religion to identify – we won’t be using that language any more. (5:00)And it’s precisely because there’s so much dynamism at the moment around developing better analytic categories – to get at what a lot of us have been getting at. And learning from our research and so on, that’s important to the people we’re talking with. So a lot of the work that we talk about in terms of non-religion is going to fall within – well, I’m not going to say what, just now! But maybe it’s the study of worldviews, maybe it’s existentiality, maybe it’s cosmic meaning systems, who knows?

CC: Excellent. I’ve just realised that I completely omitted to properly introduce you at this beginning of this interview!

LL: (Laughs) But surely I need no introduction, Chris?

CC: Exactly! But you’ve already touched on it, just there. So, Lois is a research fellow at the University of Kent, where she’s currently principal investigator on the Understanding Unbelief programme, which is something that we’ll get to very shortly. She’s also a founding director of the Non-Religion and Secularity Research Network, which you’ll have heard plenty about on this podcast thus far. And her 2015 book with OUP was called Recognising the Non-Religious: Re-Imagining the Secular. So you’ve heard about the book, just there. And we’ll get on to some of this just now. Maybe the book’s actually something to springboard from, since again we didn’t speak about that last time.

LL: Yes

CC: Maybe just tell us about your own trajectory, and how you got to this stage of being PI in a project looking at unbelief.

LL: That’s right. Well, I suppose when we last talked it was a twinkle in the eye! But the book is a culmination of what we were talking about in that earlier podcast, which I’m sure is available to listeners, if they’re interested, to return to it. And as you say, I’ve already sort of alluded to some of the work in that book, which was about identifying and engaging with populations. In particular, I was most interested in populations we identify as non-religious, and saying we need to understand them in their capacity of identifying as non-religious or being identified as others, by others as non-religious. And that many of the claims that are made about the religious would be partial if we didn’t work much more closely with that population. That book arose from work that began in 2006, when sociology – my area – but the human sciences more broadly had not really engaged with this non-religious population, in any detail. They’d had sporadic forays – significant, but sporadic forays – into that area. So the book was very much a kind-of “call to arms” in way. But the title sort-of summarises, I guess, recognising the non-religious: that as researchers we need to recognise the non-religious, as societies we need to recognise the non-religious. I talk a bit about the commitments, investments, social attachments and so on, of non-religious people that lead them to feel a sense of grievance if societies only recognise the analogous needs of religious people. So there’s a political argument there in the end. So where have we got to? How does that lead to the Understanding Unbelief programme?

CC: Yes.

LL: Well, I think we’ve touched on that trajectory slightly already, which is that my kind-of emerging interest was particularly in the kinds of what I shall call “existential beliefs and cultures”. The “worldviews” is a more commonplace word we might think about. I think it’s slightly problematic, and we probably don’t have time to get into that. But I think it’s going to lead to some really interesting conversations with people really engaging closely with that concept, and critically, which hasn’t happened around worldview in the same way it’s happened with religion. So it will be really interesting to see that work. But what I’m interested in is the way in which humans conceptualise their own existence and the nature of reality. That conceptualisation is intrinsically transcendent – so it’s stepping back to take to a perspective on reality and existence – and, in that way, is something that is very much shared between, well, cuts across religious and non-religious divides. Whether all humans are as interested in this conceptualisation is a very open question. And that’s very much where the book ends up, is saying there are lots of things going on when people self-identify or are identified as others, by others as non-religious. There are lots of political things going on. There are lots of socio-cultural things, some of which we might feel very sympathetic to and some of which we might be very, very concerned about (10:00). There’s a lot going on. But one important thing that’s going on is that non-religious people have worldviews and they aren’t recognised clearly enough in the conceptual language we have, or in the academy, for example, or other places in public life. So we have the Sociology of Religion, and it’s not clear how well that makes space for the sociology of non-traditional, nonreligious worldviews, and I’m very much arguing we should do that. The Unbelief programme builds on that in that . . . . So, the focus on belief – there’s a couple of different reasons we’re using the term “unbelief”. And we always use it in scare quotes. I think it’s important to say that one of the reasons that we have turned to that term is that we think it’s very obviously a folk category that emerged from Christian traditions. It can’t be confused with a viable analytic concept. And we had some concerns about atheism, secularism – and non-religion, actually – that they had acquired a kind of veneer of analytic coherence that wasn’t always borne out. And so we wanted to . . . . And this arises from conversations with others in the field about where the field was at. We wanted to slightly step back from that and invite people to be a bit critical about what they’re doing and not close off questions, as well. For example, I’ve spoken recently about the disproportionate focus on positive atheists over and above strong agnostics in research. We now have an emerging scholarship around Atheism, with a capital A, and very little about agnostics. But there are lots of people who make the strong agnostic claim that humans can’t know about the nature of human reality and existence, or God, or whoever. We didn’t want to foreclose on that by having a programme on atheism, for example. So, partly, one of the strengths of unbelief is that it’s very, very broad. It allows people to focus on different things that are going on within that rubric, to not imagine they’ve got a specific or coherent analytic category to start off with, but to think about what they’re doing. But it is a word that includes belief. That’s partly because one stage that I think the field is at is that there’s been a lot of energy in the last ten years . . . . The Non-Religion and Secularity Research Network: I founded that in 2008, so we’re ten years on now. And in that period there’s been a kind of intense period of field-building in lots of different human science disciplines. A group who discussed the formation of this programme said that one of the issues in the field was that there was no longer strong communication between different human science disciplines within the field. At the beginning there was, because there was so little scholarship we were absolutely thrilled to read anything that emerged. Now that it’s a success story it’s great. There’s lots to read. And one of the kind-of unintended consequences of that is that some of that interdisciplinary engagement has faded. You know, it’s enough to keep up with the Sociology of Non-Religion or Secularism – as it might be called in the US – as well as trying to keep up with the Psychology of Atheism which is probably the favoured term in Psychology. And that’s fine, but also a shame, because we could learn from each other and from that material. And, partly, the language of belief just reflects different disciplinary conventions: a focus on the cognitive in Cognitive Anthropology, Cognitive Science; belief is very meaningful and significant within Psychology and Social Psychology. So, we’re trying to kind-of bring those things together and find a language that makes sense to different researchers.

CC: Yes. I mean, I can see perhaps some of our listeners bristling in that we’ve been trying – “we” in Religious Studies – to get way from a belief-centred model of religion, in a sense. You know, because it’s so much more than that, potentially. So then, to take this other side of the coin, and then also say it’s “unbelief”, it’s potentially got the same problems as reifying belief. But it’s under-theorised. It doesn’t have that cachet – as you were saying – that it’s potentially an analytic term. And it also . . . And I’ve got to say that my current project is a comparative study of unbelief in Scotland and Northern Ireland, partly piggy-backing on the UU programme. But also, I found that was a much easier word to utilise with funders, and people who were assessing applications who were outside of these debates. Unbelief wasn’t as problematic in a sense as religion, non-religion – a lot less baggage, but made a bit of intuitive sense (15:00). So that’s part of it.

LL: I think that’s really important point, actually. And I think, sometimes, there are different modes of scholarship. My mode has been to work out what concepts are useful to me and what aren’t and then run away with the ones that are useful to me. But that shuts off a lot of conversation with people who are using different concepts. And unbelief, I think, is really useful, because it’s sort-of salient and intelligent to broader populations. They know where you’re at. Some of the preparatory work for this programme was developed in a programme called the Scientific Study of Non-Religious Belief. And if you’ve read work around relational theories of non-religion, non-religious belief is something that makes sense. But if you haven’t, and this is something that in earlier iterations of the project we came up against, you are not clear what a non-religious belief is. “Is that just any belief, that isn’t religious?” “Well, no. That’s not what we meant.” But that kind of confusion isn’t always helpful to having kind-of knowledge exchange with different kinds of audiences and research partners in a way that unbelief is helpful. It draws out its controversies, too. But a lot of that discussion can be very helpful. I think we have a sense that one of the major goals of the project, which is very descriptive in its intention . . . . So, you can summarise its core research question as being: “To summarise the nature and diversity of – scare quotes – “unbelief”. And I tend to think of one of the major outcomes of the programme being the ability to identify different profiles of unbelievers within national populations, and maybe breaking that down further still. We could think about them as denominations of unbelievers perhaps, but maybe that’s not a helpful way of going about it.

CC: Hmm.

LL: But I think, in doing that, we should be able to identify much more concrete positive language that will hopefully replace, in many ways, the concept of unbelief. I think unbelief is . . . . I’d be interested to know what you think, with your project. But for me, I’m not sure there’s going to be analytic validity usefulness. It’s quite clearly a kind of folk category.

CC: Mmm.

LL: But it’s a gateway to hopefully identifying a set of better, more interesting concepts – better and more interesting also than atheism and secularism and non-religion. And again, that’s a bit of a concern with those concepts, because they’re slightly helpful. They are all helpful in lots of different ways, but because they’re helpful they sort-of close down options to push further in certain directions. Whereas, in a way, unbelief is so clearly a sort-of folk category, it sort of invites us to think: “Well, what am I talking about here?” So I might be inclined to say, again, that unbelief is another transitional concept, like non-religion. And, if I’m still using the concept in 10 years’ time . . . . (Laughs)

CC: (Laughs) Why not?

LL: So we can meet again in a few years, and see what’s come to pass.

CC: Exactly, and what new . . .

LL: I think it’s a productive conversation. And in the programme we’re also concerned to broaden out the conversation from academia and engage much more effectively with broader audiences. And again, a sort of language that makes sense to broader audiences will help us to do that and help us to learn from perspectives outside of academia.

CC: Excellent. Now, there’s a few directions we could go in here. And part of me is wanting to push that button again about: are we potentially reifying groups here, by talking about types of unbelievers and dichotomising the world? But, listen to our previous interview – listen to my interview with Johannes Quack, back from 2015 and also read some of Lois’s work, some of my work where we do engage with this, alright?

LL: (Laughs)

CC: To skip to a debate that hasn’t been had before – well this will just be re-treading ground – but tell us about this Understanding Unbelief programme, then. So, there are four other . . . . You are the principal investigator, there’s a core team and then there’s a whole bunch of other different projects going on?

LL: There’s a lots of people- I won’t mention everyone by name. I hope they’re not offended. But there’s a lot going on

CC: So what is it? What is going on?

LL: I think it does say something about where the field has got to. So, as I sort-of said earlier, I think there’s been a phase of field-building which has been a lot of conceptual work, which has involved a lot of making the argument about why we need to study this group to our colleagues in academia (20:00). And that’s something that you’ve been involved with, and several others have been involved with. And I think that argument has clearly been won, aided and abetted by broader social contexts in which there’s a recognition of non-religious actors: people describing themselves as non-religious. So I think that’s great. And we’re moving into a new phase now, where we’re concreting or pushing that more general work further. There are lots of different ways in which people are seeking to break down those populations and be more specific again. That’s something you’ve done in your work, and I’ve done in my work. So, when we first started discussing this programme there was a sense that . . . . I mentioned some sort-of field-wide interests and concerns: about the usefulness of some inter-disciplinary work; about moving on from some of the conceptual debates we’ve been having; not encouraging a new round of work about concepts, but really getting involved in empirical settings. But, very chiefly, was a sense that, empirically, we needed to work outside of the West; that learning about atheists, people who identify as atheists and go to the atheist church, for example, or read new atheist material, was something that had been quite well-covered in the field by that point. And we needed to think beyond that, so: outside of Anglophone settings; outside of Northern European settings and the US and Canada; but also – within those settings and beyond – thinking about demographic groups that had not been well studied. Matt Sheard has a paper in Secularism and Non-Religion about non-elite, non-religious people within the UK and how little they’ve been researched. I agree. I agree: non-white, women, agnostics rather than atheist. So, there’s a very big population. We’ve done the work of saying: “This is why we need to engage with them. Here are some ways of engaging with all these different groups.” And now we really need to do it. And also, yes, get outside of the kind-of well-worn tracks. So, we wanted to consolidate some of the work that had been done. And from that basis, really, hopefully be part of ushering in this new phase. Which . . . I think there’s lots of other work that’s going on concurrently, which is a part of that. So the approach has been . . . I’m working with a multi-disciplinary team to lead the programme. So we have Jonathan Lanman who’s a cognitive anthropologist, Miguel Farias who’s a social psychologist, and Stephen Bullivant who’s a theologian and also a sociologist with expertise in quantitative work. I’m a sociologist with a focus on qualitative work. So that team – we’re doing research across five different countries, I can’t think how many continents, a few continents – is kind-of the centre of that project. But we also now have 21 project teams working around the world to do work much, much more widely than a small team could ever do, given that, as I’ve already sort of alluded to, actually the empirical work was fairly narrow. And in order to answer questions about the nature and diversity of non-belief we really needed to be very broad. Our core project is working strategically with five countries that are revealing about broader global trends and so on. But actually, it’s great to have work going on in lots of different places. So one of the projects which is grounded in Psychology is working with – I can’t think in total how many countries it is – ten or so countries that have very high numbers of people who identify as non- religious. So that includes South Korea, Australia, Japan, Azerbaijan, Vietnam and so forth. So, a really diverse set of countries that they’ll be going to and using psychological methods to engage with those populations. At the same time, we have close ethnographic research going on. A project based . . . . I should say all of the information on these projects and all the other projects is available on our website.

CC: Which is?

LL: The easiest URL is understanding-unbelief.net. It also lives with the University of Kent system, but you can find it there. And no doubt it will be available on the podcast website. (25:00) I say that, because there are so many projects, and they’re very exciting and so much worth looking at

CC: Yes, we could spend an hour talking about each one.

LL: Yes. But, to just to give a sense of the kind of contrast, there’s an ethnographic project that’s looking at magical thinking in two different European settings and working very closely, very much exploring kind-of unbelief: people who are cast as and cast themselves as unbelievers. And they’re working with a very typical population of rationalist thinkers. But looking at things we might identify, and they, as anthropologists, are used to identifying as magical thinking within those populations. So between those very broad quantitative studies, and those very detailed and nuanced qualitative studies, we’re hoping . . . we’re not going to be able to map the world of unbelievers, but we’re hoping to be able to join a lot of dots and get a much, much broader picture of . . . . How are they described? Is it the fourth-largest faith group in the world? The non-religious, or people who don’t affiliate with a religion are the third-largest religion, and unbelievers are the fourth-largest faith group. To put it somewhat crudely.

CC: Right.

LL: So there’s a lot to learn. And we hope to learn something about that group.

CC: Excellent. And listeners can keep an eye on that website over the coming couple of years. So when’s the project wrapping up? It’s 2019, isn’t it?

LL: Yes. I think it officially ends in late 2019, but there’ll be activity ongoing I would think – with a sense of all these different projects and work coming through from that – for the longer term, I would think.

CC: Absolutely. We’re already coming up to sort-of the end of our time. I’m going to ask you a question now that I didn’t prep you with, so feel free if I have to rewind. But we were saying, before we started recording, that there’s maybe a sort of dearth of female voices speaking in this area and researching in this area. So I just wondered if you have any comments on that. A final thought as a sort-of leading light in this area?

LL: A topical theme in societies more broadly. No, that’s a good thing to focus on. A good question, thank you. Yes, in the last project I was involved with – the Scientific Study of Non-Religious Belief- we had a series of blogs on methods, one of which focuses on gender and talks about a concern, in the study of non-religion and atheism, about the way in which both that field is gendered and the study of that area is gendered. Partly this comes down to kind of quite interesting feedback loops. So, for example, we have studies that show that the language of atheism is slightly more popular with men than it is with women. And that’s reflected in research. So I am a woman. And I quickly said, “I don’t like atheism, that’s not my main framework – I prefer non-religion.” And that’s typical, actually, of quite a lot of researchers, to slightly generalise. But there is a kind of way of engaging with very male dominated atheist cultures – like the New Atheism and so on – that interests men. And then other voices – really interesting work that prefers concepts like non-religion or secularity, or secularism, and so on – that’s sort-of been lost a bit. I’ve noticed that happening. And there are several collections that are very male-dominated. And as much as this is not distinctive to our field, there is, as I say, a sort of relationship between what we’re studying and how we study it that is specific to our field. And actually, that sort-of brings us back to the topic of agnosticism. So we, in my field, are very generally acquainted – and so are sociologists of religion – with the idea that religious people are more likely to be women, and non-religious people are more likely to be men. So wherever you’re coming from, this gendered phenomenon is known. It shouldn’t be overstated, but it is marked. And it’s interesting, within the non-religious field, if you break that down between people who have strong atheistic beliefs and have sort-of strong agnostic beliefs, then the gender profile looks quite different. And the agnostics are more female overall and atheists are more male. So again, there’s that concern that gender may be a factor in what we’re researching, what we’re choosing to research, and what’s being neglected. In the UK the agnostics are a larger group than the atheists. Why haven’t we looked at them? (30:00) Part of the answer to that question is about gender, and it’s by no means the whole answer to that question, but I think it’s an element – or something we should at least be exploring and concerned about. I’m really thrilled, actually, that we have so many research teams on the Understanding Unbelief programme and it is a very gender-balanced set of researchers. And because of the way in which our own perspective shapes the questions we ask and how we look at them, and so on, I think that’s a very good sign for the work we’ll . . . what we’ll learn through the programme. But I do think it’s an interesting topic for us to reflect upon. As I say, there’s an NSRN blog that’s been written on it and I think there’s scope for a bit more work around reflecting on . . . . It’s sort of the other side of the coin of the focus on the study of elites – even within particular cultural settings – is thinking about who’s researching them. And that very much relates to broader questions in academia at the moment about non-elite voices having space to be heard. And the perspectives we might be missing. You know, I think it’s a question of good and bad science in those kinds of terms. Because we will find out new things if we include a broader range of perspectives. This we know. This we know. So yes, I think that would be a good thing for us to be reflecting on as field, going forward into the next phase. I can’t remember if we’re reflecting on the last 5 years or the last 10 years, but . . . looking forward anyway!

CC: Well, reflecting on a lot, anyway! Good. And hopefully the Understanding Unbelief programme will contribute a lot to that as well. So, we’re out of time, Lois. But it’s been wonderful to speak to you.

LL: And you.

CC: And I’m sure the listeners will come back in another 5 years and we’ll see where the conversation is next time. Alright.

LL: (Laughs).

Citation Info: Lee, Lois, and Christopher Cotter. 2018. “From Non-Religion to Unbelief? A Developing Field”, The Religious Studies Project (Podcast Transcript). 26 February 2018. Transcribed by Helen Bradstock. Version 1.1, 23 February 2018. Available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/from-non-religion-to-unbelief-a-developing-field/

All transcriptions for THE RELIGIOUS STUDIES PROJECT are currently produced by volunteers. If you spot any errors in this transcription, please let us know at editors@religiousstudiesproject.com. If you would be willing to help with these efforts, or know of any sources of funding for the broader transcription project, please get in touch. Thanks for reading.

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September 8–11, 2016

Oxford, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2016

More information

Public Religions and Their Secrets, Secret Religions and Their Publics

October 27–28, 2016

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Deadline: April 1, 2016

More information: Conference, Master Class

CHAOS-symposium: Religion og materialitet

April 29–30, 2016

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: March 1, 2016

More information (Norwegian)

AAR panel: Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group

November 19–22, 2016

San Antonio, TX, USA

Deadline: March 1, 2016

More information

AAR panel: Religion, Media, and Culture Group

Deadline: March 1, 2016

November 19–22, 2016

San Antonio, TX, USA

More information

Events

Religious Diversity and Cultural Change in Scotland: Modern Perspectives

April 19, 2016

University of Edinburgh, UK

More information

Les Politiques du Blasphème: Perspectives Comparées

March 7, 2016

Paris, France

More information

Postgraduate Workshop on the Materiality of Divine Agency in the Graeco-Roman World

August 29–September 2, 2016

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: May 31, 2016

More information

Open Access

Open Theology: Cognitive Science of Religion

Available here

Jobs and funding

Postdoctoral teaching fellowship

Kenyon College, OH, USA

Deadline: March 25, 2016

More information

Lecturer in Hebrew

University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Deadline: April 30, 2016

More information

University Lectureship in Anthropology and Islamic Studies

Leiden University, The Netherlands

Deadline: May 18, 2016

More information

Editor: Shambhala and Snow Lion Publications

Boulder, CO, USA

Deadline: May 17, 2016

More information

Assistant professor of Religious Studies

Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Deadline: March 11, 2016

More information

Instructor in Religion and Culture

Virginia Tech, VA, USA

Deadline: March 14, 2016

More information

AAR-Luce Fellowships in Religion and International Affairs

Deadline: March 31, 2016

DC, USA

More information

Dean of Graduate Jewish Studies

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Deadline: May 22, 2016

More information

Postdoctoral Fellow in Judaic Studies

Virginia Tech, VA, USA

March 14, 2016

More information

Funding

CSA Research Fellowship

Deadline: March 1, 2016

More information

Two fully funded PhD positions, one Postdoctoral position in the Study of Religions

Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: “Hidden galleries” in the secret police archives in 20th Century Central and Eastern Europe

University College Cork, Ireland

Deadline: April 22, 2016

More information: PhDs, Postdoc

 

Teaching and Learning in Contemporary Religious Studies

As we career forward into the twenty-first century, in a context where more and more students have access to higher education, where technology advances at an exponential rate, and where the logics of neoliberalism and management seemingly creep further into every aspect of everyday life, critical reflection about the role of academics in teaching has never been more necessary. In this our first podcast of 2016, Chris was joined by Dr Dominic Corrywright of Oxford Brookes University in the UK, to discuss current developments in higher education pedagogy, the challenges and opportunities that these present for Religious Studies, and some practical examples from Dominic’s own experience.

Dominic Corrywright is Principal Lecturer for Quality Assurance, Enhancement and Validations, and Course Coordinator for Religion and Theology at Oxford Brookes. Alongside other research interests, including alternative spiritualities and new religious movements, Dominic has a strong research focus on teaching and learning in higher education, and pedagogy in the study of religions. He is Teaching & Learning representative on the executive committees of both the Particularly relevant publications include a co-edited issue of the BASR’s journal DIskus on Teaching and Learning in 2013, including his own article Landscape of Learning and Teaching in Religion and Theology: Perspectives and Mechanisms for Complex Learning, Programme Health and Pedagogical Well-being, and a chapter entitled Complex Learning and the World Religions Paradigm: Teaching Religion in a Shifting Subject Landscape, in a certain forthcoming volume edited by the RSP’s Christopher Cotter and David Robertson.

Listeners might also be interested in our previous interview with Doe Daughtrey on Teaching Religious Studies Online. 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, ink cartridges, My Little Ponies, and more!

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 15 December 2015

Calls for papers

EASR panel: Religion and youth culture

June 28–July 1, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

Deadline: December 31, 2015

More information

EASR panel: “Boring, detached, heap of facts – and disregarding the really important questions”? – Outsider representations of the academic Study of Religions

January 28–29, 2016

Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Deadline: December 18, 2015

More information

EASR panel: Thinking pluralism

June 28–July 1, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

Deadline: December 31, 2015

More information

EASR panel: Hindu pilgrimage and tourism

June 28–July 1, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

Deadline: December 31, 2015

More information

The Gender of Apocalypse: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

January 28–29, 2016

Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Deadline: December 18, 2015

More information

Pew Research Center: Advancing the Demographic Study of Religion

March 30, 2016

Washington, DC, USA

Deadline: February 1, 2016

More information

Events

SOCREL: Religion and the Media

January 20, 2016

London, UK

More information

Jobs and funding

CREST research program

Lancaster University and others, UK

Deadline: February 5, 2015

More information

Visiting Assistant Professor of South Asian Religions

Oberlin College, OH, USA

Deadline: February 1, 2016

More information

PhD fellow: Ancient History of Religion

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: January 15, 2016

More information

PhD Scholarships: Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science

University of Leeds, UK

Deadline: February 5, 2016

More information

Jameel Scholarships

Cardiff University, UK

Deadline: January 29, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 18 November 2014

Welcome to the RSP opportunities digest!

This week’s digest is packed! Make sure you take the time to scroll through all of it!

We would also like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who submit calls for papers, information on conferences, events, jobs, networks, grants, and funding.

As per usual:

  • If you have material you would like to see in next week’s digest, or at some point in the future, please send an e-mail tooppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com
  • If you would like to contact us for any other reason, please use our contact page.
  • Please note that RSP is not responsible for any of the content presented below.
  • If you have questions regarding any of the opportunities listed, please contact the respective organizers directly.

Calls for papers

Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity

August 24–28, 2015

York St John University, UK

Deadline: N/A

More information

The Power of the Word International Conference IV

June 17–20, 2015

Pontifical University of St Anselm, Italy

Deadline (extended): November 30, 2014

More information

Beyond ‘Gays in the Church’: New Approaches to the Histories of Christianity  and Same-Sex Desire

September 25–26, 2015

London, UK

Deadline: January 1, 2015

More information (pdf)

IV International scientific and practical conference: Religion and/or Everyday Life

April 16–18, 2015

Minsk, Belarus

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information (pdf, English, Russian)

European Conference on Ethics, Religion and Philosophy

July 6–8, 2015

Brighton, UK

Deadline: March 1, 2015

More information

Sociology of Religion: Foundations and Futures

July 7–9, 2015

Kingston University London, UK

Deadline: December 1, 2014

More information (scroll down a bit)

James Legge Conference: Missions to China and the Origins of Sinology

11-13 June 2015

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2015

More information (pdf)

7th Israeli Conference for the Study of Contemporary Religion and Spirituality

May 3–4, 2015

Tel Aviv University, Israel

Deadline: November 30, 2014

More information

ISSR panel: Bodily Dimension, Experience, and Ethnographic Research

July 2–5, 2015

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

ISSR panel: Rethinking Spirituality through Gender and Youth

Repenser la spiritualité à travers le genre et la jeunesse

July 2–5, 2015

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conferences and events

Inform seminar: Innovation, violence and paralysis: how do minority religions cope with uncertainty?

February 7, 2015

London School of Economics, UK

More information (pdf)

Banal, benign or pernicious? The relationship between religion and national identity from the perspective of religious minorities in Greece

November 25, 2014

European Institute, UK

More information (pdf)

Networks

Research School on Peace and Conflict

University of Oslo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Peace Research Institute Oslo

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information

Grants, awards, funding

Doctoral scholarship competition: Unitarianism

The Hibbert Trust

More information (pdf)

Funding for postgraduate teachers training

Department for Education, UK

More information

Jobs

(Up to) 18 fully funded PhD scholarships in Theology and Religious Studies

University of Leeds, UK

Deadline: February 2, 2015

More information

Fellowships at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg:  “Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe”

Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

Deadline: March 15, 2015

More information

AHRC Doctoral Studentships

University of Aberdeen, UK

Deadline: January 12, 2015

More information

PhD Research Fellowships: Theology of Mission and Religious Studies: “Cracks and In-Betweens”

The MHS School of MIssion and Theology, Norway

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

Studentships: Image and Representation in Religion in England and Wales, 1700 to 1900

Oxford Brookes University, UK

Deadline: November 24, 2014

More information (pdf)

wordle

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 7 February 2014

wordleWelcome to the sixth RSP Opportunities Digest for 2014. As ever, please remember that we are not responsible for any content contained herein unless it is directly related to the RSP. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page. If you are enquiring about any of the opportunities listed below, please contact the organizers directly.

To skip to specific content within this digest, please use the table of contents to the right of your screen. This digest has been significantly pared down to basic details and web links. We hope this meets with your approval.

Those supplying calls for papers etc. must provide a link to external information, or a pdf containing the relevant information, otherwise we will not be able to include these in the digest.

Exhibition – Edinburgh Jews

Opens on Tuesday, June 4th 2013, at New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, and runs until Friday, April 4th 2014. Open to the public Monday to Friday, from 9 AM to 5 PM. 

http://jewishstudies.div.ed.ac.uk/exhibition/

Studentships

Religion Knowledge – Discourse

Structured Doctoral Programme: Religion Knowledge – Discourse

http://zope.theologie.hu-berlin.de/phd-rkd

Christian and Jewish Religious Conversions

Faculty of Humanities, School of History, and Department for Middle Eastern History, University of Haifa

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=210238

Calls for Papers

Human-Animal Relationships in Religious Traditions

Dept. of Comparative Religion, University of Bonn, Germany.

25-27 September 2014. Deadline March 31 2014.

More information in the attached pdf.

Paul Tillich: Theology and Legacy

A conference in Oxford engaging with Tillich’s work. 14th-15th July 2014.

Deadline for Abstracts: 14 February 2014.

http://tillichoxford2014.wordpress.com

(Mis-)Representing Cultures and Objects

(Mis-)Representing Cultures and Objects: Critical Approaches to Museological Collections

University of Stirling, 16 May 2014.

Deadline for applications: 7 February 2014

http://misrepresentingcultures.wordpress.com/

Abraham’s Trials: Obedience and Rebellion

18-19 December 2014, University of Antwerp.

http://www.uantwerpen.be/ijs

AAR Indigenous Religious Traditions Group

American Academy of Religion, San Diego, 22-25 November 2014.

Deadline 3rd March 2014.

http://papers.aarweb.org/content/indigenous-religious-traditions-group

Disability in Jewish Thought and Culture

Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of

the blind: Disability in Jewish Thought and Culture

http://www.uantwerp.be/en/rg/ijs/lectures-and-conferences/conferences-2013—2/disability-in-jewish/

Gender, Religion and the Atlantic World

Newcastle University, May 15, 2014

http://genderreligionatlantic.wordpress.com/

Religion & Crisis

BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Annual Conference 2014

Wednesday 2 – Friday 4 July 2014, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Deadline extended to 17 February 2014.

http://www.socrel.org.uk

Wandering Myths

Wandering Myths: Transcultural Uses of Myth in the Ancient World

Somerville College, University of Oxford,14-16 April 2014

http://www.classics.ox.ac.uk/Wandering-Myths.html

Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=210435

Jobs

Research Associate – Islamic Studies

The University of Cambridge, Centre of Islamic Studies. Start date no later than October 2014. Two-year, fixed-term position. The successful candidate will design and conduct original research into Islam or Muslims in the UK or Europe.

Deadline 5pm, 3 March 2014.

Contact: Professor Yasir Suleiman, Centre of Islamic Studies, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA, cis@cis.cam.ac.uk

4 Jobs at the University of Copenhagen

Associate Professor in Hebrew and Modern Israel

Associate Professor in Migration Studies

Associate Professor in the History of Religions (1)

Associate Professor in the History of Religions (2)

Study on researchers post-PhD

The AHRC and British Academy are supporting a study to understand the issues faced by individuals in the period immediately following the award of their doctorate. Part of the study is a survey for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) asking them about their experiences. See here for the survey and more information:

http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/News-and-Events/News/Pages/AHRC-and-British-Academy-Post-PhD-Study.aspx

Islamic Studies Pedagogy in Britain

Islamic Studies Pedagogy in Britain: Interrogating the Secular and the Sacred

4th March 2014, Multi-faith Centre, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB

http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/=events/detail/2014/Seminars/AH/GEN905_University_of_Derby

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 10 January 2014

wordleWelcome to the second RSP Opportunities Digest for 2014. As ever, please remember that we are not responsible for any content contained herein unless it is directly related to the RSP. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page. If you are enquiring about any of the opportunities listed below, please contact the organizers directly.

To skip to specific content within this digest, please use the table of contents to the right of your screen. This week there were SO MANY calls for papers that these have been omitted from the contents listing. New Year/New Problems.

RSP Recruiting Assistant Editor

As part of our restructuring process, we are currently looking to add a new assistant editor to our team. This individual – or, potentially, these individuals – will be responsible for producing and promoting these very opportunities digests. The ‘Opps Digest’ is one of the essential services that we provide through the RSP and requires a little bit of work on a weekly basis. Essentially, we have an email account – oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com – which can be signed up to a variety of relevant mailing lists. In addition, others from within the team and from outside occasionally send through relevant job adverts, conference announcements, CfPs etc. to this address. The Opps Digest Editor simply needs to collate relevant material from these emails once a week, and place them into a post for the website, whilst also actively sourcing new sources of information. Louise and Chris, who have previously filled this role, will be able to liaise with the successful applicant\s on how they have done this up until now, but there is plenty of room for innovation.

The successful applicant should:

  • Be involved – whether as a student (of any level) or a professional academic – within the academic study of religion (broadly conceived)
  • Have a basic familiarity with WordPess\other blogging packages, in addition to general computing and social media skills.
  • Be a reliable and independent worker. It is essential that these digests are produced to a schedule every week, although the scheduled day can be negotiated. Other members of the team can cover the occasional week, but this must be arranged well in advance.
  • Be able to commit around one hour per week for the majority of the year to this role.

At this stage, and as will all positions on the RSP editorial team, this role will be for an initial period of one year – 2014 – after which there will be the opportunity to change roles/extend commitment as appropriate. Given our current financial situation, we are unable to offer any financial incentive to the successful applicant/s. However, we hope that the chance to be involved in what is arguably the primary hub for Religious Studies online, and the opportunities which accompany this, will be incentive enough.

If you are interested in this position, please send an academic CV and a brief note of interest detailing your suitability for the role to David and Chris at  editors@religiousstudiesproject.com by 31 January 2014.

Calls for Papers

Religion in the Public Domain

European Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Research Network Bi-annual Conference

3-5 September 2014 in Belfast.

Conference Theme – Religion in the Public Domain

In long-standing theories about secularization it is generally held that the social and public significance of religion has declined in most Western countries. Religion is conceived as privatized, individualized and de-institutionalized. But has religion truly become a privatized phenomenon? Increasingly, it is argued in academia that the separation between state and church in Western countries is less stable than assumed: state policy is often biased towards particular religious traditions while even the French installment of laicité may be understood as a civic religion (e.g., Casanova). In general, we are witnessing a re-emergence of religion in the public domain. Religion has a new position in the public sphere, struggling for recognition alongside other groups. Empirical studies demonstrate the sustaining influence of religion on voting in ‘secular’ countries, an open attitude towards religious-spiritual beliefs and practices in business organizations and the production and consumption of religious symbols and images in popular culture. The role of media is pivotal here: it has made new forms of power emerge, but also simultaneously opened the way for activist practices aimed at visibility. So on the one hand, television, radio and newspapers socially construct the public-political discourse on Muslims, the alleged dangers of Islam and religious-ethical issues concerning circumcision, vaccinations, abortion and ritual slaughter. On the other hand, in the struggle for recognition and visibility, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hinduists, new religious movements, and spiritual groups, appropriate the internet and (social) media as public platforms to debate the role of religion, to strengthen social cohesion and to reach out to the general public.

This return of religion in the public domain is also a socially, politically, legally and morally contested issue. In a ‘post-secular’ society, Jurgen Habermas argued, religious groups, organizations and individuals should be included within the public sphere in the civic debate about the problems of modernity, i.e., individualism, excessive consumption and the loss of moral values. Claims like these – made in academia, politics or culture – activate secular groups like the ‘new atheists’ to revitalize ‘rationalist’ values of the Enlightenment and take on a fundamentalist position on the subject. Social conflicts are increasingly religious conflicts (e.g., Calhoun). Theoretically, developments such as these invoke substantial doubt about modern distinctions between the public and the private, the secular and religious and the profane and the sacred. They invite research on the (historical) formation of such categories – in the social sciences and modern cultures alike – and its relation to social conflict and cultural power (e.g., Assad).

Against this background, the ESA Research Network Sociology of Religion calls for papers on ‘Religion in the Public Domain’ for the mid-term conference in Belfast. Particularly papers are welcomed that discuss the following topics:

  • Studies focusing on the modern separation of state and church, the formation of the religious and the secular and the public and the private domain in European countries and beyond.
  • Studies discussing the social significance of religion and its re-emergence in the institutional and public domain, i.e., the role of Islamic, Christian or spiritual beliefs, practices and experiences in politics, voting, banking, business life etc.
  • Studies focusing on the role of religious-spiritual narratives in popular culture, i.e., their meanings, commercial and commodified manifestations in books, music, film, computer games, advertising, marketing and branding.
  • Studies discussing the role of the media, i.e., the way religion is framed at television, radio and in newspapers, and the appropriation and use of (social) media by religious individuals, groups and organization.
  • Studies focusing on social conflicts between secular and religious groups and public debates about Islam, i.e., about integration, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, women’s rights, headscarves, abortion etc.
  • Studies focusing on the public value of the sociology of religion, including studies on religion and politics, religion and the welfare state, religion and human security in ‘failed’ states, and the significance of the study of religion to policy makers and grassroots activists.
  • These topics are rough guidelines; papers dealing with Religion in the Public Domain beyond other than these outlined above are also very welcome. Furthermore we invite PhD and post-doc candidates to contribute to a poster session, including work in progress; the best poster will get a small, but nice prize.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Dates & Deadlines in 2014

March 14 Submission of abstracts and online registration starts (Please email your abstracts, both in the text of the email and as a Word attachment, to belfast2014@esareligion.org. Abstracts can be submitted both for papers and the postgraduate posters and should not exceed 250 words.)

  • April 18 Submission of abstracts ends
  • May 9 Acceptance of abstracts
  • June 30 Early-bird registration ends
  • September 3 – 5 Conference

Contact: belfast2014@esareligion.org

The Marriage of Heaven and Earth

Conference on The Marriage of Heaven and Earth: Images and Representations of the Sky in Sacred Space

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture,

School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology

Annual Sophia Centre Conference

Second Call for Papers

28-29 June 2014

Venue: Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Bath, England

Keynote Speakers:

  • Juan Antonio Belmonte (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Tenerife, Spain), ‘Cosmic landscapes in ancient Egypt: a diachronic perspective’.
  • Kim Malville (Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado), ‘The Parallelism of Heaven and Earth in Andean Cultures’
  • Nicholas Campion (School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David), ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Earth in Twentieth-Century Art: Mysticism, Magic and Astronomy in Surrealism’

Conference Theme

All human cultures have both identified the sacred in the landscape, and created structures which embody the sacred. In many cases these sacred spaces are related to the stars, planets and sky. This academic conference will consider the construction, creation and representation of the sky in sacred space.

Proposals are invited for 30 minute papers, addressing the conference title, which may feature studies of the relationship between the sky and the land, built environment, and material culture in any culture and time period, from ancient to modern, and may range from theory to practice, to architecture, artefacts, ritual, text, literature, film, iconography and the visual arts.

We welcome submissions from across the humanities and social sciences, in history, anthropology, archaeology, the history of art, philosophy and study of religions.

Likely topics may include astronomical symbolism in art and architecture, material representations of the zodiac, stars or planets and celestial iconography.

The Proceedings will be published by the Sophia Centre Press.

Please send an abstract of 100-200 words and a biography of 50-100 words to Dr Nicholas Campion, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, n.campion@tsd.ac.uk

Deadline (please note extension) for applications to speak: 30 January 2014

The Programme will be confirmed by 15 February 2014

RGS-IBG Annual Conference

Session: Witchcraft, spiritual beliefs, and the co-production of development knowledges and practices in the Majority World

*Call for papers: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014: *London, 26th–29th August 2014

Convenor: Tom Smith, Department of Geography, The University of

Sheffield, t.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

Sponsored by the Developing Areas Research Group (DARG)

Session Abstract:

Traditionally a domain of anthropological study, witchcraft, occult and spiritual practices in the Majority World have received considerably less attention from geographers. Yet the continued importance of these knowledges and practices in Africa and elsewhere prompts this session to call for discussion over their contemporary role in the co-production of development knowledges and practices.

Whilst there has been some influential work on the history of magic and occult thinking in early geographical/scientific thought (Livingstone 1990; Matless 1991), and the embodied practices of witchcraft in the Minority World (Rountree 2002), much less consideration has been offered from the realms of Development Geographies (broadly defined) to the intersections between witchcraft, occult practices, and spiritual beliefs with development in the Majority World. Yet these themes seem ripe for discussion, particularly concerning the nature of rationality, or rationalities, being applied to contemporary development agendas at a range of geographic scales. Whilst current thinking on local knowledges fordevelopment and local participation in development have done away with privileging knowledges and technologies from the Minority World, a focus on witchcraft and the occult, and its role in development practice, might ask more fundamental questions about the kinds of rationalities, moralities and ethics being applied to development agendas and goals. In Africa, witchcraft and magical practices have not receded under the variegated forms of development which have and continue to operate across a range of national contexts (Kohnert 1996; Luongo 2010). This should prompt us to consider: What role does witchcraft and spiritual belief play in contemporary forms of development practice and knowledge at a range of scales? How do such practices and beliefs intersect with the current participatory/local knowledges agenda? Do witchcraft and spiritual beliefs contribute to the co-production of development knowledges and imaginaries, both locally and nationally?

This session invites contributions which discuss how witchcraft, occult practices, and spiritual beliefs intersect with the geographies of development at a range of scales and contexts. This might include the relationship between such practices and environmental management, education, rural and urban livelihoods, healthcare and medicine, law, community organisation, among others, whilst broader theoretical, conceptual and methodological reflections are also encouraged. I would also like to invite those from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds to

participate.

Please email proposals (title, 250 word abstract) and/or questions to: t.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

Deadline for abstracts: 3rd February 2014

References:

  • Kohnert, D. (1996) Magic and witchcraft: implications for democratisation and poverty-alleviating aid in Africa, *World Development* 24(8), 1347-1355.
  • Livingstone, D. N. (1990) Geography, tradition and the scientific revolution: an interpretive essay, *Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers* NS: 15(3), 359-373.
  • Luongo, K. (2010) Polling places and “slow punctured provocation”: occult-driven cases in postcolonial Kenya’s High Courts, *Journal of East African Studies* 4(3), 577-591.
  • Matless, D. (1991) Nature, the modern and the mystic: tales from early twentieth century geography, *Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers* NS: 16(3), 272-286.
  • Rountree, K. (2002) How magic works: New Zealand feminist witches’ theories of ritual action, *Anthropology of consciousness* 13(1), 42-59.
Special Session: The Politics and Poetics of Managing Tourism in Sacred Cities

Amos S. Ron – Ashkelon Academic College, Israel

Daniel H. Olsen – Brandon University, Canada

26 to 29 August 2014, at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London

Sacred cities are one of the oldest and most prevalent forms of urban organization and can be found in several cultures and locations throughout human history. Cities such as Varanasi, Lourdes, Mecca, Lalibela and Jerusalem have long attracted pilgrims, merchants, and other tourists. However, although there has been much written on sacred cities from various disciplines, such as comparative religion (e.g. Diana Eck on Varanasi), history (e.g. Ruth Harris on Lourdes) and anthropology (e.g. Abdellah Hammoudi on Mecca), very little has been written by geographers and tourism scholars. Furthermore, in studies on sacred cities the focus has been descriptive and case study-oriented with little focus on the management of pilgrimage and other forms of tourism.

This session therefore aims to bring together a range of papers that examine sacred cities from various theoretical, methodological and practical perspectives, in different historical, cultural and geographical contexts with a focus on tourism management. Submissions can be case study oriented, comparative or conceptual, and may address, but are not be limited to, the following areas:

  • The history of sacred site management
  • Challenges, problems and solutions in management of sacred destinations
  • Modern mass tourism to ancient sacred cities
  • Modernity, technology and visiting the sacred
  • Contested spaces in sacred cities
  • Sustainable development of sacred cities
  • Commodification in sacred cities
  • The resilience of sacred cities
  • The shared characteristics of sacred cities
  • Patterns of globalization in sacred cities
  • Spatial patterns of beggars and begging in sacred cities

Abstracts (max. 250 words) should be submitted by Sunday 23 February, 2014. For more details, and to submit an abstract, please contact:

Dr. Amos S. Ron, Department of Tourism and Leisure Studies, Ashkelon Academic College, Ashkelon, Israel: amosron@gmail.com

Dr. Daniel H. Olsen, Department of Geography, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada: olsend@brandonu.ca

Demography–Multiculturalism–Citizenship

International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania, 7th Annual

Academic Conference, April 4-5, 2014

Date: 2014-04-04

Description: Migration continues to radically rearrange the makeup

of populations all over the world. Migrants are often very

different than native populationsin language, religion and

culture. The Baltic region and Eastern Europe, as well as

Europe more generally, struggle with the effects of demographic

transf …

Contact: jdmininger@lcc.lt

URL: www.lcc.lt/academic-conference/

Announcement ID: 209105

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=209105

Society of Biblical Literature

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature will be held November 22-25 in San Diego, CA. Members wishing to present papers should submit proposals on the SBL website at http://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/AnnualMeeting.aspx by March 5th, 2014.

The SBL Blogger and Online Publication section invites proposals for papers for its 2014 annual meeting session. The open session calls for papers focusing on any area of blogging, online publication, and social media in relation to biblical studies, theology, and archaeology of the Levant. Proposals which relate to the different types of online presence scholars maintain, and different approaches to blogging (self-hosted vs. large multi-blog hubs, frequent vs. occasional, highly focused and purely scholarly vs. diverse and sometimes frivolous), are especially welcome.

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Dr. James F. McGrath, Butler University, Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, 4600 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46208, or email jfmcgrat@butler.edu.

Buddhism and Healing

University of Leeds 1-2nd July 2014

Call for Papers – Postgraduate Panel

This is the first call for graduate student papers for the Postgraduate panel at the next UKABS two-day conference at the University of Leeds, 1-2nd July 2014. As part of the conference, which has drawn a number of high-profile international speakers, there will be an opportunity for a select number of graduate students to present short papers on their research. Note that you do not need to present a polished final version of your work. If you are not yet at an advanced stage, you can present your current ideas and plans, with a view to gaining some feedback from more established Buddhist Studies scholars – a fantastic opportunity for graduate students. Your paper does not need to follow the theme of the conference. Conference attendance and reasonable travel costs will be funded.

To apply, please send an abstract and a statement of your university affiliation and stage of studies, to reach me by 28th March 2014. Could academic staff please inform your students of this, and encourage those who are interested to submit an abstract.

Caroline Starkey (c.starkey@leeds.ac.uk) Post-Graduate Representative, UKABS Committee.

ISASR Conference

Third annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR)

In collaboration with Queen’s University, Belfast, Fri-Sat 23rd-24th May 2014.

Conference theme: ‘Religion and Remembering’

Cross-Disciplinary Conference

We are pleased to invite scholars to take part in the third annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR). For information on ISASR see http://isasr.wordpress.com/. The conference will take place from the morning of Friday May 23rd to lunchtime on Saturday May 24th, 2014 in collaboration with Queen’s University, Belfast. The conference is open to scholars of all disciplines that approach religions, both past and present, from a non-confessional, critical, analytical and cross-cultural perspective.

As usual with ISASR conferences, proposals for papers are not restricted to the conference theme ‘Religion and Remembering’ but may focus on any other aspect of the Society’s work in the history, anthropology, folklore and sociology of religion in Ireland or among the Irish diaspora, or may represent the work of Irish-based researchers on topics in the academic study of religions anywhere else in the world. For this Belfast-based conference we very warmly welcome also contributions from members of BASR on any topic in the academic study of religions.

Memory studies has become one of the most popular research areas in the humanities and social sciences producing a vast number of studies examining how nations, communities and cultures remember, re-construct or indeed forget the past. The theme of the conference encourages paper proposals across disciplines, being open to topics including (but not restricted to) remembering in the form of rituals, public commemorations, anniversaries, festivals, bodily practices, physical objects and places or in the form of orality, literacy, narratives and language.

Please send a 150-200 word abstract for papers to Dr Jennifer Butler (j.butler@ucc.ie) by the closing date of Friday 7th March 2014. Notification of abstract acceptance will be given by Friday 28th March, 2014.

For those wishing to reserve accommodation in advance (recommended), the conference location is the Queens Quarter of Belfast (among several streets beginning ‘University…’). Nearby hotels include Holiday Inn Express and Hotel Ibis Queens Quarter and there is plenty of budget accommodation in the area.

Further information on the ISASR Conference 2014 will be posted at: http://isasr.wordpress.com/

IAHR World Congress

XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religion

http://www.iahr2015.org

The XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) will take place August 23 to 29, 2015 in Erfurt, Germany. The Congress will address Dynamics of Religion: Past and Present. We now invite contributors to submit Panel Proposals addressing the topic in any of the areas outlined below. 

Religion is a human, historical, social and cultural phenomenon. As such, religious ideas, practices, discourses, institutions, and social expressions are constantly in processes of change. The Congress will address the processes of change, the dynamics of religions past, present, and future, on several interconnected levels of analysis and theory, namely that of the individual, community and society, practices and discourses, beliefs, and narrations.

These will be addressed within four areas:

  • Religious communities in society: Adaptation and transformation
  • Practices and discourses: Innovation and tradition
  • The individual: Religiosity, spiritualities and individualization
  • Methodology: Representations and interpretations

We invite contributions from all disciplines of religious studies and related fields of research to allow for broad, interdisciplinary discussion of the Congress topic to register their panels for the XXI World Congress of the IAHR.

Each panel lasts two hours. Panel papers should be limited to 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of panel participants. Panel conveners are asked to approach possible participants from different nations to reflect the scope and internationality of the IAHR Congress.

To propose a panel, please submit a general proposal of the panel as well as individual proposals of all papers included in the panel. Both panel and papers of a proposed panel will be evaluated by the Academic Program Committee to ensure a high academic standard of the Congress program. We therefore ask panel conveners to submit the proposals of all prospective panel participants of a proposed panel as indicated by the submission form. Proposals of panels and of papers should not exceed 150 words.

The deadline for submission of proposals is Sunday, September 14, 2014. All proposals must be submitted electronically via the IAHR 2015 website (www.iahr2015.org). This site will be available for submissions from Sunday, September 1, 2013 through Sunday, September 14, 2014. As part of the submission process, you will be asked to indicate the area in which you would like your proposal considered. Your proposal will then be forwarded to the appropriate member of the Academic Program Committee.

You will receive notice concerning the status of your proposal as soon as possible and certainly before March 1, 2015. If your panel or paper has been accepted by the Academic Program Committee, please note that you will have to register as Congress participant before May 15, 2015 to be included in the Congress program.

Philosophy, Religion and Public Policy

A two-day conference at the University of Chester as part of the AHRC Philosophy and Religious Practices Research Network, 8th-9th April 2014.

http://philosophyreligion.wordpress.com/

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Clayton Crockett, University of Central Arkansas
  • Adam Dinham, Goldsmiths College, London
  • Elaine Graham, University of Chester

Call for Papers

Public policy, philosophy of religion and research on religion generally seem to live in their own separate bubbles without realising or even acknowledging the mutual benefit of dialogue etc. Hence, philosophers of religion (in both the continental and analytic traditions) have long been accused of distancing themselves from concrete religious practices. A key aim of the conference is thus potentially to reconnect philosophy with research on religion. We intend to investigate how philosophers and religious communities can communicate fruitfully, producing the kind of change outlined by Scott-Baumann, ‘Scepticism about philosophy [among faith communities] is replaced by a dialectical process of using philosophy to help people live together and look forward, alert to new possibilities.’

Public debate and policy often takes place at a superficial level that skirts and fights shy of the substantive issues underpinning conflict between religions and between religious and secular worldviews. The visibility of the New Atheist critique of religion is perhaps the most obvious example of this.

The rationale of this conference is then both to start bringing these three discourses into a mutually-beneficial dialogue, but also to model ways in which such a dialogue can and should be undertaken. To this end, we welcome papers in one of the following three areas of debate and research

Strand One: Economic and Political Regeneration

  • Case studies or thematic accounts of how philosophical and theological ideas and virtues (for example solidarity and discipline) speak into the post-2008 vacuum in European and US public life caused by the banking crash and subsequent global recession
  • The emergence of the postsecular as a potential vehicle for the rebalancing of public life in favour of (for example) the eudemonic alongside the hedonic, and virtuous alongside the utilitarian, common responsibilities alongside the rights of the individual, the sacred alongside the secular.
  • How public policy initiatives aimed at strengthening civil society through concepts such as the Third Way, Localism and most recently, the Big Society could be enhanced and/or critiqued by the application of insights praxes associated with Philosophy of Religion and world religions.
  • The use of themes and ideas from Philosophy of Religion and world religious traditions in developing strategic resources for the development of alternative discourses, imaginings and praxes towards more just and equitable ends and an expanded understanding of what it is to be human and live in a flourishing environment

Strand Two: Rethinking Philosophy of Religion

  • Need to make Philosophy of Religion more aware of diversity and complexity of religious practices
  • How incorporate greater variety of sociological, anthropological or ethnographical data into philosophising about religion?
  • Relation of philosophical analysis to faith, but also to methodologies in other fields concerned with religion. I.e. does analysis necessarily falsify religious thought?
  • More participative – how can Philosophy of Religion engage and ‘talk’ better to religious practitioners? What models for dialogue are there?
  • How capture impact that Philosophy of Religion can and should have on religious communities whilst maintaining critical questioning of the impact agenda?
  • How might work in philosophy open up thinking about research on lived religious practice?

Strand Three: Engaging the Public in Research on Religion

  • Improving the visibility of academic debate on religion and its relationship to philosophy
  • Improving and enhancing the quality of public debate
  • Ensuring that policy makers are aware of the core issues at stake in e.g. discrimination debates.
  • Bringing research to bear on religious discrimination cases and other zeitgeist-y public issues

Paper Proposals: Please submit abstracts of 250 words for 20 minute papers that will locate themselves in one of these three streams by 28th February 2014.

Panel Proposals: Proposals for complete panels will also be welcomed. Please send an abstract of no more than a side of A4 for a panel proposal 28th February 2014.

For Stream 1 please send proposals to Chris Baker at chris.baker@chester.ac.uk. For Stream 2 please send proposals to Daniel Whistler daniel.whistler@liverpool.ac.uk. For Stream 3 please send proposals to either Chris Baker or Daniel Whistler.

Registration

Registration Per Person: £40.00 for one day, £80.00 for two days (including lunch and tea and coffee, but excluding breakfast and dinner).

DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: March 28th 2014

Secure online registration is available at: http://storefront.chester.ac.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=288&zenid=5e1qjbugh1ig6t9g84q77nrir1

For any enquiries, please contact Carly McEvoy: c.mcevoy@chester.ac.uk +44 1244 511031

Please visit http://www.chester.ac.uk/find-us and click Riverside Campus for travel and location instructions

SIKH RESEARCH CONFERENCE

Research into Sikh studies is relatively young and is rapidly growing as a mainstream academic discipline. This annual conference aims to bring together academics, scholars and researchers and to encourage a spirit of collaboration within UK Sikh studies academia.

The conference aims to explore research and academic inquiry into various aspects of Sikh studies. The conference will provide an environment where academics, researchers and scholars can come together to pursue critical debate, discussion and inquiry into the many aspects of Sikh research in an open, constructive and collegiate manner.

The conference is being organised by Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, Harjinder Singh Lallie and Gurinder Singh Mann. Further details can be found on the Conference website:

www.sikhconference.com

Social Relations, Transformation and Trust

Friday 28th – Saturday 29th March

Centre for Social Relations, Coventry University

Both national and local communities have long been heterogeneous and therefore living with differences is not new. However, the scope, scale and pace of change in recent years are unprecedented. Over the last decades the UK have seen dramatic demographic shifts, e.g. in its ethnic composition, demographic and socio-economic distribution leading to an increasingly plural society.

By crossing disciplines, bridging and bringing together academia, policy makers and practitioners, this conference focuses on how societies cope with change, overcome inequality, and how resilience to negative impacts of change can be developed and harnessed through attention to social relations and trust as transformative agents.

We are inviting academics from social sciences and humanities as well as practitioners to present and discuss applied research, empirical studies and critical theoretical papers on the topics including, but not limited to:

  • Social relations and social cohesion: Living together in diverse and changing societies.
  • Trust processes and impact in organisations: The importance of trust in creating communities better prepared to deal with change.
  • Tensions within communities: Understanding the causes and consequences of tensions between and within local communities
  • Inter-group conflict and building peace: Processes contributing to inter-group conflict and building trust.

Knowledge Transfer: What do practitioners and policy makers need from academia? Generating real world impact.

Keynote Speakers Include:

  • Prof. Danny Dorling School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

Nature of the conference

As an applied research centre our work focuses not only on academic work leading to evidenced based recommendations for policy, but also on knowledge exchange with partnership organizations. This will be reflected in the conference programme. Next to focusing on current academic discussions this conference will facilitate opportunities for direct exchange between policy makers, practitioners and academics. To facilitate personal face to face interactions, fruitful exchange of knowledge and ideas, as well as vivid discussions, this conference will have a small number of parallel sessions per day and therefore a limited number of delegates presenting.

Submission Guidelines:

Abstract for individual papers should be no more than 250 words, not contain footnotes and be comprehensible to a non-specialist audience. Please submit by 31.1.2014 to:

socialrelations@coventry.ac.uk

Presentations will be grouped into thematic sessions of 90min – 2 hours length, with three or four papers per session (20 minutes per presentation plus 10 minutes discussion). Panel submissions to deepen discussion around one topic of interests are also welcome. If you would like to submit a panel, please submit:

  • Title of the panel including the name and affiliation of each speakers
  • Abstract for the panel
  • Abstract for each presentation

Proposals for alternative types of session (e.g. round-table or witness seminar) are strongly encouraged. Please discuss this with us in advance of the Call for Papers deadline. The Centre for Social Relations is committed to academic development and the showcasing of new ideas and thoughts, therefore submissions from early career researchers are particularly welcome and attendance may be subsidised.

For further information or questions please contact Dr. Carola Leicht, carola.leicht@coventry.ac.uk, or visit our centre’s webpage www.socialrelations.org.uk

Round Table Session, EASR 2014

“The Study of Religions and Religion in Secular Education”

at the EASR conference in Groningen on “Religion and Pluralities of Knowledge” (May 11-15, 2014) has been extended to Dezember 15, 2013:

The EASR working group on religion education (RE) in public schools and the academic study of religions was established in Bremen in 2007. One early outcome of this initiative was the NVMEN 2008 Special Issue on the same theme. We have since then had regular panel sessions on the academic study of religion and RE at all EASR conferences, and we now want to take stock of the work done, on the current state of affairs and new directions in research on RE from the perspective of the academic study of religions. What has been achieved, where are “we’, and where do we need and want to move in the years ahead. The round table session opens with a report by Wanda Alberts & Tim Jensen on the work done and the research areas so far covered. Following that, invited scholars on RE, scholars who have contributed to the work of the group will deliver brief statements, including their ideas for future directions and research. Apart from these invited speakers, we herewith invite other colleagues working in the field to send proposals for short papers (max 10 minutes) that reflect on the state of art and desiderata, also as regards collaborative future research and publications.

Please send proposals (of no more than 150 words) directly to the EASR RE Working Group organizers, Wanda Alberts <wanda.alberts@ithrw.uni-hannover.de>, and Tim Jensen <t.jensen@sdu.dk>.

For further information on the conference, please take a look at the conference website:

http://godsdienstwetenschap.nl/index.php?page=conference-2014

Conferences

Death in Scotland

Death in Scotland from the Medieval to the Modern: beliefs, attitudes and practices,

31st January 2014 – 2nd February 2014, New College, University of Edinburgh.

I would like to draw your attention to the forthcoming international conference on Scottish Death. Plenary speakers include:

  • Professor Jane Dawson (John Laing Professor of Reformation History, Edinburgh University) ‘With one foot in the grave’: death in life and life in death in Reformation Scotland
  • Professor Richard Fawcett (School of Art History, University of St Andrews) ‘The architectural setting of prayers for the dead in later medieval Scotland’
  • Dr Lizanne Henderson (Lecturer in History, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow) ‘Fairies, Angels and the Land of the Dead: Robert Kirk’s Lychnobious People’
  • Professor Sarah Tarlow (Director of the Centre for Historical Archaeology, University of Leicester) ‘Beliefs about bodies: contradictions and conundrums in Early Modern Scotland’

We have an amazing programme of 42 speakers (see the full list of speakers and the conference programme here: http://bit.ly/1foNO25) The conference contains several papers on sociological and religious analyses of death including:

  • Edward Small, University of Dundee, on the Influences of Scottish Funeral on the Church of Scotland
  • Lizzie Swarbrick, University of St Andrews, on Piety and the Dead in Scottish Late Medieval Ecclesiastical Art
  • Dr Lakhbir K. Jassal, University of Edinburgh, on The Politics of Death Care

Please can you forward the attached conference details to anyone you think might be interested. Conference costs are £27 for Friday, £55 for Saturday and £27 Sunday or £100 for the weekend and places can be booked via http://bit.ly/18LO5bm

For more information see https://www.facebook.com/deathinscotland

Beyond Consent and Dissent

Beyond Consent and Dissent: Women, Power and Religions in Modern Africa

Dates of Event: 17th January 2014 – 18th January 2014

Last Booking Date for this Event: 18th January 2014

Studies of gender and religion in Africa have been dominated by interpretations that view religious practice and adherence as a source of power for women, on the one hand, or as a mechanism of female subjugation, on the other hand. This interdisciplinary and comparative workshop proposes to both build upon and move beyond these polarities by investigating the practices and ideas linked to female religiosity in both Christianity and Islam that extended ‘beyond consent and dissent’.

Speakers will interrogate the significance of religious adherence for female subjectivity in ways that move beyond religion as a mechanism for engendering either subjugation and/or emancipation. A range of historians, anthropologists and religious studies scholars will address Muslim and Christian case-studies from regions including Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Niger – as well as further afield from the European world. We will also feature speakers who address how Christianity and Islam intersect in specific gendered religious practices (for example, the new ‘Chrislam’ movement in present-day Nigeria).

Booking and further details: http://onlinesales.admin.cam.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=124&catid=574&prodid=881

Inform Anniversary Conference

Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future

New Academic Building, London School of Economics, London

Friday 31 January – Sunday 2 February 2014

Inform is celebrating over a quarter of a century of providing information that is as reliable and up-to-date as possible about minority religions with an Anniversary Conference to be held at the London School of Economics, UK.

Registration for the full conference (including Friday Ashgate-Inform book launch and reception with refreshments, Saturday and Sunday tea/coffee/lunch) is £100 standard and £75 concession for students and unwaged. Tickets booked after January 6th will be £120 or £85.

We are offering single day registrations for £45, or £55 after January 6th.

Inform will also be hosting an Anniversary Dinner at Dicken’s Inn, St Katharine Dock, near the Tower of London on Saturday 1 February.

The cost, which is not included in the registration fee, of the three course set meal and coffee is £38.50. The menu for the dinner can be seen here. Dietary requirements can be catered for. Drinks are not included although there will be a cash bar. Booking and payment for the dinner must be done by January 6th and is non-refundable.

How to Pay: Registration for the conference and Saturday evening dinner can be completed online here, using a credit/debit card or through a PayPal account if you have one or by posting a completed booking form and cheque made out to Inform in pounds sterling and sent to ‘Inform, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE’

For more on the Ashgate-Inform book series, please visit the website www.ashgate.com/inform.

Studentships

Open University

AHRC PhD Studentships in Art History, Classical Studies, English (including Creative Writing), History, Music, Religious Studies and Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

AHRC CHASE PhD Studentships

circulation date : 12/12/2013

closing date : 31/01/2014

The Faculty of Arts is pleased to announce Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding through the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts, South-East England (CHASE). CHASE is matching AHRC funding of £17m and will be awarding more than 375 AHRC-studentships over a five-year period starting in 2014/15. Up to 75 studentships are available across the consortium for autumn 2014 entry.

CHASE AHRC studentships are available to UK and EU residents at The Open University in the Faculty’s subject areas. Awards for UK residents include fees and maintenance while EU residents are eligible for fees only.

Please see the Faculty’s Research Areas and Academic Profiles for more information about staff research interests and current PhD projects

Closing date for applications: 31 January 2014

Equal Opportunity is University Policy.

Further particulars

Aarhus University/Queen’s University

A new Doctoral programme in the cognitive the science of religion has been established by Aarhus University (Graduate School of Arts/Religion, Cognition and Culture Research Unit–see http://www.rcc.au.dk/) and Queen’s University, Belfast (School of History and Anthropology/Institute of Cognition and Culture—see http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/InstituteofCognitionCulture/).

Students should apply for admission via one of the two Universities, and will be considered in line with their normal Postgraduate Admission Procedures, which require, among other things, a research proposal on a topic relevant to the cognitive science of religion. The normal duration of the Doctoral programme is full time for three years. In general, admitted students will spend the first six months and the last six months of their doctoral studies at the University where they are admitted. The intervening 24 months are spent according to a PhD plan established for each individual student. In completion, the student receives a single degree certificate issued by Aarhus University and Queen’s University.

Each University agreed to provide two fellowships to support the programme. One fellowship shall be available each year—Queen’s University will allocate funding in the academic years 2014-15 and 2016-17, while Aarhus University will allocate funding in academic years 2015-16 and 2017-18. Students who wish to compete for a fellowship will be required to apply to the University responsible for offering the support in the related year. For more information about the programme, please contact Armin W. Geertz (AWG@teo.au.dk) or Paulo Sousa (p.sousa@qub.ac.uk)

Methods Training

RESEARCH METHODS FOR THE STUDY OF CONTEMPORARY RELIGION: AN INTENSIVE TRAINING PROGRAMME

Monday 17rd – Friday 21st March 2014

Department of Religious Studies, University of Kent

Editors Note – RSP Editor-in-Chief Chris Cotter attended this event last year, and thoroughly recommends it.

This training programme is available for doctoral students (or post-doctoral fellows) registered at any higher education institution in the UK/EU. It is based on previous training developed by the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society, funded by the AHRC, which led to the development of the Religion Methods website, and aims to provide students with a core training in fieldwork approaches to the study of religion.

Topics covered by the training will include:

  • Conceptualising religion for research
  • Key elements and processes of research design
  • The role of theory in social research
  • The politics and ethics of research
  • Sampling
  • Rigour and validity in research
  • Using quantitative data-sets for research on religion
  • Ethnographic approaches in theory and practice
  • Visual methods
  • Developing research interviews
  • Using qualitative data analysis software
  • Researching objects and spaces
  • Producing research proposals

To attend this training programme, students not registered at the University of Kent will be required to pay a £100 registration fee, which would cover attendance at all sessions and the costs of training materials. Delegates would need to make their own arrangements for accommodation, and there is a wide selection of affordable B&B provision in the Canterbury area. For those planning to commute on a daily basis, Canterbury is now less than an hour from London St Pancras on the high speed train link.

Space on the programme is limited and the deadline to register your interest to attend this programme is Friday 10th January. To register your interest, please email Ruth Sheldon (R.H.Sheldon@kent.ac.uk) with a short statement (no more than 250 words) stating the university at which you are studying, the project you are undertaking and the relevance of this training programme for your work and academic development.

Jobs

University of Washington

Lecturer in Religious Studies

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48289

Aarhus University

Postdoctoral scholarship at the Grundtvig Study

Centre

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48287

Summer Courses

HARVARD SEMINAR ON DEBATES ABOUT RELIGION AND SEXUALITY

HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL, JUNE 10-19, 2014

We are pleased to announce the 2014 summer seminar at Harvard Divinity School for scholars, other writers or artists, religious leaders, and activists who are working on a first large project in which they hope to change the terms of current debates around religion and sexuality. For scholars, this project would be either a doctoral dissertation or a first book. For other writers and artists, religious leaders, and activists, it might be a first book, though it might also be a new curriculum, a series of public presentations and performances, or a media piece. The seminar understands both “religion” and “sexuality” broadly. Though its staff will have done specialized work mostly in “Western” religious traditions and expressions of sexuality, participants’ projects may cover a wide range of religions and sexual cultures. The seminar welcomes various methods in religious studies and theology, from the most focused ethnography or local history to the grandest policy proposal or normative argument. It is also interested in projects about media communication, public policy, religious advocacy, and religious education. It especially seeks participants from outside the United States. Harvard Divinity School will pay for participants’ travel to Cambridge and lodging and meals during the seminar. The seminar will be directed by Mark D. Jordan (Washington University in St. Louis) and Mayra Rivera Rivera (Harvard University). Faculty from Harvard and other institutions or organizations will lead sessions in their areas of interest. Large portions of the seminar’s time will be devoted to discussing participants’ writing in workshop format. Applications are due February 5, 2014. Invitations to the seminar will be issued by February 20.

Details of the application and further information about the program are available online at http://www.hds.harvard.edu/faculty-research/conferences-and-seminars/debates-about-religion-and-sexuality. Questions may be directed to rsseminar@hds.harvard.edu.

AU SUMMER COURSE

Religious Unity and Diversity Within Hinduism and Buddhism in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Place: Kathmandu, Nepal

Dates: July 27th-August 10th, 2014

Host: Aarhus University Summer School

Two of the world’s largest religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, have peacefully coexisted in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal for centuries. Many of the commonr eligious practices Nepalis perform either occur at sites shared by both communities or the participants themselves do not self-identify as exclusively Hindu or Buddhist. Over the course of two weeks of lectures and visits to key field-sites, we will explore the historical and contemporary intersections between Hinduism and Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley. We will also introduce relevant theories for the study of religious pluralism and the research methods traditionally employed in the field drawing on philology, history, ethnography, sociology, and visual studies.

The course will be relevant to students from Anthropology, Asian Studies, and the Study of Religion. Students will be required to be present at lectures and fieldtrips and write a final exam. The number of ECTS points for international students will be arranged through the Aarhus Summer School program. Lectures will be conducted in English. Final exams will be in English or Danish.

Students will pay for their own travel and accommodations, but we will arrange for mutual housing during the course period. Students are encouraged to travel on their own in Nepal or other parts of Asia at the conclusion of the course.

Faculty:

Jørn Borup, Associate Professor

Marianne Fibiger, Associate Professor

Bjarne Wernicke Olesen, PhD Candidate

Cameron David Warner, Assistant Professor

Contact: Cameron David Warner, etncw@hum.au.dk

Apply by 15 March 2014 at:

International Students: http://www.au.dk/en/summeruniversity/application/

New Book

Charming Beauties and Frightful Beasts: Non-Human Animals in South Asian Myth, Ritual and Folklore

Edited by Fabrizio Ferrari and Thomas Dahnhardt

  • HB £60 9781908049582
  • PB £19.99 9781908049599
  • 288pp, 234 x 156mm
  • Equinox Publishing Ltd,

Special offer: Quote the code ‘Charming’ when ordering from www.equinoxpub.com and receive 25% off the retail price until the end of March 2014

https://www.equinoxpub.com/equinox/books/showbook.asp?bkid=543

Belief, Belonging, and Academic Careers

Almost twenty years ago, Grace Davie observed that despite plenty of studies into the ‘exotic edges’ of religion, ‘the picture in the middle remains remarkably blurred’. Seeking to address this imbalance and engage with the ‘beliefs of ordinary British people in everyday life’, Abby Day‘s recent book, Believing in Belonging (the first topic for this interview), builds upon her doctoral and later postdoctoral fieldwork, beginning within small communities in Yorkshire, and extending to a number of modern industrialised nations.

in this interview with Chris, recorded at the 2013 BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Conference at Durham University, Day introduces listeners to the concept of ‘belief’ and sets out her own inductive approach, using semi-structured interviews, whereby definitions were allowed to arise from the field. Her central thesis acts as a focal point for a wide-ranging and insightful discussion on a variety of topics from nationalism and secularisation, to the usefulness of censuses as tools for measuring ‘religion’, to gender and belief in destiny. These themes are also picked up and developed in a recent volume published by Ashgate – Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular – which was co-edited by Abby, Chris, and Giselle Vincett.

Wearing one of her other hats, Abby also presents regularly on how to build an academic career, win research funding, and get articles published, and has published the books academic publishing and building an academic career.

You can also 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.uk or Amazon.com links to support us at no additional cost when buying your important books etc.

wordle

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 14 Dec 2012

We are not responsible for any content contained herein, but have simply copied and pasted from a variety of sources. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page. wordle

pdf summary document can now be download. This can be printed and circulated to colleagues or put up on a notice board.

In this issue:

  • Journals
  • Portals
  • Call for Papers
  • Conferences
  • Training
  • Jobs
  • Grants/Funding

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


JOURNALS


Journal of Religion in Japan 1/3 (2012)

http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/22118349

New issue of electronic Journal “Quest”. Focus on memories of North African Jews

Description: The fourth issue of the online journal “Quest” is now entirely and freely available online.  http://www.quest-cdecjournal.it/ The focus section is dedicated to the memories of North African Jews, the discussion instead concerns the stimulating volume “Metamaus”. You will also find two book reviews.

Contact: mail [at] quest-cdecjournal.it

URL: www.quest-cdecjournal.it/

Announcement ID: 199156

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199156

Associate Managing Editor, Southern Jewish History

Location: South Carolina

Description: Associate Managing Editor, Southern Jewish History

Deadline for Application Submissions: January 10, 2013 The Southern Jewish Historical Society (SJHS) seeks a temporary, part-time associate managing editor (ME) of the societys      annual, peer-reviewed journal, Southern Jewish History (SJH).

Announcement ID: 199381

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199381


Euxeinos 8 onReligion and Society in Contemporary Bulgaria is now available online.

Description: Euxeinos 8 onReligion and Society in Contemporary  Bulgaria is now available online.Guest Editor Stefan Kube (Zurich)The current issue of Euxeinos originated in cooperation with G2W – kumenisches Forum fr Glauben, Religion und Gesellschaft in Ost und West in Zrich” (Oecumenical Forum for Faith, Relig …

Announcement ID: 199140

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199140


PORTAL


My-Parish.org – a new community platform for parish studies

Description: My-Parish.org – a new community platform for parish studies The Warwick Network for Parish Research is pleased to announce the launch of My-Parish.org , a portal to parish, history, heritage, art and culture! My-Parish is an online community and resource for everyone interested in parishes,  from the …

Contact: john.morgan [at] Warwick.ac.uk

URL: my-parish.org/

Announcement ID: 199274

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199274


CALLS FOR PAPERS


CFP: Third Asian Conference on Asian Studies: Conference Theme: Intersecting Belongings: Cultural Conviviality and Cosmopolitan Futures

Date: 2013-02-01

Description: Contemporary contexts of the local, regional, national and global raise urgent questions about cultural conviviality and cosmopolitan futures across Asia. These are      times when trans-cultural, trans-national and multicultural belonging are particularly being tested through environmental catastrophe,  …

Contact: baden.offord [at] scu.edu.au

URL: acas.iafor.org/

Announcement ID: 199303

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199303


CFP:Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences

Description: The Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences is calling for papers for the February 2013 issue. JAPSS is indexed and catalogued by EBSCOhost, DOAJ, and many others. The Journal is published both electronically and in print.  …

Contact: journalalternative [at] hotmail.com

URL: www.japss.org

Announcement ID: 199358

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199358


CFP: Sacred Space in Secular Institutions

Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December: chris.hewson@manchester.ac.uk

Venue: Humanities Bridgeford Street Building 1.69 (University of Manchester)

Date: Friday 18th January

The role, form and affect of sacred space(s) within secular institutions is a theme that is increasingly attractive to scholars within the social sciences. This Socrel study day will consider how different types of organisation including but not limited to educational establishments, hospitals and hospices, airports, public buildings, shopping centres, etc make space for faith, sacrality and religious practice(s) within their buildings, management structures and public offerings.

The study day will also consider: the key social, cultural and political drivers behind these spaces; precursors and ongoing developments; how such spaces are positioned within contemporary policy debates; and the practical issues practitioners should consider when designing and managing sacred space within a secular institution. The day will be centred around three axes:

 

  • A reflection upon the wide range of institutions that contain set-aside sacred space.
  • A close sociological reading of what happens within these spaces on a day-to-day basis, and how this might be conceptualised methodologically. For instance, how are they shared? How can effective use be measured?
  • A thoroughgoing assessment of the role and practice(s) of extant religious groups and traditions, within the provision and ongoing usage of these spaces.

We welcome contributions of any length (20 minute papers, 10-15 minute presentations) which address these, and any of the following questions:

  • What are these spaces for, and how are roles and designations contested?
  • What is or can be sacred about these spaces?
  • To what extent are these spaces multi-faith in either description or usage?
  • Do these spaces demonstrate novelty or continuity with existing forms?
  • What are the normative factors governing the development of these spaces (e.g. cohesion, diversity, customer focus, etc). Can these factors always be reconciled?

Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December: chris.hewson [at] manchester.ac.uk


CONFERENCES


Asian Conference on Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences 2013

Date: 2013-03-28

Description: The International Academic Forum, in conjunction with its global partners, is proud to announce the Third Asian Conference on Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences, to be held from March 28 – 31 2013, at the Ramada Osaka, Osaka, Japan. 2013 Conference Theme: “Connectedness & Alienation: The 21st Ce …

Contact: mchoi [at] iafor.org

URL: www.acp.iafor.org

Announcement ID: 199218

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199218


Theory and Philosophy Summer School.Theme: ‘Transgression and Normativity’

Date: 2013-03-01

Description: Theory and philosophy summer school 2013 offers a strongly student-centred & collaborative setting in which students participate in sessions led by academics from UCC & guest professors. Conventional didactic presentations are bolstered by small group work, student-led seminars & discussions, peer-g …

Contact: admin [at] tapss.ie

URL: www.tapss.ie/index.html

Announcement ID: 199142

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=199142


Free conference

To the Academy and beyond: religious literacy in contemporary society

The Old Refectory, UCL, 22nd January 2013

As part of our series of free events, we are hosting a one-day

international conference highlighting the lessons learned from three

years of research into religious literacy in Higher Education and

focusing on how these can be applied beyond ‘the Academy’.

One of the key findings of our previous evaluation was the widespread

perception of the potential value added in HEIs by engagement with

issues of religious faith at a time of economic and social stress. For

example, working with faith groups institutions can provide a more

religiously literate student experience, avoid expensive and divisive

equality litigation, promote a culture of openness, trust and enquiry,

and work in community partnerships to prevent the divisions which often

arise when there is financial strain and high levels of unemployment.

These lessons can also be applied to sectors outside of Higher Education

and this conference will focus on this as well as highlighting the

findings and successes of the Religious Literacy Leadership Programme’s

work with Higher Education Institutions across the country. This free

conference will explore the processes, impacts and experiences of

developing strategy in relation to religion and belief. There will also

be opportunities to meet with counterparts in other institutions to

exchange skills and learning and consider potential for partnership and

networking around these issues.

Sessions will include workshops on religious literacy and:

The media

Equalities

Fashion

Confirmed speakers include:

Professor Stephen Prothero, Boston University

Professor Linda Woodhead, Lancaster University

Professor Reina Lewis, University of the Arts, London

Mr Michael Wakelin, Cambridge Coexist Programme

Places are limited and registration is now open at:

http://religiousliteracyhe.org/events-2/registration/


TRAINING


The Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF) Program of the Social Science Research Council, in conjunction with the University of Warwick, is pleased to announce the following research and training opportunity for early to mid-stage doctoral students within the U.S. and United Kingdom:

Postcolonial Identities and Decolonial Struggles: Creolization and Colored Cosmopolitanism

The Spring Workshop will be held May 28-June 2, 2013 in Coventry, England on the campus of the University of Warwick and the Fall Workshop will be held September 18-22, 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

http://www.ssrc.org/fellowships/subcompetitions/dpdf-fellowship/7A830765-EF37-E211-8EAC-001CC477EC84/52EE8588-EF37-E211-8EAC-001CC477EC84/


JOBS


Kalamazoo College – Visiting Instructor or Assistant Professor, East

Asian Studies

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=46027

Woolf Institute – Academic Director, Centre for the Study of

Muslim-Jewish Relations

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=46022

College of Charleston – Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=46034

The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen has an opening for 4 PhD positions (full employment), three of them for 3 years, and one of them for 4 years. Please see the announcement on our website at http://www.rug.nl/ggw/organization/vacancies/phd-positions/121208?lang=en


GRANTS


AHRC Large Grants

Closing date: January

Large Grants under the Science in Culture, Digital Transformations and Translating Cultures themes are now available. Successful proposals under the Large Grants call are expected to support research activities of a scale and ambition beyond that normally required for a standard AHRC grant.

http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Research-funding/Themes/Pages/Theme-Large-Grants.aspx


wordle

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 16 Nov 2012

We are not responsible for any content contained herein, but have simply copied and pasted from a variety of sources. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page.

A pdf summary document can now be download. This can be printed and circulated to colleagues or put up on a notice board.

In this issue:

  • Journals
  • Peer website
  • Call for Papers
  • Conferences
  • Projects
  • Jobs/Fellowships/PhD positions

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


JOURNALS


Material Religion: Special issue on Popularizing Islam: Muslims and Materiality http://www.bergpublishers.com/BergJournals/MaterialReligion/tabid/517/Default.aspx

Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology, http://adanewmedia.org/

The journal Religion and Gender has just published its latest issue at

http://www.religionandgender.org

It is a special issue addressing the theme ‘Religion and Masculinities: Continuities and Change’, guest edited by Björn Krondorfer and Stephen Hunt. The volume further includes one article in the open section, and nine book reviews. We invite you to review the Table of Contents here and then visit our website to review articles and items of interest.


PEER WEBSITE


TAROSA – Teaching Across Religions of South Asia

We are writing to let you know about an initiative we have recently been pursuing with funding support from the HEA, to set up a website aimed at promoting critical engagement with South Asian religious traditions in various teaching and learning contexts. Our aim has been to develop a resource which challenges the world religions optic through which most students (at both secondary and tertiary level) come to learn about South Asian traditions, by focusing instead on practices and ideas which seem to operate across such boundaries. The site is called Teaching Across Religions of South Asia, hence Tarosa, and you can view what we have so far put up at http://tarosaproject.wordpress.com/. As you will see, the main tool we use to promote a different way of looking at the religious traditions of south asia is a series of pedagogical case studies which provide students with the ability to look in depth at examples of practice/ideas, and challenges them to engage critically with the evidence presented therein.

We believe that the success of the website will depend upon us being able to develop a rich and varied archive of case studies, and it is primarily for this reason that we are writing to you now. If you have material from your research or wider knowledge which you would like to develop into a case study to contribute to the site, we would love to hear from you! We would of course fully credit your contribution to the site, and would be most eager to hear from anyone who would like to get further involved in this work. We also would welcome your feedback as peers and practitioners on the way we have set up and developed the site so far.


CALLS FOR PAPERS


CFP: Updated: International Conference “Buddhism & Australia 2013” on 23-25 January 2013

Description:  Buddhism ja Australia is pleased to inform you that the 2nd International Conference Buddhism & Australia will be held on 23-25 January, 2013 in Perth, Western

Australia.Acknowledging the history of Buddhism in the region the main goal of the conference is to research and investigate the buddhavac …

Contact: info [at] buddhismandaustralia.com

URL: www.buddhis.andaustralia.com

Announcement ID: 198653

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=198653


CFP: Florida State University Department of Religion Graduate Student Symposium

Location: Florida

Date: 2012-12-01

Description:  Call for Papers: The Florida State University Department of Religion is pleased to announce its 12th Annual Graduate Student Symposium to be held February 22-24, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida. Last years symposium was a huge success, allowing over 60 presenters from over 18 universities and departme …

Contact: fsureligionsymposium@gmail.com

URL: religion.fsu.edu

Announcement ID: 198521

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=198521


CFP: AFTERLIFE

Eighteenth Annual Postgraduate Religion and Theology Conference Hosted by the University of Bristol

8&9 March 2013

Keynote speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton

This conference brings together postgraduates and early-career academics working on the study of religions from a variety of perspectives and disciplines, creating a space for them to share their work and to further encourage research and collaboration within the University of Bristol (the host institution), and among members of other universities within the South West region and beyond.

The conference has a long history of drawing together postgraduate students and their supervisors from universities in the surrounding area and beyond.

Last year saw us expand to a record number of participating speakers, delegates, and partner institutions. Forty-nine papers, divided in seventeen sessions, were presented by postgraduate students and early career academics, from eighteen universities. Almost one hundred delegates attended at least part of the conference. A session for undergraduate papers was also held, with notable success.

Although we encourage applications that directly address the theme of the conference ‘Afterlife’, in all its interpretations, contributions are welcome from all disciplines and areas related to the study of religions:

theology, history, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, literature, art, music, etc.

Presentations will be grouped in panels, each consisting of three 20-minute papers followed by a 30-minute period for questions and discussion. Panels will be chaired by lecturers from Bristol and other partner universities.

We are also accepting submissions for research posters. Displayed in the conference common room, these will allow further communication of research.

A prize will be awarded to the poster voted best by the conference participants. Guidelines of the preparation of posters and a sample poster presentation can be found on the conference’s website. Please note that an applicant may submit a poster as well as a paper and that both may be accepted, on the condition that they cover different topics.

Please submit abstracts for papers and/or posters through our University’s ‘Stop Shop’ page at:

http://shop.bris.ac.uk/browse/product.asp?catid=521&modid=1&compid=1

The deadline for submitting proposals will be 12:00 noon on Tuesday 15 January 2013.

Kindly note that the organisers are not in a position to assist anyone with visas, and will not consider or accept abstracts from those who require assistance with visas.

Registration for the conference will open at 12:00 noon on 22 January 2013 and will include refreshments and lunch on both days. Early registration is free for members of partner institutions and £10 for participants from other institutions or for those who are unaffiliated. Please note that all registrations received after 12 noon, Friday 8 February, will incur a £10 late registration fee.

A limited amount of financial assistance may be available to presenters of papers and/or posters. The assistance may be used towards defraying travel or accommodation expenses, or the early registration fee for participants from non-partner institutions. Application details will be posted in late January 2013 on the conference website.

Optional social events will be held on both evenings of the conference.

For more information and registration, please visit:

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/gradschool/conferences/thrs/


CFP: Sacred Space in Secular Institutions

Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December:

chris.hewson [at] manchester.ac.uk

Venue: Humanities Bridgeford Street Building 1.69 (University of Manchester)

Date: Friday 18th January

The role, form and affect of sacred space(s) within ‘secular’ institutions is a theme that is increasingly attractive to scholars within the social sciences. This Socrel study day will consider how different types of organisation – including but not limited to educational establishments, hospitals and hospices, airports, public buildings, shopping centres, etc – ‘make space’ for faith, sacrality and religious practice(s) within their buildings, management structures and public offerings.

The study day will also consider: the key social, cultural and political drivers behind these spaces; precursors and ongoing developments; how such spaces are positioned within contemporary policy debates; and the practical issues practitioners should consider when designing and managing ‘sacred space’ within a secular institution. The day will be centred around three axes:

A reflection upon the wide range of institutions that contain set-aside ‘sacred space’.

A close sociological reading of what ‘happens’ within these spaces on a day-to-day basis, and how this might be conceptualised methodologically. For instance, how are they ‘shared’? How can effective use be measured?

A thoroughgoing assessment of the role and practice(s) of extant religious groups and traditions, within the provision and ongoing usage of these spaces.

We welcome contributions of any length (20 minute papers, 10-15 minute presentations) which address these, and any of the following questions:

What are these spaces for, and how are roles and designations contested?

What is or can be sacred about these spaces?

To what extent are these spaces multi-faith in either description or usage?

Do these spaces demonstrate novelty or continuity with existing forms?

What are the normative factors governing the development of these spaces (e.g. cohesion, diversity, customer focus, etc). Can these factors always be reconciled?

Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December: chris.hewson [at] manchester.ac.uk


CFP: MATERIALIZING THE SPIRIT: SPACES, OBJECTS AND ART IN THE CULTURES OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS

The History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland Annual Conference will be hosted  by the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, on 5-7 September 2013.

Paper proposals are now invited. Presentations should be 20 minutes in duration, and should address some element of the conference theme, with reference to British and/or Irish contexts.

The devotional and vocational activities of women religious sculpted the physical space of religious houses in unique ways. Patterns of use were etched into the fabric of buildings, guiding structural design and interior decoration. But buildings also shaped practice: whether the formal monastic sites of early or revived enclosed orders or the reused secular buildings of active congregations, women both adapted and adapted to their material surroundings.

A growing body of literature has addressed itself to convent art, exploring nuns as patrons, consumers and manufacturers of material and visual culture. These practices span the history of women’s religious life – from the early Middle Ages to the present day – and suggest a hidden but dynamic tradition of artistic enterprise. This conference explores the creative output of women religious including but not limited to textiles and the decorative arts, illuminated manuscripts and printed books, women’s patronage of painting and architecture, the commercial production of ecclesiastical textiles in the nineteenth-century, production of liturgical and devotional art in recent periods, and the development of unique convent and institutional spaces by and for women religious.

Key aims of the conference will be to highlight the scholarly value of these under-researched and little known spaces and collections and also to raise awareness and discuss the threats that they face as communities decline, buildings close, artefacts and archives are dispersed.

This conference will take a broad and diverse view on what constitutes ‘material culture’, emphasizing the conception, production, and meanings of the many material outputs of convents and monasteries.

Papers are welcomed from a diverse range of disciplines: scholars from social and religious history, art and architecture, theology, anthropology, psychology and beyond are invited to offer fresh and innovative perspectives in order to illuminate ways in which women religious in Britain and Ireland created and were formed by material histories for over a thousand years.

Please send 200-word proposals for 20-minute papers to kate.jordan.09 [at] ucl.ac.uk and ayla.lepine [at] gmail.com by no later than 1 February 2013.


CFP: Material Religion

Venue: Durham University, UK

Date: 9 – 11 April 2013

Dr Marion Bowman (Department of Religious Studies, Open University)

Professor David Morgan (Department of Religion, Duke University)

Professor Veronica Strang (Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University)

This conference will focus on the physical, material dimension of religious life and

practice, one of the major themes of religious research over the last decade. Material

forms express and sustain the human search for holiness, transcendence and identity,

and attention to the physical can lead scholars to unique and valuable insights.

Commitment to religious communities is learned and displayed through relationships

to clothing, food, ritual and decoration, in the home, workplace, street or place of

worship. This event will encourage interdisciplinary discussion of the significance of

material culture in contemporary religion, including the images and architecture of

sacred places and the objects and practices of everyday life.

Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Material religion in everyday life

  • The materiality of gender, class, age and ethnicity

  • Sacred objects: statues, icons, relics, holy books, architecture

  • Sacred objects in museums and galleries

  • Religion, landscape and the environment

  • Religion and the arts

  • Marketing and consuming religion

  • Religion and the body: ritual, experience and emotion

  • Health, sickness, disability, death and bereavement

  • The materiality of religious media and technologies

  • Research methods for the study of material religion

We invite proposals for conference papers (300 words), panels (3-4 papers on a

shared theme, 750 words) and posters (200 words). Alternative formats will also be

considered. Abstracts must be submitted by November 19th 2012 to Tim Hutchings

and Joanne McKenzie at materialreligionconference [at] gmail.com. Bursaries are

available for postgraduate and early career researchers.

SOCREL is the British Sociological Association’s study group on Religion. For more

details about the study group and conference please visit www.socrel.org.uk.


CFP: Nationalism, Identity and Belief Symposium

First joint symposium of Society, Religion and Belief and Identity, Culture and Representation Research Centres University of Derby 25 March 2013

Keynote speaker: Daniel Trilling author of Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britain’s Far Right (London: Verso, 2012), assistant editor The New Statesman, columnist for The Guardian.

The complexities and contradictions of globalized modes of identity have caused a reassessment of what constitutes national identity and how it is experienced. In late modernity there is a tendency for nationalism to be characterised as a reactive and reactionary response to the increasing cultural diversity evident in many Western societies. The British National Party and, latterly, the English Defence League typify this tendency. In continental Europe there are comparable groupings but many continental equivalents have demonstrated a greater capacity for organisation and have enjoyed a modicum of success in terms of parliamentary elections at national and European level: in France, the Front National; the Belgian/Flemish Vlaams Balang; the Danish Danske Folkparti; Jobbik in Hungary, The Golden Dawn in Greece and so on. The fortunes of these parties wax and wane but their social and media presence is constant. This symposium is a call to academics and activists to consider the ongoing appeal of nationalism, its cultural role, its strategies, localities and nature. We seek to explore the lure and repulsion of nationalism to its friends and critics and the many and varied cultural contexts through which it is reproduced.

Papers are invited to be considered for presentation in one of two parallel panels:

Panel One: Nationalism, Identity and Conflict Panel Two: Nationalism, Religion and Belief
Typical themes for the panels will include but are not limited to:
The organisation and activities of nationalist groups

The appeal of nationalism

Nationalism in crisis

Banal nationalism

Rethinking national identity

The cultures of nationalism

Nationalist rhetoric and the world faiths

‘The chosen people’ and globalization

Spiritual nationalisms

Subcultures and nationalist discourse

Considering nationalism as a faith

Please submit a 250 word proposal and a bio-note by 19 December, 2012 to Andrew Wilson (a.f.wilson [at] derby.ac.uk); Jason Lee (j.lee [ay] derby.ac.uk); and Frauke Uhlenbruch (f.uhlenbruch [at] derby.ac.uk)

CONFERENCES


Conference theme: Ireland, America and Transnationalism: studying religions in a globalised world

At The Clinton Centre, University College Dublin, 10th-12th May 2013

We are pleased to invite scholars to take part in the second annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR). For information on the society, see:

http://isasr.wordpress.com/. The Conference will take place Fri-Sun May 10th -12th , 2013 at the Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin (UCD), and is open to scholars of all disciplines that approach religions, both past and present, from a non-theological, critical, analytical and cross-cultural perspective.

Proposals for papers may relate to the conference theme ‘Ireland, America and Transnationalism’ or any other aspect of the Society’s work in the history, anthropology, folklore and sociology of religion in Ireland or the Irish diaspora, but also the work of Irish-based researchers on topics in the academic study of religions elsewhere in the world.

Although 19th and 20th century discourses often highlighted national, including Irish, religious uniqueness, this has always been at best a half truth. Megalithic architecture and pre-Christian myths are routinely studied in relation to other west European contexts. Christian conversion and medieval texts, early modern wars of religion and nineteenth-century ultramontanism also locate Ireland in a wider religious world. The conference theme encourages the study of religions in a global and comparative context, with particular reference to North America, the home of the largest Irish diaspora outside these islands.

From Ireland’s ‘spiritual empire’ of Catholic institutions to American enthusiasm for all things Celtic to imported Pentecostalisms, the religious exchange between the two has been intense. Adopting a transnational perspective highlights the networks of wider global relationships within which religions both in Ireland and among the Irish diaspora are enacted.

Please send a 150-200 word abstract for papers to Adrienne Hawley ( Adrienne.hawley[at]ucdconnect.ie ) by the closing date of Friday 22^nd February, 2012. Notification of abstract acceptance will be given by Friday March 15th, 2012.

*_

Proposals for themed panels from ISASR members are welcomed and may be made directly to the conference organisers via Adrienne Hawley (email above). The following panels have already been proposed:_* · Folk Religion in Ireland: Meaning and Context*__* · Children’s Subjectivities and the Experience of Religious Educations · Gender and Religion *_ If you wish to submit an abstract for these panels please indicate this in your abstract submission_*

*

Further information on the ISASR Conference 2013 will be posted at:  http://isasr.wordpress.com/ The conference is hosted by ISASR in collaboration with The Clinton Institute, UCD.


Contemporary religion in historical perspective: engaging outside academia

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

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

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

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

  • integrating ‘religious history’ and contemporary religious practitioners;
  • the relevance of historical research on religion for contemporary debates on religion; and for present-day religious groups, organisations and institutions;
  • intersections between research on contemporary religion and present-day contemporary understanding and practice of religion;
  • the idea of ‘applied’ or ‘public’ Religious Studies;
  • methodological, theoretical and ethical issues relating to Religious Studies and knowledge exchange;
  • relationships between academic and practitioner, or academic institution(s) and non-academic ‘partner’ and their implications and challenges.

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

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

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

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


AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme, University of Kent and Theos present

‘Big Society or Global Village? Religious NGOs, Civil Society and the United Nations’,

Wednesday 28th November, 6.30-8.30pm

Convocation Hall, Church House, Dean’s Yard, London, SW1P 3NZ.

Do religions in a world of globalization have to work with international institutions? What has religion got to do with the UN? How are religious NGOs shaping UN policies? Which religions and which issues? Can national civil society ignore the global realities of UN diplomacy?

Professor Jeremy Carrette (Religious Studies), Professor Hugh Miall (Politics and International Relations) and Dr Sophie Trigeaud (Religious Studies), all of the University of Kent, UK, will present findings of a three-year study on religious NGOs and the United Nations and discuss the role of religion in global civil society.

Chair:

Professor Jeff Haynes, London Metropolitan University

Respondents:

Elizabeth Oldfield , Director of Theos Think Tank

Carrie Pemberton Ford, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking

PROJECTS


The Critical Religion Research Group at the University of Stirling has initiated a new project: an international scholarly association using the name Critical Religion Association.  This is the first email from the new CRA.

We are publishing two blogs today – the first is an explanation in more detail of what this means and what we are intending, the second is an exploration of the breadth of the Critical Religion project by Timothy Fitzgerald.  Do read:

The new Critical Religion Association site:

http://criticalreligion.org/2012/11/09/the-new-critical-religion-association-site/

The breadth of Critical Religion:

http://criticalreligion.org/2012/11/09/the-breadth-of-critical-religion/

In particular, we draw your attention to the possibility for greater involvement from scholars not necessarily based at the University of Stirling (as outlined in the first blog posting above).

We are also expanding our social media coverage – if you are on Facebook, you can now ‘like’ us there, and receive updates and engage there.  We continue to use Twitter, and further forms of engagement will come.


JOBS


Lehigh University – Visiting Assistant Professor, Contemporary

Japanese Literature and Culture

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45834

Brooklyn College – Assistant Professor/Judaism in Late Antiquity and

Rabbinics

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45855

Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages – Post-Doctoral

Fellowship in Buddhist Studies

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45887


The University of Oxford’s Department of Education supports anthropologically focused Master’s and Doctoral research on religion and education:

http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/courses/pgce/subjects/religious-education/

Procedures and information:

http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/courses/d-phil/admission-procedure-for-dphil/

http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/courses/admission-procedure-msc/

November and January applications are encouraged.

Inquiries may be directed to the Higher Degrees Office:

higherdegreesoffice [at] education.ox.ac.uk


School of Health Sciences and Social Work

University of Portsmouth

PhD/MRes fees only bursaries: £3,500 per annum for 3 years (full time) or £1,600 per annum for 6 years (part time)

MRes fees only bursaries: £5,000 per annum for 1 year (full time) or £2,500 per annum for 2 years(part time)

Starting: February 2013 (PhD) or January 2013 (MRes)

Further details:  http://www.findaphd.com/search/ProgrammeDetails.aspx?PGID=1004


Building on her 2009-10 Religion and Society research into Old Hispanic Chant, Emma Hornby (Bristol University) has been awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant for a project called ‘Shaping text, Shaping melody, Shaping experience in and through the Old Hispanic Office’. Lasting for five years, this project will involve Hornby, her collaborator Professor Rebecca Maloy (University of  Colorado at Boulder), two postdoctoral researchers (in musicology and theology) and two PhD students (one musicologist and one composer).

The project team will explore the potential the Old Hispanic office chants had for promoting a particular religious experience within an almost-forgotten liturgy. The musicologists and theologians will bring the many-layered and cross-referential Old Hispanic approach to text choice, musical punctuation and melodic pacing explicitly to the attention of modern composers, encouraging them to explore compositional processes that evoke similar spiritual responses. The composers will act as a communicative channel between the pure scholarship demanded by the Old Hispanic material, and contemporary concert audiences and congregations.

Outputs will include a team-authored book, several peer-reviewed articles, a series of publicly performed compositions, an EU-workshop and an International Festival of new music inspired by the project findings. The Old Hispanic liturgy is one of the musical, intellectual and theological jewels of our European cultural heritage, and this project will give a wide audience a holistic understanding of its richness.

POSITIONS

  1. one postdoctoral research post in theology/liturgical studies (full time, 4 years):

<http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AFK858/postdoc-research-assistant/>

  1. one postdoctoral research post in medieval musicology (full time, 4

years):

<http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AFK873/postdoc-research-assistant-in-medieval-musicology/>

  1. one fully funded 4-year PhD studentship in medieval musicology:

<http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AFJ040/phd-studentship-music-medieval-musicology/>

  1. one fully funded 4-year PhD studentship in music (composition):

<http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AFJ039/phd-studentship-music-composition/>

Informal enquiries are welcome, and should be addressed to emma.hornby [at] bris.ac.uk

Read more about Emma Hornby’s original Religion and Society grant here: http://www.religionandsociety.org.uk/research_findings/featured_findings/cracking_the_code_of_old_hispanic_chant_brings_it_to_life_for_the_first_time


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

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

The closing date for applications is the 30 November 2012. Please visit our website for application details (http://warburg.sas.ac.uk/fellowships/short-term/).