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Reinventing Graduate Education in the Study of Religion

Education_Apple-prvWe spend a lot of time on the Religious Studies Project discussing Religious Studies as a discipline or field of study, what it means to study ‘religion’ with or without quotation marks, and what exactly it is that the critical, scholarly study of societal discourses surrounding ‘religion’ might have to offer. However, up until today we have never tackled head-on the institutional location of Religious Studies within a higher education environment that is becoming increasingly stretched, and dominated by market forces and political whims. In particular, how might this situation affect graduate education it the study of ‘religion’? What can scholars of ‘religion’ do about this situation? Are we powerless? Must we simply sit on the sidelines and stick to our guns, or are there constructive alternative ways forward? To discuss these questions, and and an exciting new graduate programme looking at Religion in Culture.I am joined today by Drs Merinda Simmons and Michael Altman, both of the University of Alabama.

Blog post about the course: https://religion.ua.edu/blog/2016/12/theres-a-new-m-a-in-town/

Details of the course: http://religion.ua.edu/MA.html

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


Podcast with K. Merinda Simmons and Michael J. Altman.

Interviewed by Christopher Cotter.

Transcribed by Helen Bradstock.

Chris Cotter (CC): We spend quite a lot of time on the Religious Studies Project discussing Religious Studies as a discipline or a field of study, what it means to study religion with or without quotation marks, and what exactly it is that the critical study of societal discourses surrounding religion might have to offer. However, up until today, we’ve never tackled the institutional location of Religious Studies within a higher education environment that is becoming increasingly stretched and dominated by market forces and political whims. In particular, how might this situation affect graduate education in the study of religion? What can scholars of religion do about this situation? Are we powerless? Must we simply sit on the sidelines and stick to our guns? Or are there constructive, alternative ways forward? To discuss these questions and an exciting new graduate programme looking at religion in culture, I’m joined today by Drs Merinda Simmons and Michael Altman, who are both Associate Professors of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. Merinda’s books include Changing the subject: Writing women across the African Diaspora, and two co-edited volumes: The Trouble with Post-Blackness and  Race and Displacement. She’s the editor of the book series, Concepts in the Study of Religion: Critical Primers and is a member of the collaborative research group: Culture on the Edge. Mike’s research ranges from American Religious History to Critical Theory and his first book, Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, 1721- 1893, will be published by OUP in 2017. He’s also published an article in the journal Religion, entitled “Podcasting Religious Studies, that features the Religious Studies Project. And we might even discuss that later on, who knows? First of all, Merinda, Mike, welcome to the Religious Studies Project.

Merinda Simmons (MS): Thank you

Michael Altman (MA): Thanks. You gave me a free promotion there, Chris! I’m only an Assistant Professor.

CC: Oh no!

MS: Congratulations

MA: It’s ok. I’ll take it! That’s how good the book is!

CC: That you get instant promotion with it. Excellent. Well on that note, that’s an institutional dynamic that we don’t quite know here in the UK, the associate/ assistant thing. But we’re talking today about reinventing graduate education in the study of religion. Why are we even talking about that? What’s the context?

MS: One of the conversations that we’ve been having over the past handful of years has been about what a lot of people call the “crisis in the Humanities”. So that’s really what began the conversation here, departmentally. We have a Humanities speaker series that our chair is on the committee for planning, we’ve been doing some things within the department to try to talk about that issue. And we also have been – in the last handful of years especially – on the front end of social media in the department, making videos, doing things to promote the department. Because a lot of people don’t come into their undergraduate programmes, anyway, knowing what the academic study of religions is. So we have to do a lot of self-promotion and just getting the word out about what it is to even get a degree in Religious Studies. So with those two things in mind, with our social media presence and with the conversations that have been going on about the so-called crisis of the Humanities, that’s really what began the conversation of : What would it look like if we don’t. . . We don’t want to think about the Humanities as “Crisis-ville”. We all have jobs in this space of perceived crisis, so maybe we should be thinking about that, or doing something about that? Or what does it mean to re-conceive that? So that’s the background for where the conversation initially began.

CC: And just for the benefit of our listeners who could be at any level. . .

MS: What is that crisis?

CC: Yes.In broad brush strokes.

MA: I don’t know. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things.(5:00) It’s a shift. I was introduced to this crisis through the 2008 financial crisis. That’s when I snuck into graduate school just before Emory University’s endowment tanked in September 2008. And you can just look around over the next two years and watch all the free lunches on campus literally go away. And I think that moment of. . . that financial moment, and the impact it had on jobs in the US, kind of created a bit of a panic about, “Well, if I’m going to spend money on a degree, if I’m going to spend time on a degree” – especially at under graduate level , where you had a financial crisis happening as a bubble was growing around higher ed and higher ed prices were going up, everyone taking out theses student loans –  “ I ‘d better damn well be able to get a job when it’s over.” And I think, the idea that Humanities – because they were not very vocational – didn’t prepare one for that, that has been a longstanding discussion-point and problem-point I think since the ’70s, became even more acute. So students came in, I think. . . . As I transitioned out of grad school into teaching, in the last four years, I’ve seen all these undergraduate students who went through who were in high school or middle school when this happened, and they don’t know a world that wasn’t in financial crisis, or where financial anxiety wasn’t dominant. I grew up in a world dominated by terrorism fear, they grew up in a world dominated by banking and stock market fear.

MS: At the same time, when I came to grad school, which was like in 2001- 2002, I was exposed to a kind of generational shift from the faculty perspective, where. . . . I think the reason that this so-called crisis is resonating for academics themselves, is that there was also a kind of sea-change from a faculty perspective and from an academic perspective about what it meant to study the Humanities. Suddenly – in response to these kinds of economic factors and the sorts of anxieties about job markets that our students were grappling with – suddenly it didn’t make as much sense to approach one’s teaching and one’s research in quite the same classic model of:  “I know all. I will tell all. Come learn at my feet and then take this knowledge to do whatever, but that’s your thing to process later, and it’s not really so much my jam as your faculty advisor.” So in response to that shifting landscape, too, I think there’s been, within people who already have jobs and are trying to get a sense of what they’re doing as faculty within the Humanities, and scholars in the Humanities, what it is that their job is – because it doesn’t seem like it’s quite so much the same sort of: receptacles of knowledge that we dispense nebulously to people and then just take that as self-evidently important as some kind of service that we’re doing them.

MA: Yes, for better or worse, the self-evidence of the value of Humanities research isn’t taken for granted any more.

MS: Right. And so that’s a thing that students, who want to go get jobs, have to grapple with. And it’s also a thing for those of us doing research in the Humanities to also kind-of start re-conceiving as well. So, into that space, enter cutting-edge new grad programme!

CC: Wonderful! And that scans quite well with my impression of things here in the UK. Here we certainly don’t have college fees to quite the same level as you have in the States, but when I started as an undergrad you were talking just about £1,000 a year. And now its gone up to £9,000 a year.

MS: Wow.

CC: . . .in that length of time. So there’s a real sense of: “What am I going to get out of this?”, students as consumers, and also the perceived value of,“Well, a degree in study of religion, that’s kind of near the bottom of the pile in terms of monetisation, isn’t it?” But need it all be doom and gloom?

MS: Not necessarily.

CC: Well, first of all, before we talk about your graduate programme, graduate students are going to be slightly different to undergraduate students. (10:00) So, again, maybe if you just tell us a little bit about that dynamic and then let’s see what you’ve been doing.

MS: You mean: what do we conceive of as our student cohort, coming in?

CC: Yes. The general purposes of graduate school.

MA: Oh yeah, that’s a whole bees’ nest of questions! There’s a whole argument going on in the US about graduate school. There was an article yesterday in the Chronicle, or this week, basically wagging its figure at literature professors around the country, saying: “Your entire career is built on the exploitation of graduate students!” And yet, at the same time – I’ve become such a reactionary old man at he age of 32 – I’m like: “You’re getting paid to go to school” in lots of cases! So there’s a whole back-and-forth about graduate school. And there’s a whole conflation of different programmes and the way they rely on graduate student labour to teach large classes, which keeps costs down, and buttresses the explosion of administrations and administrative costs. So there’s a whole big argument about the value, the importance, the ethics of graduate education in the US that I think we’re trying to navigate. We’ve thought hard about it. I want people to know that the committee who’s been working on this – from the proposal all the way down to the implementation – take those concerns very seriously. But they’re very real and they’re very thorny, I think.

MS: Mike and I were just talking about this earlier. I think, before the economy changed so dramatically, there was a sense that education and more of it was just a net gain. You know, education is an end in itself: it is always a good. The more you get of it, the more it will enrich your life, or pay you back monetarily, or just be this net gain to pursue. And I do think that – as we’ve already been discussing – those dynamics have shifted a bit. But I don’t think that means that, just because students are interested in making sure that they try to at least stack the odds for some kind of professional return on their investment, they leave their BA programmes without still this kind of sense of: “I don’t know, necessarily, if I have this very specific career path set out ahead of me. I’m still interested in all of these ideas that I’ve only just barely been exposed to. What do I want to do with those? Is there a space for me to continue to think about things in more depth?” So I don’t want there to be a kind of mutually exclusive, sort-of antagonistic relationship between professional security or job sensibility on one hand and intellectual curiosity on the other. And so one approach from academia I think, in a lot of ways, has been to sort of stake its flag, and sort of double-down and say, “No! What we study is super important! Did you hear? I’ll say it louder for the kids in the back – it is SUPER IMPORTANT!” Or on the other side, they just turn into a kind of profit machine, which I think results in . . . and maybe those things work together – I don’t know that those are two sides of the same coin – maybe they’re the same thing. So there’s this kind of exploitative factory of grad student labour on one hand and contingent adjunct labour that even spreads into the faculty arena. But there’s also, I think three’s been an ongoing failure – which I think is not too strong a word – on behalf of academicians to rethink and retool why it is that what we study matters, and why that should translate to student interest and to the lives that they’re living.(15:00) Because their interest does not live and die with their intellectual pursuits inside of that classroom. It’s also about the lives that they want to live, it’s also about the jobs they want to have, the places they want to live. It’s geographical concerns, its family concerns, it’s all sorts of different kinds of things. And so to try to think seriously about all of these issues, yes, is the job for people in Humanities in the 21st century now.

CC: Excellent. So that’s set a really good scene. So your department. . .Is your department called “Religion in Culture” or is it..I know that that’s quite a thing at Alabama.

MA: Yes, with the italics on the in.

MS: We have a webpage explaining our approach to that.

MA: The department is the Department of Religious Studies but when we came up with the Master’s – I don’t know who came up with the idea.Maybe it was on an email?

MS: We went back and forth about it.

MA: We decided to just call it the MA in Religion and Culture.

MS: It’s not quite. . . . You know, my PhD is from an English department, another colleague’s PhD is from an Anthropology department: we come at the study of religion from a lot of different disciplinary angles and we knew that this wasn’t going to be a traditional Religious Studies degree, as it’s popularly conceived still in the academy. But we also wanted to establish it as an intervention into that field, where a lot of us still have a great deal of a stake. But it’s not quite Cultural Studies, we didn’t want to go completely off the grid. So it’s our attempt at, kind of, charting out a specific path within a field that we all still have a great deal of stock in.

CC: And so you’re approaching it with two broad stands then: social theory and Digital Humanities. Why those choices?

MS: I’ll pitch this one to Mike with a little bit of background, because he’s one of our resident Digital Humanities gurus. But from me – with a background and training in literary theory – the reason I’m in a Religious Studies department is because of a commitment to social theory and questions about identity studies, and a kind of critical theory analytic that’s operative in my work. So the department has a longstanding commitment to thinking broadly about why it is that we study what we study, rather than just landing upon the self-evidency of  “what we do matters”. So in that sense, social theory has been something that we’ve been already flexing our muscles with for quite a number of years. And again, we also just got into the social media thing. It started with just advertising events on campus through Facebook and then having a Facebook page for our student association. But then our students started writing blog posts and then: “Well, maybe we should have a blog?” So the grad degree is emphasising two strengths that we already had. We’re not inventing anything new in either of these two platforms, but it is – especially for me who still is relatively new to the Digital Humanities scene – taking it to a kind of new and more substantive direction, especially with the Public Humanities bit.

MA: Yes, I think of it as really the two strengths of the department. And I think for a long time, because of Merinda’s work and Steven Ramey’s work and Russell McCutcheon’s work, our department has been known for its theoretical rigour. Theoretical swagger, I like to think of it as! So I think that’s manifest in this programme. So if you’re a student and you don’t want to be hemmed in by the same school of religious theorists, or if you’re not even thinking about religious theorists but you don’t want to be hemmed in by a content area, then what we’ve envisioned beginning with. . . . One of the first classes students take in this programme is a foundation course in social theory. And they’re introduced to a whole bunch of social theorists. This is something Merinda’s helped develop with Steven Ramey, and she can say more about that. But on the other side I think people have known less, until the last couple of years – it’s sort-of blossomed. (20:00) It’s like, we were one of the first departments to really utilise a website and to do all sorts of things. I mean back in the day, before cell phone cameras (I wasn’t here, I don’t know what I was doing, I was in high school) but they were taking photographs at events and scanning them, putting them up on the webpage. I say “they”, it was Russell and the faculty that were there then: Russell McCutcheon. And so that website predates Facebook. There was no Facebook but we had this website – and it’s actually about to get a facelift, soon – but you can go look at the archives of all this old stuff that we have buried, if you’re interested.

MS: And so much of that is this sense of trying to tell students what it is that we do in this department. Because so often they come out of high school without a sense of what Religious Studies, as a kind of academics base, is. And so I think that there is this hard work of just self-awareness, but then self-promotion and advertising that a department like ours had to do. And so, since we’ve been doing that for so long already, and since we have this analytical approach, by and large, how do we make the most of both of those two things?

MA: And so the website gave way to Facebook, gave way to the blog, that came in under . . . that was invented by Ted Trost, that began as a promotion of a Humanities series on campus, but then became this blog that is now read internationally. And people send us guest posts. And I think it’s become a pretty interesting space in the field. I mean, I’m a little biased, but. . . . And now our Twitter feed is doing really well, and we have an Instagram, and we’ve done all sorts of videos, and so I look at this as the next step in both those aspects of the department that have been going for the past ten-twelve years. And actually we have a podcast coming up soon, of our own, that I was just talking to Russell McCutcheon on as I was recording that. And there’s a great interview with him where he talks about this. And actually, the two are more connected than you think. We posit them as: there’s going to be a foundation class in social theory and a foundation class in Public Humanities and digital methods (that I’m putting together with Nathan Loewen) but they work together. Because really, all the stuff that we’ve begun to do in a social media space on the website is just applying social theory to our own environment,. Like: Why do we have a blog? Because getting students to write little pieces and see them creates a sense of. . . . It’s Durkheim!

MS: Right.

MA: We ought to know. . . . Academics who study religion from a social theory/social science/ human science perspective ought to be really good at understanding how to form a tight social group. That’s what we’re studying. That’s what we’re talking about. And we’ve kind of taken that seriously in a way. And so there’s the way these two things kind of feed off of each other, and have done in the life of department, and now we’re sending that momentum spinning forward into this graduate programme.

MS: It also means that their culminating thesis project can be a traditional publishable academic work that will send them to a PhD programme of their choice, or into a different kind of academic arena. But they can also, for their thesis requirement, do a digital project of equal substantive weight and value. So [we’re] thinking seriously about what that looks like and what that means, how to make them marketable. And not just in relation to how they can talk about themselves and their own skill sets – which I think is just such a thing that grad students could use – because I think that a lot of them with all of these kinds of critical skills, writing skills, argumentative skills, can only really talk about themselves of think about themselves in relation to the professoriate. Which I think is a shame, because those skills are super-marketable and very much in demand across a lot of different kinds of jobs sectors. (25:00) So, not only will they be able to talk abut themselves and think about their skills differently, but will also have a thing in hand that they can go to a museum with, or to a non-profit with, or to academic publishing, or. . .

MA: A start-up

MS: Or a start-up, or whatever kind of. . . and to help them get creative about where they can take those skills and equipped with something that isn’t just: “I have this killer essay, that’s an amazing, critical intervention.” They can do both.

CC: We’ve been nattering away here and time is already running away with us. This sounds fantastic and it sounds right in the same ballpark as why we started the Religious Studies Project five years ago: to try and find a way to get academia out there in a more accessible form.

MS: Right.

CC: But two questions just to maybe finish with, one would be: so, you know, stereotypical student wants to come and do a Master’s in the study of religion and they find themselves getting social theory and Digital Humanities. I can well imagine, based on some of the experiences that I’ve encountered , a jarring sense of: “Where’s the religion here? I just wanted to study some Buddhists!” So that’s one, and then the other question is: it sounds like you’ve got a really supportive department and university there. I can imagine in a perhaps more. . . I’ll use the word straight-laced or more traditional university, you might meet some resistance to proposing a course of this nature. So what advice might you have for scholars of religion who are working within the same context as you and are trying to instil the same sense of excitement and career development into their students, but maybe can’t quite found this innovative course? So on the one hand there’s the “Where’s the religion?” and two, advice for others in different contexts.

MS: Well, I mean to the first – at the end of the day we are still a department of Religious Studies and can still call ourselves that. So whatever kind of nominal traction we have to make ourselves legible in a field called Religious Studies is still present in the kinds of faculty areas and research that we do. Our approach is different, though, in relation to how it is that we think about the importance of [for example] the question of Hindus and American religion or a colleague who studies the spread of global Christianities in the global south, and Japan migration. So we have areas of the world and traditions that we use as data sets. There are still levels of study that people can kind-of come into and get that sort of traction if they want to do that. Especially if they want to go on to have an even more focussed approach with that, with their PhD. They have the opportunity to do language study while they’re here within the Master’s programme. But, you know, yes it is right that someone who is coming into our programme is probably not satisfied with thinking about a specific group of ritual practitioners in the 18th century, from this space, and then leave their enquiry to live and die inside of that space. So. . .

CC: And given that what you’re already saying about your social media presence etc, it’s going to be quite unlikely that a grad student’s going to turn up at the door not knowing what goes on.

MS: Right!

MA: They should certainly know what they’re getting themselves into!

MS: But I do think it needs to be said that this is still for those people who are really still diehard, interested in getting a PhD in Religious Studies, as long as they think of that approach as kind of cool, this is still something that will still put them in a really nice position and I think, if anything, make their application stand out. Because they do have this other little edge to it.

MA: I think, to be completely honest, that our students coming out of here will be better prepared for a more traditional PhD programme. Because our programme will require them to go back to first questions.(30:00) Like we said earlier, that taking it for granted that your study of Vedic sacrifice is valuable just because it’s about something really old, that it is inherently valuable, that’s not. . . You’re going to be pushed to be able to articulate what is it about your study of Ancient Vedic sacrifice that has purchase for  larger theories about social formation, ritual, the way communities work, the way people think, the way texts are passed down, like. . . whatever: something bigger. And that emphasis will allow you, when you get to a PhD programme and beyond when you’re on the job market later, to talk to people outside of your super-small speciality in a way that will make you a better scholar.

MS: And that’s exactly the answer, too, that I would suggest for the second part of your question, Chris, about what this suggests to scholars implicitly in their field. Because I think that there is a way in which the field itself, as a disciplinary phenomenon, can also be taken for granted as a self-evidently important thing.

MA: Of course religion’s important!

MS: Right, and “because we’ve been studying it in these ways for this many years, this is what we should continue or because the field is so dominated by area studies, and continues by area studies, and descriptive ethnographies, that that’s how we should continue to approach our work”. And I think that our programme is an experiment in thinking otherwise about that, and really putting our programmatic money where our mouths are, in terms of thinking differently about how we can conceive this field. Because there are a lot of different directions it can take. And why do we need to think in classic terms about area studies? Because then, why should we win the battle over how to get grad students who would otherwise go into a History grad programme, or a Cultural Studies programme, or in Anthropology? You know, why go into Religious Studies? So I think this is also a way for scholars and faculty members and administrators to think about how to organise differently around the kinds of area studies that they have, and how to make more marketable students coming out of those programmes in the process.

MA: And I’ll underline . . . .You asked the second question about how are we able to do this, and the support. At the risk of sounding too parochial, I think we have had a lot of support from the College of Arts and Sciences here at the university. And I think that’s because we’ve shown that the approaches we’ve chosen work in other settings. We’ve been out in front of other departments in a lot of ways, with the blog and social media. And a number of different projects that we’ve done have pushed everyone in the college, in a way, and so that’s given us a certain amount of institutional capital that has opened the door for this. And I think part of that is because we haven’t taken for granted that we’re valuable. And on the flip side of that: I think we’re the hardest working department in the country, we’re incredibly productive pound for pound and – I mean, that’s enough bragging!

MS: I’ll also say our Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is a mathematician who is, nonetheless, deeply invested in the Humanities, and that’s just so, so nice. It’s really nice.

CC: So, effectively: get out there, embody what you want the field to be! If you want to be relevant, get out there and make yourselves relevant! That’s probably a good rallying call.

MA: Yes. The entrepreneurism we want in our Master’s students has been modelled by this department for the past 10-12 years.

MS: And interestingly – I know you’re probably trying to close this down because it sounded like a nice [ending], but only very quickly – this is why social theory is so useful too, to make that entrepreneurial vein of professional emphasis, not become some super-problematic, “Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps kiddos! And if you just try hard enough you’ll get that job in blah blah blah”. Like, No! We’re thinking really seriously about structural dynamics, about power dynamics, about the kinds of economic underpinnings that create certain sorts of environments that allow you to take various modes of agency in different kinds of spaces. And I think that that’s also super-important, because I think it can be really disheartening as a grad student to hear the equation of, “If you just try hard, and if you just publish enough, you’ll get that job.” Because that’s just so not any more the case.

MA: No. Scholars of large institutions and large social formations ought to be really good at navigating university bureaucracy.

CC: (35:00) Well, on that note, thanks so much Merinda Simmons and Mike Altman for joining us, and hopefully you will both get some sign-ups for this course.

MA: Applications are open now!

CC: You’ve also given our listeners a lot of food for thought and a lot of inspiration, and hopefully we’ll have a couple of interesting responses to this – fingers crossed!

MS: Thanks so much for talking to us.

MA: Thank you.

CC: Thanks so much for joining us.


Citation:  Simmons, K. Merinda, and Michael J. Altman  2017. “Reinventing Graduate Education in the Study of Religion”, The Religious Studies Project (Podcast Transcript). 3 April 2017. Transcribed by Helen Bradstock. Version 1.1, 4 April 2017. Available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/reinventing-graduate-education-in-the-study-of-religion/

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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!

The First Rule of Adjuncting is…

The first rule of adjuncting is you don’t talk about adjuncting.[1]

The second rule of adjuncting is… you don’t talk about adjuncting!

If you have seen the film Fight Club, a visually stunning piece based on Chuck Palhnuik’s book by the same title which savagely critiques modern consumerism, you know that I am making a link here between this film and the role of the adjunct in American higher education. In the film, this underground fraternal club revolves around cage-fighting style matches between two men in abandoned warehouses. These brutal bouts act as therapy for these men who feel emasculated by modern consumer culture. What does that have to do with adjuncting? Nothing and everything.

The first rule of adjuncting is you don’t talk about adjuncting.

The first rule of adjuncting is you don’t talk about adjuncting.

If you have read my two pieces on the Bulletin for the Study of Religion blog, then you know I have recently come out of the closet as an adjunct. You may not know what an adjunct is. Here is a blurb where I explain the adjunct plight in higher education.

An adjunct is a part-time knowledge worker who teaches 76% of all college courses in the US. We are contract workers (picking up jobs by the semester or year), transient populations (going where the jobs are), we rarely get benefits, are rarely hired in full-time capacity (because this would require we receive benefits), and we often don’t know if we will have work from semester to semester. Many of us have PhDs; some of us, like myself, only have a MA degree. Many of us have written for esteemed journals, published alongside tenured professors, and even written our own books.”

The closest equivalent in the U.K. is perhaps the fixed term temporary lecturer who primarily teaches. This is not to be confused with the more esteemed lecturer position which is more open-ended, fairly stable, and allows for both teaching and research. It seems there is a great deal of confusion regarding nomenclature even within similar systems. In the U.S., students and parents often have no idea how an adjunct (limited term, lowly paid, MA or PhD, instructor with few research opportunities) is different from other faculty… such as full professors (not limited term, well paid, PhD, who usually teaches and does research the rest of the time). Students only see what we do in the classroom… often they assume that those teaching their classes are not part of this underclass, if they even are aware such an underclass exists. Adjuncts don’t usually complain about their situation because they are already living month to month… and they can’t risk getting fired. This allows departments to pay them less and less. The tide is shifting though. Today, adjuncts are fighting for benefits, better wages, and representation in the university. In many small community colleges, adjuncts make up the majority of the faculty and work in less than ideal conditions (no benefits, low wage, no offices or shared offices, and no way to get out). In these cases, the 76% number rings true… where adjuncts teach a majority of the classes. In more prestigious state schools, like where I taught the last two years, about 17% are adjunct (this number is based only on part-time faculty). The count of annual contracted adjuncts is much harder to ascertain. I am sure you can imagine why, no college wants to advertise their use of this contingent labor. Some thinkers warn that the continued corporatization of the American academy is systematically undermining the values of higher education. Even Congress is worried.

So now that you know we exist and that you know that I was one (I taught 52 courses in 10 years at 3 different Georgia universities and colleges) I will explain why you might not have known that I was an adjunct.

Simple…I didn’t want you to know.

Why would I hide my identity as an adjunct? Hello_my_name_is_AdjunctM-773510

1. Fear: Speaking out makes your employers look bad. The first rule of adjuncting is that you don’t talk about adjuncting. The second rule of adjuncting is that you don’t talk about adjuncting! Why? Because if you talk about being underpaid, having no health insurance or benefits, no representation or recourse in administration, your department will be shamed by this disclosure (as they should be) and there will be retribution. I, like other adjuncts, who are disclosing what has happened to them, fear losing our current jobs and we fear that speaking up will make us social and professional pariah. We fear retribution. We also know that by disclosing this information we are burning bridges… I most certainly cannot ask for a letter of recommendation from a department which I have critiqued for unethical employment practices.

2. Shame: Speaking out makes you look bad. I never introduced myself as an adjunct because adjuncting is seen as the dying lands for academic stragglers. It is a job which slowly squeezes out the undesirables from academia. This is a way of culling the herd in the academic world. To say you are an adjunct is to risk being viewed in this negative light. If you are an adjunct, full-time professors want to know why you are an adjunct. They want to know what is wrong with you. If you are a perpetual adjunct, you must be damaged goods. Academia is a lot like high school… who you know, who you sit with, work with, present with… is indicative of your own academic status. Many academics only want to associate with other academics that can raise their scholarly stock. Associating with an adjunct might make your scholarly stock plummet.

So why would I speak out? Why say anything, if it is in my best interest to be silent?

It is no longer in my best interest to be silent. I tried that route and it didn’t work. I have decided to leave adjunct teaching. After all that work, I have finally had it. I had my Towanda moment. I like to call it my Breaking Bad moment… minus the whole becoming a homicidal drug lord part. Once I saw that my department was now hiring annual contracted ‘lecturers’ (PhDs who will teach full-time for up to seven years before a possibility of promotion to senior lecturers), I realized that now that departments could get PhDs to teach classes for pennies on the dollar, they would not need me. Oh they would continue to hire me on a part-time basis semester to semester when these lecturers leave two weeks before the semester starts for a better job. I would still not get benefits. I still wouldn’t be able to even cobble together a living by teaching, tutoring/ etc. at various state schools. I would still need to get a signed letter every single semester from my department so I could check out books from the school library.

adjuncts-e1342612896160

I may be leaving adjunct teaching for a living wage and benefits but I am not leaving academia. I love higher education but I can no longer pretend to be blind to the exploitation in my midst, to the exploitation happening to me. I love to teach, write, and research about religion but the cost of this part-time living is too high. I am personable, resilient, skilled, published, and highly educated… and now fully employed. Most adjuncts are so crippled, emotionally, finically, and physically… that by asking them to fight back you have only given them another job… another job for which they won’t be paid, a job which will likely get them fired and shunned.

I will still speak for adjuncts.

I am breaking the first rule and the second rule of adjuncting.


[1] *editors note: ‘Adjunct’ is a term used in America to denote a college professor who typically has the same and/or greater teaching responsibilities as a tenured professor at a university, but lacks anything even approaching the job security, benefits and stipend of a tenured professor. As Kate has mentioned, 76% of all college courses in the US are taught by adjuncts. Even many PhD’s are adjuncts. As the number of tenured teaching positions in academia continues to shrink, it is likely that most wishing to at least ‘earn a living wage’ will either have to find jobs outside academia altogether, or accept being a contingent laborer who not only teaches but has to compete with the very students they teach for jobs at a local pub for minimum wage – just to make ends meet. You should care about adjuncts for many reasons, but as tenure positions appear more like pipe dreams it’s likely that, if an academic career is your dream, you yourself may be in a similar position one day trying to make ends meet.

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 14 February 2014

wordleWelcome to the seventh RSP Opportunities Digest for 2014. Special materialistic romantic greetings to you all. 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. We are about to appoint a new editor for the digest, so expect some changes in the coming weeks.

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.

Calls for Papers

Religion and Architecture

Panel on the forgotten connections between religion and modernist architecture in the post-WWII world

ISIH-conference in Toronto.

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=211169

Religion in Social Relations

The Hungarian Historical Review

Deadline for  abstracts: 28 Feb 2014

http://www.hunghist.org

Constructing Orthodoxies and Heresies in the Islamic World

2014 MAMEIS Annual Conference

Abstracts Due: Friday, February 14 2014

Saturday April 12, 2014, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois

http://www.mameis.org

Religion in Everyday lives

Centre for Research in Social sciences and Humanities

Interdisciplinary Conference on Religion in Everyday lives

Vienna, Austria, 28-29. 03. 2014.

http://www.socialsciencesandhumanities.com

Special Issue of Fat Studies

“Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society”

Religion and Fat, guest edited by Lynne Gerber,

Susan Hill and LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant.

See attached word document. 

Journal of Religious Studies, History and Society

Journal of Religious Studies, History and Society (Revista Ciências da Religião – Historia e Sociedade)

Journal URL http://editorarevistas.mackenzie.br/index.php/cr

Contact for queries and submissions: suzana.coutinho@mackenzie.br

Oxford X 2014

Astronomy, Indigenous Knowledge, and Interpretation

Abstracts Due March 1, 2014

South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), Cape Town, South Africa

http://www.culturalastronomy.saao.ac.za

Conferences

The Pentecostalisation of Public Spheres

Religion & Society @Leeds Research Day

14 March 2014, Fairbairn House, Main Building Upper Chapel

See attached pdf. 

The Use of Tafsir in Translating the Koran

Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE)

28 February 2014, at the Warburg Institute, London.

http://warburg.sas.ac.uk/events/colloquia-2013-14/use-of-tafsir-in-translating-the-koran/

Food and Ritual: Ancient Practices, Modern Perspectives

 

Corpus Christi College, Oxford, March 19-21st, 2014.

http://www.oxforduniversitystores.co.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?

compid=1&modid=2&deptid=202&catid=68&prodid=232

Jobs

University of Cape Town – Lecturer: Asian Religions

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48414

Antioch University – Instructor, Buddhist Studies Program

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48416

University of Pittsburgh – Visiting Assistant Professor

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48420

University of Edinburgh – Religious Studies, Teaching Fellow

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AIC788/teaching-fellow-in-religious-studies/

Keble College, Oxford – Reformation history and theology

http://bit.ly/1fZC2uW

NSRN Blog

12 February 2014 – New academic blog promotes discussion about secularity, nonreligion and atheism.

http://blog.nsrn.net

Summer School

Mysticism and Esotericism

University of Groningen in collaboration with Erfurt, Aarhus, and Rice University.

“Mysticism and Esotericism in Pluralistic Perspective: Conflicting Claims of Knowledge and the Power of Individualism” (29 June – 5 July 2014).

http://www.rug.nl/education/summer-winter-schools/summer-schools-2014/mysticism-esotericism/

Religious Education

For those of us in Britain the question of Religious Education has become an ever-increasing issue of concern. Just last October Ofsted, the regulatory board for all education at school level, reported that over half the schools in Britain were failing to provide students with adequate RE. In the wake of this calls were made for clearer standardisation of the subject and a “national benchmark”. The deterioration of RE is perhaps not all that surprising after it was excluded from the English Baccalaureate in 2011. But the call for improvement raises with it a number of questions. First and foremost, just what exactly should RE entail? Should RE be teaching about religion or teaching religion? Who, even, should be RE teachers? PGCE (teacher training) courses in RE accept candidates with degrees in Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy or indeed any other topic so long as they can, in the words of one program, show “demonstrable knowledge of the study of religion”. But does a theologian or a philosopher have the same skill sets as an RS scholar? To be sure, they may know the facts of a particular religion but are the facts enough for a satisfactory education? Just what is exactly is it we are teaching students to do in RE classrooms?

In this interview, Jonathan Tuckett speaks with Tim Jensen to try to answer some of these questions and more. Not only has Jensen spoken widely on the topic of RE he has recently headed the EASR working group in Religious Education which has studied the status of RE in Denmark, Sweden and Norway highlighting that the question of RE is of particular concern to any secular state.

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.ukAmazon.ca, or Amazon.com links to support us at no additional cost when you have a purchase to make.

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 14 September 2012 Edition

 

14 September 2012 Issue

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.

In this issue:

  • Book Series
  • Journals
  • Calls for Papers
  • Jobs
  • Documentary
  • Workshop
  • Scholarship
  • Conference

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.

 


BOOK SERIES


The Secular Studies series

GENERAL EDITOR:

Phil Zuckerman, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, PITZER COLLEGE

There are more secular people in the world than ever before. And various forms and manifestations of secularity—atheism, agnosticism, humanism, skepticism, and anti-religious movements—are enjoying increased attention and scrutiny. The scholarly examination of secular identity, secular groups, secular culture(s), and political/constitutional secularisms—and how these all relate to each other, as well as to the broader social world—is thus more timely than ever. Moreover, studying secularism also teaches us about religiosity; as secularism is almost always in reaction to or in dialogue with the religious, by studying those who are secular we can learn much, from a new angle, about the religion they are rejecting.

The Secular Studies series is meant to provide a home for works in the emerging field of secular studies. Rooted in a social science perspective, it will explore and illuminate various aspects of secular life, ranging from how secular people live their lives and how they construct their identities to the activities of secular social movements, from the demographics of secularism to the ways in which secularity intersects with other social processes, identities, patterns, and issues.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

Submissions should take the form of a 4-6 page proposal outlining the intent, scope, and argument of the project, its merits in comparison to existing texts, and the audience it is designed to reach. Please include a detailed annotated Table of Contents, ideally 2-4 sample chapters if available, and a current copy of your curriculum vitae.

PLEASE DIRECT QUERIES AND SUBMISSIONS TO:

Dr. Phil Zuckerman

Professor of Sociology, Pitzer College

1050 North Mills Avenue

Claremont, CA 91711

phil_zuckerman@pitzer.edu

Jennifer Hammer

Senior Editor

New York University Press

838 Broadway, Floor 3

New York, NY 10003-4812

jennifer.hammer@nyu.edu

For more information or details on submission guidelines, please visit: www.nyupress.org


JOURNALS

 

Sociology of religion, http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc

Journal of Hindu Studies, http://jhs.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc


CALLS FOR PAPERS


“Occultism, Magic and the History of Art” (Graduate

Conference, University of Cambridge, 3-4 December 2012)

Date: 2012-09-30

Description: Graduate Conference 2012/13: “Charming Intentions:

Occultism, Magic and the History of Art”,(University of

Cambridge, 3-4 December 2012) This two-day graduate conference

will investigate the intersections between visual culture and

the occult tradition, ranging from the material culture of

primitive …

Contact: dcjz2@cam.ac.uk

URL:

www.hoart.cam.ac.uk/events/graduate-conference-2012-13-charming-intentions-occultism-magic-and-the-history-of-art

Announcement ID: 196882

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196882


“Making Sacrifices”: Visions of Sacrifice in American and

European Cultures

Location: Massachusetts

Date: 2012-10-01

Description: CFP: “Making Sacrifices”: Visions of Sacrifice in

American and European Cultures November 3, 2012; Salzburg

Institute of Gordon College Symposium, Gordon College, Wenham,

MA As Italian premier Mario Monti recently did, politicians are

increasingly calling on citizens to make sacrifices for the

futur …

Contact: salzburg.symposium@gordon.edu

URL: www.gordon.edu/SalzburgInstitute

Announcement ID: 196785

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196785


SST Postgraduate Conference 2012

University of Cambridge, DECEMBER 3 AND 4

How Shall the Next Generation Live? Theology as Responsibility

Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated: “The ultimate question for a responsible person to ask is … how the coming generation is to live.”His concern broached the need to take responsibility for others and part of that responsibility was in leaving a legacy of sound doctrine. Taking Bonhoeffer’s concern as our framework, the second SST Postgraduate Conference invites postgraduates from all traditions and none to discuss how current theology can/should serve future generations.

The conference will take place in the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity, between the hours of 12 – 5 PM on Monday 3 December, and 9 – 6 PM on Tuesday 4 December. Delegates will be welcomed by Professor Judith Lieu (Cambridge), and plenary sessions will be given by Professor Graham Ward, Professor George Newlands, Dr. Susannah Ticciati, Revd Dr. Stephen Plant and Revd Dr. Gregory Seach.

The conference is sponsored by the SST and the Cambridge Faculty of Divinity, and is free of charge. We regret that we cannot provide delegates with accommodation or an evening meal. To register, please send your name, contact information and details of your university/institution to registersstpostgrad2012@ymail.com by 31 OCTOBER.

CALL FOR PAPERS

Paper abstracts are to be 250 WORDS and related to the conference theme. We particularly welcome papers which make reference to doctrine. THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 15TH OCTOBER, AND APPLICATIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO sstpostgrad2012@ymail.com. Applicants will be contacted by the end of the month. Papers will be allotted 20 minutes for delivery with 5-10 minutes for questions.

Possible topics include (but are not restricted to):

  1. How academic theology should serve the next generation

  2. The contribution theology can or should make to society

  3. Theology and its interaction with politics/economics/culture

  4. The role of theology in contemporary ethical discourse

  5. The place of scripture in twenty-first century theology

  6. The function of Christian doctrine in twenty-first century theology

  7. Spiritual practice informing twenty-first century theology

  8. ‘Prayer and righteous action’

  9. Theological reflection and praxis

Some bursaries towards travel expenditure are available, however we warmly encourage postgraduates to apply to their institutions for financial support where this is available. Those wishing to apply for a bursary should indicate this when submitting an abstract, giving details of their expenditure and need. Decisions on bursaries will be made by the end of October.

Please note that this conference is intended for postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Established academics are warmly welcome to participate in the Society’s main annual conference, which will be publicised in December.

Please forward this message to postgraduates in your institution. To download a poster to display on your notice board, visit www.theologysociety.org.uk. If you are a postgraduate, we invite you to visit our ‘SST Postgraduate Conference’ Facebook page for news and accommodation information, and hope to see you in December.

Nicki Wilkes and Ruth Jackson

Conference Organisers


Title: Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality

Description: Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality (JMMS)

is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal. JMMS seeks to be

as inclusive as possible in its area of inquiry. Papers address

the full spectrum of masculinities and sexualities,

particularly those which are seldom heard. Similarly, JMMS

address …

Contact: joseph@gelfer.net

URL: www.jmmsweb.org

Announcement ID: 196563

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196563


Title: Reminder: Call for papers: Medieval and Renaissance

Pilgrimage

Location: Michigan

Date: 2012-09-07

Description: Striding toward Salvation: Medieval and Renaissance

Pilgrimage in Europe and the Mediterranean. During the Middle

Ages and Renaissance, pilgrimage provided an important path to

spiritual salvation; as such, a whole range of individualsfrom

peasants to kings, serfs to sultansundertook these sacred jo

Contact: edkelley@svsu.edu

Announcement ID: 196697

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196697


Title: Last call for submissions for Edited Collection,

Supernatural: Fan Phenomena

Date: 2012-09-15

Description: Last call for abstracts for consideration for the new

Supernatural (Fan Phenomena) title from Intellect Press. This

will be part of the series of Fan Phenomena books, which aim to

explore and decode the fascination we have with what

constitutes an iconic or cultish phenomenon and how a

particular pe …

Contact: lzubernis@wcupa.edu

Announcement ID: 196713

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196713

Title: RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN AFRICA AND ASIA: Discourses and

Realities

Date: 2012-10-30

Description: Following the 55 BANDUNG 55 Seminars of the 55th

Anniversary of 1955 Bandung Asian-African Conference held in

Indonesia in October/November 2010, a series of books under the

label of Bandung Spirit Book Series is in the course of

publication. The coming book is dealing with “RELIGIOUS

DIVERSITY IN A …

Contact: darwis.khudori@univ-lehavre.fr

URL: www.bandungspirit.org

Announcement ID: 196724

   http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196724


2013 International Society for the Sociology of Religion Conference

Turku, Finland: 27-30 June.

RETHINKING COMMUNITY

Religious continuities and mutations in late modernity

SESSIONS ARE NOW POSTED!!

Once the local committee has begun its work, we will post a link here so you can visit the conference website.  That website will contain information about housing, transportation, and other particulars.


Call for Papers

Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives Conference

Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, United Kingdom

 

1-3 August 2013

Congregational music-making has long been a vital and vibrant practice within Christian communities worldwide. Congregational music reflects, informs, and articulates local convictions and concerns as well as global flows of ideas and products. Congregational song can unify communities of faith across geographical and cultural boundaries, while simultaneously serving as a contested practice used to inscribe, challenge, and negotiate identities. Many twenty-first century congregational song repertories are transnational genres that cross boundaries of region, nation, and denomination. The various meanings, uses, and influence of these congregational song repertoires cannot be understood without an exploration of these musics’ local roots and global routes.

This conference seeks to explore the multifaceted interaction between local and global dimensions of Christian congregational music by drawing from perspectives across academic disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, history, music studies, and theology. In particular, the conference welcomes papers addressing or engaging with one or more of the following six themes:

  • The Politics of Congregational Singing

The choices congregations make to include (or exclude) certain kinds of music in their worship often have significant political ramifications. Papers on this topic may consider: what roles does music play in local congregational politics? How do congregations use musical performance, on the one hand, to build and maintain boundaries, or, on the other, to promote reconciliation between members of differing ethnicities, denominations, regions, or religions?

 

  • Popular Music in/as Christian Worship

Christian worship has long incorporated musical styles, sounds, or songs considered ‘popular’ or ‘vernacular.’ To what extent does congregational music-making maintain, conflate, or challenge the boundaries between ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’? How do commercial music industries influence the production, distribution, and reception of congregational music, and, conversely, how do the concerns of congregational singing shape praxis within the realm of commercial music?

 

  • From Mission Hymns to Indigenous Hymnodies

This theme invites critical exploration of how congregational music has shaped—and been shaped by—Christian missionary endeavours of the past, present, and future. How have colonialism and postcolonialism influenced congregational musical ideologies and practices? Who defines an ‘indigenous hymnody,’ and how has this category informed music-making in the postmissionary church? What does the future of music in Christian missions hold?

 

  • Congregational Music in the University Classroom

What preconceived notions of Christian beliefs, Christian music-making, or the Christian community do instructors face in the 21st century? What should the study of congregational music involve in the training of clergy and lay ministers? How do the experiences and perspectives of university students challenge the way congregational music is practiced and taught?

 

  • Towards a More Musical Theology

Though it has been over twenty-five years since Jon Michael Spencer called for the cross-pollination of musicological and theological studies in ‘theomusicology,’ the theological mainstream still rarely pays attention to music. How might acknowledging the diversity of human musical traditions influence theological reflection on ecclesiology, eschatology, or ethics? What might insights from musicology and ethnomusicology bring to bear on contemporary debates within Christian theology?

 

  • A Futurology of Congregational Music

Papers on this subtheme will offer creative, considered reflection on the future of congregational music. What new emerging shapes and forms will—or should—congregational worship music take? Will congregational song traditions become more localized, or will they be further determined by global commercial industries? What must scholars do to provide more nuanced, relevant, or critical perspectives on Christian congregational music?

We are now accepting proposals (maximum 250 words) for individual papers and organised panels of three papers.  A link to the online proposal form can be found on the conference website at  http://www.rcc.ac.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=prospective.content&cmid=182.

Proposals must be received by 14 December 2012.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 28 January 2013, and conference registration will begin on 2 February 2013. Further instructions and information will be made available on the conference website.


Title: TRANSCULTURAL UNDEADNESS: HISTORIES AND INCARNATIONS OF

MULTIETHNIC HAUNTINGS AND HORROR

Location: Pennsylvania

Date: 2012-10-20

Description: MELUS 2013 March 14-17, 2013 Downtown Pittsburgh

Deadline: October 20, 2012 One point of departure for this

session is our conference location, Pittsburgh, the home base

of veteran horror filmmaker George A. Romero. Starting with his

now-classic 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead, Romero has

built  …

Announcement ID: 196770

   http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196770


Call for Papers: Engaging Sociology of Religion

BSA Sociology of Religion conference stream, Annual Conference of the

British Sociological Association

Grand Connaught Rooms, London, 3-5 April 2013

How does sociology of religion engage with topical issues affecting contemporary society?

How can field-specific theories and models help in understanding religion’s role in recent

global and local social movements (the Occupy movement, transitions in the Arab world,

London riots in 2011), the economic crisis and austerity, social mobility, the ‘Big Society’,

cultural pluralisation, climate change, and so on? How have – and how should – sociologists

of religion engage broader public arenas? What could be the specific contribution of

sociology of religion to public discussion? We invite papers that address topical issues such

as the above, but also papers on core issues in the sociology of religion, including – but not

limited to – the following:

* ‘Public’ Sociology of Religion

* Religion, Social Movements and Protest

* Religion and Welfare (including Faith-Based Organisations)

* Religion and inequalities (gender, ethnicity, class)

* Religion and media

* Religion and State in the 21st Century

* Social Theory and Religion

* Secularism and secularisation

Abstract submission to be completed at: www.britsoc.co.uk/events/Conference

Deadline for abstract submission: 5 October 2012.

E-mail: bsaconference@britsoc.org.uk for conference enquiries; t.hjelm@ucl.ac.uk or

j.m.mckenzie@durham.ac.uk for stream enquiries. Please DO NOT send abstracts to these

addresses.


JOBS


University of Kansas – Assistant or Associate Professor of Religious

Studies with a concentration in Judaism

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45212>

Brigham Young University – History Faculty, Open Field/Rank

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45197>

University of Tennessee – Knoxville – Assistant Professor, Early and

medieval Islam (622-1600CE)

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45173>

Cornell University – Thomas and Diann Mann Professorship in Modern

Jewish Studies

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45208>

University of Colorado – Boulder – Jewish History, Assistant

Professor, tenure-track

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45184>


Join the ECF convenor team: Want to have a say in how the BSA Early Career Forum (ECF) is run? Do you have great ideas for events for the ECF and want to get involved? The BSA ECF is looking for a new convener to join the existing team. Your responsibilities will include attendance at BSA council meetings (once a year), organizing the ECF workshops at the annual conference, organizing other ECF workshops and events throughout the  year, maintaining regular contact with ECF members via JISCmail and social media and representing ECF views to the BSA Council and Executive Management Team.  If you are interested in joining the team, please send your CV and a short blurb indicating why you want the position and what skills you would bring to it to lkillick@pacific.edu by Sept 24th 2012.  We look forward to hearing from you!

 


PhD Position in Buddhist Studies

Vacancy number: 12-213

The Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) invites applications for two fulltime PhD positions in the field of Buddhist Studies, specialization open, to begin 1 January 2013, or thereafter.

Review of applications will commence by 15 October 2012 and continue until the position is filled or this call is closed. (http://www.hum.leiden.edu/lias/)

 


DOCUMENTARY


http://www.kidnappedforchrist.com/#!about

Kidnapped for Christ is a feature-length documentary film, which follows the stories of several American teenagers who were sent to an Evangelical Christian reform school located in The Dominican Republic called “Escuela Caribe.” The school is run by Americans and is advertised as a “therapeutic Christian boarding school” whose mission is to “help struggling youth transform into healthy Christian adults.” While many have praised the school for saving the lives of hundreds of troubled teens, in the past several years many former students have begun to speak out against the school, claiming that they suffered both psychological and physical abuse during their time there. The film’s director, Kate Logan, set out to document the experiences of the students at this remote boarding school and was given unprecedented access to film for seven weeks on campus in the summer of 2006. Through candid interviews with distressed students and footage of staff imposing extreme discipline and punishments she was able to reveal the shocking truth of what was actually going on at Escuela Caribe.

The film centers on the story of David, a straight-A student from Colorado who was sent to Escuela Caribe in May of 2006 after coming out to his parents as gay. Like many others, David was taken in the night without warning by a “transport service” and was never told where he was going or when he would be brought back home. David was not the only student whose life was impacted by the school’s severe approach to discipline. The filmmakers followed many other students who also experienced degrading punishments and who struggled to understand what was happening to them. The film also features interviews with former students, including Julia Scheeres, whose 2005 New York Times Best Selling memoir Jesusland tells the story of the disturbing physical and physiological abuse she witnessed and suffered at Escuela Caribe during the 1980s.

The growth of the troubled teen industry, especially therapeutic boarding schools located in the United States and abroad, has given rise to many other allegations of the inhumane treatment of youth and the exploitation of families who are desperately seeking help for their teenagers. The goal of Kidnapped for Christ is to tell the stories of the students who were sent to Escuela Caribe and to give them a voice so that they may make people aware of the broader industry of schools like Escuela Caribe and the potential danger they constitute for our youth. We hope that the film will be entertaining, shocking, thought provoking and will ultimately inspire change in the way these types of schools are run and regulated.


WORKSHOP


Title: Fall 2012 Auschwitz Jewish Center Program for Students

Abroad (AJC PSA)

Description: In its fifth semester, the AJC PSA is a long-weekend

(Thursday PM through Monday AM) program in Krakw for North

American students studying overseas. The program, which

includes a scholarly visit to Owicim/Auschwitz, provides an

academic environment through which participants engage

intensively with …

Contact: DBramson@mjhnyc.org

URL: www.mjhnyc.org/a_affiliates_ajc.html

Announcement ID: 196435

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196435


Scholarships


A full PhD scholarship is being offered at Aarhus University in the new Interacting Minds Centre. Please circulate this call:

http://talent.au.dk/phd/arts/open-calls/phd-call-103/


CONFERENCE


conference on Race/religion as motive for prohibited conduct (Middlesex University, 12 November); the conference flyer is attached.

I have also been asked by Dr Jenny Taylor of Lapido Media to publicise a new book TABLIGHI JAMAAT by Dr Zacharias Pieri of the University of Exeter, which will launch their series of Handy Books for Journalists on Religion in World Affairs; 27 September at Frontline Club: http://www.frontlineclub.com/crm/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=785. The event is free, but booking is essential. The book, which provides the latest research on this group in Britain with exclusive pictures, costs £10 and can now be ordered from info@lapidomedia.com

image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 31 August 2012

31 August 2012 Issueimage of books

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. Quite a short one this week…

In this issue:

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Calls for Papers
  • Jobs
  • Fellowships

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.


BOOKS


Promoting Peace, Inciting Violence: The Role of Religion and Media (Media, Religion and Culture) – Jolyon Mitchell (Sept 2012)

This book explores how media and religion combine to play a role in promoting peace and inciting violence. It analyses a wide range of media – from posters, cartoons and stained glass to websites, radio and film – and draws on diverse examples from around the world, including Iran, Rwanda and South Africa.

  • Part One considers how various media forms can contribute to the creation of violent environments: by memorialising past hurts; by instilling fear of the ‘other’; by encouraging audiences to fight, to die or to kill neighbours for an apparently greater good.
  • Part Two explores how film can bear witness to past acts of violence, how film-makers can reveal the search for truth, justice and reconciliation, and how new media can become sites for non-violent responses to terrorism and government oppression. To what extent can popular media arts contribute to imagining and building peace, transforming weapons into art, swords into ploughshares?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Promoting-Peace-Inciting-Violence-Religion/dp/041555747X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346354391&sr=1-1


JOURNALS


Sociology of Religion – Advance Notice – http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc

Culture and Religion http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcar20/13/3

Buddhist Forum http://www.shin-ibs.edu/academics/_forum/v4.php


CALLS FOR PAPERS


International Congress: Rethinking Europe with(out) religion. Deadline for abstracts 30 September 2012

Full details as PDF can be found here CFP_Rethinking Europe with(out) Religion

Sehr geehrte Interessierte an der Forschungsplattform RaT! Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen!

Die Forschungsplattform „Religion and Transformation in Contemporary European Society“ (RaT) möchte Sie hiermit auf den im Februar 2013 stattfindenden Kongress „Rethinking Europe with(out) Religion“ aufmerksam machen.

Details sowie ein Anmeldeformular finden Sie auf der Kongress-Homepage: www.rethinkingeurope.at

Die Kolleginnen und Kollegen an Universitäten und Bildungseinrichtungen bitte ich, diese Information im Rahmen der Ihnen zur Verfügung stehenden Möglichkeiten weiterzuleiten. Bitte machen Sie Studierende auf diesen Kongress aufmerksam! Für alle Fälle hänge ich den CfP an.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen und allen guten Wünschen für einen erholsamen Sommer!


JOBS


Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45049

Lehigh University – Associate or Full Professor, medieval or modern Judaism, and Director of Berman Center for Jewish Studies http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45050

University at Albany – Assistant Professor – Eastern Mediterranean Religion http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45016

University of Toronto Mississauga – Assistant Professor, South Asian Religious Literatures

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45035


FELLOWSHIPS


Title: Harry Starr Fellowship in Judaica:  Historical

Consciousness and the Jewish Historical Imagination

Location: Massachusetts

Description: The Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of

History, Harvard University invite applications for the

2013-2014 Harry Starr Fellowship in Judaica, on the theme:

Historical Consciousness and the Jewish Historical Imagination.

This includes, but is not limited to Jewish historiography in

all per …

Contact: :cjs@fas.harvard.edu

URL: www.fas.harvard.edu/~cjs/

Announcement ID: 196546

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196546


Title: Gangolf Schrimpf Visiting Fellowship, Fulda Faculty of

Theology

Date: 2012-09-30

Description: The Gangolf Schrimpf Visiting Fellowship will be

awarded to a junior or senior scholar with a well-defined

research project within the field of medieval studies (e.g.

History, Theology, Philosophy, Literature) who wants to spend

at least one month, and up to three months, at the Institute

Bibliothec …

Contact: goebel@thf-fulda.de

URL:

thf-fulda.de/sites/default/files/artikel/fellowship_englische_version_akt_version_0.pdf

Announcement ID: 196478

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196478


image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 10 August Edition

10 August 2012 Issueimage of books

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.

In this issue:

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Calls for Papers
  • Jobs
  • Funding/Grants

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.


BOOKS

Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions, 1500-1700 – Jimmy Yu

Published by Oxford University Press.

In this illuminating study of a vital but long overlooked aspect of Chinese religious life, Jimmy Yu reveals that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, self-inflicted violence was an essential and sanctioned part of Chinese culture. He examines a wide range of practices, including blood writing, filial body-slicing, chastity mutilations and suicides, ritual exposure, and self-immolation, arguing that each practice was public, scripted, and a signal of certain cultural expectations. Yu shows how individuals engaged in acts of self-inflicted violence to exercise power and to affect society, by articulating moral values, reinstituting order, forging new social relations, and protecting against the threat of moral ambiguity. Self-inflicted violence was intelligible both to the person doing the act and to those who viewed and interpreted it, regardless of the various religions of the period: Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and other religions. Self-inflicted violence as a category reveals scholarly biases that tend to marginalize or exaggerate certain phenomena in Chinese culture. Yu offers a groundbreaking contribution to scholarship on bodily practices in late imperial China, challenging preconceived ideas about analytic categories of religion, culture, and ritual in the study of Chinese religions.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sanctity-Self-Inflicted-Violence-Religions-1500-1700/dp/0199844909


JOURNALS


Cambridge Anthropology, volume 30, issue 1 http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/ca/


CALLS FOR PAPERS


CFP: Islamic Africa

Description: Islamic Africa covers the field of Islam in Africa broadly understood to include the social sciences and humanities. The journal considers submissions that focus on African Muslims in broader global contexts as well as research dealing with Muslim societies on the continent itself as well.

Contact: islamicafrica [at] northwestern.edu

URL: islamicafricajournal.org

H-Net Announcement ID: 196165

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196165


CFP: International Symposium: Islam in Interwar Europe and European Cultural History, Leiden University, 13-14 December 2012

Date: 2012-08-20

Description: We would like hereby to invite papers to the  international symposium: Islam in Interwar Europe and European  Cultural History, which will take place at Leiden University,   13-14 December 2012. For a detailed description please contact Mehdi Sajid: msajid [at] uni-bonn.de

H-Net Announcement ID: 196093

Further information: http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196093


CFP: Aesthetics of Popular Culture

Date: 2012-09-10

Description: We encourage scholars with genuine interest in philosophy of art and popular culture to send a max. 250 word abstract for reviewing no later than September 10, 2012 (extended deadline). All schools of philosophy and aesthetic theory (pragmatism, hermeneutics, semiotics, phenomenology …

Contact: popularculture [at] vsvu.sk

URL: www.vsvu.sk/popularculture

H-Net  Announcement ID: 196103

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196103


CFP: Special Sessions, Gender in the Medieval Islamicate World (7th -15th centuries) and Slavery and Slave Systems in the Medieval Islamicate World (7th – 15th centuries)

International Congress on Medieval Studies, 9-12 May 2013 (W

Location: Michigan

Date: 2012-09-15

Description: The purpose of these sessions is to bring together scholars and research focused on gender, slavery and slave systems in Islamicate world between the 7th and 15th centuries. Papers are encouraged from all disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives and regions; including India, Asia, Africa …

Contact: len12 [at] case.edu

H-Net Announcement ID: 196111

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196111


Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion

16th November 2012, Enterprise Centre, University of Derby

Within an era of a growing reliance on digital technologies to instantly and effectively express our values, allegiances, and multi-faceted identities, the interest in digital research methodologies among Sociologists of Religion comes as no surprise (e.g. Bunt 2009; Cantoni and Zyga 2007; Contractor 2012 and Ostrowski 2006; Taylor 2003). However the methodological challenges associated with such research have been given significantly less attention. What are the epistemological underpinnings and rationale for the use ‘digital’ methodologies? What ethical dilemmas do sociologists face, including while protecting participants’ interests in digital contexts that are often perceived as anonymised and therefore ‘safe’? Implementing such ‘digital’ research also leads to practical challenges such as mismatched expectations of IT skills, limited access to specialized tools, project management and remote management of research processes.

Hosted by the Centre for Society, Religion, and Belief at the University of Derby and funded by Digital Social Research, this conference will bring together scholars to critically evaluate the uses, impacts, challenges and future of Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion. We envisage that the conference will lead to an edited textbook and are currently in discussion with key publishers. For the purpose of the conference and textbook, digital research is broadly defined as research that either works within digital contexts or which uses either online or offline digital tools. Abstracts for papers that focus on one, or more, of the following themes are invited:

  1. Epistemological Positioning

  2. Ethical Dilemmas

  3. Implementation & Practical Challenges

  4. Wider impacts beyond Academia

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, as well as the title of the paper, name of the presenter, institutional affiliation, and contact details to Dr Sariya Contractor (s.contractor@derby.ac.uk<mailto:s.contractor@derby.ac.uk>) and Dr. Suha Shakkour (s.shakkour@derby.ac.uk<mailto:s.shakkour@derby.ac.uk>) by 5pm on Tuesday 28th August, 2012. We welcome submissions for Doctoral Candidates and Early Career Researchers. Shortlisted participants will be notified by 11th September 2012 and will be expected to submit summary papers (1000 words) by 1st November 2012 for circulation prior to the conference. A registration fee of £30 will apply for all speakers and delegates. A few travel bursaries are available for post-graduate students. Further details about the registration process will be circulated by mid-August.2012.

Dr Sariya Contractor

Project Researcher

Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality Project

Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences

University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB

E-mail: S.Contractor@derby.ac.uk


The Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions: Peacebuilding, Conflict and Non-Violence in Indian Religious Traditions

The Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions will be held between 5th and 7th April, 2013, in Merton College, Oxford University, in conjunction with Religions for Peace and the Centre for Religions for Reconciliation and Peace, University of Winchester.  Abstracts are invited from academics from any relevant discipline, from peace builders and from those who have worked in conflict zones.  The conference will include papers, workshops and presentations. We welcome papers from any discipline dealing with any aspect of the topic. Selected papers will be published in a dedicated issue of Religions of South Asia (RoSA), and then edited as a collected volume.

In the post-9/11 world, religions and religious actors are more commonly associated with extremism and conflict than peace and harmony.  Much research has focused on the role religion plays in extremist violence, war and rioting.  Less attention has been paid to the role of religion in bringing an end to violence and in promoting reconciliation.  Religious ideologies and religious leaders can play an important role in resolving violent conflicts.  Research into peace building efforts would seem to suggest that Christian organisations have taken the initiative in practical projects.  This may reflect the limited coverage of the research but it does provide encouragement for a Conference exploring the role of South Asian and Indian religious traditions in peace building efforts.  The 2013 Spalding Symposium will address the different ways the contribution of religion to peacebuilding can be conceived, and explore the potential of Indian religious traditions as resources for values that promote peace. It will explore the role of religion in mobilising violence and promoting peace.

Religion, conflict and non-violence

The Symposium organisers understand the notion of conflict in its broadest sense, and as concerned with the underlying structural causes of conflict, such as social and economic injustices, religious and political repression, poverty and the suffering caused by a lack of basic rights and resources for dignified living. ‘Peace building’ we understand as encompassing a wide range of interventions designed to either prevent or transform conflict. Peace building therefore focuses on broader structural interventions such as state building, the strengthening of civil society, education, development work tackling poverty and social and economic injustices, as well as the processes of reconciliation vital to rebuilding resilient societies after a period of conflict.

We are interested in papers and workshops that:

·         promote understanding of the relationship between religion/culture and conflict, and between religious teachings and the promotion of empowerment and human rights;

·         examine the processes by which religious traditions can bring social, moral, and spiritual resources to the peace building process;

·         explore, emphasise and analyse resources in Indian religious and cultural traditions which promote values compatible with a global culture of peace and justice;

·         explore the ambivalence of tradition and show how interpretations of texts and traditions may be used to promote conflict at the level of the international community, the nation or locality;

·         analyse the concept of non-violence (ahimsa)  in the Jain, Hindu and Buddhist traditions, practices such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness  and religious values supporting rituals, healing, and reintegration processes;

·         explore different interpretations of texts like the Bhagavad-gita which appear to give divine sanction to war;

·         explore the role of colonialism in exacerbating or even creating communal tensions or divisions in India, or the more recent rise of Hindu nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism;

·         analyse the importance of Guru Gobind Singh’s founding of the Khalsa and the Sikh principle of miri/piri;

·         explore reformist attempts by reformers such as Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar to ameliorate the divisive issues of caste, class, sexuality, ageism, poverty, racism, and injustice;

·          analyse practical projects and initiatives which have a positive impact on communities and individuals affected by conflict;

·         use religious resources to promote policies and decisions in the political sphere that further peace, or which lessen violence and encourage dialogue in troubled areas of the world;

·         analyse the visions of religious leaders which inspire movements towards peace or which stir up religious nationalism and communalism;

·         report on projects which encourage intra- and inter-religious dialogue and praxis;

·         explore critically the theoretical perspectives of professional academics which examine inequality and injustice (e.g. post-colonial, Marxist, feminist, subaltern);

·         report on projects which bring together academics, peace practitioners and religious groups to explore topics related to reconciliation and religious peace building.

Please send abstracts to Anna King anna.king@winchester.ac.uk<

mailto:anna.king@winchester.ac.uk>

By 30th October 2012


JOBS


Research Fellow – University of Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen -School of Divinity, History & Philosophy

(DHP003R)

College / University Administration: College of Arts & Social Sciences

Position Type: Full-time

University Grade Structure: Grade 6

Salary From: £30,122  Salary To: £35,938

Further information: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEX580/research-fellow/


Title: EHRI Fellowships in Holocaust Studies 2013

Date: 2012-09-30

Description: EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure)

invites applications for its fellowship programme for 2013. The

EHRI fellowships are intended to support and stimulate

Holocaust research by facilitating international access to key

archives and collections related to the Holocaust. The

fellowships i …

Contact: bennett@ifz-muenchen.de

URL: www.ehri-project.eu/fellowships

Announcement ID: 196045

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196045


University of Richmond – Assistant Professor Anthropology

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44902>


University of Washington – Seattle – History of the Islamic World

before 1900 and Modern Middle Eastern History

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44911>


FUNDING/GRANTS


British Academy

The British Academy has just announced info about its key calls for the 2012-13 academic year.

British Academy – 2012-13 deadlines

The British Academy also lists these deadlines on its website.


image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest (1 June 2012) – Calls for Papers, Jobs, Conferences and more…

1 June 2012 Issue

image of booksWe 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.

In this issue:

  • Advanced Notice – Journals
  • Conference Announcements
  • Jobs
  • Calls for Papers
  • New Course

ADVANCED NOTICE – JOURNALS


Contemporary Buddhism, vol 13, Issue 1, 2012 http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcbh20/13/1


Sociology of Religion, May 2012 http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc


Theology and Science,vol 10, Issue 2, 2012 http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rtas20/10/2


The second volume of the annual journal Religion and Society: Advances in Research is now available. The contents are listed below. For information on the journal and how to subscribe go to http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/air-rs/

Volume 2

Contents

Introduction

Simon Coleman and Ramon Sarró: Dialogues and Trajectories

I. PORTRAIT – José Casanova

De-Privatization, the Public Sphere and Popular Religion

Hubert Knoblauch

Public and Private in the Study of Religion: Innovative Approaches

Grace Davie

Casanova, Asad and the Public Debate on Religion in Modern Societies

Kim Knibbe

Toward a Post-Weberian Sociology of Global Religions

Manuel A. Vásquez

From Modernization, to Secularization, to Globalization: An Autobiographical Self-Reflection

José Casanova

II. ARTICLES

Encountering the Supernatural: A Phenomenological Account of Mind

Julia Cassaniti and Tanya Luhrmann

The Case for Religious Transmission: Time and Transmission in the Anthropology of Christianity

Vlad Naumescu

On and Off the Margin: The Anthropology of Contemporary Jewry

Andrew Buckser

Inter-Publics’: Hindu Mobilization Beyond the Bourgeoisie Public Sphere

Ursula Rao

Pentecostalism and ‘National Culture’: A Dialogue Between Brazilian Social Sciences and the Anthropology of Christianity

Cecilia Mariz and Roberta Campos

III. DEBATE SECTION: RELIGION AND VIOLENCE

Religious Violence as Folklore

William T. Cavanaugh

Reflections on ‘Religious Violence’: Reconsidering Durkheim

Wendy James

Religion and Civil War in Africa: Durkheim and Douglas Revisited

Paul Richards

IV. AN AUTHOR MEETS HER CRITICS

Around Ruth Marshall’s Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria

Comments

John Peel, Daniel Smith, Joel Robbins, Jean-François Bayart

Response to Comments

Ruth Marshall

V. TEACHING ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION

The Anthropology of Religious Controversy: A Masters Level Course

Peter Collins and Yulia Egorova

VI. NEWS

VII. BOOKS AND FILMS REVIEWS


CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENTS


Epigraphical Evidence for the Formation and Rise of Early Śaivism: The Religious Landscape at the Time of the Composition and Spread of the Skandapurāṇa

June 4-5 2012, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Towards the end of the Gupta-Vākāṭaka period, religious sectarian movements started to feature prominently in the political landscape of early medieval India (ca. 400 – 900 CE). One of the most dominant religious traditions in this period is Śaivism, revolving around the worship of the god Śiva. Its propagators developed strong ties to royal houses and grew to be successful in establishing a range of religious institutions under its authority throughout the Indianized world, as recently laid out in Sanderson’s seminal work ‘The Śaiva Age’ (2009). The theology, mythology and ritual codes of the various branches of Śaivism are recorded in an array of textual material but the most important sources for assessing their historical reality on the ground are contained in the epigraphical corpus. These traces of institutional activities often long predate our extant textual evidence.

The contributors of the symposium will present religious epigraphical data on early forms of Śaivism and its competitors pertaining to its formative period in India, Nepal, Cambodia and Campā. These data will be contextualized and correlated with the political history and findings from the study of the religious textual corpus. Insights generated in this symposium aim to contribute towards a more differentiated understanding of the historical and social reality of these religious traditions themselves, as well as of the religious milieu and socio-political dynamics which facilitated the creation and dissemination of a large body of religious scriptures. One important example of such a scripture is the oldest extant version of the Skandapurāṇa, which is our earliest evidence of a systematization of Śiva mythology and contains the earliest extant origination myths of the Śaiva Pāśupata tradition, the precursor of the various forms of Tantric Śaivism. By linking epigraphical material with such textual evidence and vice versa, we hope to shed more light on the religious developments in this transitional period from the classical to the medieval.

For the programme, please see http://www.rug.nl/ggw/onderzoek/onderzoeksinstituten/indian/ProgrammeSymposium.pdf (PDF).

Symposium Organization: Nina Mirnig (n.mirnig@rug.nl) and Natasja Bosma (n.bosma@rug.nl)


BSA Teaching Group

Inaugural Conference

28th – 30th September 2012

Menzies Strathallan Hotel, Birmingham

Speakers:

  • Professor John Holmwood (University of Nottingham), Former Chair of the Council of UK Heads & Professors of Sociology, Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences & the incoming President of the British Sociological Association
  • Professor Corrine Squire (University of East London), Humanities & Social Sciences, Author of ‘Women & AIDS: Physiological Perspectives’
  • Dr Paul Bagguley (University of Leeds), Researcher in the Sociology of Protest, Author of ‘Riotous Citizens: ethnic conflict in multicultural Britain’

Exam Training Sessions – delegates will be able to attend exam training sessions run by chief examiners from the major exam boards, select from workshop sessions to match specific career development targets and see recent subject specific resources.

Workshops will include sharing Ofsted experiences, Differentiation, Gifted & Talented and ICT in the Classroom.

               Postgraduate Micro-lectures covering areas such as: culture & identity creation; differentiation; inequality & stratisfication; demography; welfare & government policy in most fields of life; family & households; the role of women; minority groups; aging; youth culture; all aspects of education especially potential changes & their effects on different groups within sociology; health & welfare; wealth & poverty & welfare provision; politics & power; globalisation in all its many aspects; religion; crime & deviance; methodology; theory & the role of research.

Conference Registration Cost:

Full Conference (including accommodation & food):

BSA Members £260; BSA Teaching Group Members: £285; Non-members: £350

Saturday Day Delegate (excludes Conference dinner & accommodation)

BSA Members £70; BSA Teaching Group Members: £90; Non-members: £120

Thanks to the generous support from The Higher Education Academy, the BSA Teaching Group committee is able to offer 10 FREE places, to include Conference fees, meals, accommodation and dinner for the successful candidates.    To qualify you must be: a postgraduate student and not have access to institutional or other alternative funding; a PGCE Student and those who have qualified in the last year.

Early bird discount ends 17th August 2012, any bookings received after this date will incur an additional £50 charge.

For further information on how to join the BSA, the Teaching Group and funded places, please go to www.britsoc.co.uk

Please direct any enquiries to: bsatg@britsoc.org.uk Tel: (0191) 383 0839.


JOBS


Postdoctoral and research assistant possibilities in Buddhist / S. Asian Studies

Expressions of interest (not applications) are sought for possible appointments on a year-long cross-disciplinary project starting in October 2012 (contingent on grant decisions). The period of study is the late 19th – early 20th century.

The postdoctoral researcher will ideally have both Hindi-Urdu and Sinhala sufficient for archival research, training or experience in archival work and a background in religious studies or history, but candidates with cognate profiles may be considered. The appointment will be based in Ireland but involve 3 months work in S. Asia.

The research assistant will ideally hold an MA or be pursuing a PhD in social movements or a related field of history, but candidates with cognate profiles may be considered. The appointment will be based in Ireland but involve 2 months work in N. America.

Posts will be formally advertised in due course (subject to funding decisions to be announced in early August) but with a tight deadline. For further information and to be kept informed of advertisements please contact Dr Laurence Cox at laurence.cox@nuim.ie .

Please note that this is not a job advertisement and these positions may not be appointed if funding is not secured: this call for expressions of interest is made because of the tight timeframe if grant applications are successful.


Accepting Applications for the Initial Two Integral Chairs

The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (Amman, Jordan – website) invites applications for the following two endowed Chairs:

  1. The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work
  2. The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi’s Work

Below you’ll find out more about this monumental project, requirements for application, and links to further information.

The Major Challenge

The sciences of traditional Islamic knowledge are very poorly understood in the Islamic World, and taught only in selective, abbreviated versions. Ignorance has spread in the mosques while secular academic methodologies rule the institutes of learning in the Islamic World. Even in the West, though Muslims have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to create professorial chairs and academic centres in leading western universities, these chairs and centres are invariably run or occupied by non-Muslims (or secular Muslims), and so the centres and chairs – funded by Muslims! – wind up being hostile, or at least unhelpful, to traditional Islam. This situation is leading to intellectual and spiritual impoverishment in the Islamic World, a rise in fundamentalism, and ironically, at the same time, a rise in secularism.

Purpose and Goal

The purpose of this initiative is to restore knowledge and teaching of traditional Islamic orthodox high culture and scholarship in philosophy, theology, mysticism, jurisprudence, Qur’anic exegesis, sociology, history and Arabic language and grammar in the Islamic World in combination with traditional Islamic teaching and preaching methods.

The goal of this initiative is to set up around 50 Integral Chairs in the Islamic World each as a waqf (religious endowment) in mosques and universities combined, occupied by practicing Muslim scholars, and dedicated to the intellectual and spiritual legacy of the greatest Muslim scholars and sages. Thereafter, an international institute to connect and support their activities will be established.

Brochure: Learn more by downloading the brochure about this initiative.

The First Two Chairs

The first two Chairs have been created with complete funding and a waqf established for each. We are now accepting applications for both.

Imam Al-Ghazali Chair

Named After: Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad Al-Ghazali (450–505 AH / 1058–1111 CE)

Primary Book: Ihya Ulum ad-Din

Chair based in: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and Al-Quds University.

Waqf Status: Waqf and complete funding established on 30 January 2012; professor to be appointed.

Summary: The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work was established in Jerusalem at the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s three holiest sites, and Al-Quds University. The Chair enjoys full independent administration and is the sole party in charge of selecting students, offering scholarships and awarding the King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Prize for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Scholarly Legacy.

Brochure: Learn more by downloading the brochure.

Imam Al-Razi Chair

Named After: Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi (543–606 AH / 1149–1209 CE)

Primary Book: Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir

Chair based in: King Hussein bin Talal State Mosque, Amman, Jordan, and Jordan University and the World Islamic Sciences and Education (W.I.S.E.) University, Amman, Jordan.

Waqf Status: Waqf and complete funding established on 30 January 2012; professor to be appointed.

Summary: The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi’s Work was established at the King Hussein bin Talal Mosque, the University of Jordan and W.I.S.E. University. The Chair enjoys full independent administration and is the sole party in charge of selecting students, offering scholarships and awarding the King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Prize for the Study of Imam Al-Razi’s Scholarly Legacy.

Brochure: Learn more by downloading the brochure.

Requirements

The professor for each chair has to meet the following conditions:

  • That he be Muslim of the Ahl al-Sunnah (Ash’arite, Maturidi) and committed to following one of the four Madhabs (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali).
  • That he observe prayers and be of fair and reputable character.
  • That he be a hafiz of the Holy Qur’an.
  • That he be specialized and highly qualified in Islamic Sciences with in-depth knowledge of the great scholar that his particular chair focuses on, his work and scholarly legacy.
  • That he be fluent in both Arabic and English; reading, writing, and speaking.
  • That he be a PhD holder and a professor or associate professor at an accredited university or universities.
  • Priority of appointment will be for a local scholar, then those hailing from Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
  • If applicants for the Integral Chairs are found to be of equal qualifications, priority will be given to those who are members of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.
  • The Board may reduce the condition of the professor being a hafiz of the Holy Qur’an to being a hafiz of six parts (ajza’) of the Qur’an.
  • The Board must recommend to the Board of Trustees to dismiss the professor if he breaches a critical condition of the professorship.

Rights and Privileges of the Professor

  • A monthly stipend of 5,000 Jordanian Dinars (approximately $7,000 US).
  • Suitable accommodation and health insurance for the professor and his/her family.
  • Administrative support and secretarial work.
  • If the professor is not a citizen of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, he will be granted diplomatic status.

Applications should be submitted along with a resume, a recent photograph and a copy of the applicant’s passport. Applicants should also include photocopies of cover pages of any published works, including research papers. The names of three references should also be included and sent to the following address no later than 6th June, 2012:

The World Islamic Sciences and Education University

Amman, Jordan.

Learn more about the Chairs and download application forms by visiting the following pages on W.I.S.E. University’s website:

 


University of Bristol, UK – Teaching Fellow in East Asian Religions

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44609>


University of Oxford – Departmental Lecturer in Early Islamic History

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44597>


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Visiting

Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern History

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44630>


CALLS FOR PAPERS


CALL FOR PAPERS: WORKSHOP

Catachreses? ‘Gender’, ‘Religion’, and ‘Postcoloniality’

December 17–19 2012

Hosted by the Centre for Gender and Religions Research School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London

on behalf of the ‘Innovations in the Study of Religion and Gender Project’ funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research

The intimate bonds between colonial scholarship, European colonialism, and the discursive production and employment of ‘religion’ have by now been well charted as have the alternately fruitful and vexed exchanges between feminist, gender-critical, and postcolonial bodies of theory. It is curious, therefore, that there has been so sparse an engagement in the field of Religion and Gender (R&G) concerning the potential intersections between its eponymous objects of study and the constellation of concepts marked as and by ‘postcoloniality’. Even a cursory review of literature in the field in the last decade reveals a startling absence of sustained reflection by R&G scholars on the implications that postcolonial theory might have for their theorizations of gendered practices, identifications, and discourses within religious traditions, or of the ways in which the field itself might require reformulation and revision in light of the compelling epistemological and ontological challenges posed to metropolitan academia by a variety of postcolonialisms. Also worthy of note is the parallel lack of direct attention in postcolonial literature to the assertion of, or resistance to the imposition of ‘religious’ identities in response to colonial valuations of culture, communal identity, and social formations. Under the rubric of ‘postsecularism’, considerations of the overlooked relationship between gender and religion are only now beginning to garner attention, as postcolonial scholars have started to attend more forcefully to the ways that religious affiliation provides rich contexts within which women are able articulate political imaginaries that are consciously resistant to secular-liberalist and feminist frameworks of organising. There is as yet, however, little analysis of the possible formulations of masculinity that are enabled, prevented, or dissimulated via the conjunction of ‘religion’ and ‘postcoloniality’. Furthermore, little attention has been paid to the imperative question as to how ‘postcoloniality’ challenges, criticizes and moves forward discussions initiated by queer theory in relation to religion.

This workshop offers a timely, perhaps overdue, opportunity to (re)visit the question of the necessary triangulation of ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’ or, put differently, to pose the question of the necessity of thinking these categories together. What imperatives demand their assemblage, what constraints might require their dispersal? To what extent might the field of Religion and Gender need to undergo a process of ‘coming to terms’ such that the theoretical categories that underpin its intellectual itineraries are subjected to renewed critical reflection and reform? With these questions in mind, the workshop proposes a preliminary framework of the ‘catachresis’, defined by Gayatri Spivak as the act of ‘reversing, displacing, and seizing the apparatus of value-coding’ , a definition that extends with political intent the Derridean formulation of catachresis as indicating the original and indeed originary incompleteness that is inherent in all systems of meaning. As Derrida has put it, catachresis ‘concerns first the violent and forced, abusive inscription of a sign, the imposition of a sign upon a meaning which did not yet have its own proper sign in language. So much so that there is no substitution here, no transport of proper signs, but rather the irruptive extension of a sign proper to an idea, a meaning, deprived of their signifier. A “secondary” original”’ (This ‘secondary origin’ produces ‘a new kind of proper sense, by means of a catachresis whose intermediary status tends to escape the opposition of the primitive [sense] and the figurative [sense], standing between them as a “middle”’.  Catachresis, as the ‘middle’, is here also a ‘between’, an interval that is neither purely semantic nor purely syntactic; a spacing in other words. As such, the conceptual richness of catachresis as a thematic focus for the triadic formulation of ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’ may enable some ground clearing, a space for reflection on the variety of naming and conceptualizing mechanisms, the forging of connections, the imposition of systems of intellectual prescription that have been wielded, challenged and refused with the field of Religion and Gender. It is the catachrestic nature of these three concepts that we seek to probe and push here such that the relationship between categorization and value coding can be disclosed, undone, displaced, and rethought. What do the terms ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’ disclose about their own and their respective incompleteness? What might the assumption of their intersection or dialogic necessity imply about their inscription in a particular type and time of ‘worlding’? Is the neglect of their intersection by R&G scholars a sign of their incompatibility or possible emptiness as intellectual constructs—indeed, as lived realities—or of a troubling lacuna in the field? What impropriety is promised by the conjunction of these three concepts and which boundaries might their coalition begin to transgress?

We invite papers on any and all of these preliminary questions. We particularly welcome papers that combine theoretical reflection with empirical analysis in exploring and examining the intersections of ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted by email to CGRR@soas.ac.uk.

Deadline: 29th June 2012

The primary purpose of the workshop will be to identify strategic areas for future research in the area, contributing to the development and enrichment of the interdisciplinary study of religion and gender from the perspective of postcolonial theory and to create a network for future research collaboration and exchange. Selected papers from the workshop will be published in the international journal Religion and Gender.

Contacts: Dr Sîan Hawthorne (sh79@soas.ac.uk) and Dr Adriaan van Klinken (a.van.klinken@soas.ac.uk)

Centre for Gender and Religions Research, Department of the Study of Religions, School of Oriental & African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Centre email: CGRR@soas.ac.uk

http://cgrr.wordpress.com


Rethinking Religion in India IV

Call for papers

The deadline for submission of abstracts and proposals is 15 August 2012.


*The Impact of Religion:

Challenges for Society, Law and Democracy*

An interdisciplinary conference at Uppsala University

Uppsala, Sweden, 20-22 May 2013

Submissions are invited on the following themes, which – broadly speaking – mirror the Impact programme. Further sub-themes will be developed as the submitted papers arrive; these will be displayed on the conference website. Papers on comparative research are particularly welcome.  Theoretical, methodological and substantive issues will be given equal weight.

A variety of formats are envisaged:  plenary sessions, paper sessions, roundtables, academic exchanges and policy debates. Please indicate your preference when you submit your abstract. Pre-organised sessions are welcome.

•                    Religious and social change – including the role of the media in these shifts

•                    Integration, democracy and political culture

•                    Families, law and society

•                    Well-being and health

•                    Welfare models – their organization and values

•                    Science and religion

Deadline for the submission of abstracts (max 200 words): *30th November 2012*

The conference is hosted by *The Impact of Religion programme* and *Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre* at Uppsala University.

Up to date information on the programme, registration, abstract format, venue etc. will be made available at: http://www.impactofreligion.uu.se, where you also find more details about the Impact of Religion programme itself.


Spirituality and spiritual movements in Hungary and Eastern Central Europe 11th Szeged Conference on Ethnology of Religion Szeged, 10-12 October 2012

Spirituality and spiritual movements in Hungary

and Eastern Central Europe

11th Szeged Conference on Ethnology of Religion

Szeged, 10-12 October 2012

Venue: University of Szeged, Conference Room of the Arts Faculty, 6722 Szeged, Egyetem u. 2. fszt.

In November 2012 Pope Benedict XVI is launching the “Year of Faith”. This is an occasion for us to examine the forms taken by manifestations of faith, historically and in our time, in religious life and the whole of religious culture.

Faith is manifested differently in different historical periods, among different social strata, in different age groups, occupational groups and by place of residence, among men and women, children and adults, and linguistic/ethnic features can also be discovered (or are thought to exist). And naturally, it is manifested differently in all those contexts within the various Christian and non-Christian denominations.

We welcome for the conference concrete empirical case studies that deal with manifestations of spirituality in word, action/rhythm, in art (representational arts, poetry, music, architecture, applied arts: metalwork, embroidery, etc.), in pedagogy (e.g. religious instruction); that take a social approach to both lay or clerical communities (characteristics of the spirituality of orders, monastic schools, third orders, charismatics, Focolare and other spirituality), especially to the 19th-20th century movements (Legion of Mary, Schönstatt, etc.), or spiritual movements associated with beatification and canonisation procedures in the 20th-21st centuries (Saint Margaret of Hungary, István Kaszap, Mária Bogner, etc.); and which examine the presentation of these spiritualities/cults in the press, their small printed materials, periodicals, manuscript legacy, aim; which analyse the growing ecumenical movements of the turn of the 20th-21st century, as well as the virtual communities.

We also welcome papers on the life and spirituality of religious but not church-type associations, such as charitable associations, denominational reading circles, youth movements and circles, etc.

On behalf of our department and the Sándor Bálint Institute for Research on Religion we respectfully invite applications for participation in the conference from Hungarian ethnologists, folklorists and anthropologists, as well as art historians, literary historians, photography historians, cultural historians, theologians, church historians, liturgical historians, music historians, dance researchers, educators, sociologists, philosophers, psychologists and representatives of other disciplines.

The conference will have a Hungarian and an international section, the languages of the conference will be Hungarian, English and German.

Papers can be on any theme within the range of themes listed. Our circular is intended as a general guide rather than setting strict frames covering all aspects.

Papers should be 20 minutes (approx. 13,000 characters) in length including any illustrations, and will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Deadline for applications: 15 June 2012

The organisers reserve the right to accept or reject papers. Depending on the interest shown, the conference is planned to last two or three days. Students may also apply to participate without presenting a paper. Applications should be submitted on the attached form with an abstract of the proposed paper.

Costs

Participants are to cover their own costs. The participation fee of 5,000 HUF covers participation in the work of the conference sections, attendance at auxiliary events and refreshments during the breaks.

Accommodation can be provided at a very favourable rate (approx. 3,800 HUF/night) in university guest rooms and 2-3-bed hostel rooms (most of these have shared bathroom in the corridor) if reserved in advance through the Department of Ethnology. The cost of accommodation is to be paid by participants at the place of accommodation. To make a reservation in a hotel, pension or guest house in Szeged, visit

http://www.iranymagyarorszag.hu/keres/szeged/szallasok-p1/ , where accommodation to suit your requirements can be found if you make your reservation in time (!).

Participants make their own arrangements for meals in restaurants and university canteens in the vicinity of the conference venue.

Books for sale

During the conference we are planning to offer books for sale. If you have a publication that fits into the theme of the conference or more broadly the field of ethnology of religion, we will be happy to handle sales on the basis of prior agreement.

Please send your application by the deadline to barna@hung.u-szeged.hu.


NEW COURSE


MA in Dialogue Studies

School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE), Keele University, UK

The MA in Dialogue Studies is designed for graduates who wish to examine and understand theories of dialogue and their applications in peace-building and in developing intercultural understanding and social cohesion. While definitions of “dialogue” will be explored in the course of the year, it might be loosely defined here as “a range of activities, including but not confined to discussion, through which people of different social, cultural and religious groups deliberately come together for meaningful and constructive interaction.” The MA course explores the theory and practice of dialogue through a unique combination of taught subjects, research, skills-based training and a London-based internship.

The course fills a gap in postgraduate education provision by not only exploring the use of dialogue in conflict and post-conflict situations but also examining its use in combating discrimination, ghettoisation and extremism in countries such as the UK. The main core module accordingly both introduces dialogue for peace-building and explores the UK context for dialogue, drawing on the fields of sociology and history as well as politics.

The degree has a practical outlook and will equip students with knowledge, understanding and skills to effectively engage in and lead dialogue to advance intercultural interaction and understanding and social cohesion. It includes a work placement during which students will gain professional experience with the Dialogue Society. Practical elements will be supported by rigorous, reflective examination of the approaches of governmental and nongovernmental agencies to dialogue, social cohesion and reconciliation. The course’s broad scope and interdisciplinary nature will encourage students to bring broad perspectives to bear on any specific local issues with which they engage professionally.

Students will be able to pursue their particular interests within the degree’s broad remit through a wide choice of elective taught modules and through their dissertation. It will accordingly be possible for each student to choose whether to devote more attention to domestic or to international contexts for dialogue and whether to focus on its applications in peacebuilding or in the promotion of social cohesion.

The course consists of:

•Core module 1: Approaches in Dialogue

•Core module 2: Power, Knowledge and the World

•2 elective taught modules

•A work placement at the Dialogue Society, with practical experience, further training, meetings at relevant government departments and NGOs, and trips exploring multicultural London

•A 15,000 word dissertation

Who is it for?

•Students wishing to explore the theory and practice of intercultural dialogue in the UK context, and in conflict situations abroad

•Professionals and aspiring academics interested in core social issues such as intercultural dialogue, community relations and citizenship

•Activists and dialogue practitioners looking to develop their understanding of relevant social theory while enhancing essential dialogue skills

The MA offers:

•A cutting-edge combination of taught academic subjects, research, skills-based training and internship

•A postgraduate course designed and delivered in partnership by Keele University’s internationally renowned School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, and the Dialogue Society, a dynamic London-based dialogue charity

•A broad range of elective modules allowing students to pursue their own particular academic interests

•A head start in professional experience through an internship at the Dialogue Society in the heart of multicultural London

•Cultivation of an unusually wide range of valuable transferable skills, comprising academic, professional and personal skills

•Bursaries available to overseas students through the Dialogue Society in addition to those bursaries offered by SPIRE to selected postgraduates

•Quality research training and support

Aims of the Course

The course aims to provide students with the conceptual and analytical skills and the factual knowledge to develop a critical understanding of theoretical and practical approaches to dialogue, peace-building and community cohesion. This understanding will be supported by understanding of key contexts for dialogue, in the UK and in selected conflict situations. The course also aims to equip students with practical skills to engage in and lead intercultural dialogue, chiefly through the professional experience and training provided through the Dialogue Society placement. Further, the course will prepare students for research and support them in producing a dissertation on their chosen topic.

Career Destination Information

The Dialogue Studies Masters is aimed at people who wish to pursue careers in a whole range of sectors. It is relevant to those wishing to gain employment in the civil or government service at the sub-national, national or global level, or to those looking to work with sub-national, national or international NGOs. The course will also be a good preparation for further postgraduate study and is ideally suited to those interested in pursuing study of the theory and practice of dialogue at PhD level and beyond.

In addition, students will graduate with a range of transferable skills beneficial in any number of contexts. These skills will include at least: cultural sensitivity, empathy, teamwork and leadership skills, project management skills, research skills, public speaking skills, ability to lead and chair discussions, dialogue facilitation skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Course Structure and Content

All students will complete two core taught modules as follows:

1.     Approaches to Dialogue (30 credits)

This module will place the practice of dialogue in the context of key concepts, debates and positions relating to multiculturalism, political community and citizenship in Britain and other national contexts. It will explore social, demographic and political issues in the recent (1945-present) history of immigration in Britain including public and political debates about diversity during this period. It will critically review British national state policies for the management of diversity since 1945, focusing on their ideological underpinnings (including multiculturalism, integration and cohesion). Current political and theoretical debates about multiculturalism will inform analysis of the limits and possibilities for dialogue.

The module will focus primarily on the UK context for dialogue. However, select case studies from other national contexts (e.g. Yugoslavia, South Africa) will be drawn upon to critically explore opportunities for, and barriers to, conflict resolution and peace building.

2.     Power, Knowledge and the World (30 credits)

This module aims to provide a foundation in the philosophy of the social sciences and an examination of the core assumptions that underpin different approaches to knowledge generation. It also aims to provide an understanding of the politics and international relations of knowledge generation and circulation. In other words, it examines how social scientists have approached the questions of what to study, how to study, and the ways in which these issues are bound up with historical and current power structures in the world.

The module will prepare students to engage critically and reflectively with the content of the MA course and to undertake the research involved in writing their dissertation.

Elective Modules

Students will be able to pursue their own interests related to theories, practices and contexts for dialogue in choosing from an eclectic range of elective modules.

Elective modules will be chosen from a wide range of SPIRE modules. It may also be possible for students to take modules in Politics, Diplomatic Studies, Management, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Public Policy and History. The precise list of available modules may vary from year to year.

SPIRE modules:

•                Power, Knowledge and the World

•                Environmental Decision Making: the Case of Complex Technologies

•                Global Environmental Change

•                The Theory of Global Security

•                Contemporary Political Philosophy

•                Environmental Ethics

•                Contesting International Relations

•                Parties and Democracy

•                The Changing International Agenda

•                Comparative European Politics

•                Environmental Movements: North and South

•                Environmental Problems and Policies in the US

•                Diplomatic Law

•                Dimensions of Environmental Politics

•                Environmental Diplomacy

•                The Politics of Sin: Culture Wars in the US

•                Race and Justice: Civil Rights in the US

Relevant modules from other Schools:

NB not all these modules will be available every year and they will not always be compatible with Dialogue Studies students’ core commitments.

* Public Policy modules allowing students to expand their understanding of a key element of UK society which may significantly influence intercultural and interreligious relations and social cohesion. Relevant modules include:

* Politics, Political Economy and Public Policy: Explaining and Making Public Policy (MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)

* Policy Implementation and Governance: Policy in Action (30 credits, MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)

* Global Media and Culture modules giving students the opportunity to develop understanding of key factors shaping British and international contexts for dialogue: globalisation and media in contemporary culture. Relevant modules include:

* Globalisation, Culture, Society (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)

* Contemporary Cultural and Media Theory (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)

* Sociology modules, through which students may deepen their understanding of the UK context for dialogue. Relevant modules include:

* City Cultures (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)

* Urban Governance and Policy Making (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)

* History modules

* Imperialism (BA History, School of Humanities)

* Right-Wing Movements in Inter-War Europe (BA History, School of Humanities)

* Africa Since 1800 (BA History, School of Humanities)

* Management School skills modules, through which students may pursue valuable professional development to enhance their future career

* Leading People

* People, Processes and Operations

* Right-Wing Movements (20 credits, adapted from BA History, School of Humanities)

Students may also choose to study a modern foreign language (other than English).

Work Placement

10-week placement at the Dialogue Society during the Spring semester (30 credits). Students’ activities will include:

• Helping London-based community centres to branch out and run dialogue projects to bring local communities together, with the support of Dialogue Society staff and resources. Students will work in small teams and will each have the opportunity to manage a small-scale dialogue project. 2011 projects included a seminar on knife crime for local residents, Mothers’ Day visits to local care homes with children who use the community centres, and an official opening celebration for one community centre.

• Supporting ongoing Dialogue Society projects and events.

• Attending weekly sessions at the Dialogue Society’s Dialogue School. This will enable students to further explore and discuss different approaches to dialogue as well as providing training in a number of key skills for organised dialogue.

• Networking at external events.

• Exploring the cultural, religious and political landscape of multicultural London through visits to relevant government departments, other dialogue NGOs, places of worship and areas of particular historical/cultural interest. The 2011 placement included visits to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a historical tour of East London and visits to a Gurdwara, a Buddhist Centre and a Synagogue.

• Keeping records of the placement and producing a reflective diary.

Assessment

·       Examination of taught modules will be by written coursework and assessment of tutorial performance only (no written examinations)

The work placement will be assessed on:

·       Attendance

·       Performance and management of assigned tasks

·       The student’s written plans and records

·       The student’s placement diary

·       Students demonstrating an outstanding level of work will receive their degree with distinction.

Funding

SPIRE offers a limited number of bursaries to postgraduate students. Details are available on SPIRE’s website.

The Dialogue Society offers a limited number of bursaries for the Dialogue Studies MA postgraduate degree. The bursary only covers the difference between overseas and home fee rate. Effectively therefore, successful students will only pay University fee at home fee rate. To apply for a Dialogue Society bursary, students must first receive an offer from Keele University for this degree.

Further information

For further information please visit:

http://www.keele.ac.uk/pgapply/

http://www.keele.ac.uk/spire/postgraduatecourses/madialoguestudies/

http://www.dialoguesociety.org/master/dialogue-studies-ma.html

image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest (25 May 2012) – Jobs, Seminars, Books, Conferences and more…

25 May 2012 Issue

image of booksWe 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.

In this issue:

  • Advanced Notice – Journals
  • New Books
  • Conference Announcements
  • Jobs
  • Scholarships
  • Calls for Papers
  • Seminars

ADVANCED NOTICE – JOURNALS


Culture and Religion, vol 13, issue 2, 2012 http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcar20/13/2

Sociology of Religion, May 2012, http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc

Journal of Korean Religions, Volume 3, Number 1 (April 2012). Guest edited by Boudewijn Walraven and titled “Late Chosŏn Buddhism,” this issue adds to the body of work challenging stereotypical appraisals of the Buddhist world of the Chosŏn dynasty. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_korean_religions.


NEW BOOKS

Buddhism Across Boundaries: The Interplay of Indian, Chinese, and Central Asian Source Materials, edited by John R. McRae and Jan Nattier.

Download: http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp222_indian_chinese_buddhism.pdf


CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENTS


The University of Bucharest

The Faculty of Letters

The “Goldstein-Goren” Center of Jewish Studies

 

International Conference on

The Jews of the Mediterranean

Bucharest, New Europe College, 24-25 May 2012

Conference Program

Thursday 24th of May 2012

1st Session

Chair and opening remarks: Andrei Oişteanu, Institutul pentru Istoria Religiilor – Academia Română, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti

10.00 Opening of the Works of the Conference

10.15 Anca Manolescu, Cercetător şi publicist: Filon din Alexandria şi întâlnirea religiilor ca filozofii (Philon of Alexandria and the Phylosophical Encounter of Religions)

10.40 Andrei Cornea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren”, Secţia de Studii Europene – Universitatea din Bucureşti: The Jewish Shabbat – A Day of Fast?

11.05 – 11.20 Coffee Break

11.20 Adrian Pirtea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Freie Universiät, Berlin:  Late Byzantine Jewry and the Transfer of Islamic Esotericism to Europe

11.45 Cristina Ciucu, CNRS, Paris: (Again) on Tzimtzum and Exile – On the Circulation of Some Kabbalistic Ideas in the Mediterranean World during the 15th.-16th. Centuries

12.10 – 12.30 Discussions

12.30 – 14.30 Lunch

2nd. Session

Chair: Andrei Cornea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren”, Secţia de Studii Europene – Universitatea din Bucureşti

15.00 Roberto Bachmann, Portuguese Association of Jewish Studies, Lisbon: The Portuguese Jewish and Marrano Diaspora and Their Integration among the Mediterranean (Jewish) Communities upon Their Exodus from Portugal after 1506

15.25 Măriuca Stanciu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române: Jewish Dukes and Romanian Voievodas – On the Ties between the Sephardic Ottoman Elite and Romanian Princes

15.50 Ivan Biliarsky, Bulgarian Academy of Science, Varna University: Two Documents Concerning the Matrimonial Relations among the Balkan Jews in the Late Middle Ages

16.15 Carol Iancu, Université „Paul Valery”, Montpellier: Evreii din Marsilia: un secol de istorie, de la Revoluţia Franceză la Afacerea Dreyfus

16.40 – 17.00 Discussions

17.00 More discussions over a glass of Rotenberg wine

Friday 25th of May 2012

1st Session

Chair: Liviu Rotman, SNSPA, CSIER, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti

10.00 Silvia Planas Marce, Museu d’Historia des Jueus i L”Institut d’Estudis „Nahmanides”, Girona: Daughers of Sarah, Mothers of Israel, Jewish Women of Girona

10.25 Minna Rozen, Haifa University: Romans in Istanbul: Tombstones and Manuscripts Tell the Story of a Jewish Family

10.50 Delia Bălăican, Biblioteca Academiei Române: Tipografia Samitca în viaţa urbei craiovene la sfârşitul secolului al XIX-lea şi începutul secolului XX (The Samitca Printing Press Co. and Its Influence on Craiova Urban Development during the Late 19th  and the Beginning of the 20th. centuries

11.15 – 11.30  Coffee Break

11.30 Victor Neumann Universitatea de Vest, Filiala Academiei Române, Timisoara:

Sefarzi şi ashkenazi în oraşele transilvano-bănăţene în secolele XVII- XVIII (Sephardim and Ashkenazim in Transylvania and Banat cities during the 17th – 18th centuries)

11.55 Yolanda Constantinescu, Academia de Muzica, CRIFS, Academia Română, Bucureşti: O privire asupra personalităţii lui Dimitrie Cantmir: sefarzi şi muzica sefardă (On Dimitrie Cantemir’s Personality Regarding the Sephardim and Sephardic Music)

12.20- 12.45 Discussions

12.45 – 15.00 Lunch

2nd Session

Chair: Mariuca Stanciu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române:

15.00 Karen Gerson Sarhon, Ottoman-Turkish Sephardic Culture Research Center, Istanbul: The Ladino Database Project Results as insight to the Current Situation of Judeo-Spanish in Turkey

15.25 Liviu Rotman, SNSPA, CSIER, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti: Continuitate şi înnoire în comunitatea sefardă din Bucureşti în a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea (Continuity and Renewal within the Bucharest Sephardic Community during the 2nd. Half of the 19th. Century)

15.50 Cristina Toma, Societatea Romana de Radio: Bucureşti – panoramă sefardă (Bucharest – A Sephardic Outlook)

16.15 Alina Popescu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice „Goldstein-Goren”, Universitatea din. Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române, Bucuresti: Bucureştiul sefard şi sinagogile sale (Sephardic Bucharest and Its Synagogues)

16.40 Discussions

17.00 Closing of the works of the conference


Title: The annual two day conference hosted by the

Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy & Religious

Studies (IAPRS)will be held at Edinboro University in April

2013

Location: Pennsylvania

Date: 2013-04-01

Description: The annual two day conference hosted by the

Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy & Religious

Studies (IAPRS)will be held at Edinboro University in April

2013 (specific dates to be announced later). The conference

features undergraduate, graduate, and faculty presentations on

any topic in phi …

Contact: ssullivan@edinboro.edu

URL: www.sshe-iaprs.org/

Announcement ID: 194543

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194543


JOBS


University of Toronto – Scarborough, Humanities, Tung Lin Kok Yuen Visiting Professor in Buddhist Studies

Details: https://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44550

Applications, consisting of a statement of interest with some indication of how a candidate will contribute to the Universitys programs (at most two pages), accompanied by a curriculum vitae,should be sent to buddhist-studies-search [at] utsc.utoronto.ca. The search committee reserves the right to ask for further materials from shortlisted candidates.

If electronic submission is not possible, applications may be mailed to:

TLKY Visiting Professor Search

Professor William Bowen, Chair

Department of Humanities

University of Toronto Scarborough

1265 Military Trail

Toronto, ON M1C 1A4

Canada

The deadline for applications is May 30, 2012.


Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Stirling

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEL392/lectureship-in-philosophy/

Grade 7 £31,222 to £35,939

Full time

Fixed term: 1 September 2012 – 31 December 2013

Job Reference: SCH00039

For further information, including details on how to apply, please see www.stir.ac.uk/jobs

Closing date: Monday 11 June 2012


Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Aberdeen

College / University Administration: College of Arts & Social Sciences

Position Type: Full-time

University Grade Structure: Grade 7

Salary From: £37,012. Salary To: £44,166.

Details: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEM086/lecturer-in-philosophy/

Application process: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/thefuture/

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 22 June 2012.


SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES

University of London

Lecturer in Anthropology

£39,146 – £46,300 p.a. inclusive of London Allowance

Vacancy No: 000392

The Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London invites applications for a permanent lectureship tenable from September 2012. Preference will be given to a candidate able to teach the ethnography of West or East Africa at undergraduate and Master’s level. The successful candidate would be expected to teach and develop other courses, assume normal administrative tasks including PhD supervision and must have an outstanding publication record.

You must have a PhD in Social Anthropology. It is expected that you will have expertise relevant to the vision and strategy of the School, including a strong interest in issues of particular importance to the developing world.

To apply for this vacancy or to download a job description/further information, please visit www.soas.ac.uk/jobs<http://www.soas.ac.uk/jobs>.

Closing date:  14th June 2012

Interviews are provisionally scheduled for week commencing: 16th July 2012


Please follow the link below for two new academic job opportunities in Theology and Religion at Durham. Please note the deadline of 8th June. I’d be happy to respond to any minor, informal enquiries. For formal enquiries or detailed questions, please contact my colleague and Head of Dept, Dr Robert Song (robert.song@durham.ac.uk).

http://www.joindurham.com/professorships/vacancies/search/category/arts-and-humanities


Arizona State University – Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science and

Religion

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44588>


Managing Editor/ Open Access Books in Theology, Religious Studies.

We are currently looking for candidates for Managing Editors for our Open Access Books program in Theology, Religious Studies, launched by Versita (www.versita.com).

Scholarly monographs and other book categories have been an important format of scholarly communication. For various reasons in the last decades they have faced significant challenges. We believe that Open Access may yield the best available solution for keeping academic monographs and other scholarly books alive. Open Access provides free and unrestricted online access to electronic books for all interested users. This model grows readership by hundreds or thousands of times versus the printed book. To cover the publication costs, we will charge a moderate fee to the institution supporting the author. However, for the first year or two we have decided to waive these fees, so we will neither charge the reader (or librarian) nor the author.

With over 250 Open Access journals in its portfolio Versita (www.versita.com) is one of the leading scholarly Open Access Publishers. Versita cooperates with Springer (www.springer.com) and in January 2012 the company was acquired by de Gruyter (www.degruyter.com), a prominent scholarly publisher with a 260-year history.

IDEAL CANDIDATE PROFILE

Ideal candidates should hold a PhD in the above mentioned discipline and have experience in both conducting research and teaching. They should have sufficient time available to complete their duties. Editorial experience is not required. Candidates must speak native or fluent English, be proficient in using computers, and have constant access to Internet.

BRIEF JOB DESCRIPTION

The Managing Editor’s chief responsibility is launching a program for the publication of scholarly books in Open Access model in the above mentioned discipline. The Managing Editor solicits and evaluates book proposals submitted by authors from around the world and coordinates work of other editors who solicit books in their discipline. The Managing Editor is also expected to cooperate with authors, reviewers and copy editors.

WHAT WE OFFER IN RETURN

Compensation is based on the number of books published under Managing Editor’s supervision. You will get a chance to combine publishing activities with academic and pedagogic work and have a unique opportunity to acquire experience in and understanding of professional scientific publishing while taking part in a pioneering project in a dynamically developing company.

If you are interested in this position, please send a cover letter and a CV (both documents in English) to hr12@versita.com  with “Managing Editor, Theology, Religious Studies” as your subject line.

If you wish to participate in our Open Access Books program as an author and submit a new book proposal in your discipline, please fill in our New Book Proposal Form available at http://www.versita.com/Book_Author/Form/ and return it in by e-mail to info@versita.com.

Versita offers its authors:

•    fair and comprehensive peer-review of submitted proposals and manuscripts, English language copy-editing by native English speaking specialists in the field (in some subject areas we accept also manuscripts in other languages)

•    professional composition of the manuscript in PDF format

•    hosting the book on MetaPress platform, which offers many functionalities, e.g. active links in references

•    printed copies sold to libraries and individuals, by Versita and distributors (e.g. Amazon)

•    complimentary printed copies for book author and editors

•    royalties for the author from print copy sales

•    indexing by Google and other search engines

•    e-book delivery to libraries and full-text repositories (e.g. Google Book Search)

•    Creative Commons copyright license

More information on our Open Access book publishing program can be found at http://versita.com/Book_Author/


SCHOLARSHIPS


Guest Scholarships 2012 CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures”

The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 933 “Material Text Cultures. Materiality and Presence

of Writing in Non-Typographic Societies” has been established by the German Research Founda

tion in July 2011 at Heidelberg University (collaborating partner: College of Jewish Studies, Hei

delberg). Researchers working in the field of cultural studies will investigate the material presence of writing in “non-typographic societies” that do not possess any or any widespread methods for the mass production of writing. Based on this investigation, those receptive practices are presented which in all probability took place at the writing due to its material presence. The ‘material text cultures’ thus identified in non-typographical societies will then be systematically described and compared with those of typographical societies. The fundamental research by the CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” on text-bearing artefacts, especially those of the circum-Mediterranean zone, will be performed within a conceptual framework that has been developed from recent approaches in cultural studies.

The Research Training Group „Text Anthropology“ of the CRC 933 is now looking for guest graduate students with outstanding qualifications who can show that participating in the interdisciplinary research of the CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” will be beneficial to their doctoral project and to the CRC 933. The Research Training Group offers a monthly scholarship of 1.250 Euros starting on October 1st 2012. Furthermore, it supports scholarship holders in offering graduate courses and individual mentoring. The scholarship is granted for one year.

Applicants, who should hold an M.A. or equivalent in a discipline of the humanities with an above-

average grade, should send their written applications (including a CV, a letter of intent, a project proposal and a letter of recommendation from their supervisor) with reference to “CRC 933” by July 15th 2012 at the latest to SFB 933 „Materiale Textkulturen“, Heidelberg Zentrum Kulturelles Erbe, Marstallstraße 6, 69117 Heidelberg/Germany. We regret that we cannot return application documents sent to us by regular mail. Details may be requested at danijel.cubelic@zegk.uni-heidelberg.de.

The University of Heidelberg actively seeks to raise the proportion of female employees in all previously under-represented areas. In keeping with this, applications are particularly requested from women with the appropriate qualifications. In the case of equal qualifications, severely disabled persons will receive priority.


CALLS FOR PAPERS

CFP: The Journal of Korean Religions (JKR) is published biannually, every April and October, by the Institute for the Study of Religion, Sogang University, Korea. It aims to promote interest in and discuss the study of Korean religions in various academic disciplines within the humanities and social sciences. A peer-reviewed journal, JKR publishes articles of original research, review articles, book reviews, and current issues which seek to discuss, elaborate, and extend the study of Korean religions. Our work is featured in both print and digital form, published by the University of Hawai’i and served online by Project MUSE: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_korean_religions.

JKR invites contributions from scholars researching on any aspect of Korean religions from a wide range of perspectives, including religious studies, philosophy, theology, literature, folklore, art, anthropology, history, sociology, political science, and cultural studies. Articles submitted for consideration should not have appeared or be under review for publication elsewhere. JKR also welcomes book reviews and review articles. All submissions and inquiries should be sent to the Managing Editor: journalkr[at]sogang.ac.kr. Submission guidelines can be found at: http://bit.ly/JKRsubguide.


Call for Papers

Demons and Illness: Theory and Practice from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period

Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter

22 – 24th April 2013

In many near eastern traditions, demons appear as a cause of illness: most famously in the stories of possessed people cured by Christ. These traditions influenced perceptions of illness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in later centuries but the ways in which these cultures viewed demons and illness have received comparatively little attention. For example, who were these demons? How did they cause illness? Why did they want to? How did demons fit into other explanations for illness? How could demonic illnesses be cured and how did this relate to other kinds of cure? How far did medical or philosophical theory affect how people responded to demonic illnesses in practice?

This conference will take a comparative approach, taking a wide geographical and chronological sweep but confining itself to this relatively specific set of questions. Because Jewish, Christian and Islamic ideas about demons and illness drew on a similar heritage of ancient religious texts from New Testament times to the early modern period there is real scope to draw meaningful comparisons between the different periods and cultures. What were the common assumptions made by different societies? When and why did they differ? What was the relationship between theory and practice? We would welcome papers which address these issues for any period between antiquity and the early modern period, and which discuss Christian, Jewish or Islamic traditions.

The conference is hosted by the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter, on April 22nd-24th, 2013. Please send abstracts by 15th September 2012 to the conference organizers, Catherine Rider and Siam Bhayro, Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter: email c.r.rider@exeter.ac.uk or s.bhayro@exeter.ac.uk.


The Board of Editors of the interdisciplinary journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei

(http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/studi indo-mediterranei/ ; (http://qusim.arts.ubc.ca/)

is soliciting contributions to its sixth thematic volume, scheduled to appear in 2013.

This issue will contain twelve to fifteen essays addressing the theme of the cultural

and religious interactions between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam.


The “Three Rings” parable, known in Western culture mainly through Boccaccio’s

novella in the Decameron and Lessing’s Nathan der Weise, has been subject to research

for a hundred years or so. Some scholars have argued that the parable originated in

Spain, but its exact source remains unknown. In any case, the emergence and

development of his suggestive message, including the eight and sixteenth centuries,

evidently origins in the Mediterranean context of intercultural and inter-religious

relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

In particular, Western esotericism has been characterised as the combination of

Alexandrian Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and related religious philosophies of late

antiquity and the traces each has left in the three Abrahamic religions. For this

process, very important was the uninterrupted translation of texts between Arabic,

Latin and Hebrew languages. Still today these three Mediterranean cultures are mixed

together in narrow and interesting plots.

All aspects of the cultural connections between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam in

history of religions, theology, philosophy, mysticism, esotericism, literature, visual

arts, music and folklore are welcome.

Please send proposals for essays (250 to 350 words) accompanied by a bio-

bibliographical sketch to Alessandro Grossato (alessandro.grossato@lett.unitn.it), by

September 30, 2012.

Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei accepts proposals and essays in all major European

languages. The editors of the volume will strive for a balanced and diversified table of

contents. They will confirm accepted submissions by December 2, 2012.

Subsequently, the final deadline for submitting the completed essays will be June 1,

  1. The average length recommended for each contribution is of 6,000 words, with

a maximum length allowed of 7,000 words, including footnotes and bibliographical

references.


The journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is based at the University of Bologna,

Italy, and is supported by ASTREA (Associazione di Studi e Ricerche Euro-

Asiatiche). Editor in Chief: Carlo Saccone; Board of Editors: Daniela Boccassini,

Alessandro Grossato, Carlo Saccone.

The journal counts among its editorial associates world-renowned specialists from

major European and North American Universities.

For further information on the journal’s mission and an overview of previous issues

please go to: http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/studi indo-mediterranei/ (Italian website)

http://qusim.arts.ubc.ca/ (North American website)

Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is committed to upholding a high profile in

comparative studies and the highest standards of peer-reviewed scholarship.


Title: Special Issue on Religion and the Paranormal

Date: 2012-08-01

Description: The journal Nova Religio is currently seeking papers

for a special issue on religion and the paranormal. In the last

few years, several good books have appeared that consider

so-called paranormal beliefs, discourses, and experiences as an

object of inquiry for religion scholars. Like the category re

Contact: jlay@bu.edu

Announcement ID: 194634

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194634


SEMINARS


An Open Meeting at St. Marylebone Church, 17 Marylebone Road,

London NW1 5LT

Thursday 14th June 2012 from 2-4pm

THE UNIQUENESS OF SPIRITUAL CARE

Making the spiritual real: from research into training and practice

The challenge for all mental health services is to integrate spiritual care within care

planning in order that those who use the services receive true holistic care. Using a

combination of training, research and care planning Nigel will outline a research

project he has undertaken in partnership with nurses to deliver high quality spiritual

care. It is his belief that those of us engaged in delivering spiritual care need to base

all provision of care upon the foundation of robust research. He will outline the

model of research that he believes to be appropriate for researching the effectiveness

of spiritual care.

DR NIGEL COPSEY is the Team Leader for Spiritual Care in the East London

Foundation Trust and Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust. He has

published two research papers in the field of psychiatry and mental health for

the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. He has also contributed to a number of

psychotherapy publications in the area of spirituality and mental health. Nigel is a

visiting lecturer at several London Universities as well as being a Programme

Leader in the psychology department of UEL. Nigel is an Anglican priest and an

accredited psychotherapist.

To register for this free seminar contact: info@mhspirituality.org.uk

Map and more information on the venue (on Jubilee Line, Baker Street Station)

obtainable on this link:

www.stmarylebone.org.uk/HandC01.htm

For more information about the National Spirituality and Mental Health

Forum see website: www.mhspirituality.org.uk


Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

 A QUESTION OF RELIGION: YOUNG PEOPLE and identity IN CONTEMPORARY MULTI-FAITH BRITAIN

Friday, 29th June 2012

10.30am – 4.30pm

MS114, Mary Seacole Building, Brunel University

Chair: Professor Judith Harwin, Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

10.30 – 10.50      Refreshments

10.50 – 11.00      Welcome to the seminar!

11.00 – 11.50      Young British Muslims finding their voice: from alienation to engagement

Dr Philip Lewis, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford

Young British Muslims are developing the confidence to engage British society and make the most of the institutional spaces opening up in which they can participate. This paper explores some of the encouraging debates now being heard – not least British Muslims contributing ‘Islamically’ to debates within education, social services and chaplaincy. It also addresses how intergenerational tensions are being played out by referring to a seismic political change in Bradford where the Respect candidate recently defeated the Labour candidate in one of the safest Labour seats. The important development from Islamist to post-Islamist politics is also discussed.

 

11.50 – 12.40      Young Sikhs

Jasjit Singh, University of Leeds

This presentation will outline findings from doctoral research on religious transmission among young British Sikhs (18-30). Focusing on a number of arenas of transmission including families, Sikh camps and the internet, this presentation will outline the ways in which these various arenas allow young British Sikhs to engage with their faith. It will also demonstrate how many religious identity practices result from religious socialisation in the family.

12.40 – 13.30      LUNCH

13.30 – 14.20      The Youth On Religion project: Young people and the negotiation of identity in three diverse urban locations

                               Professor Nicola Madge, Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

The Youth On Religion project surveyed over ten thousand young people, and talked to over 160, in secondary schools and colleges in the London Boroughs of Hillingdon and Newham, and Bradford in Yorkshire. Participants came from a range of faith and non-faith positions, and provided a wealth of information on the meaning of religion in their young lives. It was very apparent that families guided their initial religious direction but that peers, school, the community and their own personal experiences and agency became increasingly important as they grew older. This presentation examines the meaning of religious identity for young people and documents some of the landmarks they pass in their religious journey.

14.20 – 15.00      YORvoice: Youth On Religion

Young people from the London Borough of Hillingdon, who participated in YORvoice, part of the Youth On Religion project, present some of their views on religion and its impact on young lives.

15.00 – 15.15      TEA AND BISCUITS

15.15 – 16.00      Growing up with disability in Pakistani Muslim families

Dr Debbie Kramer-Roy, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Brunel University

This paper presents findings from a study of Pakistani Muslim families bringing up disabled children. Religion was a strong part of their daily lives, and parents talked about how personal faith influenced the way they experienced becoming the parents of disabled children and living with them in their communities. While mothers tended to talk about the shift from feelings of distress and shame to considering their child a blessing from God, fathers reported how they turned to religious leaders and scriptures to learn more about disability and its meaning. Siblings reported generally positive views but also indicated some frustration at the restrictions that a disabled brother or sister imposed.

16.00                     END OF SEMINAR

NB There is no charge for this seminar and lunch is provided

If you would like to attend, please email nicola.madge@brunel.ac.uk


Title: Summer Institute at Rutgers – Islam and the Muslim World –

July 16th-20th

Location: New Jersey

Date: 2012-07-16

Description: 2012 Summer Institute for Teachers at Rutgers Islam

and the Muslim World Where: Rutgers, the State University of

New JerseyNew Brunswick, NJ When: Monday, July 16 to Friday,

July 20, 2012 Cost: $300 The Center for Middle East Studies at

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is pleased to anno

Contact: areolive@rci.rutgers.edu

URL: mideast.rutgers.edu/islam-and-the-muslim-world

Announcement ID: 194590

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194590

Roundtable: What is the Future of Religious Studies?

David Robertson, Chris Cotter, Ethan Quillen, Jonathan Tuckett, Kevin Whitesides & Liam Sutherland (NB: ‘we’ are not the future of Religious Studies – although some of us hope to be – that would just be silly)

After this week’s podcast, which involved eight scholars giving their views on the future of Religious Studies, there was really only one way we could create a suitably collective and varied response – six postgrads sitting around a table, accompanied by pink gin and our trusty dictaphone. Conversation ranges from the public perception of what Religious Studies does, what to do with a RS degree, to the financial practicalities of doing postgraduate research in the UK and US today. Mostly, though, it’s a collective rant about the cognitive study of religion (for a more educated discussion on cognitive approaches to the study of religion, see our interview with Armin Geertz)..

**Regular visitors please note – we have moved our weekly feature articles to Wednesdays instead of Fridays. This will continue until further notice, and is intended to promote more discussion**

If you are new to the podcast – this is not what we usually do. If you are a regular listener – you might enjoy this, or you might not; either way, we are back to normal with Bettina Schmidt’s interview on Anthropological Approaches on Monday.

You can also download this roundtable, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes.

The bleeping noises are Chris’s camera, and the clunks are Liam’s can of Gin. We hope you enjoy it, we certainly enjoyed recording it. We’ll be recording another at the SOCREL (Sociology of Religion) Annual Conference in just a few days time (with a more diverse range of participants!). If you’d like this to become a regular feature, please let us know.

Choice quotations:

“What do you do with a Religious Studies degree? You get a Master’s. What do you do with a Religious Studies Master’s? You get a PhD? What do you do with a Religious Studies Phd? You work in Starbucks.”

“I think of Religious Studies less as a discipline and more as the name of a department.”

“relativity… is one step up from subjectivity, which is the post-modernist quagmire of death and destruction that will consume all academic fields if it’s allowed to spread too far…”

The Discussants:

Christopher R. Cotter

Chris recently completed his MSc by Research in Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, on the topic ‘Toward a Typology of Nonreligion: A Qualitative Analysis of Everyday Narratives of Scottish University Students’. He is currently taking a year out from study to pursue PhD applications, present at conferences, and work on projects such as this. His future research will continue to expand the theme of ‘non-religion’ to apply to ‘everyone’ in religiously diverse, socio-economically deprived urban environments, simultaneously deconstructing the religion-nonreligion dichotomy in the process. He is Deputy Editor and Bibliography Manager at the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network, and currently editing the volume ‘Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular’ with Abby Day and Giselle Vincett (Ashgate, 2013). See his personal blog, or academia.edu page for a full CV.

Ethan Quillen

Circular Academia: Navigating the Dangerous Waters of Term Re-Assignment for the Religious Studies Project.

David Robertson

David G. Robertson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Religious Studies department of the University of Edinburgh. His research  examines how UFO narratives became the bridge by which ideas crossed between the conspiracist and New Age milieus in the post-Cold War period. More broadly, his work concerns contemporary alternative spiritualities, and their relationship with popular culture. Forthcoming publications: “Making the Donkey Visible: Discordianism in the Works of Robert Anton Wilson” in C. Cusack & A. Norman (Eds.), Brill Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Leiden: Brill (2012) “(Always) Living in the End Times: The “rolling prophecy” of the conspracist milieu” in When Prophecy Persists. London: INFORM/Ashgate (2012). For a full CV and his MSc thesis on contemporary gnosticism, see his Academia page or personal blog.

Liam Sutherland

Liam is a Religious Studies Postgraduate student at Edinburgh University undertaking a Masters by Research, on the relevance of E.B Tylor for the contemporary theory of religion, defining religion and modern scholars with a ‘Neo-Tylorian’ influence or affinity. He is a native of Edinburgh where he also completed his undergraduate degree  in 2009, producing a dissertation on contemporary Indigenous Australian spirituality and the politics of land rights. Though he began in Politics, and took many Politics and school of Social Science courses, he quickly fell in love with Religious Studies! Liam has also written the essay An Evaluation of Harvey’s Approach to Animism and the Tylorian Legacy for the Religious Studies Project.

Jonathan Tuckett

What is Phenomenology? for the Religious Studies Project.

Kevin Whitesides

Kevin Whitesides completed his B.A. in Religious Studies at Humboldt State University. He is currently developing an MSc dissertation at the University of Edinburgh on ‘2012’ millennialism as part of a broader emphasis on countercultural transmission. Kevin has contributed articles to ‘Archaeoastronomy’ and ‘Zeitschrift fur Anomalistik’, has contributed chapters for two anthologies on apocalypse and prophecy, and has presented widely on the ‘2012’ milieu at academic conferences and universities.

What is the Future of Religious Studies?

This week we decided to do something a bit different. Every time David and Chris have conducted an interview, they have been asking the interviewees an additional question: “What is the Future of Religious Studies?”

The result is this highly stimulating compilation of differing perspectives and levels of optimism on what has become one of the most hotly debated topics in the academic study of religion at the start of the second decade of the twenty-first century.

You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes.

The underlying motivation behind placing this question on the agenda of the Religious Studies Project was one of finances. In the current economic climate – particularly in the UK – and with the increasing commodification of the Higher Education sector. It is no longer acceptable for academics to sit pontificating in their ivory towers, and every discipline (but particularly Religious Studies) is finding itself increasingly in the firing line in terms of funding and resources. This issue is so pressing that the British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR) and the British Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Study Group (SOCREL) – the two professional organisations that together represent the UK’s leading scholars in the study of religion – have joined forces to present a joint panel on ‘Public benefit in the study of religion’ at the BASR annual conference, September 5-7 2012 University of Winchester, UK.

However, this is not the only issue on the table. Topics range from interdisciplinarity and institutional conflict, to innovative new methodologies, directions and foci. Some of these academics have already appeared on the Religious Studies Project, others’ interviews have yet to be released, yet each has their own unique perspective to offer, and we hope that you appreciate this compilation.

Featured in this podcast (with links to their previously released interviews):

We wanted to do something special with this podcast, because it is the tenth edition of the Religious Studies Project. We hope this has been a worthwhile exercise! Later in the week, we will be releasing a ‘unique’ response to this episode, and we hope it will prove similarly worthwhile.

If you stick with us for the next ten episodes, you’ll be treated to interviews with Bettina Schmidt (University of Wales), Markus Davidsen (Aarhus University), Bejamin Beit-Hallahmi (University of Haifa), Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University), Ariela Keysar (Trinity College, Massachusetts), Bron Taylor (University of Florida) and more…

 

Getting into Graduate School

The following post was written by contributors, who blogs at A Theory of Mind. Erika  is a graduate student studying social psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has an MA in Cognition and Culture from Queen’s University Belfast and a BA in English from the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on religion and self-consciousness, religion as a social identity and moral community, and naturalistic thinking. The guidelines here are quite US-specific, however they are of use to anyone who is considering applying to further their education, and even to those who have already made this decision.

Erika’s work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, and can be freely distributed provided you acknowledge the source.

Getting into Graduate School

If you applying the graduate school, the first thing you should know about is what exactly goes into an application. Generally speaking, a graduate school application (in the US) consists of the following elements:

1. The application form—General questions (address, etc.) as well as possibly some department-specific questions.

2. A statement of purpose—aka SOP. A 500-1500 word essay describing your background, research interests (for research-based programs), career goals, and fit with the department to which you’re applying. It should be customized to each department.

3. Letters of recommendation—aka LOR. Typically 3, sometimes 2; some schools take more or fewer. You want as many of these to come from professors (as opposed to work supervisors) as possible, preferably ones with whom you have research experience or other outside-the-classroom relationships. Generally speaking, if you have 2 very good ones, the third one can be somewhat weaker.

4. Transcripts—from all post-secondary institutions. Some departments care about your overall GPA; others care more about your final 60 credits. If your transcripts look at all like mine [I got a 1.7 GPA (just about failing for anyone not familiar with the US point system) for my first year, had loads of Fs and course withdrawals, and finally withdrew from school entirely before getting my act together], you may consider putting a paragraph of explanation in your SOP, but be sure not to (a) explain weak performance with reference to a psychological or learning disability (prejudices against these are sadly present in graduate school, even in fields like education and psychology) or (b) appear to be whining or blaming poor performance on anyone other than yourself. Instead, focus on explaining why it could never happen again.

5. GRE score reports—(for US-based institutions) the importance of the GRE differs depending on the program, of course, as does the relative weighting of the subsections. If you don’t like your score, you can retake it, but you can only take the test once during a calendar month, so make sure you take the test at the latest in the month before you absolutely need it, in case you decide to retake. The scores are good for five years. Start studying now, and take as many practice tests as possible.

6. Curriculum vitae—aka CV or vita. Your academic resume. I recommend downloading some faculty CVs from the departments you are applying to. This will give you a sense of what these look like and what goes into them.

Some applications will ask for the following:

7. Writing sample—Generally, you should choose something you’ve turned in for a grade or publication. Preferably, it will be related to the field you are applying to. And, of course, take the time to thoroughly revise it.

8. Personal statement—aka PS. For some applications, this is the same as an SOP; however, others will ask for an SOP and a PS. In this case, the PS is generally used in deciding university-wide fellowship recipients, and it should be more personal than the SOP, focusing on challenges you’ve faced in education and/or membership in groups underrepresented in graduate education.

Generally speaking, the key to graduate admissions is fit—which means roughly that your interests are aligned with those of the department. So start browsing department websites. Get a feel for what the faculty are studying and decide if your interests match those of one or more faculty members. For large departments (such as psych and bio), the faculty are often further partitioned into divisions, and your application may be reviewed solely by the division to which you are applying, in which case you will want to focus on that division. Make a long-ish list of schools and faculty you are interested in, and then make an appointment with one of your professors to discuss that list. People in your field may know what departments tend to have good placement (getting people into jobs they want), have advisors whose students never graduate, etc. You want to know as much of this as possible.

Although I applied to 6 schools during each of my two application cycles, most people I know applied to double that number. This process gets EXPENSIVE. Application fees for US and Canadian schools range from around $50 to $100 each. Some of your undergraduate schools may charge for transcript copies. GRE score reports cost $20 each. It’s not uncommon to spend one to two thousand dollars on the applications. Then, some departments will have on-site interviews or visiting student weekends in the spring, for which some will reimburse travel expenses and other won’t. Depending on your geographic constraints in applications and in your luck in applying to wealthy departments, this could add in even more expense.

Overall, the grad school application process is capricious. Most excellent departments admit something under 10% of applicants; other departments are less selective. But admissions in any given year depend on such completely unknowable (to applicants) factors such as state budgets, the size of last year’s incoming class, the number of students who are leaving the program, the number of grants won by specific faculty members, etc. So getting in is at least as much about uncontrollable departmental factors as it is about being an excellent applicant. I recommend emailing professors you are interested in working with to inquire whether they are taking on new students in the next application cycle, as finding out ahead of time that a professor is not taking on new students will eliminate work and heartbreak spent on an opportunity that never truly existed.

_____________________

Now that I am a graduate student, I advise many bright, intellectually curious undergraduates who want to go on to graduate school. Over the last few years, I’ve compiled a fairly large number of resources and points of advice that I offer these students. While some of the advice is biased by the particular field (psychology) and degree-type (PhD at a US research intensive institution) I have chosen, I think that there are some common elements that can be adapted to any field.

Here’s an outline of the advice I typically give:

  • Gain as much research experience possible. Both because it is exactly the kind of training you need and because it is the best source of letters of reference. Working in more than one lab with give you a greater diversity of skills and training, and it will also give you multiple recommendation letters.
  • Read scholarly literature in the field that interests you. This will help you narrow down your interests, make you sound more intelligent and informed when speaking with potential advisors, and help you identify potential advisors of interest.
  • Speak to a professor in your intended field about what his or her job is like and what graduate school in that field is like. Similarly, speak a graduate student in your intended field about his or her experiences. Consult with professors and grad students about the schools/advisors you are considering applying to; ask them about who has good placement and whose students never graduate.
  • Email professors you are interested in working with. Tell them you’ve read some of their papers and share some interests. Ask whether they will be taking on new students and what they look for in a graduate student. Your match to an advisor is one of the most important components of your application and of your experience in graduate school, especially for students pursuing a research-oriented degree.
  • Join professional societies and honor societies and take an active role in them. Subscribe to their listservs. This will keep you up to date on the field, provide you with opportunities for extra experience/CV lines (e.g., reviewing submissions for student competitions, competing in those competitions, departmental service, etc.), and make you look engaged. You might also find opportunities for summer research positions or post-graduation jobs advertised on the email lists.
  • Read academic/science blogs or message boards. These will help you understand and navigate academic culture and give you better insight into the variety of experiences of academics. You can find great science blogs through ResearchBlogging, Scientific American, ScienceBlogs, Scientopia, and other science blog networks. You can also learn a lot about academic life in general by reading GradHacker, The Grad Café, GradLand, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Take the GRE seriously, if you are applying in the US. Study for a long time. Take lots of practice tests. Many US-based programs have unadvertised GRE cut-off points, or combine GRE with college marks (GPA) to create a composite score with which they rank applicants.
  • Seriously consider if graduate school and an academic career is a good option for you. Graduate school is intense. The academic job market is really tough, and the pressure does not end even if you land a great job at the end. You might be a post-doc or Visiting Assistant Professor before landing a more permanent position, and even once you are on the tenure track, you still have years of fighting for tenure ahead. Download CVs of professors you respect. Look at the number of cities they have lived in during their academic careers and the frequency of their moves. Is that a life that you want? If you are not interested in an academic position, understand that your supervisors in graduate school will have had precious little experience outside of academia that they could use to advise you.
  • Apply for jobs, too. You might not get in. Many students put in two rounds of applications or take a master’s position when they really want a doctoral position.
  • You will likely be rejected; it’s not personal, and it doesn’t mean you are not smart enough or capable enough to complete the program. What I’ve listed above are just the things that you can (more or less) control. There’s a lot that you cannot control, such as departmental funding, grants won by faculty members that might support students, the number of other truly awesome applicants who happen to apply in the same year to the same advisor, the number of students graduating from the program that year.

Of course, I don’t think that my opinions are the only ones prospective graduate students should consider, so I always give them links to lots of other opinions, including the following:

General Resources:

Letters of Recommendation:

If, after all of this, you still want to apply to graduate school: great! It’s a lot of work, but it can be a very rewarding choice. If you are a professor or graduate student who has a different perspective, please chime in! The more information applicants have, the better off they will be.

Podcasts

Reinventing Graduate Education in the Study of Religion

Education_Apple-prvWe spend a lot of time on the Religious Studies Project discussing Religious Studies as a discipline or field of study, what it means to study ‘religion’ with or without quotation marks, and what exactly it is that the critical, scholarly study of societal discourses surrounding ‘religion’ might have to offer. However, up until today we have never tackled head-on the institutional location of Religious Studies within a higher education environment that is becoming increasingly stretched, and dominated by market forces and political whims. In particular, how might this situation affect graduate education it the study of ‘religion’? What can scholars of ‘religion’ do about this situation? Are we powerless? Must we simply sit on the sidelines and stick to our guns, or are there constructive alternative ways forward? To discuss these questions, and and an exciting new graduate programme looking at Religion in Culture.I am joined today by Drs Merinda Simmons and Michael Altman, both of the University of Alabama.

Blog post about the course: https://religion.ua.edu/blog/2016/12/theres-a-new-m-a-in-town/

Details of the course: http://religion.ua.edu/MA.html

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, cute kittens, and more.


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


Podcast with K. Merinda Simmons and Michael J. Altman.

Interviewed by Christopher Cotter.

Transcribed by Helen Bradstock.

Chris Cotter (CC): We spend quite a lot of time on the Religious Studies Project discussing Religious Studies as a discipline or a field of study, what it means to study religion with or without quotation marks, and what exactly it is that the critical study of societal discourses surrounding religion might have to offer. However, up until today, we’ve never tackled the institutional location of Religious Studies within a higher education environment that is becoming increasingly stretched and dominated by market forces and political whims. In particular, how might this situation affect graduate education in the study of religion? What can scholars of religion do about this situation? Are we powerless? Must we simply sit on the sidelines and stick to our guns? Or are there constructive, alternative ways forward? To discuss these questions and an exciting new graduate programme looking at religion in culture, I’m joined today by Drs Merinda Simmons and Michael Altman, who are both Associate Professors of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. Merinda’s books include Changing the subject: Writing women across the African Diaspora, and two co-edited volumes: The Trouble with Post-Blackness and  Race and Displacement. She’s the editor of the book series, Concepts in the Study of Religion: Critical Primers and is a member of the collaborative research group: Culture on the Edge. Mike’s research ranges from American Religious History to Critical Theory and his first book, Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, 1721- 1893, will be published by OUP in 2017. He’s also published an article in the journal Religion, entitled “Podcasting Religious Studies, that features the Religious Studies Project. And we might even discuss that later on, who knows? First of all, Merinda, Mike, welcome to the Religious Studies Project.

Merinda Simmons (MS): Thank you

Michael Altman (MA): Thanks. You gave me a free promotion there, Chris! I’m only an Assistant Professor.

CC: Oh no!

MS: Congratulations

MA: It’s ok. I’ll take it! That’s how good the book is!

CC: That you get instant promotion with it. Excellent. Well on that note, that’s an institutional dynamic that we don’t quite know here in the UK, the associate/ assistant thing. But we’re talking today about reinventing graduate education in the study of religion. Why are we even talking about that? What’s the context?

MS: One of the conversations that we’ve been having over the past handful of years has been about what a lot of people call the “crisis in the Humanities”. So that’s really what began the conversation here, departmentally. We have a Humanities speaker series that our chair is on the committee for planning, we’ve been doing some things within the department to try to talk about that issue. And we also have been – in the last handful of years especially – on the front end of social media in the department, making videos, doing things to promote the department. Because a lot of people don’t come into their undergraduate programmes, anyway, knowing what the academic study of religions is. So we have to do a lot of self-promotion and just getting the word out about what it is to even get a degree in Religious Studies. So with those two things in mind, with our social media presence and with the conversations that have been going on about the so-called crisis of the Humanities, that’s really what began the conversation of : What would it look like if we don’t. . . We don’t want to think about the Humanities as “Crisis-ville”. We all have jobs in this space of perceived crisis, so maybe we should be thinking about that, or doing something about that? Or what does it mean to re-conceive that? So that’s the background for where the conversation initially began.

CC: And just for the benefit of our listeners who could be at any level. . .

MS: What is that crisis?

CC: Yes.In broad brush strokes.

MA: I don’t know. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things.(5:00) It’s a shift. I was introduced to this crisis through the 2008 financial crisis. That’s when I snuck into graduate school just before Emory University’s endowment tanked in September 2008. And you can just look around over the next two years and watch all the free lunches on campus literally go away. And I think that moment of. . . that financial moment, and the impact it had on jobs in the US, kind of created a bit of a panic about, “Well, if I’m going to spend money on a degree, if I’m going to spend time on a degree” – especially at under graduate level , where you had a financial crisis happening as a bubble was growing around higher ed and higher ed prices were going up, everyone taking out theses student loans –  “ I ‘d better damn well be able to get a job when it’s over.” And I think, the idea that Humanities – because they were not very vocational – didn’t prepare one for that, that has been a longstanding discussion-point and problem-point I think since the ’70s, became even more acute. So students came in, I think. . . . As I transitioned out of grad school into teaching, in the last four years, I’ve seen all these undergraduate students who went through who were in high school or middle school when this happened, and they don’t know a world that wasn’t in financial crisis, or where financial anxiety wasn’t dominant. I grew up in a world dominated by terrorism fear, they grew up in a world dominated by banking and stock market fear.

MS: At the same time, when I came to grad school, which was like in 2001- 2002, I was exposed to a kind of generational shift from the faculty perspective, where. . . . I think the reason that this so-called crisis is resonating for academics themselves, is that there was also a kind of sea-change from a faculty perspective and from an academic perspective about what it meant to study the Humanities. Suddenly – in response to these kinds of economic factors and the sorts of anxieties about job markets that our students were grappling with – suddenly it didn’t make as much sense to approach one’s teaching and one’s research in quite the same classic model of:  “I know all. I will tell all. Come learn at my feet and then take this knowledge to do whatever, but that’s your thing to process later, and it’s not really so much my jam as your faculty advisor.” So in response to that shifting landscape, too, I think there’s been, within people who already have jobs and are trying to get a sense of what they’re doing as faculty within the Humanities, and scholars in the Humanities, what it is that their job is – because it doesn’t seem like it’s quite so much the same sort of: receptacles of knowledge that we dispense nebulously to people and then just take that as self-evidently important as some kind of service that we’re doing them.

MA: Yes, for better or worse, the self-evidence of the value of Humanities research isn’t taken for granted any more.

MS: Right. And so that’s a thing that students, who want to go get jobs, have to grapple with. And it’s also a thing for those of us doing research in the Humanities to also kind-of start re-conceiving as well. So, into that space, enter cutting-edge new grad programme!

CC: Wonderful! And that scans quite well with my impression of things here in the UK. Here we certainly don’t have college fees to quite the same level as you have in the States, but when I started as an undergrad you were talking just about £1,000 a year. And now its gone up to £9,000 a year.

MS: Wow.

CC: . . .in that length of time. So there’s a real sense of: “What am I going to get out of this?”, students as consumers, and also the perceived value of,“Well, a degree in study of religion, that’s kind of near the bottom of the pile in terms of monetisation, isn’t it?” But need it all be doom and gloom?

MS: Not necessarily.

CC: Well, first of all, before we talk about your graduate programme, graduate students are going to be slightly different to undergraduate students. (10:00) So, again, maybe if you just tell us a little bit about that dynamic and then let’s see what you’ve been doing.

MS: You mean: what do we conceive of as our student cohort, coming in?

CC: Yes. The general purposes of graduate school.

MA: Oh yeah, that’s a whole bees’ nest of questions! There’s a whole argument going on in the US about graduate school. There was an article yesterday in the Chronicle, or this week, basically wagging its figure at literature professors around the country, saying: “Your entire career is built on the exploitation of graduate students!” And yet, at the same time – I’ve become such a reactionary old man at he age of 32 – I’m like: “You’re getting paid to go to school” in lots of cases! So there’s a whole back-and-forth about graduate school. And there’s a whole conflation of different programmes and the way they rely on graduate student labour to teach large classes, which keeps costs down, and buttresses the explosion of administrations and administrative costs. So there’s a whole big argument about the value, the importance, the ethics of graduate education in the US that I think we’re trying to navigate. We’ve thought hard about it. I want people to know that the committee who’s been working on this – from the proposal all the way down to the implementation – take those concerns very seriously. But they’re very real and they’re very thorny, I think.

MS: Mike and I were just talking about this earlier. I think, before the economy changed so dramatically, there was a sense that education and more of it was just a net gain. You know, education is an end in itself: it is always a good. The more you get of it, the more it will enrich your life, or pay you back monetarily, or just be this net gain to pursue. And I do think that – as we’ve already been discussing – those dynamics have shifted a bit. But I don’t think that means that, just because students are interested in making sure that they try to at least stack the odds for some kind of professional return on their investment, they leave their BA programmes without still this kind of sense of: “I don’t know, necessarily, if I have this very specific career path set out ahead of me. I’m still interested in all of these ideas that I’ve only just barely been exposed to. What do I want to do with those? Is there a space for me to continue to think about things in more depth?” So I don’t want there to be a kind of mutually exclusive, sort-of antagonistic relationship between professional security or job sensibility on one hand and intellectual curiosity on the other. And so one approach from academia I think, in a lot of ways, has been to sort of stake its flag, and sort of double-down and say, “No! What we study is super important! Did you hear? I’ll say it louder for the kids in the back – it is SUPER IMPORTANT!” Or on the other side, they just turn into a kind of profit machine, which I think results in . . . and maybe those things work together – I don’t know that those are two sides of the same coin – maybe they’re the same thing. So there’s this kind of exploitative factory of grad student labour on one hand and contingent adjunct labour that even spreads into the faculty arena. But there’s also, I think three’s been an ongoing failure – which I think is not too strong a word – on behalf of academicians to rethink and retool why it is that what we study matters, and why that should translate to student interest and to the lives that they’re living.(15:00) Because their interest does not live and die with their intellectual pursuits inside of that classroom. It’s also about the lives that they want to live, it’s also about the jobs they want to have, the places they want to live. It’s geographical concerns, its family concerns, it’s all sorts of different kinds of things. And so to try to think seriously about all of these issues, yes, is the job for people in Humanities in the 21st century now.

CC: Excellent. So that’s set a really good scene. So your department. . .Is your department called “Religion in Culture” or is it..I know that that’s quite a thing at Alabama.

MA: Yes, with the italics on the in.

MS: We have a webpage explaining our approach to that.

MA: The department is the Department of Religious Studies but when we came up with the Master’s – I don’t know who came up with the idea.Maybe it was on an email?

MS: We went back and forth about it.

MA: We decided to just call it the MA in Religion and Culture.

MS: It’s not quite. . . . You know, my PhD is from an English department, another colleague’s PhD is from an Anthropology department: we come at the study of religion from a lot of different disciplinary angles and we knew that this wasn’t going to be a traditional Religious Studies degree, as it’s popularly conceived still in the academy. But we also wanted to establish it as an intervention into that field, where a lot of us still have a great deal of a stake. But it’s not quite Cultural Studies, we didn’t want to go completely off the grid. So it’s our attempt at, kind of, charting out a specific path within a field that we all still have a great deal of stock in.

CC: And so you’re approaching it with two broad stands then: social theory and Digital Humanities. Why those choices?

MS: I’ll pitch this one to Mike with a little bit of background, because he’s one of our resident Digital Humanities gurus. But from me – with a background and training in literary theory – the reason I’m in a Religious Studies department is because of a commitment to social theory and questions about identity studies, and a kind of critical theory analytic that’s operative in my work. So the department has a longstanding commitment to thinking broadly about why it is that we study what we study, rather than just landing upon the self-evidency of  “what we do matters”. So in that sense, social theory has been something that we’ve been already flexing our muscles with for quite a number of years. And again, we also just got into the social media thing. It started with just advertising events on campus through Facebook and then having a Facebook page for our student association. But then our students started writing blog posts and then: “Well, maybe we should have a blog?” So the grad degree is emphasising two strengths that we already had. We’re not inventing anything new in either of these two platforms, but it is – especially for me who still is relatively new to the Digital Humanities scene – taking it to a kind of new and more substantive direction, especially with the Public Humanities bit.

MA: Yes, I think of it as really the two strengths of the department. And I think for a long time, because of Merinda’s work and Steven Ramey’s work and Russell McCutcheon’s work, our department has been known for its theoretical rigour. Theoretical swagger, I like to think of it as! So I think that’s manifest in this programme. So if you’re a student and you don’t want to be hemmed in by the same school of religious theorists, or if you’re not even thinking about religious theorists but you don’t want to be hemmed in by a content area, then what we’ve envisioned beginning with. . . . One of the first classes students take in this programme is a foundation course in social theory. And they’re introduced to a whole bunch of social theorists. This is something Merinda’s helped develop with Steven Ramey, and she can say more about that. But on the other side I think people have known less, until the last couple of years – it’s sort-of blossomed. (20:00) It’s like, we were one of the first departments to really utilise a website and to do all sorts of things. I mean back in the day, before cell phone cameras (I wasn’t here, I don’t know what I was doing, I was in high school) but they were taking photographs at events and scanning them, putting them up on the webpage. I say “they”, it was Russell and the faculty that were there then: Russell McCutcheon. And so that website predates Facebook. There was no Facebook but we had this website – and it’s actually about to get a facelift, soon – but you can go look at the archives of all this old stuff that we have buried, if you’re interested.

MS: And so much of that is this sense of trying to tell students what it is that we do in this department. Because so often they come out of high school without a sense of what Religious Studies, as a kind of academics base, is. And so I think that there is this hard work of just self-awareness, but then self-promotion and advertising that a department like ours had to do. And so, since we’ve been doing that for so long already, and since we have this analytical approach, by and large, how do we make the most of both of those two things?

MA: And so the website gave way to Facebook, gave way to the blog, that came in under . . . that was invented by Ted Trost, that began as a promotion of a Humanities series on campus, but then became this blog that is now read internationally. And people send us guest posts. And I think it’s become a pretty interesting space in the field. I mean, I’m a little biased, but. . . . And now our Twitter feed is doing really well, and we have an Instagram, and we’ve done all sorts of videos, and so I look at this as the next step in both those aspects of the department that have been going for the past ten-twelve years. And actually we have a podcast coming up soon, of our own, that I was just talking to Russell McCutcheon on as I was recording that. And there’s a great interview with him where he talks about this. And actually, the two are more connected than you think. We posit them as: there’s going to be a foundation class in social theory and a foundation class in Public Humanities and digital methods (that I’m putting together with Nathan Loewen) but they work together. Because really, all the stuff that we’ve begun to do in a social media space on the website is just applying social theory to our own environment,. Like: Why do we have a blog? Because getting students to write little pieces and see them creates a sense of. . . . It’s Durkheim!

MS: Right.

MA: We ought to know. . . . Academics who study religion from a social theory/social science/ human science perspective ought to be really good at understanding how to form a tight social group. That’s what we’re studying. That’s what we’re talking about. And we’ve kind of taken that seriously in a way. And so there’s the way these two things kind of feed off of each other, and have done in the life of department, and now we’re sending that momentum spinning forward into this graduate programme.

MS: It also means that their culminating thesis project can be a traditional publishable academic work that will send them to a PhD programme of their choice, or into a different kind of academic arena. But they can also, for their thesis requirement, do a digital project of equal substantive weight and value. So [we’re] thinking seriously about what that looks like and what that means, how to make them marketable. And not just in relation to how they can talk about themselves and their own skill sets – which I think is just such a thing that grad students could use – because I think that a lot of them with all of these kinds of critical skills, writing skills, argumentative skills, can only really talk about themselves of think about themselves in relation to the professoriate. Which I think is a shame, because those skills are super-marketable and very much in demand across a lot of different kinds of jobs sectors. (25:00) So, not only will they be able to talk abut themselves and think about their skills differently, but will also have a thing in hand that they can go to a museum with, or to a non-profit with, or to academic publishing, or. . .

MA: A start-up

MS: Or a start-up, or whatever kind of. . . and to help them get creative about where they can take those skills and equipped with something that isn’t just: “I have this killer essay, that’s an amazing, critical intervention.” They can do both.

CC: We’ve been nattering away here and time is already running away with us. This sounds fantastic and it sounds right in the same ballpark as why we started the Religious Studies Project five years ago: to try and find a way to get academia out there in a more accessible form.

MS: Right.

CC: But two questions just to maybe finish with, one would be: so, you know, stereotypical student wants to come and do a Master’s in the study of religion and they find themselves getting social theory and Digital Humanities. I can well imagine, based on some of the experiences that I’ve encountered , a jarring sense of: “Where’s the religion here? I just wanted to study some Buddhists!” So that’s one, and then the other question is: it sounds like you’ve got a really supportive department and university there. I can imagine in a perhaps more. . . I’ll use the word straight-laced or more traditional university, you might meet some resistance to proposing a course of this nature. So what advice might you have for scholars of religion who are working within the same context as you and are trying to instil the same sense of excitement and career development into their students, but maybe can’t quite found this innovative course? So on the one hand there’s the “Where’s the religion?” and two, advice for others in different contexts.

MS: Well, I mean to the first – at the end of the day we are still a department of Religious Studies and can still call ourselves that. So whatever kind of nominal traction we have to make ourselves legible in a field called Religious Studies is still present in the kinds of faculty areas and research that we do. Our approach is different, though, in relation to how it is that we think about the importance of [for example] the question of Hindus and American religion or a colleague who studies the spread of global Christianities in the global south, and Japan migration. So we have areas of the world and traditions that we use as data sets. There are still levels of study that people can kind-of come into and get that sort of traction if they want to do that. Especially if they want to go on to have an even more focussed approach with that, with their PhD. They have the opportunity to do language study while they’re here within the Master’s programme. But, you know, yes it is right that someone who is coming into our programme is probably not satisfied with thinking about a specific group of ritual practitioners in the 18th century, from this space, and then leave their enquiry to live and die inside of that space. So. . .

CC: And given that what you’re already saying about your social media presence etc, it’s going to be quite unlikely that a grad student’s going to turn up at the door not knowing what goes on.

MS: Right!

MA: They should certainly know what they’re getting themselves into!

MS: But I do think it needs to be said that this is still for those people who are really still diehard, interested in getting a PhD in Religious Studies, as long as they think of that approach as kind of cool, this is still something that will still put them in a really nice position and I think, if anything, make their application stand out. Because they do have this other little edge to it.

MA: I think, to be completely honest, that our students coming out of here will be better prepared for a more traditional PhD programme. Because our programme will require them to go back to first questions.(30:00) Like we said earlier, that taking it for granted that your study of Vedic sacrifice is valuable just because it’s about something really old, that it is inherently valuable, that’s not. . . You’re going to be pushed to be able to articulate what is it about your study of Ancient Vedic sacrifice that has purchase for  larger theories about social formation, ritual, the way communities work, the way people think, the way texts are passed down, like. . . whatever: something bigger. And that emphasis will allow you, when you get to a PhD programme and beyond when you’re on the job market later, to talk to people outside of your super-small speciality in a way that will make you a better scholar.

MS: And that’s exactly the answer, too, that I would suggest for the second part of your question, Chris, about what this suggests to scholars implicitly in their field. Because I think that there is a way in which the field itself, as a disciplinary phenomenon, can also be taken for granted as a self-evidently important thing.

MA: Of course religion’s important!

MS: Right, and “because we’ve been studying it in these ways for this many years, this is what we should continue or because the field is so dominated by area studies, and continues by area studies, and descriptive ethnographies, that that’s how we should continue to approach our work”. And I think that our programme is an experiment in thinking otherwise about that, and really putting our programmatic money where our mouths are, in terms of thinking differently about how we can conceive this field. Because there are a lot of different directions it can take. And why do we need to think in classic terms about area studies? Because then, why should we win the battle over how to get grad students who would otherwise go into a History grad programme, or a Cultural Studies programme, or in Anthropology? You know, why go into Religious Studies? So I think this is also a way for scholars and faculty members and administrators to think about how to organise differently around the kinds of area studies that they have, and how to make more marketable students coming out of those programmes in the process.

MA: And I’ll underline . . . .You asked the second question about how are we able to do this, and the support. At the risk of sounding too parochial, I think we have had a lot of support from the College of Arts and Sciences here at the university. And I think that’s because we’ve shown that the approaches we’ve chosen work in other settings. We’ve been out in front of other departments in a lot of ways, with the blog and social media. And a number of different projects that we’ve done have pushed everyone in the college, in a way, and so that’s given us a certain amount of institutional capital that has opened the door for this. And I think part of that is because we haven’t taken for granted that we’re valuable. And on the flip side of that: I think we’re the hardest working department in the country, we’re incredibly productive pound for pound and – I mean, that’s enough bragging!

MS: I’ll also say our Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is a mathematician who is, nonetheless, deeply invested in the Humanities, and that’s just so, so nice. It’s really nice.

CC: So, effectively: get out there, embody what you want the field to be! If you want to be relevant, get out there and make yourselves relevant! That’s probably a good rallying call.

MA: Yes. The entrepreneurism we want in our Master’s students has been modelled by this department for the past 10-12 years.

MS: And interestingly – I know you’re probably trying to close this down because it sounded like a nice [ending], but only very quickly – this is why social theory is so useful too, to make that entrepreneurial vein of professional emphasis, not become some super-problematic, “Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps kiddos! And if you just try hard enough you’ll get that job in blah blah blah”. Like, No! We’re thinking really seriously about structural dynamics, about power dynamics, about the kinds of economic underpinnings that create certain sorts of environments that allow you to take various modes of agency in different kinds of spaces. And I think that that’s also super-important, because I think it can be really disheartening as a grad student to hear the equation of, “If you just try hard, and if you just publish enough, you’ll get that job.” Because that’s just so not any more the case.

MA: No. Scholars of large institutions and large social formations ought to be really good at navigating university bureaucracy.

CC: (35:00) Well, on that note, thanks so much Merinda Simmons and Mike Altman for joining us, and hopefully you will both get some sign-ups for this course.

MA: Applications are open now!

CC: You’ve also given our listeners a lot of food for thought and a lot of inspiration, and hopefully we’ll have a couple of interesting responses to this – fingers crossed!

MS: Thanks so much for talking to us.

MA: Thank you.

CC: Thanks so much for joining us.


Citation:  Simmons, K. Merinda, and Michael J. Altman  2017. “Reinventing Graduate Education in the Study of Religion”, The Religious Studies Project (Podcast Transcript). 3 April 2017. Transcribed by Helen Bradstock. Version 1.1, 4 April 2017. Available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/reinventing-graduate-education-in-the-study-of-religion/

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.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. The views expressed in podcasts  are the views of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of THE RELIGIOUS STUDIES PROJECT or the British Association for the Study of Religions.

 

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!

The First Rule of Adjuncting is…

The first rule of adjuncting is you don’t talk about adjuncting.[1]

The second rule of adjuncting is… you don’t talk about adjuncting!

If you have seen the film Fight Club, a visually stunning piece based on Chuck Palhnuik’s book by the same title which savagely critiques modern consumerism, you know that I am making a link here between this film and the role of the adjunct in American higher education. In the film, this underground fraternal club revolves around cage-fighting style matches between two men in abandoned warehouses. These brutal bouts act as therapy for these men who feel emasculated by modern consumer culture. What does that have to do with adjuncting? Nothing and everything.

The first rule of adjuncting is you don’t talk about adjuncting.

The first rule of adjuncting is you don’t talk about adjuncting.

If you have read my two pieces on the Bulletin for the Study of Religion blog, then you know I have recently come out of the closet as an adjunct. You may not know what an adjunct is. Here is a blurb where I explain the adjunct plight in higher education.

An adjunct is a part-time knowledge worker who teaches 76% of all college courses in the US. We are contract workers (picking up jobs by the semester or year), transient populations (going where the jobs are), we rarely get benefits, are rarely hired in full-time capacity (because this would require we receive benefits), and we often don’t know if we will have work from semester to semester. Many of us have PhDs; some of us, like myself, only have a MA degree. Many of us have written for esteemed journals, published alongside tenured professors, and even written our own books.”

The closest equivalent in the U.K. is perhaps the fixed term temporary lecturer who primarily teaches. This is not to be confused with the more esteemed lecturer position which is more open-ended, fairly stable, and allows for both teaching and research. It seems there is a great deal of confusion regarding nomenclature even within similar systems. In the U.S., students and parents often have no idea how an adjunct (limited term, lowly paid, MA or PhD, instructor with few research opportunities) is different from other faculty… such as full professors (not limited term, well paid, PhD, who usually teaches and does research the rest of the time). Students only see what we do in the classroom… often they assume that those teaching their classes are not part of this underclass, if they even are aware such an underclass exists. Adjuncts don’t usually complain about their situation because they are already living month to month… and they can’t risk getting fired. This allows departments to pay them less and less. The tide is shifting though. Today, adjuncts are fighting for benefits, better wages, and representation in the university. In many small community colleges, adjuncts make up the majority of the faculty and work in less than ideal conditions (no benefits, low wage, no offices or shared offices, and no way to get out). In these cases, the 76% number rings true… where adjuncts teach a majority of the classes. In more prestigious state schools, like where I taught the last two years, about 17% are adjunct (this number is based only on part-time faculty). The count of annual contracted adjuncts is much harder to ascertain. I am sure you can imagine why, no college wants to advertise their use of this contingent labor. Some thinkers warn that the continued corporatization of the American academy is systematically undermining the values of higher education. Even Congress is worried.

So now that you know we exist and that you know that I was one (I taught 52 courses in 10 years at 3 different Georgia universities and colleges) I will explain why you might not have known that I was an adjunct.

Simple…I didn’t want you to know.

Why would I hide my identity as an adjunct? Hello_my_name_is_AdjunctM-773510

1. Fear: Speaking out makes your employers look bad. The first rule of adjuncting is that you don’t talk about adjuncting. The second rule of adjuncting is that you don’t talk about adjuncting! Why? Because if you talk about being underpaid, having no health insurance or benefits, no representation or recourse in administration, your department will be shamed by this disclosure (as they should be) and there will be retribution. I, like other adjuncts, who are disclosing what has happened to them, fear losing our current jobs and we fear that speaking up will make us social and professional pariah. We fear retribution. We also know that by disclosing this information we are burning bridges… I most certainly cannot ask for a letter of recommendation from a department which I have critiqued for unethical employment practices.

2. Shame: Speaking out makes you look bad. I never introduced myself as an adjunct because adjuncting is seen as the dying lands for academic stragglers. It is a job which slowly squeezes out the undesirables from academia. This is a way of culling the herd in the academic world. To say you are an adjunct is to risk being viewed in this negative light. If you are an adjunct, full-time professors want to know why you are an adjunct. They want to know what is wrong with you. If you are a perpetual adjunct, you must be damaged goods. Academia is a lot like high school… who you know, who you sit with, work with, present with… is indicative of your own academic status. Many academics only want to associate with other academics that can raise their scholarly stock. Associating with an adjunct might make your scholarly stock plummet.

So why would I speak out? Why say anything, if it is in my best interest to be silent?

It is no longer in my best interest to be silent. I tried that route and it didn’t work. I have decided to leave adjunct teaching. After all that work, I have finally had it. I had my Towanda moment. I like to call it my Breaking Bad moment… minus the whole becoming a homicidal drug lord part. Once I saw that my department was now hiring annual contracted ‘lecturers’ (PhDs who will teach full-time for up to seven years before a possibility of promotion to senior lecturers), I realized that now that departments could get PhDs to teach classes for pennies on the dollar, they would not need me. Oh they would continue to hire me on a part-time basis semester to semester when these lecturers leave two weeks before the semester starts for a better job. I would still not get benefits. I still wouldn’t be able to even cobble together a living by teaching, tutoring/ etc. at various state schools. I would still need to get a signed letter every single semester from my department so I could check out books from the school library.

adjuncts-e1342612896160

I may be leaving adjunct teaching for a living wage and benefits but I am not leaving academia. I love higher education but I can no longer pretend to be blind to the exploitation in my midst, to the exploitation happening to me. I love to teach, write, and research about religion but the cost of this part-time living is too high. I am personable, resilient, skilled, published, and highly educated… and now fully employed. Most adjuncts are so crippled, emotionally, finically, and physically… that by asking them to fight back you have only given them another job… another job for which they won’t be paid, a job which will likely get them fired and shunned.

I will still speak for adjuncts.

I am breaking the first rule and the second rule of adjuncting.


[1] *editors note: ‘Adjunct’ is a term used in America to denote a college professor who typically has the same and/or greater teaching responsibilities as a tenured professor at a university, but lacks anything even approaching the job security, benefits and stipend of a tenured professor. As Kate has mentioned, 76% of all college courses in the US are taught by adjuncts. Even many PhD’s are adjuncts. As the number of tenured teaching positions in academia continues to shrink, it is likely that most wishing to at least ‘earn a living wage’ will either have to find jobs outside academia altogether, or accept being a contingent laborer who not only teaches but has to compete with the very students they teach for jobs at a local pub for minimum wage – just to make ends meet. You should care about adjuncts for many reasons, but as tenure positions appear more like pipe dreams it’s likely that, if an academic career is your dream, you yourself may be in a similar position one day trying to make ends meet.

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 14 February 2014

wordleWelcome to the seventh RSP Opportunities Digest for 2014. Special materialistic romantic greetings to you all. 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. We are about to appoint a new editor for the digest, so expect some changes in the coming weeks.

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.

Calls for Papers

Religion and Architecture

Panel on the forgotten connections between religion and modernist architecture in the post-WWII world

ISIH-conference in Toronto.

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=211169

Religion in Social Relations

The Hungarian Historical Review

Deadline for  abstracts: 28 Feb 2014

http://www.hunghist.org

Constructing Orthodoxies and Heresies in the Islamic World

2014 MAMEIS Annual Conference

Abstracts Due: Friday, February 14 2014

Saturday April 12, 2014, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois

http://www.mameis.org

Religion in Everyday lives

Centre for Research in Social sciences and Humanities

Interdisciplinary Conference on Religion in Everyday lives

Vienna, Austria, 28-29. 03. 2014.

http://www.socialsciencesandhumanities.com

Special Issue of Fat Studies

“Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society”

Religion and Fat, guest edited by Lynne Gerber,

Susan Hill and LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant.

See attached word document. 

Journal of Religious Studies, History and Society

Journal of Religious Studies, History and Society (Revista Ciências da Religião – Historia e Sociedade)

Journal URL http://editorarevistas.mackenzie.br/index.php/cr

Contact for queries and submissions: suzana.coutinho@mackenzie.br

Oxford X 2014

Astronomy, Indigenous Knowledge, and Interpretation

Abstracts Due March 1, 2014

South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), Cape Town, South Africa

http://www.culturalastronomy.saao.ac.za

Conferences

The Pentecostalisation of Public Spheres

Religion & Society @Leeds Research Day

14 March 2014, Fairbairn House, Main Building Upper Chapel

See attached pdf. 

The Use of Tafsir in Translating the Koran

Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE)

28 February 2014, at the Warburg Institute, London.

http://warburg.sas.ac.uk/events/colloquia-2013-14/use-of-tafsir-in-translating-the-koran/

Food and Ritual: Ancient Practices, Modern Perspectives

 

Corpus Christi College, Oxford, March 19-21st, 2014.

http://www.oxforduniversitystores.co.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?

compid=1&modid=2&deptid=202&catid=68&prodid=232

Jobs

University of Cape Town – Lecturer: Asian Religions

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48414

Antioch University – Instructor, Buddhist Studies Program

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48416

University of Pittsburgh – Visiting Assistant Professor

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48420

University of Edinburgh – Religious Studies, Teaching Fellow

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AIC788/teaching-fellow-in-religious-studies/

Keble College, Oxford – Reformation history and theology

http://bit.ly/1fZC2uW

NSRN Blog

12 February 2014 – New academic blog promotes discussion about secularity, nonreligion and atheism.

http://blog.nsrn.net

Summer School

Mysticism and Esotericism

University of Groningen in collaboration with Erfurt, Aarhus, and Rice University.

“Mysticism and Esotericism in Pluralistic Perspective: Conflicting Claims of Knowledge and the Power of Individualism” (29 June – 5 July 2014).

http://www.rug.nl/education/summer-winter-schools/summer-schools-2014/mysticism-esotericism/

Religious Education

For those of us in Britain the question of Religious Education has become an ever-increasing issue of concern. Just last October Ofsted, the regulatory board for all education at school level, reported that over half the schools in Britain were failing to provide students with adequate RE. In the wake of this calls were made for clearer standardisation of the subject and a “national benchmark”. The deterioration of RE is perhaps not all that surprising after it was excluded from the English Baccalaureate in 2011. But the call for improvement raises with it a number of questions. First and foremost, just what exactly should RE entail? Should RE be teaching about religion or teaching religion? Who, even, should be RE teachers? PGCE (teacher training) courses in RE accept candidates with degrees in Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy or indeed any other topic so long as they can, in the words of one program, show “demonstrable knowledge of the study of religion”. But does a theologian or a philosopher have the same skill sets as an RS scholar? To be sure, they may know the facts of a particular religion but are the facts enough for a satisfactory education? Just what is exactly is it we are teaching students to do in RE classrooms?

In this interview, Jonathan Tuckett speaks with Tim Jensen to try to answer some of these questions and more. Not only has Jensen spoken widely on the topic of RE he has recently headed the EASR working group in Religious Education which has studied the status of RE in Denmark, Sweden and Norway highlighting that the question of RE is of particular concern to any secular state.

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.ukAmazon.ca, or Amazon.com links to support us at no additional cost when you have a purchase to make.

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 14 September 2012 Edition

 

14 September 2012 Issue

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.

In this issue:

  • Book Series
  • Journals
  • Calls for Papers
  • Jobs
  • Documentary
  • Workshop
  • Scholarship
  • Conference

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.

 


BOOK SERIES


The Secular Studies series

GENERAL EDITOR:

Phil Zuckerman, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, PITZER COLLEGE

There are more secular people in the world than ever before. And various forms and manifestations of secularity—atheism, agnosticism, humanism, skepticism, and anti-religious movements—are enjoying increased attention and scrutiny. The scholarly examination of secular identity, secular groups, secular culture(s), and political/constitutional secularisms—and how these all relate to each other, as well as to the broader social world—is thus more timely than ever. Moreover, studying secularism also teaches us about religiosity; as secularism is almost always in reaction to or in dialogue with the religious, by studying those who are secular we can learn much, from a new angle, about the religion they are rejecting.

The Secular Studies series is meant to provide a home for works in the emerging field of secular studies. Rooted in a social science perspective, it will explore and illuminate various aspects of secular life, ranging from how secular people live their lives and how they construct their identities to the activities of secular social movements, from the demographics of secularism to the ways in which secularity intersects with other social processes, identities, patterns, and issues.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

Submissions should take the form of a 4-6 page proposal outlining the intent, scope, and argument of the project, its merits in comparison to existing texts, and the audience it is designed to reach. Please include a detailed annotated Table of Contents, ideally 2-4 sample chapters if available, and a current copy of your curriculum vitae.

PLEASE DIRECT QUERIES AND SUBMISSIONS TO:

Dr. Phil Zuckerman

Professor of Sociology, Pitzer College

1050 North Mills Avenue

Claremont, CA 91711

phil_zuckerman@pitzer.edu

Jennifer Hammer

Senior Editor

New York University Press

838 Broadway, Floor 3

New York, NY 10003-4812

jennifer.hammer@nyu.edu

For more information or details on submission guidelines, please visit: www.nyupress.org


JOURNALS

 

Sociology of religion, http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc

Journal of Hindu Studies, http://jhs.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc


CALLS FOR PAPERS


“Occultism, Magic and the History of Art” (Graduate

Conference, University of Cambridge, 3-4 December 2012)

Date: 2012-09-30

Description: Graduate Conference 2012/13: “Charming Intentions:

Occultism, Magic and the History of Art”,(University of

Cambridge, 3-4 December 2012) This two-day graduate conference

will investigate the intersections between visual culture and

the occult tradition, ranging from the material culture of

primitive …

Contact: dcjz2@cam.ac.uk

URL:

www.hoart.cam.ac.uk/events/graduate-conference-2012-13-charming-intentions-occultism-magic-and-the-history-of-art

Announcement ID: 196882

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196882


“Making Sacrifices”: Visions of Sacrifice in American and

European Cultures

Location: Massachusetts

Date: 2012-10-01

Description: CFP: “Making Sacrifices”: Visions of Sacrifice in

American and European Cultures November 3, 2012; Salzburg

Institute of Gordon College Symposium, Gordon College, Wenham,

MA As Italian premier Mario Monti recently did, politicians are

increasingly calling on citizens to make sacrifices for the

futur …

Contact: salzburg.symposium@gordon.edu

URL: www.gordon.edu/SalzburgInstitute

Announcement ID: 196785

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196785


SST Postgraduate Conference 2012

University of Cambridge, DECEMBER 3 AND 4

How Shall the Next Generation Live? Theology as Responsibility

Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated: “The ultimate question for a responsible person to ask is … how the coming generation is to live.”His concern broached the need to take responsibility for others and part of that responsibility was in leaving a legacy of sound doctrine. Taking Bonhoeffer’s concern as our framework, the second SST Postgraduate Conference invites postgraduates from all traditions and none to discuss how current theology can/should serve future generations.

The conference will take place in the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity, between the hours of 12 – 5 PM on Monday 3 December, and 9 – 6 PM on Tuesday 4 December. Delegates will be welcomed by Professor Judith Lieu (Cambridge), and plenary sessions will be given by Professor Graham Ward, Professor George Newlands, Dr. Susannah Ticciati, Revd Dr. Stephen Plant and Revd Dr. Gregory Seach.

The conference is sponsored by the SST and the Cambridge Faculty of Divinity, and is free of charge. We regret that we cannot provide delegates with accommodation or an evening meal. To register, please send your name, contact information and details of your university/institution to registersstpostgrad2012@ymail.com by 31 OCTOBER.

CALL FOR PAPERS

Paper abstracts are to be 250 WORDS and related to the conference theme. We particularly welcome papers which make reference to doctrine. THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 15TH OCTOBER, AND APPLICATIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO sstpostgrad2012@ymail.com. Applicants will be contacted by the end of the month. Papers will be allotted 20 minutes for delivery with 5-10 minutes for questions.

Possible topics include (but are not restricted to):

  1. How academic theology should serve the next generation

  2. The contribution theology can or should make to society

  3. Theology and its interaction with politics/economics/culture

  4. The role of theology in contemporary ethical discourse

  5. The place of scripture in twenty-first century theology

  6. The function of Christian doctrine in twenty-first century theology

  7. Spiritual practice informing twenty-first century theology

  8. ‘Prayer and righteous action’

  9. Theological reflection and praxis

Some bursaries towards travel expenditure are available, however we warmly encourage postgraduates to apply to their institutions for financial support where this is available. Those wishing to apply for a bursary should indicate this when submitting an abstract, giving details of their expenditure and need. Decisions on bursaries will be made by the end of October.

Please note that this conference is intended for postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Established academics are warmly welcome to participate in the Society’s main annual conference, which will be publicised in December.

Please forward this message to postgraduates in your institution. To download a poster to display on your notice board, visit www.theologysociety.org.uk. If you are a postgraduate, we invite you to visit our ‘SST Postgraduate Conference’ Facebook page for news and accommodation information, and hope to see you in December.

Nicki Wilkes and Ruth Jackson

Conference Organisers


Title: Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality

Description: Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality (JMMS)

is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal. JMMS seeks to be

as inclusive as possible in its area of inquiry. Papers address

the full spectrum of masculinities and sexualities,

particularly those which are seldom heard. Similarly, JMMS

address …

Contact: joseph@gelfer.net

URL: www.jmmsweb.org

Announcement ID: 196563

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196563


Title: Reminder: Call for papers: Medieval and Renaissance

Pilgrimage

Location: Michigan

Date: 2012-09-07

Description: Striding toward Salvation: Medieval and Renaissance

Pilgrimage in Europe and the Mediterranean. During the Middle

Ages and Renaissance, pilgrimage provided an important path to

spiritual salvation; as such, a whole range of individualsfrom

peasants to kings, serfs to sultansundertook these sacred jo

Contact: edkelley@svsu.edu

Announcement ID: 196697

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196697


Title: Last call for submissions for Edited Collection,

Supernatural: Fan Phenomena

Date: 2012-09-15

Description: Last call for abstracts for consideration for the new

Supernatural (Fan Phenomena) title from Intellect Press. This

will be part of the series of Fan Phenomena books, which aim to

explore and decode the fascination we have with what

constitutes an iconic or cultish phenomenon and how a

particular pe …

Contact: lzubernis@wcupa.edu

Announcement ID: 196713

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196713

Title: RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN AFRICA AND ASIA: Discourses and

Realities

Date: 2012-10-30

Description: Following the 55 BANDUNG 55 Seminars of the 55th

Anniversary of 1955 Bandung Asian-African Conference held in

Indonesia in October/November 2010, a series of books under the

label of Bandung Spirit Book Series is in the course of

publication. The coming book is dealing with “RELIGIOUS

DIVERSITY IN A …

Contact: darwis.khudori@univ-lehavre.fr

URL: www.bandungspirit.org

Announcement ID: 196724

   http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196724


2013 International Society for the Sociology of Religion Conference

Turku, Finland: 27-30 June.

RETHINKING COMMUNITY

Religious continuities and mutations in late modernity

SESSIONS ARE NOW POSTED!!

Once the local committee has begun its work, we will post a link here so you can visit the conference website.  That website will contain information about housing, transportation, and other particulars.


Call for Papers

Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives Conference

Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, United Kingdom

 

1-3 August 2013

Congregational music-making has long been a vital and vibrant practice within Christian communities worldwide. Congregational music reflects, informs, and articulates local convictions and concerns as well as global flows of ideas and products. Congregational song can unify communities of faith across geographical and cultural boundaries, while simultaneously serving as a contested practice used to inscribe, challenge, and negotiate identities. Many twenty-first century congregational song repertories are transnational genres that cross boundaries of region, nation, and denomination. The various meanings, uses, and influence of these congregational song repertoires cannot be understood without an exploration of these musics’ local roots and global routes.

This conference seeks to explore the multifaceted interaction between local and global dimensions of Christian congregational music by drawing from perspectives across academic disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, history, music studies, and theology. In particular, the conference welcomes papers addressing or engaging with one or more of the following six themes:

  • The Politics of Congregational Singing

The choices congregations make to include (or exclude) certain kinds of music in their worship often have significant political ramifications. Papers on this topic may consider: what roles does music play in local congregational politics? How do congregations use musical performance, on the one hand, to build and maintain boundaries, or, on the other, to promote reconciliation between members of differing ethnicities, denominations, regions, or religions?

 

  • Popular Music in/as Christian Worship

Christian worship has long incorporated musical styles, sounds, or songs considered ‘popular’ or ‘vernacular.’ To what extent does congregational music-making maintain, conflate, or challenge the boundaries between ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’? How do commercial music industries influence the production, distribution, and reception of congregational music, and, conversely, how do the concerns of congregational singing shape praxis within the realm of commercial music?

 

  • From Mission Hymns to Indigenous Hymnodies

This theme invites critical exploration of how congregational music has shaped—and been shaped by—Christian missionary endeavours of the past, present, and future. How have colonialism and postcolonialism influenced congregational musical ideologies and practices? Who defines an ‘indigenous hymnody,’ and how has this category informed music-making in the postmissionary church? What does the future of music in Christian missions hold?

 

  • Congregational Music in the University Classroom

What preconceived notions of Christian beliefs, Christian music-making, or the Christian community do instructors face in the 21st century? What should the study of congregational music involve in the training of clergy and lay ministers? How do the experiences and perspectives of university students challenge the way congregational music is practiced and taught?

 

  • Towards a More Musical Theology

Though it has been over twenty-five years since Jon Michael Spencer called for the cross-pollination of musicological and theological studies in ‘theomusicology,’ the theological mainstream still rarely pays attention to music. How might acknowledging the diversity of human musical traditions influence theological reflection on ecclesiology, eschatology, or ethics? What might insights from musicology and ethnomusicology bring to bear on contemporary debates within Christian theology?

 

  • A Futurology of Congregational Music

Papers on this subtheme will offer creative, considered reflection on the future of congregational music. What new emerging shapes and forms will—or should—congregational worship music take? Will congregational song traditions become more localized, or will they be further determined by global commercial industries? What must scholars do to provide more nuanced, relevant, or critical perspectives on Christian congregational music?

We are now accepting proposals (maximum 250 words) for individual papers and organised panels of three papers.  A link to the online proposal form can be found on the conference website at  http://www.rcc.ac.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=prospective.content&cmid=182.

Proposals must be received by 14 December 2012.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 28 January 2013, and conference registration will begin on 2 February 2013. Further instructions and information will be made available on the conference website.


Title: TRANSCULTURAL UNDEADNESS: HISTORIES AND INCARNATIONS OF

MULTIETHNIC HAUNTINGS AND HORROR

Location: Pennsylvania

Date: 2012-10-20

Description: MELUS 2013 March 14-17, 2013 Downtown Pittsburgh

Deadline: October 20, 2012 One point of departure for this

session is our conference location, Pittsburgh, the home base

of veteran horror filmmaker George A. Romero. Starting with his

now-classic 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead, Romero has

built  …

Announcement ID: 196770

   http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196770


Call for Papers: Engaging Sociology of Religion

BSA Sociology of Religion conference stream, Annual Conference of the

British Sociological Association

Grand Connaught Rooms, London, 3-5 April 2013

How does sociology of religion engage with topical issues affecting contemporary society?

How can field-specific theories and models help in understanding religion’s role in recent

global and local social movements (the Occupy movement, transitions in the Arab world,

London riots in 2011), the economic crisis and austerity, social mobility, the ‘Big Society’,

cultural pluralisation, climate change, and so on? How have – and how should – sociologists

of religion engage broader public arenas? What could be the specific contribution of

sociology of religion to public discussion? We invite papers that address topical issues such

as the above, but also papers on core issues in the sociology of religion, including – but not

limited to – the following:

* ‘Public’ Sociology of Religion

* Religion, Social Movements and Protest

* Religion and Welfare (including Faith-Based Organisations)

* Religion and inequalities (gender, ethnicity, class)

* Religion and media

* Religion and State in the 21st Century

* Social Theory and Religion

* Secularism and secularisation

Abstract submission to be completed at: www.britsoc.co.uk/events/Conference

Deadline for abstract submission: 5 October 2012.

E-mail: bsaconference@britsoc.org.uk for conference enquiries; t.hjelm@ucl.ac.uk or

j.m.mckenzie@durham.ac.uk for stream enquiries. Please DO NOT send abstracts to these

addresses.


JOBS


University of Kansas – Assistant or Associate Professor of Religious

Studies with a concentration in Judaism

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45212>

Brigham Young University – History Faculty, Open Field/Rank

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45197>

University of Tennessee – Knoxville – Assistant Professor, Early and

medieval Islam (622-1600CE)

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45173>

Cornell University – Thomas and Diann Mann Professorship in Modern

Jewish Studies

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45208>

University of Colorado – Boulder – Jewish History, Assistant

Professor, tenure-track

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45184>


Join the ECF convenor team: Want to have a say in how the BSA Early Career Forum (ECF) is run? Do you have great ideas for events for the ECF and want to get involved? The BSA ECF is looking for a new convener to join the existing team. Your responsibilities will include attendance at BSA council meetings (once a year), organizing the ECF workshops at the annual conference, organizing other ECF workshops and events throughout the  year, maintaining regular contact with ECF members via JISCmail and social media and representing ECF views to the BSA Council and Executive Management Team.  If you are interested in joining the team, please send your CV and a short blurb indicating why you want the position and what skills you would bring to it to lkillick@pacific.edu by Sept 24th 2012.  We look forward to hearing from you!

 


PhD Position in Buddhist Studies

Vacancy number: 12-213

The Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) invites applications for two fulltime PhD positions in the field of Buddhist Studies, specialization open, to begin 1 January 2013, or thereafter.

Review of applications will commence by 15 October 2012 and continue until the position is filled or this call is closed. (http://www.hum.leiden.edu/lias/)

 


DOCUMENTARY


http://www.kidnappedforchrist.com/#!about

Kidnapped for Christ is a feature-length documentary film, which follows the stories of several American teenagers who were sent to an Evangelical Christian reform school located in The Dominican Republic called “Escuela Caribe.” The school is run by Americans and is advertised as a “therapeutic Christian boarding school” whose mission is to “help struggling youth transform into healthy Christian adults.” While many have praised the school for saving the lives of hundreds of troubled teens, in the past several years many former students have begun to speak out against the school, claiming that they suffered both psychological and physical abuse during their time there. The film’s director, Kate Logan, set out to document the experiences of the students at this remote boarding school and was given unprecedented access to film for seven weeks on campus in the summer of 2006. Through candid interviews with distressed students and footage of staff imposing extreme discipline and punishments she was able to reveal the shocking truth of what was actually going on at Escuela Caribe.

The film centers on the story of David, a straight-A student from Colorado who was sent to Escuela Caribe in May of 2006 after coming out to his parents as gay. Like many others, David was taken in the night without warning by a “transport service” and was never told where he was going or when he would be brought back home. David was not the only student whose life was impacted by the school’s severe approach to discipline. The filmmakers followed many other students who also experienced degrading punishments and who struggled to understand what was happening to them. The film also features interviews with former students, including Julia Scheeres, whose 2005 New York Times Best Selling memoir Jesusland tells the story of the disturbing physical and physiological abuse she witnessed and suffered at Escuela Caribe during the 1980s.

The growth of the troubled teen industry, especially therapeutic boarding schools located in the United States and abroad, has given rise to many other allegations of the inhumane treatment of youth and the exploitation of families who are desperately seeking help for their teenagers. The goal of Kidnapped for Christ is to tell the stories of the students who were sent to Escuela Caribe and to give them a voice so that they may make people aware of the broader industry of schools like Escuela Caribe and the potential danger they constitute for our youth. We hope that the film will be entertaining, shocking, thought provoking and will ultimately inspire change in the way these types of schools are run and regulated.


WORKSHOP


Title: Fall 2012 Auschwitz Jewish Center Program for Students

Abroad (AJC PSA)

Description: In its fifth semester, the AJC PSA is a long-weekend

(Thursday PM through Monday AM) program in Krakw for North

American students studying overseas. The program, which

includes a scholarly visit to Owicim/Auschwitz, provides an

academic environment through which participants engage

intensively with …

Contact: DBramson@mjhnyc.org

URL: www.mjhnyc.org/a_affiliates_ajc.html

Announcement ID: 196435

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196435


Scholarships


A full PhD scholarship is being offered at Aarhus University in the new Interacting Minds Centre. Please circulate this call:

http://talent.au.dk/phd/arts/open-calls/phd-call-103/


CONFERENCE


conference on Race/religion as motive for prohibited conduct (Middlesex University, 12 November); the conference flyer is attached.

I have also been asked by Dr Jenny Taylor of Lapido Media to publicise a new book TABLIGHI JAMAAT by Dr Zacharias Pieri of the University of Exeter, which will launch their series of Handy Books for Journalists on Religion in World Affairs; 27 September at Frontline Club: http://www.frontlineclub.com/crm/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=785. The event is free, but booking is essential. The book, which provides the latest research on this group in Britain with exclusive pictures, costs £10 and can now be ordered from info@lapidomedia.com

image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 31 August 2012

31 August 2012 Issueimage of books

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. Quite a short one this week…

In this issue:

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Calls for Papers
  • Jobs
  • Fellowships

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.


BOOKS


Promoting Peace, Inciting Violence: The Role of Religion and Media (Media, Religion and Culture) – Jolyon Mitchell (Sept 2012)

This book explores how media and religion combine to play a role in promoting peace and inciting violence. It analyses a wide range of media – from posters, cartoons and stained glass to websites, radio and film – and draws on diverse examples from around the world, including Iran, Rwanda and South Africa.

  • Part One considers how various media forms can contribute to the creation of violent environments: by memorialising past hurts; by instilling fear of the ‘other’; by encouraging audiences to fight, to die or to kill neighbours for an apparently greater good.
  • Part Two explores how film can bear witness to past acts of violence, how film-makers can reveal the search for truth, justice and reconciliation, and how new media can become sites for non-violent responses to terrorism and government oppression. To what extent can popular media arts contribute to imagining and building peace, transforming weapons into art, swords into ploughshares?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Promoting-Peace-Inciting-Violence-Religion/dp/041555747X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346354391&sr=1-1


JOURNALS


Sociology of Religion – Advance Notice – http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc

Culture and Religion http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcar20/13/3

Buddhist Forum http://www.shin-ibs.edu/academics/_forum/v4.php


CALLS FOR PAPERS


International Congress: Rethinking Europe with(out) religion. Deadline for abstracts 30 September 2012

Full details as PDF can be found here CFP_Rethinking Europe with(out) Religion

Sehr geehrte Interessierte an der Forschungsplattform RaT! Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen!

Die Forschungsplattform „Religion and Transformation in Contemporary European Society“ (RaT) möchte Sie hiermit auf den im Februar 2013 stattfindenden Kongress „Rethinking Europe with(out) Religion“ aufmerksam machen.

Details sowie ein Anmeldeformular finden Sie auf der Kongress-Homepage: www.rethinkingeurope.at

Die Kolleginnen und Kollegen an Universitäten und Bildungseinrichtungen bitte ich, diese Information im Rahmen der Ihnen zur Verfügung stehenden Möglichkeiten weiterzuleiten. Bitte machen Sie Studierende auf diesen Kongress aufmerksam! Für alle Fälle hänge ich den CfP an.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen und allen guten Wünschen für einen erholsamen Sommer!


JOBS


Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45049

Lehigh University – Associate or Full Professor, medieval or modern Judaism, and Director of Berman Center for Jewish Studies http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45050

University at Albany – Assistant Professor – Eastern Mediterranean Religion http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45016

University of Toronto Mississauga – Assistant Professor, South Asian Religious Literatures

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=45035


FELLOWSHIPS


Title: Harry Starr Fellowship in Judaica:  Historical

Consciousness and the Jewish Historical Imagination

Location: Massachusetts

Description: The Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of

History, Harvard University invite applications for the

2013-2014 Harry Starr Fellowship in Judaica, on the theme:

Historical Consciousness and the Jewish Historical Imagination.

This includes, but is not limited to Jewish historiography in

all per …

Contact: :cjs@fas.harvard.edu

URL: www.fas.harvard.edu/~cjs/

Announcement ID: 196546

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196546


Title: Gangolf Schrimpf Visiting Fellowship, Fulda Faculty of

Theology

Date: 2012-09-30

Description: The Gangolf Schrimpf Visiting Fellowship will be

awarded to a junior or senior scholar with a well-defined

research project within the field of medieval studies (e.g.

History, Theology, Philosophy, Literature) who wants to spend

at least one month, and up to three months, at the Institute

Bibliothec …

Contact: goebel@thf-fulda.de

URL:

thf-fulda.de/sites/default/files/artikel/fellowship_englische_version_akt_version_0.pdf

Announcement ID: 196478

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196478


image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 10 August Edition

10 August 2012 Issueimage of books

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.

In this issue:

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Calls for Papers
  • Jobs
  • Funding/Grants

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.


BOOKS

Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions, 1500-1700 – Jimmy Yu

Published by Oxford University Press.

In this illuminating study of a vital but long overlooked aspect of Chinese religious life, Jimmy Yu reveals that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, self-inflicted violence was an essential and sanctioned part of Chinese culture. He examines a wide range of practices, including blood writing, filial body-slicing, chastity mutilations and suicides, ritual exposure, and self-immolation, arguing that each practice was public, scripted, and a signal of certain cultural expectations. Yu shows how individuals engaged in acts of self-inflicted violence to exercise power and to affect society, by articulating moral values, reinstituting order, forging new social relations, and protecting against the threat of moral ambiguity. Self-inflicted violence was intelligible both to the person doing the act and to those who viewed and interpreted it, regardless of the various religions of the period: Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and other religions. Self-inflicted violence as a category reveals scholarly biases that tend to marginalize or exaggerate certain phenomena in Chinese culture. Yu offers a groundbreaking contribution to scholarship on bodily practices in late imperial China, challenging preconceived ideas about analytic categories of religion, culture, and ritual in the study of Chinese religions.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sanctity-Self-Inflicted-Violence-Religions-1500-1700/dp/0199844909


JOURNALS


Cambridge Anthropology, volume 30, issue 1 http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/ca/


CALLS FOR PAPERS


CFP: Islamic Africa

Description: Islamic Africa covers the field of Islam in Africa broadly understood to include the social sciences and humanities. The journal considers submissions that focus on African Muslims in broader global contexts as well as research dealing with Muslim societies on the continent itself as well.

Contact: islamicafrica [at] northwestern.edu

URL: islamicafricajournal.org

H-Net Announcement ID: 196165

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196165


CFP: International Symposium: Islam in Interwar Europe and European Cultural History, Leiden University, 13-14 December 2012

Date: 2012-08-20

Description: We would like hereby to invite papers to the  international symposium: Islam in Interwar Europe and European  Cultural History, which will take place at Leiden University,   13-14 December 2012. For a detailed description please contact Mehdi Sajid: msajid [at] uni-bonn.de

H-Net Announcement ID: 196093

Further information: http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196093


CFP: Aesthetics of Popular Culture

Date: 2012-09-10

Description: We encourage scholars with genuine interest in philosophy of art and popular culture to send a max. 250 word abstract for reviewing no later than September 10, 2012 (extended deadline). All schools of philosophy and aesthetic theory (pragmatism, hermeneutics, semiotics, phenomenology …

Contact: popularculture [at] vsvu.sk

URL: www.vsvu.sk/popularculture

H-Net  Announcement ID: 196103

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196103


CFP: Special Sessions, Gender in the Medieval Islamicate World (7th -15th centuries) and Slavery and Slave Systems in the Medieval Islamicate World (7th – 15th centuries)

International Congress on Medieval Studies, 9-12 May 2013 (W

Location: Michigan

Date: 2012-09-15

Description: The purpose of these sessions is to bring together scholars and research focused on gender, slavery and slave systems in Islamicate world between the 7th and 15th centuries. Papers are encouraged from all disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives and regions; including India, Asia, Africa …

Contact: len12 [at] case.edu

H-Net Announcement ID: 196111

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196111


Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion

16th November 2012, Enterprise Centre, University of Derby

Within an era of a growing reliance on digital technologies to instantly and effectively express our values, allegiances, and multi-faceted identities, the interest in digital research methodologies among Sociologists of Religion comes as no surprise (e.g. Bunt 2009; Cantoni and Zyga 2007; Contractor 2012 and Ostrowski 2006; Taylor 2003). However the methodological challenges associated with such research have been given significantly less attention. What are the epistemological underpinnings and rationale for the use ‘digital’ methodologies? What ethical dilemmas do sociologists face, including while protecting participants’ interests in digital contexts that are often perceived as anonymised and therefore ‘safe’? Implementing such ‘digital’ research also leads to practical challenges such as mismatched expectations of IT skills, limited access to specialized tools, project management and remote management of research processes.

Hosted by the Centre for Society, Religion, and Belief at the University of Derby and funded by Digital Social Research, this conference will bring together scholars to critically evaluate the uses, impacts, challenges and future of Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion. We envisage that the conference will lead to an edited textbook and are currently in discussion with key publishers. For the purpose of the conference and textbook, digital research is broadly defined as research that either works within digital contexts or which uses either online or offline digital tools. Abstracts for papers that focus on one, or more, of the following themes are invited:

  1. Epistemological Positioning

  2. Ethical Dilemmas

  3. Implementation & Practical Challenges

  4. Wider impacts beyond Academia

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, as well as the title of the paper, name of the presenter, institutional affiliation, and contact details to Dr Sariya Contractor (s.contractor@derby.ac.uk<mailto:s.contractor@derby.ac.uk>) and Dr. Suha Shakkour (s.shakkour@derby.ac.uk<mailto:s.shakkour@derby.ac.uk>) by 5pm on Tuesday 28th August, 2012. We welcome submissions for Doctoral Candidates and Early Career Researchers. Shortlisted participants will be notified by 11th September 2012 and will be expected to submit summary papers (1000 words) by 1st November 2012 for circulation prior to the conference. A registration fee of £30 will apply for all speakers and delegates. A few travel bursaries are available for post-graduate students. Further details about the registration process will be circulated by mid-August.2012.

Dr Sariya Contractor

Project Researcher

Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality Project

Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences

University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB

E-mail: S.Contractor@derby.ac.uk


The Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions: Peacebuilding, Conflict and Non-Violence in Indian Religious Traditions

The Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions will be held between 5th and 7th April, 2013, in Merton College, Oxford University, in conjunction with Religions for Peace and the Centre for Religions for Reconciliation and Peace, University of Winchester.  Abstracts are invited from academics from any relevant discipline, from peace builders and from those who have worked in conflict zones.  The conference will include papers, workshops and presentations. We welcome papers from any discipline dealing with any aspect of the topic. Selected papers will be published in a dedicated issue of Religions of South Asia (RoSA), and then edited as a collected volume.

In the post-9/11 world, religions and religious actors are more commonly associated with extremism and conflict than peace and harmony.  Much research has focused on the role religion plays in extremist violence, war and rioting.  Less attention has been paid to the role of religion in bringing an end to violence and in promoting reconciliation.  Religious ideologies and religious leaders can play an important role in resolving violent conflicts.  Research into peace building efforts would seem to suggest that Christian organisations have taken the initiative in practical projects.  This may reflect the limited coverage of the research but it does provide encouragement for a Conference exploring the role of South Asian and Indian religious traditions in peace building efforts.  The 2013 Spalding Symposium will address the different ways the contribution of religion to peacebuilding can be conceived, and explore the potential of Indian religious traditions as resources for values that promote peace. It will explore the role of religion in mobilising violence and promoting peace.

Religion, conflict and non-violence

The Symposium organisers understand the notion of conflict in its broadest sense, and as concerned with the underlying structural causes of conflict, such as social and economic injustices, religious and political repression, poverty and the suffering caused by a lack of basic rights and resources for dignified living. ‘Peace building’ we understand as encompassing a wide range of interventions designed to either prevent or transform conflict. Peace building therefore focuses on broader structural interventions such as state building, the strengthening of civil society, education, development work tackling poverty and social and economic injustices, as well as the processes of reconciliation vital to rebuilding resilient societies after a period of conflict.

We are interested in papers and workshops that:

·         promote understanding of the relationship between religion/culture and conflict, and between religious teachings and the promotion of empowerment and human rights;

·         examine the processes by which religious traditions can bring social, moral, and spiritual resources to the peace building process;

·         explore, emphasise and analyse resources in Indian religious and cultural traditions which promote values compatible with a global culture of peace and justice;

·         explore the ambivalence of tradition and show how interpretations of texts and traditions may be used to promote conflict at the level of the international community, the nation or locality;

·         analyse the concept of non-violence (ahimsa)  in the Jain, Hindu and Buddhist traditions, practices such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness  and religious values supporting rituals, healing, and reintegration processes;

·         explore different interpretations of texts like the Bhagavad-gita which appear to give divine sanction to war;

·         explore the role of colonialism in exacerbating or even creating communal tensions or divisions in India, or the more recent rise of Hindu nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism;

·         analyse the importance of Guru Gobind Singh’s founding of the Khalsa and the Sikh principle of miri/piri;

·         explore reformist attempts by reformers such as Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar to ameliorate the divisive issues of caste, class, sexuality, ageism, poverty, racism, and injustice;

·          analyse practical projects and initiatives which have a positive impact on communities and individuals affected by conflict;

·         use religious resources to promote policies and decisions in the political sphere that further peace, or which lessen violence and encourage dialogue in troubled areas of the world;

·         analyse the visions of religious leaders which inspire movements towards peace or which stir up religious nationalism and communalism;

·         report on projects which encourage intra- and inter-religious dialogue and praxis;

·         explore critically the theoretical perspectives of professional academics which examine inequality and injustice (e.g. post-colonial, Marxist, feminist, subaltern);

·         report on projects which bring together academics, peace practitioners and religious groups to explore topics related to reconciliation and religious peace building.

Please send abstracts to Anna King anna.king@winchester.ac.uk<

mailto:anna.king@winchester.ac.uk>

By 30th October 2012


JOBS


Research Fellow – University of Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen -School of Divinity, History & Philosophy

(DHP003R)

College / University Administration: College of Arts & Social Sciences

Position Type: Full-time

University Grade Structure: Grade 6

Salary From: £30,122  Salary To: £35,938

Further information: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEX580/research-fellow/


Title: EHRI Fellowships in Holocaust Studies 2013

Date: 2012-09-30

Description: EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure)

invites applications for its fellowship programme for 2013. The

EHRI fellowships are intended to support and stimulate

Holocaust research by facilitating international access to key

archives and collections related to the Holocaust. The

fellowships i …

Contact: bennett@ifz-muenchen.de

URL: www.ehri-project.eu/fellowships

Announcement ID: 196045

 http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=196045


University of Richmond – Assistant Professor Anthropology

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44902>


University of Washington – Seattle – History of the Islamic World

before 1900 and Modern Middle Eastern History

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44911>


FUNDING/GRANTS


British Academy

The British Academy has just announced info about its key calls for the 2012-13 academic year.

British Academy – 2012-13 deadlines

The British Academy also lists these deadlines on its website.


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Religious Studies Opportunities Digest (1 June 2012) – Calls for Papers, Jobs, Conferences and more…

1 June 2012 Issue

image of booksWe 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.

In this issue:

  • Advanced Notice – Journals
  • Conference Announcements
  • Jobs
  • Calls for Papers
  • New Course

ADVANCED NOTICE – JOURNALS


Contemporary Buddhism, vol 13, Issue 1, 2012 http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcbh20/13/1


Sociology of Religion, May 2012 http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc


Theology and Science,vol 10, Issue 2, 2012 http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rtas20/10/2


The second volume of the annual journal Religion and Society: Advances in Research is now available. The contents are listed below. For information on the journal and how to subscribe go to http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/air-rs/

Volume 2

Contents

Introduction

Simon Coleman and Ramon Sarró: Dialogues and Trajectories

I. PORTRAIT – José Casanova

De-Privatization, the Public Sphere and Popular Religion

Hubert Knoblauch

Public and Private in the Study of Religion: Innovative Approaches

Grace Davie

Casanova, Asad and the Public Debate on Religion in Modern Societies

Kim Knibbe

Toward a Post-Weberian Sociology of Global Religions

Manuel A. Vásquez

From Modernization, to Secularization, to Globalization: An Autobiographical Self-Reflection

José Casanova

II. ARTICLES

Encountering the Supernatural: A Phenomenological Account of Mind

Julia Cassaniti and Tanya Luhrmann

The Case for Religious Transmission: Time and Transmission in the Anthropology of Christianity

Vlad Naumescu

On and Off the Margin: The Anthropology of Contemporary Jewry

Andrew Buckser

Inter-Publics’: Hindu Mobilization Beyond the Bourgeoisie Public Sphere

Ursula Rao

Pentecostalism and ‘National Culture’: A Dialogue Between Brazilian Social Sciences and the Anthropology of Christianity

Cecilia Mariz and Roberta Campos

III. DEBATE SECTION: RELIGION AND VIOLENCE

Religious Violence as Folklore

William T. Cavanaugh

Reflections on ‘Religious Violence’: Reconsidering Durkheim

Wendy James

Religion and Civil War in Africa: Durkheim and Douglas Revisited

Paul Richards

IV. AN AUTHOR MEETS HER CRITICS

Around Ruth Marshall’s Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria

Comments

John Peel, Daniel Smith, Joel Robbins, Jean-François Bayart

Response to Comments

Ruth Marshall

V. TEACHING ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION

The Anthropology of Religious Controversy: A Masters Level Course

Peter Collins and Yulia Egorova

VI. NEWS

VII. BOOKS AND FILMS REVIEWS


CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENTS


Epigraphical Evidence for the Formation and Rise of Early Śaivism: The Religious Landscape at the Time of the Composition and Spread of the Skandapurāṇa

June 4-5 2012, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Towards the end of the Gupta-Vākāṭaka period, religious sectarian movements started to feature prominently in the political landscape of early medieval India (ca. 400 – 900 CE). One of the most dominant religious traditions in this period is Śaivism, revolving around the worship of the god Śiva. Its propagators developed strong ties to royal houses and grew to be successful in establishing a range of religious institutions under its authority throughout the Indianized world, as recently laid out in Sanderson’s seminal work ‘The Śaiva Age’ (2009). The theology, mythology and ritual codes of the various branches of Śaivism are recorded in an array of textual material but the most important sources for assessing their historical reality on the ground are contained in the epigraphical corpus. These traces of institutional activities often long predate our extant textual evidence.

The contributors of the symposium will present religious epigraphical data on early forms of Śaivism and its competitors pertaining to its formative period in India, Nepal, Cambodia and Campā. These data will be contextualized and correlated with the political history and findings from the study of the religious textual corpus. Insights generated in this symposium aim to contribute towards a more differentiated understanding of the historical and social reality of these religious traditions themselves, as well as of the religious milieu and socio-political dynamics which facilitated the creation and dissemination of a large body of religious scriptures. One important example of such a scripture is the oldest extant version of the Skandapurāṇa, which is our earliest evidence of a systematization of Śiva mythology and contains the earliest extant origination myths of the Śaiva Pāśupata tradition, the precursor of the various forms of Tantric Śaivism. By linking epigraphical material with such textual evidence and vice versa, we hope to shed more light on the religious developments in this transitional period from the classical to the medieval.

For the programme, please see http://www.rug.nl/ggw/onderzoek/onderzoeksinstituten/indian/ProgrammeSymposium.pdf (PDF).

Symposium Organization: Nina Mirnig (n.mirnig@rug.nl) and Natasja Bosma (n.bosma@rug.nl)


BSA Teaching Group

Inaugural Conference

28th – 30th September 2012

Menzies Strathallan Hotel, Birmingham

Speakers:

  • Professor John Holmwood (University of Nottingham), Former Chair of the Council of UK Heads & Professors of Sociology, Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences & the incoming President of the British Sociological Association
  • Professor Corrine Squire (University of East London), Humanities & Social Sciences, Author of ‘Women & AIDS: Physiological Perspectives’
  • Dr Paul Bagguley (University of Leeds), Researcher in the Sociology of Protest, Author of ‘Riotous Citizens: ethnic conflict in multicultural Britain’

Exam Training Sessions – delegates will be able to attend exam training sessions run by chief examiners from the major exam boards, select from workshop sessions to match specific career development targets and see recent subject specific resources.

Workshops will include sharing Ofsted experiences, Differentiation, Gifted & Talented and ICT in the Classroom.

               Postgraduate Micro-lectures covering areas such as: culture & identity creation; differentiation; inequality & stratisfication; demography; welfare & government policy in most fields of life; family & households; the role of women; minority groups; aging; youth culture; all aspects of education especially potential changes & their effects on different groups within sociology; health & welfare; wealth & poverty & welfare provision; politics & power; globalisation in all its many aspects; religion; crime & deviance; methodology; theory & the role of research.

Conference Registration Cost:

Full Conference (including accommodation & food):

BSA Members £260; BSA Teaching Group Members: £285; Non-members: £350

Saturday Day Delegate (excludes Conference dinner & accommodation)

BSA Members £70; BSA Teaching Group Members: £90; Non-members: £120

Thanks to the generous support from The Higher Education Academy, the BSA Teaching Group committee is able to offer 10 FREE places, to include Conference fees, meals, accommodation and dinner for the successful candidates.    To qualify you must be: a postgraduate student and not have access to institutional or other alternative funding; a PGCE Student and those who have qualified in the last year.

Early bird discount ends 17th August 2012, any bookings received after this date will incur an additional £50 charge.

For further information on how to join the BSA, the Teaching Group and funded places, please go to www.britsoc.co.uk

Please direct any enquiries to: bsatg@britsoc.org.uk Tel: (0191) 383 0839.


JOBS


Postdoctoral and research assistant possibilities in Buddhist / S. Asian Studies

Expressions of interest (not applications) are sought for possible appointments on a year-long cross-disciplinary project starting in October 2012 (contingent on grant decisions). The period of study is the late 19th – early 20th century.

The postdoctoral researcher will ideally have both Hindi-Urdu and Sinhala sufficient for archival research, training or experience in archival work and a background in religious studies or history, but candidates with cognate profiles may be considered. The appointment will be based in Ireland but involve 3 months work in S. Asia.

The research assistant will ideally hold an MA or be pursuing a PhD in social movements or a related field of history, but candidates with cognate profiles may be considered. The appointment will be based in Ireland but involve 2 months work in N. America.

Posts will be formally advertised in due course (subject to funding decisions to be announced in early August) but with a tight deadline. For further information and to be kept informed of advertisements please contact Dr Laurence Cox at laurence.cox@nuim.ie .

Please note that this is not a job advertisement and these positions may not be appointed if funding is not secured: this call for expressions of interest is made because of the tight timeframe if grant applications are successful.


Accepting Applications for the Initial Two Integral Chairs

The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (Amman, Jordan – website) invites applications for the following two endowed Chairs:

  1. The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work
  2. The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi’s Work

Below you’ll find out more about this monumental project, requirements for application, and links to further information.

The Major Challenge

The sciences of traditional Islamic knowledge are very poorly understood in the Islamic World, and taught only in selective, abbreviated versions. Ignorance has spread in the mosques while secular academic methodologies rule the institutes of learning in the Islamic World. Even in the West, though Muslims have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to create professorial chairs and academic centres in leading western universities, these chairs and centres are invariably run or occupied by non-Muslims (or secular Muslims), and so the centres and chairs – funded by Muslims! – wind up being hostile, or at least unhelpful, to traditional Islam. This situation is leading to intellectual and spiritual impoverishment in the Islamic World, a rise in fundamentalism, and ironically, at the same time, a rise in secularism.

Purpose and Goal

The purpose of this initiative is to restore knowledge and teaching of traditional Islamic orthodox high culture and scholarship in philosophy, theology, mysticism, jurisprudence, Qur’anic exegesis, sociology, history and Arabic language and grammar in the Islamic World in combination with traditional Islamic teaching and preaching methods.

The goal of this initiative is to set up around 50 Integral Chairs in the Islamic World each as a waqf (religious endowment) in mosques and universities combined, occupied by practicing Muslim scholars, and dedicated to the intellectual and spiritual legacy of the greatest Muslim scholars and sages. Thereafter, an international institute to connect and support their activities will be established.

Brochure: Learn more by downloading the brochure about this initiative.

The First Two Chairs

The first two Chairs have been created with complete funding and a waqf established for each. We are now accepting applications for both.

Imam Al-Ghazali Chair

Named After: Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad Al-Ghazali (450–505 AH / 1058–1111 CE)

Primary Book: Ihya Ulum ad-Din

Chair based in: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and Al-Quds University.

Waqf Status: Waqf and complete funding established on 30 January 2012; professor to be appointed.

Summary: The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work was established in Jerusalem at the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s three holiest sites, and Al-Quds University. The Chair enjoys full independent administration and is the sole party in charge of selecting students, offering scholarships and awarding the King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Prize for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Scholarly Legacy.

Brochure: Learn more by downloading the brochure.

Imam Al-Razi Chair

Named After: Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi (543–606 AH / 1149–1209 CE)

Primary Book: Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir

Chair based in: King Hussein bin Talal State Mosque, Amman, Jordan, and Jordan University and the World Islamic Sciences and Education (W.I.S.E.) University, Amman, Jordan.

Waqf Status: Waqf and complete funding established on 30 January 2012; professor to be appointed.

Summary: The King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi’s Work was established at the King Hussein bin Talal Mosque, the University of Jordan and W.I.S.E. University. The Chair enjoys full independent administration and is the sole party in charge of selecting students, offering scholarships and awarding the King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Prize for the Study of Imam Al-Razi’s Scholarly Legacy.

Brochure: Learn more by downloading the brochure.

Requirements

The professor for each chair has to meet the following conditions:

  • That he be Muslim of the Ahl al-Sunnah (Ash’arite, Maturidi) and committed to following one of the four Madhabs (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali).
  • That he observe prayers and be of fair and reputable character.
  • That he be a hafiz of the Holy Qur’an.
  • That he be specialized and highly qualified in Islamic Sciences with in-depth knowledge of the great scholar that his particular chair focuses on, his work and scholarly legacy.
  • That he be fluent in both Arabic and English; reading, writing, and speaking.
  • That he be a PhD holder and a professor or associate professor at an accredited university or universities.
  • Priority of appointment will be for a local scholar, then those hailing from Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
  • If applicants for the Integral Chairs are found to be of equal qualifications, priority will be given to those who are members of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.
  • The Board may reduce the condition of the professor being a hafiz of the Holy Qur’an to being a hafiz of six parts (ajza’) of the Qur’an.
  • The Board must recommend to the Board of Trustees to dismiss the professor if he breaches a critical condition of the professorship.

Rights and Privileges of the Professor

  • A monthly stipend of 5,000 Jordanian Dinars (approximately $7,000 US).
  • Suitable accommodation and health insurance for the professor and his/her family.
  • Administrative support and secretarial work.
  • If the professor is not a citizen of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, he will be granted diplomatic status.

Applications should be submitted along with a resume, a recent photograph and a copy of the applicant’s passport. Applicants should also include photocopies of cover pages of any published works, including research papers. The names of three references should also be included and sent to the following address no later than 6th June, 2012:

The World Islamic Sciences and Education University

Amman, Jordan.

Learn more about the Chairs and download application forms by visiting the following pages on W.I.S.E. University’s website:

 


University of Bristol, UK – Teaching Fellow in East Asian Religions

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44609>


University of Oxford – Departmental Lecturer in Early Islamic History

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44597>


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Visiting

Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern History

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44630>


CALLS FOR PAPERS


CALL FOR PAPERS: WORKSHOP

Catachreses? ‘Gender’, ‘Religion’, and ‘Postcoloniality’

December 17–19 2012

Hosted by the Centre for Gender and Religions Research School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London

on behalf of the ‘Innovations in the Study of Religion and Gender Project’ funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research

The intimate bonds between colonial scholarship, European colonialism, and the discursive production and employment of ‘religion’ have by now been well charted as have the alternately fruitful and vexed exchanges between feminist, gender-critical, and postcolonial bodies of theory. It is curious, therefore, that there has been so sparse an engagement in the field of Religion and Gender (R&G) concerning the potential intersections between its eponymous objects of study and the constellation of concepts marked as and by ‘postcoloniality’. Even a cursory review of literature in the field in the last decade reveals a startling absence of sustained reflection by R&G scholars on the implications that postcolonial theory might have for their theorizations of gendered practices, identifications, and discourses within religious traditions, or of the ways in which the field itself might require reformulation and revision in light of the compelling epistemological and ontological challenges posed to metropolitan academia by a variety of postcolonialisms. Also worthy of note is the parallel lack of direct attention in postcolonial literature to the assertion of, or resistance to the imposition of ‘religious’ identities in response to colonial valuations of culture, communal identity, and social formations. Under the rubric of ‘postsecularism’, considerations of the overlooked relationship between gender and religion are only now beginning to garner attention, as postcolonial scholars have started to attend more forcefully to the ways that religious affiliation provides rich contexts within which women are able articulate political imaginaries that are consciously resistant to secular-liberalist and feminist frameworks of organising. There is as yet, however, little analysis of the possible formulations of masculinity that are enabled, prevented, or dissimulated via the conjunction of ‘religion’ and ‘postcoloniality’. Furthermore, little attention has been paid to the imperative question as to how ‘postcoloniality’ challenges, criticizes and moves forward discussions initiated by queer theory in relation to religion.

This workshop offers a timely, perhaps overdue, opportunity to (re)visit the question of the necessary triangulation of ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’ or, put differently, to pose the question of the necessity of thinking these categories together. What imperatives demand their assemblage, what constraints might require their dispersal? To what extent might the field of Religion and Gender need to undergo a process of ‘coming to terms’ such that the theoretical categories that underpin its intellectual itineraries are subjected to renewed critical reflection and reform? With these questions in mind, the workshop proposes a preliminary framework of the ‘catachresis’, defined by Gayatri Spivak as the act of ‘reversing, displacing, and seizing the apparatus of value-coding’ , a definition that extends with political intent the Derridean formulation of catachresis as indicating the original and indeed originary incompleteness that is inherent in all systems of meaning. As Derrida has put it, catachresis ‘concerns first the violent and forced, abusive inscription of a sign, the imposition of a sign upon a meaning which did not yet have its own proper sign in language. So much so that there is no substitution here, no transport of proper signs, but rather the irruptive extension of a sign proper to an idea, a meaning, deprived of their signifier. A “secondary” original”’ (This ‘secondary origin’ produces ‘a new kind of proper sense, by means of a catachresis whose intermediary status tends to escape the opposition of the primitive [sense] and the figurative [sense], standing between them as a “middle”’.  Catachresis, as the ‘middle’, is here also a ‘between’, an interval that is neither purely semantic nor purely syntactic; a spacing in other words. As such, the conceptual richness of catachresis as a thematic focus for the triadic formulation of ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’ may enable some ground clearing, a space for reflection on the variety of naming and conceptualizing mechanisms, the forging of connections, the imposition of systems of intellectual prescription that have been wielded, challenged and refused with the field of Religion and Gender. It is the catachrestic nature of these three concepts that we seek to probe and push here such that the relationship between categorization and value coding can be disclosed, undone, displaced, and rethought. What do the terms ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’ disclose about their own and their respective incompleteness? What might the assumption of their intersection or dialogic necessity imply about their inscription in a particular type and time of ‘worlding’? Is the neglect of their intersection by R&G scholars a sign of their incompatibility or possible emptiness as intellectual constructs—indeed, as lived realities—or of a troubling lacuna in the field? What impropriety is promised by the conjunction of these three concepts and which boundaries might their coalition begin to transgress?

We invite papers on any and all of these preliminary questions. We particularly welcome papers that combine theoretical reflection with empirical analysis in exploring and examining the intersections of ‘religion’, ‘gender’ and ‘postcoloniality’. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted by email to CGRR@soas.ac.uk.

Deadline: 29th June 2012

The primary purpose of the workshop will be to identify strategic areas for future research in the area, contributing to the development and enrichment of the interdisciplinary study of religion and gender from the perspective of postcolonial theory and to create a network for future research collaboration and exchange. Selected papers from the workshop will be published in the international journal Religion and Gender.

Contacts: Dr Sîan Hawthorne (sh79@soas.ac.uk) and Dr Adriaan van Klinken (a.van.klinken@soas.ac.uk)

Centre for Gender and Religions Research, Department of the Study of Religions, School of Oriental & African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Centre email: CGRR@soas.ac.uk

http://cgrr.wordpress.com


Rethinking Religion in India IV

Call for papers

The deadline for submission of abstracts and proposals is 15 August 2012.


*The Impact of Religion:

Challenges for Society, Law and Democracy*

An interdisciplinary conference at Uppsala University

Uppsala, Sweden, 20-22 May 2013

Submissions are invited on the following themes, which – broadly speaking – mirror the Impact programme. Further sub-themes will be developed as the submitted papers arrive; these will be displayed on the conference website. Papers on comparative research are particularly welcome.  Theoretical, methodological and substantive issues will be given equal weight.

A variety of formats are envisaged:  plenary sessions, paper sessions, roundtables, academic exchanges and policy debates. Please indicate your preference when you submit your abstract. Pre-organised sessions are welcome.

•                    Religious and social change – including the role of the media in these shifts

•                    Integration, democracy and political culture

•                    Families, law and society

•                    Well-being and health

•                    Welfare models – their organization and values

•                    Science and religion

Deadline for the submission of abstracts (max 200 words): *30th November 2012*

The conference is hosted by *The Impact of Religion programme* and *Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre* at Uppsala University.

Up to date information on the programme, registration, abstract format, venue etc. will be made available at: http://www.impactofreligion.uu.se, where you also find more details about the Impact of Religion programme itself.


Spirituality and spiritual movements in Hungary and Eastern Central Europe 11th Szeged Conference on Ethnology of Religion Szeged, 10-12 October 2012

Spirituality and spiritual movements in Hungary

and Eastern Central Europe

11th Szeged Conference on Ethnology of Religion

Szeged, 10-12 October 2012

Venue: University of Szeged, Conference Room of the Arts Faculty, 6722 Szeged, Egyetem u. 2. fszt.

In November 2012 Pope Benedict XVI is launching the “Year of Faith”. This is an occasion for us to examine the forms taken by manifestations of faith, historically and in our time, in religious life and the whole of religious culture.

Faith is manifested differently in different historical periods, among different social strata, in different age groups, occupational groups and by place of residence, among men and women, children and adults, and linguistic/ethnic features can also be discovered (or are thought to exist). And naturally, it is manifested differently in all those contexts within the various Christian and non-Christian denominations.

We welcome for the conference concrete empirical case studies that deal with manifestations of spirituality in word, action/rhythm, in art (representational arts, poetry, music, architecture, applied arts: metalwork, embroidery, etc.), in pedagogy (e.g. religious instruction); that take a social approach to both lay or clerical communities (characteristics of the spirituality of orders, monastic schools, third orders, charismatics, Focolare and other spirituality), especially to the 19th-20th century movements (Legion of Mary, Schönstatt, etc.), or spiritual movements associated with beatification and canonisation procedures in the 20th-21st centuries (Saint Margaret of Hungary, István Kaszap, Mária Bogner, etc.); and which examine the presentation of these spiritualities/cults in the press, their small printed materials, periodicals, manuscript legacy, aim; which analyse the growing ecumenical movements of the turn of the 20th-21st century, as well as the virtual communities.

We also welcome papers on the life and spirituality of religious but not church-type associations, such as charitable associations, denominational reading circles, youth movements and circles, etc.

On behalf of our department and the Sándor Bálint Institute for Research on Religion we respectfully invite applications for participation in the conference from Hungarian ethnologists, folklorists and anthropologists, as well as art historians, literary historians, photography historians, cultural historians, theologians, church historians, liturgical historians, music historians, dance researchers, educators, sociologists, philosophers, psychologists and representatives of other disciplines.

The conference will have a Hungarian and an international section, the languages of the conference will be Hungarian, English and German.

Papers can be on any theme within the range of themes listed. Our circular is intended as a general guide rather than setting strict frames covering all aspects.

Papers should be 20 minutes (approx. 13,000 characters) in length including any illustrations, and will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Deadline for applications: 15 June 2012

The organisers reserve the right to accept or reject papers. Depending on the interest shown, the conference is planned to last two or three days. Students may also apply to participate without presenting a paper. Applications should be submitted on the attached form with an abstract of the proposed paper.

Costs

Participants are to cover their own costs. The participation fee of 5,000 HUF covers participation in the work of the conference sections, attendance at auxiliary events and refreshments during the breaks.

Accommodation can be provided at a very favourable rate (approx. 3,800 HUF/night) in university guest rooms and 2-3-bed hostel rooms (most of these have shared bathroom in the corridor) if reserved in advance through the Department of Ethnology. The cost of accommodation is to be paid by participants at the place of accommodation. To make a reservation in a hotel, pension or guest house in Szeged, visit

http://www.iranymagyarorszag.hu/keres/szeged/szallasok-p1/ , where accommodation to suit your requirements can be found if you make your reservation in time (!).

Participants make their own arrangements for meals in restaurants and university canteens in the vicinity of the conference venue.

Books for sale

During the conference we are planning to offer books for sale. If you have a publication that fits into the theme of the conference or more broadly the field of ethnology of religion, we will be happy to handle sales on the basis of prior agreement.

Please send your application by the deadline to barna@hung.u-szeged.hu.


NEW COURSE


MA in Dialogue Studies

School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE), Keele University, UK

The MA in Dialogue Studies is designed for graduates who wish to examine and understand theories of dialogue and their applications in peace-building and in developing intercultural understanding and social cohesion. While definitions of “dialogue” will be explored in the course of the year, it might be loosely defined here as “a range of activities, including but not confined to discussion, through which people of different social, cultural and religious groups deliberately come together for meaningful and constructive interaction.” The MA course explores the theory and practice of dialogue through a unique combination of taught subjects, research, skills-based training and a London-based internship.

The course fills a gap in postgraduate education provision by not only exploring the use of dialogue in conflict and post-conflict situations but also examining its use in combating discrimination, ghettoisation and extremism in countries such as the UK. The main core module accordingly both introduces dialogue for peace-building and explores the UK context for dialogue, drawing on the fields of sociology and history as well as politics.

The degree has a practical outlook and will equip students with knowledge, understanding and skills to effectively engage in and lead dialogue to advance intercultural interaction and understanding and social cohesion. It includes a work placement during which students will gain professional experience with the Dialogue Society. Practical elements will be supported by rigorous, reflective examination of the approaches of governmental and nongovernmental agencies to dialogue, social cohesion and reconciliation. The course’s broad scope and interdisciplinary nature will encourage students to bring broad perspectives to bear on any specific local issues with which they engage professionally.

Students will be able to pursue their particular interests within the degree’s broad remit through a wide choice of elective taught modules and through their dissertation. It will accordingly be possible for each student to choose whether to devote more attention to domestic or to international contexts for dialogue and whether to focus on its applications in peacebuilding or in the promotion of social cohesion.

The course consists of:

•Core module 1: Approaches in Dialogue

•Core module 2: Power, Knowledge and the World

•2 elective taught modules

•A work placement at the Dialogue Society, with practical experience, further training, meetings at relevant government departments and NGOs, and trips exploring multicultural London

•A 15,000 word dissertation

Who is it for?

•Students wishing to explore the theory and practice of intercultural dialogue in the UK context, and in conflict situations abroad

•Professionals and aspiring academics interested in core social issues such as intercultural dialogue, community relations and citizenship

•Activists and dialogue practitioners looking to develop their understanding of relevant social theory while enhancing essential dialogue skills

The MA offers:

•A cutting-edge combination of taught academic subjects, research, skills-based training and internship

•A postgraduate course designed and delivered in partnership by Keele University’s internationally renowned School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, and the Dialogue Society, a dynamic London-based dialogue charity

•A broad range of elective modules allowing students to pursue their own particular academic interests

•A head start in professional experience through an internship at the Dialogue Society in the heart of multicultural London

•Cultivation of an unusually wide range of valuable transferable skills, comprising academic, professional and personal skills

•Bursaries available to overseas students through the Dialogue Society in addition to those bursaries offered by SPIRE to selected postgraduates

•Quality research training and support

Aims of the Course

The course aims to provide students with the conceptual and analytical skills and the factual knowledge to develop a critical understanding of theoretical and practical approaches to dialogue, peace-building and community cohesion. This understanding will be supported by understanding of key contexts for dialogue, in the UK and in selected conflict situations. The course also aims to equip students with practical skills to engage in and lead intercultural dialogue, chiefly through the professional experience and training provided through the Dialogue Society placement. Further, the course will prepare students for research and support them in producing a dissertation on their chosen topic.

Career Destination Information

The Dialogue Studies Masters is aimed at people who wish to pursue careers in a whole range of sectors. It is relevant to those wishing to gain employment in the civil or government service at the sub-national, national or global level, or to those looking to work with sub-national, national or international NGOs. The course will also be a good preparation for further postgraduate study and is ideally suited to those interested in pursuing study of the theory and practice of dialogue at PhD level and beyond.

In addition, students will graduate with a range of transferable skills beneficial in any number of contexts. These skills will include at least: cultural sensitivity, empathy, teamwork and leadership skills, project management skills, research skills, public speaking skills, ability to lead and chair discussions, dialogue facilitation skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Course Structure and Content

All students will complete two core taught modules as follows:

1.     Approaches to Dialogue (30 credits)

This module will place the practice of dialogue in the context of key concepts, debates and positions relating to multiculturalism, political community and citizenship in Britain and other national contexts. It will explore social, demographic and political issues in the recent (1945-present) history of immigration in Britain including public and political debates about diversity during this period. It will critically review British national state policies for the management of diversity since 1945, focusing on their ideological underpinnings (including multiculturalism, integration and cohesion). Current political and theoretical debates about multiculturalism will inform analysis of the limits and possibilities for dialogue.

The module will focus primarily on the UK context for dialogue. However, select case studies from other national contexts (e.g. Yugoslavia, South Africa) will be drawn upon to critically explore opportunities for, and barriers to, conflict resolution and peace building.

2.     Power, Knowledge and the World (30 credits)

This module aims to provide a foundation in the philosophy of the social sciences and an examination of the core assumptions that underpin different approaches to knowledge generation. It also aims to provide an understanding of the politics and international relations of knowledge generation and circulation. In other words, it examines how social scientists have approached the questions of what to study, how to study, and the ways in which these issues are bound up with historical and current power structures in the world.

The module will prepare students to engage critically and reflectively with the content of the MA course and to undertake the research involved in writing their dissertation.

Elective Modules

Students will be able to pursue their own interests related to theories, practices and contexts for dialogue in choosing from an eclectic range of elective modules.

Elective modules will be chosen from a wide range of SPIRE modules. It may also be possible for students to take modules in Politics, Diplomatic Studies, Management, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Public Policy and History. The precise list of available modules may vary from year to year.

SPIRE modules:

•                Power, Knowledge and the World

•                Environmental Decision Making: the Case of Complex Technologies

•                Global Environmental Change

•                The Theory of Global Security

•                Contemporary Political Philosophy

•                Environmental Ethics

•                Contesting International Relations

•                Parties and Democracy

•                The Changing International Agenda

•                Comparative European Politics

•                Environmental Movements: North and South

•                Environmental Problems and Policies in the US

•                Diplomatic Law

•                Dimensions of Environmental Politics

•                Environmental Diplomacy

•                The Politics of Sin: Culture Wars in the US

•                Race and Justice: Civil Rights in the US

Relevant modules from other Schools:

NB not all these modules will be available every year and they will not always be compatible with Dialogue Studies students’ core commitments.

* Public Policy modules allowing students to expand their understanding of a key element of UK society which may significantly influence intercultural and interreligious relations and social cohesion. Relevant modules include:

* Politics, Political Economy and Public Policy: Explaining and Making Public Policy (MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)

* Policy Implementation and Governance: Policy in Action (30 credits, MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)

* Global Media and Culture modules giving students the opportunity to develop understanding of key factors shaping British and international contexts for dialogue: globalisation and media in contemporary culture. Relevant modules include:

* Globalisation, Culture, Society (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)

* Contemporary Cultural and Media Theory (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)

* Sociology modules, through which students may deepen their understanding of the UK context for dialogue. Relevant modules include:

* City Cultures (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)

* Urban Governance and Policy Making (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)

* History modules

* Imperialism (BA History, School of Humanities)

* Right-Wing Movements in Inter-War Europe (BA History, School of Humanities)

* Africa Since 1800 (BA History, School of Humanities)

* Management School skills modules, through which students may pursue valuable professional development to enhance their future career

* Leading People

* People, Processes and Operations

* Right-Wing Movements (20 credits, adapted from BA History, School of Humanities)

Students may also choose to study a modern foreign language (other than English).

Work Placement

10-week placement at the Dialogue Society during the Spring semester (30 credits). Students’ activities will include:

• Helping London-based community centres to branch out and run dialogue projects to bring local communities together, with the support of Dialogue Society staff and resources. Students will work in small teams and will each have the opportunity to manage a small-scale dialogue project. 2011 projects included a seminar on knife crime for local residents, Mothers’ Day visits to local care homes with children who use the community centres, and an official opening celebration for one community centre.

• Supporting ongoing Dialogue Society projects and events.

• Attending weekly sessions at the Dialogue Society’s Dialogue School. This will enable students to further explore and discuss different approaches to dialogue as well as providing training in a number of key skills for organised dialogue.

• Networking at external events.

• Exploring the cultural, religious and political landscape of multicultural London through visits to relevant government departments, other dialogue NGOs, places of worship and areas of particular historical/cultural interest. The 2011 placement included visits to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a historical tour of East London and visits to a Gurdwara, a Buddhist Centre and a Synagogue.

• Keeping records of the placement and producing a reflective diary.

Assessment

·       Examination of taught modules will be by written coursework and assessment of tutorial performance only (no written examinations)

The work placement will be assessed on:

·       Attendance

·       Performance and management of assigned tasks

·       The student’s written plans and records

·       The student’s placement diary

·       Students demonstrating an outstanding level of work will receive their degree with distinction.

Funding

SPIRE offers a limited number of bursaries to postgraduate students. Details are available on SPIRE’s website.

The Dialogue Society offers a limited number of bursaries for the Dialogue Studies MA postgraduate degree. The bursary only covers the difference between overseas and home fee rate. Effectively therefore, successful students will only pay University fee at home fee rate. To apply for a Dialogue Society bursary, students must first receive an offer from Keele University for this degree.

Further information

For further information please visit:

http://www.keele.ac.uk/pgapply/

http://www.keele.ac.uk/spire/postgraduatecourses/madialoguestudies/

http://www.dialoguesociety.org/master/dialogue-studies-ma.html

image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest (25 May 2012) – Jobs, Seminars, Books, Conferences and more…

25 May 2012 Issue

image of booksWe 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.

In this issue:

  • Advanced Notice – Journals
  • New Books
  • Conference Announcements
  • Jobs
  • Scholarships
  • Calls for Papers
  • Seminars

ADVANCED NOTICE – JOURNALS


Culture and Religion, vol 13, issue 2, 2012 http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcar20/13/2

Sociology of Religion, May 2012, http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc

Journal of Korean Religions, Volume 3, Number 1 (April 2012). Guest edited by Boudewijn Walraven and titled “Late Chosŏn Buddhism,” this issue adds to the body of work challenging stereotypical appraisals of the Buddhist world of the Chosŏn dynasty. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_korean_religions.


NEW BOOKS

Buddhism Across Boundaries: The Interplay of Indian, Chinese, and Central Asian Source Materials, edited by John R. McRae and Jan Nattier.

Download: http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp222_indian_chinese_buddhism.pdf


CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENTS


The University of Bucharest

The Faculty of Letters

The “Goldstein-Goren” Center of Jewish Studies

 

International Conference on

The Jews of the Mediterranean

Bucharest, New Europe College, 24-25 May 2012

Conference Program

Thursday 24th of May 2012

1st Session

Chair and opening remarks: Andrei Oişteanu, Institutul pentru Istoria Religiilor – Academia Română, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti

10.00 Opening of the Works of the Conference

10.15 Anca Manolescu, Cercetător şi publicist: Filon din Alexandria şi întâlnirea religiilor ca filozofii (Philon of Alexandria and the Phylosophical Encounter of Religions)

10.40 Andrei Cornea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren”, Secţia de Studii Europene – Universitatea din Bucureşti: The Jewish Shabbat – A Day of Fast?

11.05 – 11.20 Coffee Break

11.20 Adrian Pirtea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Freie Universiät, Berlin:  Late Byzantine Jewry and the Transfer of Islamic Esotericism to Europe

11.45 Cristina Ciucu, CNRS, Paris: (Again) on Tzimtzum and Exile – On the Circulation of Some Kabbalistic Ideas in the Mediterranean World during the 15th.-16th. Centuries

12.10 – 12.30 Discussions

12.30 – 14.30 Lunch

2nd. Session

Chair: Andrei Cornea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren”, Secţia de Studii Europene – Universitatea din Bucureşti

15.00 Roberto Bachmann, Portuguese Association of Jewish Studies, Lisbon: The Portuguese Jewish and Marrano Diaspora and Their Integration among the Mediterranean (Jewish) Communities upon Their Exodus from Portugal after 1506

15.25 Măriuca Stanciu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române: Jewish Dukes and Romanian Voievodas – On the Ties between the Sephardic Ottoman Elite and Romanian Princes

15.50 Ivan Biliarsky, Bulgarian Academy of Science, Varna University: Two Documents Concerning the Matrimonial Relations among the Balkan Jews in the Late Middle Ages

16.15 Carol Iancu, Université „Paul Valery”, Montpellier: Evreii din Marsilia: un secol de istorie, de la Revoluţia Franceză la Afacerea Dreyfus

16.40 – 17.00 Discussions

17.00 More discussions over a glass of Rotenberg wine

Friday 25th of May 2012

1st Session

Chair: Liviu Rotman, SNSPA, CSIER, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti

10.00 Silvia Planas Marce, Museu d’Historia des Jueus i L”Institut d’Estudis „Nahmanides”, Girona: Daughers of Sarah, Mothers of Israel, Jewish Women of Girona

10.25 Minna Rozen, Haifa University: Romans in Istanbul: Tombstones and Manuscripts Tell the Story of a Jewish Family

10.50 Delia Bălăican, Biblioteca Academiei Române: Tipografia Samitca în viaţa urbei craiovene la sfârşitul secolului al XIX-lea şi începutul secolului XX (The Samitca Printing Press Co. and Its Influence on Craiova Urban Development during the Late 19th  and the Beginning of the 20th. centuries

11.15 – 11.30  Coffee Break

11.30 Victor Neumann Universitatea de Vest, Filiala Academiei Române, Timisoara:

Sefarzi şi ashkenazi în oraşele transilvano-bănăţene în secolele XVII- XVIII (Sephardim and Ashkenazim in Transylvania and Banat cities during the 17th – 18th centuries)

11.55 Yolanda Constantinescu, Academia de Muzica, CRIFS, Academia Română, Bucureşti: O privire asupra personalităţii lui Dimitrie Cantmir: sefarzi şi muzica sefardă (On Dimitrie Cantemir’s Personality Regarding the Sephardim and Sephardic Music)

12.20- 12.45 Discussions

12.45 – 15.00 Lunch

2nd Session

Chair: Mariuca Stanciu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române:

15.00 Karen Gerson Sarhon, Ottoman-Turkish Sephardic Culture Research Center, Istanbul: The Ladino Database Project Results as insight to the Current Situation of Judeo-Spanish in Turkey

15.25 Liviu Rotman, SNSPA, CSIER, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti: Continuitate şi înnoire în comunitatea sefardă din Bucureşti în a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea (Continuity and Renewal within the Bucharest Sephardic Community during the 2nd. Half of the 19th. Century)

15.50 Cristina Toma, Societatea Romana de Radio: Bucureşti – panoramă sefardă (Bucharest – A Sephardic Outlook)

16.15 Alina Popescu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice „Goldstein-Goren”, Universitatea din. Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române, Bucuresti: Bucureştiul sefard şi sinagogile sale (Sephardic Bucharest and Its Synagogues)

16.40 Discussions

17.00 Closing of the works of the conference


Title: The annual two day conference hosted by the

Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy & Religious

Studies (IAPRS)will be held at Edinboro University in April

2013

Location: Pennsylvania

Date: 2013-04-01

Description: The annual two day conference hosted by the

Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy & Religious

Studies (IAPRS)will be held at Edinboro University in April

2013 (specific dates to be announced later). The conference

features undergraduate, graduate, and faculty presentations on

any topic in phi …

Contact: ssullivan@edinboro.edu

URL: www.sshe-iaprs.org/

Announcement ID: 194543

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194543


JOBS


University of Toronto – Scarborough, Humanities, Tung Lin Kok Yuen Visiting Professor in Buddhist Studies

Details: https://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44550

Applications, consisting of a statement of interest with some indication of how a candidate will contribute to the Universitys programs (at most two pages), accompanied by a curriculum vitae,should be sent to buddhist-studies-search [at] utsc.utoronto.ca. The search committee reserves the right to ask for further materials from shortlisted candidates.

If electronic submission is not possible, applications may be mailed to:

TLKY Visiting Professor Search

Professor William Bowen, Chair

Department of Humanities

University of Toronto Scarborough

1265 Military Trail

Toronto, ON M1C 1A4

Canada

The deadline for applications is May 30, 2012.


Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Stirling

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEL392/lectureship-in-philosophy/

Grade 7 £31,222 to £35,939

Full time

Fixed term: 1 September 2012 – 31 December 2013

Job Reference: SCH00039

For further information, including details on how to apply, please see www.stir.ac.uk/jobs

Closing date: Monday 11 June 2012


Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Aberdeen

College / University Administration: College of Arts & Social Sciences

Position Type: Full-time

University Grade Structure: Grade 7

Salary From: £37,012. Salary To: £44,166.

Details: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEM086/lecturer-in-philosophy/

Application process: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/thefuture/

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 22 June 2012.


SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES

University of London

Lecturer in Anthropology

£39,146 – £46,300 p.a. inclusive of London Allowance

Vacancy No: 000392

The Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London invites applications for a permanent lectureship tenable from September 2012. Preference will be given to a candidate able to teach the ethnography of West or East Africa at undergraduate and Master’s level. The successful candidate would be expected to teach and develop other courses, assume normal administrative tasks including PhD supervision and must have an outstanding publication record.

You must have a PhD in Social Anthropology. It is expected that you will have expertise relevant to the vision and strategy of the School, including a strong interest in issues of particular importance to the developing world.

To apply for this vacancy or to download a job description/further information, please visit www.soas.ac.uk/jobs<http://www.soas.ac.uk/jobs>.

Closing date:  14th June 2012

Interviews are provisionally scheduled for week commencing: 16th July 2012


Please follow the link below for two new academic job opportunities in Theology and Religion at Durham. Please note the deadline of 8th June. I’d be happy to respond to any minor, informal enquiries. For formal enquiries or detailed questions, please contact my colleague and Head of Dept, Dr Robert Song (robert.song@durham.ac.uk).

http://www.joindurham.com/professorships/vacancies/search/category/arts-and-humanities


Arizona State University – Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science and

Religion

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44588>


Managing Editor/ Open Access Books in Theology, Religious Studies.

We are currently looking for candidates for Managing Editors for our Open Access Books program in Theology, Religious Studies, launched by Versita (www.versita.com).

Scholarly monographs and other book categories have been an important format of scholarly communication. For various reasons in the last decades they have faced significant challenges. We believe that Open Access may yield the best available solution for keeping academic monographs and other scholarly books alive. Open Access provides free and unrestricted online access to electronic books for all interested users. This model grows readership by hundreds or thousands of times versus the printed book. To cover the publication costs, we will charge a moderate fee to the institution supporting the author. However, for the first year or two we have decided to waive these fees, so we will neither charge the reader (or librarian) nor the author.

With over 250 Open Access journals in its portfolio Versita (www.versita.com) is one of the leading scholarly Open Access Publishers. Versita cooperates with Springer (www.springer.com) and in January 2012 the company was acquired by de Gruyter (www.degruyter.com), a prominent scholarly publisher with a 260-year history.

IDEAL CANDIDATE PROFILE

Ideal candidates should hold a PhD in the above mentioned discipline and have experience in both conducting research and teaching. They should have sufficient time available to complete their duties. Editorial experience is not required. Candidates must speak native or fluent English, be proficient in using computers, and have constant access to Internet.

BRIEF JOB DESCRIPTION

The Managing Editor’s chief responsibility is launching a program for the publication of scholarly books in Open Access model in the above mentioned discipline. The Managing Editor solicits and evaluates book proposals submitted by authors from around the world and coordinates work of other editors who solicit books in their discipline. The Managing Editor is also expected to cooperate with authors, reviewers and copy editors.

WHAT WE OFFER IN RETURN

Compensation is based on the number of books published under Managing Editor’s supervision. You will get a chance to combine publishing activities with academic and pedagogic work and have a unique opportunity to acquire experience in and understanding of professional scientific publishing while taking part in a pioneering project in a dynamically developing company.

If you are interested in this position, please send a cover letter and a CV (both documents in English) to hr12@versita.com  with “Managing Editor, Theology, Religious Studies” as your subject line.

If you wish to participate in our Open Access Books program as an author and submit a new book proposal in your discipline, please fill in our New Book Proposal Form available at http://www.versita.com/Book_Author/Form/ and return it in by e-mail to info@versita.com.

Versita offers its authors:

•    fair and comprehensive peer-review of submitted proposals and manuscripts, English language copy-editing by native English speaking specialists in the field (in some subject areas we accept also manuscripts in other languages)

•    professional composition of the manuscript in PDF format

•    hosting the book on MetaPress platform, which offers many functionalities, e.g. active links in references

•    printed copies sold to libraries and individuals, by Versita and distributors (e.g. Amazon)

•    complimentary printed copies for book author and editors

•    royalties for the author from print copy sales

•    indexing by Google and other search engines

•    e-book delivery to libraries and full-text repositories (e.g. Google Book Search)

•    Creative Commons copyright license

More information on our Open Access book publishing program can be found at http://versita.com/Book_Author/


SCHOLARSHIPS


Guest Scholarships 2012 CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures”

The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 933 “Material Text Cultures. Materiality and Presence

of Writing in Non-Typographic Societies” has been established by the German Research Founda

tion in July 2011 at Heidelberg University (collaborating partner: College of Jewish Studies, Hei

delberg). Researchers working in the field of cultural studies will investigate the material presence of writing in “non-typographic societies” that do not possess any or any widespread methods for the mass production of writing. Based on this investigation, those receptive practices are presented which in all probability took place at the writing due to its material presence. The ‘material text cultures’ thus identified in non-typographical societies will then be systematically described and compared with those of typographical societies. The fundamental research by the CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” on text-bearing artefacts, especially those of the circum-Mediterranean zone, will be performed within a conceptual framework that has been developed from recent approaches in cultural studies.

The Research Training Group „Text Anthropology“ of the CRC 933 is now looking for guest graduate students with outstanding qualifications who can show that participating in the interdisciplinary research of the CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” will be beneficial to their doctoral project and to the CRC 933. The Research Training Group offers a monthly scholarship of 1.250 Euros starting on October 1st 2012. Furthermore, it supports scholarship holders in offering graduate courses and individual mentoring. The scholarship is granted for one year.

Applicants, who should hold an M.A. or equivalent in a discipline of the humanities with an above-

average grade, should send their written applications (including a CV, a letter of intent, a project proposal and a letter of recommendation from their supervisor) with reference to “CRC 933” by July 15th 2012 at the latest to SFB 933 „Materiale Textkulturen“, Heidelberg Zentrum Kulturelles Erbe, Marstallstraße 6, 69117 Heidelberg/Germany. We regret that we cannot return application documents sent to us by regular mail. Details may be requested at danijel.cubelic@zegk.uni-heidelberg.de.

The University of Heidelberg actively seeks to raise the proportion of female employees in all previously under-represented areas. In keeping with this, applications are particularly requested from women with the appropriate qualifications. In the case of equal qualifications, severely disabled persons will receive priority.


CALLS FOR PAPERS

CFP: The Journal of Korean Religions (JKR) is published biannually, every April and October, by the Institute for the Study of Religion, Sogang University, Korea. It aims to promote interest in and discuss the study of Korean religions in various academic disciplines within the humanities and social sciences. A peer-reviewed journal, JKR publishes articles of original research, review articles, book reviews, and current issues which seek to discuss, elaborate, and extend the study of Korean religions. Our work is featured in both print and digital form, published by the University of Hawai’i and served online by Project MUSE: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_korean_religions.

JKR invites contributions from scholars researching on any aspect of Korean religions from a wide range of perspectives, including religious studies, philosophy, theology, literature, folklore, art, anthropology, history, sociology, political science, and cultural studies. Articles submitted for consideration should not have appeared or be under review for publication elsewhere. JKR also welcomes book reviews and review articles. All submissions and inquiries should be sent to the Managing Editor: journalkr[at]sogang.ac.kr. Submission guidelines can be found at: http://bit.ly/JKRsubguide.


Call for Papers

Demons and Illness: Theory and Practice from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period

Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter

22 – 24th April 2013

In many near eastern traditions, demons appear as a cause of illness: most famously in the stories of possessed people cured by Christ. These traditions influenced perceptions of illness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in later centuries but the ways in which these cultures viewed demons and illness have received comparatively little attention. For example, who were these demons? How did they cause illness? Why did they want to? How did demons fit into other explanations for illness? How could demonic illnesses be cured and how did this relate to other kinds of cure? How far did medical or philosophical theory affect how people responded to demonic illnesses in practice?

This conference will take a comparative approach, taking a wide geographical and chronological sweep but confining itself to this relatively specific set of questions. Because Jewish, Christian and Islamic ideas about demons and illness drew on a similar heritage of ancient religious texts from New Testament times to the early modern period there is real scope to draw meaningful comparisons between the different periods and cultures. What were the common assumptions made by different societies? When and why did they differ? What was the relationship between theory and practice? We would welcome papers which address these issues for any period between antiquity and the early modern period, and which discuss Christian, Jewish or Islamic traditions.

The conference is hosted by the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter, on April 22nd-24th, 2013. Please send abstracts by 15th September 2012 to the conference organizers, Catherine Rider and Siam Bhayro, Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter: email c.r.rider@exeter.ac.uk or s.bhayro@exeter.ac.uk.


The Board of Editors of the interdisciplinary journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei

(http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/studi indo-mediterranei/ ; (http://qusim.arts.ubc.ca/)

is soliciting contributions to its sixth thematic volume, scheduled to appear in 2013.

This issue will contain twelve to fifteen essays addressing the theme of the cultural

and religious interactions between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam.


The “Three Rings” parable, known in Western culture mainly through Boccaccio’s

novella in the Decameron and Lessing’s Nathan der Weise, has been subject to research

for a hundred years or so. Some scholars have argued that the parable originated in

Spain, but its exact source remains unknown. In any case, the emergence and

development of his suggestive message, including the eight and sixteenth centuries,

evidently origins in the Mediterranean context of intercultural and inter-religious

relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

In particular, Western esotericism has been characterised as the combination of

Alexandrian Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and related religious philosophies of late

antiquity and the traces each has left in the three Abrahamic religions. For this

process, very important was the uninterrupted translation of texts between Arabic,

Latin and Hebrew languages. Still today these three Mediterranean cultures are mixed

together in narrow and interesting plots.

All aspects of the cultural connections between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam in

history of religions, theology, philosophy, mysticism, esotericism, literature, visual

arts, music and folklore are welcome.

Please send proposals for essays (250 to 350 words) accompanied by a bio-

bibliographical sketch to Alessandro Grossato (alessandro.grossato@lett.unitn.it), by

September 30, 2012.

Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei accepts proposals and essays in all major European

languages. The editors of the volume will strive for a balanced and diversified table of

contents. They will confirm accepted submissions by December 2, 2012.

Subsequently, the final deadline for submitting the completed essays will be June 1,

  1. The average length recommended for each contribution is of 6,000 words, with

a maximum length allowed of 7,000 words, including footnotes and bibliographical

references.


The journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is based at the University of Bologna,

Italy, and is supported by ASTREA (Associazione di Studi e Ricerche Euro-

Asiatiche). Editor in Chief: Carlo Saccone; Board of Editors: Daniela Boccassini,

Alessandro Grossato, Carlo Saccone.

The journal counts among its editorial associates world-renowned specialists from

major European and North American Universities.

For further information on the journal’s mission and an overview of previous issues

please go to: http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/studi indo-mediterranei/ (Italian website)

http://qusim.arts.ubc.ca/ (North American website)

Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is committed to upholding a high profile in

comparative studies and the highest standards of peer-reviewed scholarship.


Title: Special Issue on Religion and the Paranormal

Date: 2012-08-01

Description: The journal Nova Religio is currently seeking papers

for a special issue on religion and the paranormal. In the last

few years, several good books have appeared that consider

so-called paranormal beliefs, discourses, and experiences as an

object of inquiry for religion scholars. Like the category re

Contact: jlay@bu.edu

Announcement ID: 194634

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194634


SEMINARS


An Open Meeting at St. Marylebone Church, 17 Marylebone Road,

London NW1 5LT

Thursday 14th June 2012 from 2-4pm

THE UNIQUENESS OF SPIRITUAL CARE

Making the spiritual real: from research into training and practice

The challenge for all mental health services is to integrate spiritual care within care

planning in order that those who use the services receive true holistic care. Using a

combination of training, research and care planning Nigel will outline a research

project he has undertaken in partnership with nurses to deliver high quality spiritual

care. It is his belief that those of us engaged in delivering spiritual care need to base

all provision of care upon the foundation of robust research. He will outline the

model of research that he believes to be appropriate for researching the effectiveness

of spiritual care.

DR NIGEL COPSEY is the Team Leader for Spiritual Care in the East London

Foundation Trust and Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust. He has

published two research papers in the field of psychiatry and mental health for

the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. He has also contributed to a number of

psychotherapy publications in the area of spirituality and mental health. Nigel is a

visiting lecturer at several London Universities as well as being a Programme

Leader in the psychology department of UEL. Nigel is an Anglican priest and an

accredited psychotherapist.

To register for this free seminar contact: info@mhspirituality.org.uk

Map and more information on the venue (on Jubilee Line, Baker Street Station)

obtainable on this link:

www.stmarylebone.org.uk/HandC01.htm

For more information about the National Spirituality and Mental Health

Forum see website: www.mhspirituality.org.uk


Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

 A QUESTION OF RELIGION: YOUNG PEOPLE and identity IN CONTEMPORARY MULTI-FAITH BRITAIN

Friday, 29th June 2012

10.30am – 4.30pm

MS114, Mary Seacole Building, Brunel University

Chair: Professor Judith Harwin, Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

10.30 – 10.50      Refreshments

10.50 – 11.00      Welcome to the seminar!

11.00 – 11.50      Young British Muslims finding their voice: from alienation to engagement

Dr Philip Lewis, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford

Young British Muslims are developing the confidence to engage British society and make the most of the institutional spaces opening up in which they can participate. This paper explores some of the encouraging debates now being heard – not least British Muslims contributing ‘Islamically’ to debates within education, social services and chaplaincy. It also addresses how intergenerational tensions are being played out by referring to a seismic political change in Bradford where the Respect candidate recently defeated the Labour candidate in one of the safest Labour seats. The important development from Islamist to post-Islamist politics is also discussed.

 

11.50 – 12.40      Young Sikhs

Jasjit Singh, University of Leeds

This presentation will outline findings from doctoral research on religious transmission among young British Sikhs (18-30). Focusing on a number of arenas of transmission including families, Sikh camps and the internet, this presentation will outline the ways in which these various arenas allow young British Sikhs to engage with their faith. It will also demonstrate how many religious identity practices result from religious socialisation in the family.

12.40 – 13.30      LUNCH

13.30 – 14.20      The Youth On Religion project: Young people and the negotiation of identity in three diverse urban locations

                               Professor Nicola Madge, Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

The Youth On Religion project surveyed over ten thousand young people, and talked to over 160, in secondary schools and colleges in the London Boroughs of Hillingdon and Newham, and Bradford in Yorkshire. Participants came from a range of faith and non-faith positions, and provided a wealth of information on the meaning of religion in their young lives. It was very apparent that families guided their initial religious direction but that peers, school, the community and their own personal experiences and agency became increasingly important as they grew older. This presentation examines the meaning of religious identity for young people and documents some of the landmarks they pass in their religious journey.

14.20 – 15.00      YORvoice: Youth On Religion

Young people from the London Borough of Hillingdon, who participated in YORvoice, part of the Youth On Religion project, present some of their views on religion and its impact on young lives.

15.00 – 15.15      TEA AND BISCUITS

15.15 – 16.00      Growing up with disability in Pakistani Muslim families

Dr Debbie Kramer-Roy, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Brunel University

This paper presents findings from a study of Pakistani Muslim families bringing up disabled children. Religion was a strong part of their daily lives, and parents talked about how personal faith influenced the way they experienced becoming the parents of disabled children and living with them in their communities. While mothers tended to talk about the shift from feelings of distress and shame to considering their child a blessing from God, fathers reported how they turned to religious leaders and scriptures to learn more about disability and its meaning. Siblings reported generally positive views but also indicated some frustration at the restrictions that a disabled brother or sister imposed.

16.00                     END OF SEMINAR

NB There is no charge for this seminar and lunch is provided

If you would like to attend, please email nicola.madge@brunel.ac.uk


Title: Summer Institute at Rutgers – Islam and the Muslim World –

July 16th-20th

Location: New Jersey

Date: 2012-07-16

Description: 2012 Summer Institute for Teachers at Rutgers Islam

and the Muslim World Where: Rutgers, the State University of

New JerseyNew Brunswick, NJ When: Monday, July 16 to Friday,

July 20, 2012 Cost: $300 The Center for Middle East Studies at

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is pleased to anno

Contact: areolive@rci.rutgers.edu

URL: mideast.rutgers.edu/islam-and-the-muslim-world

Announcement ID: 194590

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194590

Roundtable: What is the Future of Religious Studies?

David Robertson, Chris Cotter, Ethan Quillen, Jonathan Tuckett, Kevin Whitesides & Liam Sutherland (NB: ‘we’ are not the future of Religious Studies – although some of us hope to be – that would just be silly)

After this week’s podcast, which involved eight scholars giving their views on the future of Religious Studies, there was really only one way we could create a suitably collective and varied response – six postgrads sitting around a table, accompanied by pink gin and our trusty dictaphone. Conversation ranges from the public perception of what Religious Studies does, what to do with a RS degree, to the financial practicalities of doing postgraduate research in the UK and US today. Mostly, though, it’s a collective rant about the cognitive study of religion (for a more educated discussion on cognitive approaches to the study of religion, see our interview with Armin Geertz)..

**Regular visitors please note – we have moved our weekly feature articles to Wednesdays instead of Fridays. This will continue until further notice, and is intended to promote more discussion**

If you are new to the podcast – this is not what we usually do. If you are a regular listener – you might enjoy this, or you might not; either way, we are back to normal with Bettina Schmidt’s interview on Anthropological Approaches on Monday.

You can also download this roundtable, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes.

The bleeping noises are Chris’s camera, and the clunks are Liam’s can of Gin. We hope you enjoy it, we certainly enjoyed recording it. We’ll be recording another at the SOCREL (Sociology of Religion) Annual Conference in just a few days time (with a more diverse range of participants!). If you’d like this to become a regular feature, please let us know.

Choice quotations:

“What do you do with a Religious Studies degree? You get a Master’s. What do you do with a Religious Studies Master’s? You get a PhD? What do you do with a Religious Studies Phd? You work in Starbucks.”

“I think of Religious Studies less as a discipline and more as the name of a department.”

“relativity… is one step up from subjectivity, which is the post-modernist quagmire of death and destruction that will consume all academic fields if it’s allowed to spread too far…”

The Discussants:

Christopher R. Cotter

Chris recently completed his MSc by Research in Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, on the topic ‘Toward a Typology of Nonreligion: A Qualitative Analysis of Everyday Narratives of Scottish University Students’. He is currently taking a year out from study to pursue PhD applications, present at conferences, and work on projects such as this. His future research will continue to expand the theme of ‘non-religion’ to apply to ‘everyone’ in religiously diverse, socio-economically deprived urban environments, simultaneously deconstructing the religion-nonreligion dichotomy in the process. He is Deputy Editor and Bibliography Manager at the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network, and currently editing the volume ‘Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular’ with Abby Day and Giselle Vincett (Ashgate, 2013). See his personal blog, or academia.edu page for a full CV.

Ethan Quillen

Circular Academia: Navigating the Dangerous Waters of Term Re-Assignment for the Religious Studies Project.

David Robertson

David G. Robertson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Religious Studies department of the University of Edinburgh. His research  examines how UFO narratives became the bridge by which ideas crossed between the conspiracist and New Age milieus in the post-Cold War period. More broadly, his work concerns contemporary alternative spiritualities, and their relationship with popular culture. Forthcoming publications: “Making the Donkey Visible: Discordianism in the Works of Robert Anton Wilson” in C. Cusack & A. Norman (Eds.), Brill Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Leiden: Brill (2012) “(Always) Living in the End Times: The “rolling prophecy” of the conspracist milieu” in When Prophecy Persists. London: INFORM/Ashgate (2012). For a full CV and his MSc thesis on contemporary gnosticism, see his Academia page or personal blog.

Liam Sutherland

Liam is a Religious Studies Postgraduate student at Edinburgh University undertaking a Masters by Research, on the relevance of E.B Tylor for the contemporary theory of religion, defining religion and modern scholars with a ‘Neo-Tylorian’ influence or affinity. He is a native of Edinburgh where he also completed his undergraduate degree  in 2009, producing a dissertation on contemporary Indigenous Australian spirituality and the politics of land rights. Though he began in Politics, and took many Politics and school of Social Science courses, he quickly fell in love with Religious Studies! Liam has also written the essay An Evaluation of Harvey’s Approach to Animism and the Tylorian Legacy for the Religious Studies Project.

Jonathan Tuckett

What is Phenomenology? for the Religious Studies Project.

Kevin Whitesides

Kevin Whitesides completed his B.A. in Religious Studies at Humboldt State University. He is currently developing an MSc dissertation at the University of Edinburgh on ‘2012’ millennialism as part of a broader emphasis on countercultural transmission. Kevin has contributed articles to ‘Archaeoastronomy’ and ‘Zeitschrift fur Anomalistik’, has contributed chapters for two anthologies on apocalypse and prophecy, and has presented widely on the ‘2012’ milieu at academic conferences and universities.

What is the Future of Religious Studies?

This week we decided to do something a bit different. Every time David and Chris have conducted an interview, they have been asking the interviewees an additional question: “What is the Future of Religious Studies?”

The result is this highly stimulating compilation of differing perspectives and levels of optimism on what has become one of the most hotly debated topics in the academic study of religion at the start of the second decade of the twenty-first century.

You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes.

The underlying motivation behind placing this question on the agenda of the Religious Studies Project was one of finances. In the current economic climate – particularly in the UK – and with the increasing commodification of the Higher Education sector. It is no longer acceptable for academics to sit pontificating in their ivory towers, and every discipline (but particularly Religious Studies) is finding itself increasingly in the firing line in terms of funding and resources. This issue is so pressing that the British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR) and the British Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Study Group (SOCREL) – the two professional organisations that together represent the UK’s leading scholars in the study of religion – have joined forces to present a joint panel on ‘Public benefit in the study of religion’ at the BASR annual conference, September 5-7 2012 University of Winchester, UK.

However, this is not the only issue on the table. Topics range from interdisciplinarity and institutional conflict, to innovative new methodologies, directions and foci. Some of these academics have already appeared on the Religious Studies Project, others’ interviews have yet to be released, yet each has their own unique perspective to offer, and we hope that you appreciate this compilation.

Featured in this podcast (with links to their previously released interviews):

We wanted to do something special with this podcast, because it is the tenth edition of the Religious Studies Project. We hope this has been a worthwhile exercise! Later in the week, we will be releasing a ‘unique’ response to this episode, and we hope it will prove similarly worthwhile.

If you stick with us for the next ten episodes, you’ll be treated to interviews with Bettina Schmidt (University of Wales), Markus Davidsen (Aarhus University), Bejamin Beit-Hallahmi (University of Haifa), Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University), Ariela Keysar (Trinity College, Massachusetts), Bron Taylor (University of Florida) and more…

 

Getting into Graduate School

The following post was written by contributors, who blogs at A Theory of Mind. Erika  is a graduate student studying social psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has an MA in Cognition and Culture from Queen’s University Belfast and a BA in English from the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on religion and self-consciousness, religion as a social identity and moral community, and naturalistic thinking. The guidelines here are quite US-specific, however they are of use to anyone who is considering applying to further their education, and even to those who have already made this decision.

Erika’s work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, and can be freely distributed provided you acknowledge the source.

Getting into Graduate School

If you applying the graduate school, the first thing you should know about is what exactly goes into an application. Generally speaking, a graduate school application (in the US) consists of the following elements:

1. The application form—General questions (address, etc.) as well as possibly some department-specific questions.

2. A statement of purpose—aka SOP. A 500-1500 word essay describing your background, research interests (for research-based programs), career goals, and fit with the department to which you’re applying. It should be customized to each department.

3. Letters of recommendation—aka LOR. Typically 3, sometimes 2; some schools take more or fewer. You want as many of these to come from professors (as opposed to work supervisors) as possible, preferably ones with whom you have research experience or other outside-the-classroom relationships. Generally speaking, if you have 2 very good ones, the third one can be somewhat weaker.

4. Transcripts—from all post-secondary institutions. Some departments care about your overall GPA; others care more about your final 60 credits. If your transcripts look at all like mine [I got a 1.7 GPA (just about failing for anyone not familiar with the US point system) for my first year, had loads of Fs and course withdrawals, and finally withdrew from school entirely before getting my act together], you may consider putting a paragraph of explanation in your SOP, but be sure not to (a) explain weak performance with reference to a psychological or learning disability (prejudices against these are sadly present in graduate school, even in fields like education and psychology) or (b) appear to be whining or blaming poor performance on anyone other than yourself. Instead, focus on explaining why it could never happen again.

5. GRE score reports—(for US-based institutions) the importance of the GRE differs depending on the program, of course, as does the relative weighting of the subsections. If you don’t like your score, you can retake it, but you can only take the test once during a calendar month, so make sure you take the test at the latest in the month before you absolutely need it, in case you decide to retake. The scores are good for five years. Start studying now, and take as many practice tests as possible.

6. Curriculum vitae—aka CV or vita. Your academic resume. I recommend downloading some faculty CVs from the departments you are applying to. This will give you a sense of what these look like and what goes into them.

Some applications will ask for the following:

7. Writing sample—Generally, you should choose something you’ve turned in for a grade or publication. Preferably, it will be related to the field you are applying to. And, of course, take the time to thoroughly revise it.

8. Personal statement—aka PS. For some applications, this is the same as an SOP; however, others will ask for an SOP and a PS. In this case, the PS is generally used in deciding university-wide fellowship recipients, and it should be more personal than the SOP, focusing on challenges you’ve faced in education and/or membership in groups underrepresented in graduate education.

Generally speaking, the key to graduate admissions is fit—which means roughly that your interests are aligned with those of the department. So start browsing department websites. Get a feel for what the faculty are studying and decide if your interests match those of one or more faculty members. For large departments (such as psych and bio), the faculty are often further partitioned into divisions, and your application may be reviewed solely by the division to which you are applying, in which case you will want to focus on that division. Make a long-ish list of schools and faculty you are interested in, and then make an appointment with one of your professors to discuss that list. People in your field may know what departments tend to have good placement (getting people into jobs they want), have advisors whose students never graduate, etc. You want to know as much of this as possible.

Although I applied to 6 schools during each of my two application cycles, most people I know applied to double that number. This process gets EXPENSIVE. Application fees for US and Canadian schools range from around $50 to $100 each. Some of your undergraduate schools may charge for transcript copies. GRE score reports cost $20 each. It’s not uncommon to spend one to two thousand dollars on the applications. Then, some departments will have on-site interviews or visiting student weekends in the spring, for which some will reimburse travel expenses and other won’t. Depending on your geographic constraints in applications and in your luck in applying to wealthy departments, this could add in even more expense.

Overall, the grad school application process is capricious. Most excellent departments admit something under 10% of applicants; other departments are less selective. But admissions in any given year depend on such completely unknowable (to applicants) factors such as state budgets, the size of last year’s incoming class, the number of students who are leaving the program, the number of grants won by specific faculty members, etc. So getting in is at least as much about uncontrollable departmental factors as it is about being an excellent applicant. I recommend emailing professors you are interested in working with to inquire whether they are taking on new students in the next application cycle, as finding out ahead of time that a professor is not taking on new students will eliminate work and heartbreak spent on an opportunity that never truly existed.

_____________________

Now that I am a graduate student, I advise many bright, intellectually curious undergraduates who want to go on to graduate school. Over the last few years, I’ve compiled a fairly large number of resources and points of advice that I offer these students. While some of the advice is biased by the particular field (psychology) and degree-type (PhD at a US research intensive institution) I have chosen, I think that there are some common elements that can be adapted to any field.

Here’s an outline of the advice I typically give:

  • Gain as much research experience possible. Both because it is exactly the kind of training you need and because it is the best source of letters of reference. Working in more than one lab with give you a greater diversity of skills and training, and it will also give you multiple recommendation letters.
  • Read scholarly literature in the field that interests you. This will help you narrow down your interests, make you sound more intelligent and informed when speaking with potential advisors, and help you identify potential advisors of interest.
  • Speak to a professor in your intended field about what his or her job is like and what graduate school in that field is like. Similarly, speak a graduate student in your intended field about his or her experiences. Consult with professors and grad students about the schools/advisors you are considering applying to; ask them about who has good placement and whose students never graduate.
  • Email professors you are interested in working with. Tell them you’ve read some of their papers and share some interests. Ask whether they will be taking on new students and what they look for in a graduate student. Your match to an advisor is one of the most important components of your application and of your experience in graduate school, especially for students pursuing a research-oriented degree.
  • Join professional societies and honor societies and take an active role in them. Subscribe to their listservs. This will keep you up to date on the field, provide you with opportunities for extra experience/CV lines (e.g., reviewing submissions for student competitions, competing in those competitions, departmental service, etc.), and make you look engaged. You might also find opportunities for summer research positions or post-graduation jobs advertised on the email lists.
  • Read academic/science blogs or message boards. These will help you understand and navigate academic culture and give you better insight into the variety of experiences of academics. You can find great science blogs through ResearchBlogging, Scientific American, ScienceBlogs, Scientopia, and other science blog networks. You can also learn a lot about academic life in general by reading GradHacker, The Grad Café, GradLand, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Take the GRE seriously, if you are applying in the US. Study for a long time. Take lots of practice tests. Many US-based programs have unadvertised GRE cut-off points, or combine GRE with college marks (GPA) to create a composite score with which they rank applicants.
  • Seriously consider if graduate school and an academic career is a good option for you. Graduate school is intense. The academic job market is really tough, and the pressure does not end even if you land a great job at the end. You might be a post-doc or Visiting Assistant Professor before landing a more permanent position, and even once you are on the tenure track, you still have years of fighting for tenure ahead. Download CVs of professors you respect. Look at the number of cities they have lived in during their academic careers and the frequency of their moves. Is that a life that you want? If you are not interested in an academic position, understand that your supervisors in graduate school will have had precious little experience outside of academia that they could use to advise you.
  • Apply for jobs, too. You might not get in. Many students put in two rounds of applications or take a master’s position when they really want a doctoral position.
  • You will likely be rejected; it’s not personal, and it doesn’t mean you are not smart enough or capable enough to complete the program. What I’ve listed above are just the things that you can (more or less) control. There’s a lot that you cannot control, such as departmental funding, grants won by faculty members that might support students, the number of other truly awesome applicants who happen to apply in the same year to the same advisor, the number of students graduating from the program that year.

Of course, I don’t think that my opinions are the only ones prospective graduate students should consider, so I always give them links to lots of other opinions, including the following:

General Resources:

Letters of Recommendation:

If, after all of this, you still want to apply to graduate school: great! It’s a lot of work, but it can be a very rewarding choice. If you are a professor or graduate student who has a different perspective, please chime in! The more information applicants have, the better off they will be.