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Maud Frances Eyston Sumner’s painting Woman Writing

Use Peer-Review to Become a Stronger Writer

As a librarian involved with editing (I am editor-in-chief of two journals: Theological Librarianship and The Christian Librarian both of which are open access) and publishing, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to respond to the dialog among editors and authors about publishing in religious studies from the EASR publishing panel.

I would like to comment on a few elements of this dialog.  First, towards the beginning (6:06), the question was asked “How did you first get something published?” I was comforted to discover that many of them started with book reviews, as this is exactly how I started.  I particularly appreciated one of the editors who would critique the syntax and grammar of my book reviews and then return them to me.  At first, this was kind of difficult to swallow.  I would think, “Who is this person to re-write my perfectly understandable review?” (There is a bit of sarcasm in that statement.)  However, after my second or third review with this editor, I was encouraged to double-check my grammar and syntax before submitting for publication.  The practice of double-checking my syntax and grammar has become a habit that developed early in my writing experience and one for which I am eternally grateful.  If you cannot find an editor who will do that for you, find a peer who will tear your work apart.  This editor and my peers have been invaluable assets in improving my writing.

Secondly, like many authors, I have submitted content for peer-review, and like many (if not all), I have been rejected.  My initial responses to the reviewer’s comments tend to be defensive.  However, I really took Michael Stausberg’s comment (16:50) to heart regarding taking reviewers’ comments seriously.  After I get over my initial emotional response, I return to reviewers’ comments to strengthen my writing and argumentation, even if I don’t re-submit the work.  Understand that even if reviewers disagree with your presuppositions and use that as a ground for not accepting your article, as a writer, you must address this fundamental concern.  Perhaps you need to spell out your presuppositions or not assume that the reader is aware of the presuppositions to which you hold.  Gregory D. Alles commented (19:42): “The process (speaking of peer-review) is there to ensure that your work is the best work possible for the sake of the journal and for your sake as well.”  That statement speaks to what drives peer-review.  Keeping this in mind when you get feedback from peer-review will help you utilize that feedback to strengthen your ability to communicate, write, and argue.

A third point that intrigued me was related to open access content.  One of the questions asked related to open access (and I was a bit disappointed at the responses) was: “How do we meet the challenges of the 21st century?  Does the general public read scholarly journals?” (31:20).  A little bit later in the dialog, another question was asked about the differences in production between the global north and the global south (45:05).  For the first question, answers were given related to discovery tools, and the fact that much content is available online (but behind a paywall – i.e. the article cannot be accessed without paying for it).  While I do agree that discovery tools and having an abstract and title of an article online may assist somewhat in making the general public aware of what is being published, the fact that much online content is behind a paywall makes these resources useless.  Granted, those with institutional affiliations may have institutional access to that web-site, enabling them to bypass the paywall; however, this does not account for the fact that much content that could be incredibly beneficial to individuals pursuing research is limited by paywalls (particularly in the global south).  Internet availability could be an incredible gateway to making journal content available to the general public, encouraging readership of journal content outside of disciplinary silos and subsequently educating a broader readership.  However, publishing in journals that are paywalled prohibits this interaction and only makes content available to institutions that can afford it.

Most would agree that equity is a large issue in the 21st century—some precisely because of their religious perspectives, including the research participants religious studies scholars may write about and who may not even be able to access information they contributed to the work.  Unfortunately, paywalls prohibiting access to journal content counter much of the efforts made for equity in the realm of scholarship.  At about 45 minutes into the presentation, the question is asked related to the differences in knowledge production between the global north and the global south: payment limits access.  It was asked: “How would an individual who works in the global south make his/her content available to colleagues who work in the global south who do not have the resources to pay for that article?  How can a balance be found between pursuing an academic career (which likely has a tenure track requiring publication in non-open access journals) and a passion to make discoveries open to colleagues in the global south?”  These are very insightful questions.  Changes need to be made so that content is available to everyone – and open access strives to do so. 

Many tenure-track faculty members must publish in certain journals to earn tenure.  How does one pursue open access publishing under these restrictions?  First, seek open access journals as venues to pursue publication.  If you are not sure of the open access journals in your discipline, look at the Directory of Open Access Journals. If none of these fit where you want to go and you need to publish in a particular journal that is not open access, work with the contract.  Many journals are willing to grant you what is often-times termed a “green open-access” – that is, they give you the rights to post your content in an institutional repository.  If you are not certain what this is or whether your institution has an institutional repository, contact your university librarian.  They enjoy assisting in these areas and are major advocates of open access.

Open access does not fix everything, but it does assist in resolving the equity issue between the global north and south as well as assists in crumbling disciplinary silos.  I am very proud to say that both of the journals that I edit are open-access.  Frankly, I could not be editor-in-chief of these journals if they were not. 

Salomon Konick’s A Scholar Writing at a Table

I would like to close my comment by simply affirming the responses given by the panel regarding their final advice.  I appreciate and completely agree with a remark provided by Gregory D. Alles:

“Don’t get discouraged – I don’t know how you feel, but writing for me is a very personal thing, I sort of bleed myself onto the page in a way and if you get somebody who is criticizing you, that can be taken very personally, it can be a very discouraging experience.  Don’t let that happen.   You need to have a certain amount of self-confidence, everybody gets criticism, everybody gets rejected, and you can’t let that stop you.” (59:16)

I completely agree with this.  Everybody gets criticism, everybody gets rejected, you cannot let that stop you.  Writing is an incredibly personal endeavor. Equate the difficulties of peer-review with the pain from a good workout: everyone experiences it, but you are getting stronger.  Build upon the critique and comments reviewers offer, strengthen your paper, strengthen your argument, and then re-submit.  The intent of reviewers is to strengthen your argument, strengthen your essay, and strengthen your thinking.

EASR 2019 Publishing Panel

This panel, recorded at the EASR conference 2019 at the University of Tartu, is intended for PhD students and early career scholars who want to learn more about the publishing world. We encourage listeners to watch the video version of this week’s episode on YouTube, which has timestamps in the video description for the different questions answered by these experienced editors and publishers in their hour-long discussion.

On the panel chaired by Suzanne Owen were Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, and James White.

This event was organized by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions and University of Tartu in cooperation with Religious Studies Project, and was supported by the European Regional Developmental Fund (through Enterprise Estonia). We thank them for their generous help to produce this resource.

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, sardines, popcorn, and more.


EASR Publishing Roundtable 2019

Podcast with Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, James White and Suzanne Owen (28 October 2019).

Transcribed by Helen Bradstock.

Audio and transcript available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/easr-publishing-roundtable-2019/

PDF version of the transcript available here.

Suzanne Owen (SO): Welcome, this evening, to the panel on how to get published – particularly in the Study of Religion – at the European Association for the Study of Religion in Tartu, Estonia. And we have here people that represent different areas of publication and career. So my furthest is Michael Stausberg, and he is editing a journal and he will talk about that in a minute; and also we have James White, who is at the University here, so a local; and Greg Alles who’s also an editor of a series and journal; and we have Jenny Butler, considered early career – but has also ready done so much; and Valerie Hall, from Equinox publishers; and Joshua Wells, from the Routledge Publishers. And we want to have each of them introduce themselves in turn, and what they work on, and then we can start the discussion. So, let’s start with you, Michael.

Michael Stausberg (MS): What we work on? What do you mean?

SO: What you edit, and your experiences.

MS: Right, ok. Yes. Well, thanks for showing up! It’s a bit weird to sit down here and be kind-of at your service. And I have been one of the two editors of a journal called Religion since 2008. My co-editor is the Canadian, Steven Engler. And Religion started around 50 years back . . . 49, basically. Greg was on the editorial board for decades, I suppose!

Gregory Alles (GA): Until you kicked me off!

MS: Right! (Laughs). And so the journal is published with Routledge since 2012, I believe. It had a series of publishers in between. And I also co-edit two book series. One called Religion and Reason for Walter de Gruyter and one called Critical Studies in Religion which is a bilingual series published by (a German publisher). I think that should suffice for the moment.

James White (JWh): Hello. So I’m James White. As our chair introduced me, I do work here at the University of Tartu as a research fellow. But actually, most of my career for the last three to four years has been spent at the Ural Federal University in Ekaterinburg, Russia. I’m a young scholar, at the beginning of my career – as that story wold suggest. I’ve probably published, in the last four – five years, about ten articles in both English language journals and Russian language journals. I do have some experience on the other side of the coin, because I’m actually the English Language Editor of (Russian name) which is the Journal of Russian Studies for Ural Federal University, currently on both Scopus and Web of Science. So I do have both the experience of a young, junior academic publishing, but also being on the editorial side of things. So, thank you very much.

GA: I’m Greg Alles. I wish I could say I’m at the beginning of my career. It would be nice to be a young scholar again. But of course I’m not. I’ve been co-editing Numen almost as long as Michael has been co-editing Religion. I started that in 2010 first with Olav Hammer and now with Laura Feldt. I was also, as Michael mentioned, on the editorial board of Religion for a long time. I think I started that in ’94. And MTSRMethod and Theory in the Study of Religion – I think in ’96. Eventually they get tired of you being on the editorial board and rotate you off, right? Which is a good thing. And so maybe that’s enough to say.

Jenny Butler (JB): I’m Jenny Butler and I’m based in the Department of Study of Religions at University College, Cork. I’m the secretary of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions. I’ve also been on a number of editorial boards. And I’ve guest edited some peer-reviewed journal volumes. And I published early on as a PhD student. I think that’s what I’m here to speak about.

Valerie Hall (VH): Hi. I’m Valerie Hall (5:00). I work for Equinox publishing. I’ve worked there since 2004, which was the beginning of the company, and previously worked at Continuum. And I do the marketing for the books and journals. But I also do some editorial work on the book side.

Joshua Wells (JW): Good evening. My name is Josh Wells. I work for Routledge, and I’m one of two Religion editors at Routledge so my colleague, Rebecca Shillabeer does books for undergrads – so pedagogical stuff, textbooks – and my focus is on research-level books in Religious Studies – so monographs and edited collections.

SO: And I should introduce myself as chair of this panel. I’m Suzanne Owen, based at Leeds Trinity University in the UK. I am also editor for the British Association for the Study of Religions, and on editorial boards as well. So we will open to discussion very soon. But I thought, maybe to start with: how did you first get something published? And just say, for the editors or the publishers, what was your first going out to find something to publish? How did that work? How did you go about that? So Michael – sorry I mispronounced your name earlier. How did you first get published, and in what?

MS: Good question. I think I started with book reviews. And I think my first proper article was published in a Scandinavian journal and at that time it was a Danish, Norwegian co-production. And that was based on a conference paper I gave. If that’s sufficient.

SO: Yes.

JWh: Thank you. My first publications. Well, I have to echo the comments of Michael, that my first serious publications were book reviews. I think, good training for later. But my first serious couple of publications . . . the first one I did was an article which was translated to Russian for the journal for which I now work. I didn’t work for it when it was published. I was asked by a colleague of mine, who was one of the only other people who specialises in the same subjects as I specialise in – because I chose an entirely irrelevant subject for my PhD Thesis! But my first, if you want to describe it in this way, major peer-reviewed English publication was for the Canadian Journal of Russian History. And of course it was an entirely different process with full peer-review, entirely different checks and balances that one had to tick off than publishing in the Russian journal, which was much more informal, and where the peer review team was internal and tended to be far less exacting. So that was my dual experience of publishing.

GA: I don’t really recall, to be honest with you. I don’t remember what the first publication was. I’d have to look at the CV and find out which came out first. No I don’t have it. It’s not there. I worked as an editorial assistant for a history of religions journal when I was a graduate student, so I kind-of knew the process. I knew what to do, right? I don’t know that my first article came out in HR but as a grad student I also co-wrote several things with Joseph Kitagawa and did some work with (audio unclear) who’s a specialist. And so I sort-of got into the business that way, right? So that’s another way that you can do that, is to co-write with your senior supervisors and so on.

JB: As far as I recall, the first publication was in a peer review journal called Cosmos produced by the Traditional Cosmology Society. And that was on the neopagan ritual year and gender. And it was a special issue of the journal that came out in 2002. Well it was dated 2002, but I think it had actually been backdated. So my first publication would have been . . . I think the first one was a book chapter in a book called Communicating in Cultures that was edited by (audio unclear). And it was published by Lit Verlag. You’ll have to excuse me because I have a cold and I’m trying not to cough. (10:00) (Laughs).

VW: Thanks. I can’t remember exactly the first one. But because I go to a lot of conferences – because I do the marketing at the academic conferences – my involvement with commissioning tends to be in talking to people at the conferences, where they can see the kind of books that we publish and approach us with proposals. So that’s kind-of one of the main reasons why I go to conferences like this. And that is how I’m involved in commissioning.

JW: So it’s also a while since I commissioned my first book. So I actually commissioned my first book as an editorial assistant. Before I was an editor. One thing I neglected to mention in my introduction is that I’ve been working at Routledge now for nearly ten years, but I’ve only been on the Religion list for three and a half years. And that’s, maybe, something to bear in mind when you’re preparing your proposal: that not every commissioning editor actually has their academic background in the subject that their commissioning in. So my academic background is in literature, and I commissioned my first book in Sports Science. So it was the absolutely vital tome The Science of Equestrian Sports. That was my first ever book. And similarly I happen to be attending a conference, and I met an academic there who wanted to publish. And the editor that was looking after me said, “Well, as you’ve made the contact, as a development opportunity you can see the book through the process.” So I was supervised in doing that.

Question 1: I’m Jason, a PhD student at the University of Tartu. My question is, is there a usual amount of time between a submission of an article and the decision on whether to publish it, and then the actual publication? Because I heard that a couple of journals, it takes them one to two years. So I’m just wondering what kind of range there is.

SO: We can start with the two at the end. James?

JWh: Yes. My experience – I mean I assume we’re talking about English language journals here? My experience has been, yes, a one-and-a-half to two years process. It can depend, as far as I’ve seen, basically on where you submit the article in terms of its content and the match between the content and the journal. So, for instance, I submitted a Russian history article to a general European History journal not very long ago. It took them a very long time to find peer reviewers, simply because they did not have, in their contact lists, specialists on Russian History. So it was . . . for what I regard as being a rather second rank publication, it took an extremely long time. But generally, yes. One-and-a-half to two years has been my experience.

GA: There are a lot of practical problems involved. And a lot of practical issues. On the one side, it’s a matter of getting something reviewed. And that’s often – I don’t know what your experience is like Michael, or yours is like, James – but that’s often outside of our control. Sometimes you get a peer review in within a week and it’s very positive, and then you’re waiting months and months. Somebody’s agreed to review it. They don’t respond, they don’t respond, they don’t respond.You nag, you nag, you nag, right? And that’s a frustrating experience. That’s on one hand. The other hand is in terms of how much copy you have in the pipeline. For a while, when Olav and I were editing Numen, we were both saying “Look, you’re e a new career scholar. You’re a junior scholar. We’ve got a backlog. We can’t publish anything that you give us until 2019.” So I recommended several people to go to other places because they needed to get published more quickly, right? That strategy also backfires because word gets out, “Oh, you got a backlog. It’s going to take a while”, and people stop sending you stuff, right? So, you’ve got to be careful about that. But you’ve got those two factors. And you want to be fair. I mean, if somebody’s got an article accepted they’re in line first. So you have to sort-of do that. It’s hard to say, exactly. It’s hard to predict exactly how long it’s going to take. And you can always ask the editor. If I think you need a publication out sooner than I can get it out, I’ll tell you. “This looks good, but you need to go someplace else, because you need to have that out.”

MS: Now I can only speak for Religion, and we do publish these figures roughly every other year in editorials where we list our referees (15:00). There we give the statistics about the time. Usually with Religion, and of course we are subject to the same factors as mentioned by Greg. It takes three months per decision step. So that means that usually we are able to provide a first decision after three months. But a first decision is very rarely to accept as is. That almost never happens. So then comes the second. And then you are, again, in this three month loop, right? So I think where much time is actually being lost, if you might say it like this, in this process where it adds up to these horrendously sounding figures like a year or two. It’s actually that when the authors get their review back they have other things to do. So they don’t do it right away sit down and revise and rewrite their articles. But then they get to it a couple of months later. And then they take their time. So sometimes we do not get a second version back until after a year. So that means, when you then, again, go for a the three months, and then maybe you have another round, and again you get it back after six months or so, then you end up with two years. But it has been with the journal only for twice three months. So you have to add the authors’ speed to revise. And then you see different attitudes. Some authors try to cut it short by just doing superficial revisions – kind-of doing some sort-of lip service to what is required – while others basically rewrite their papers. And that, of course, takes much more time, but might be a more rewarding exercise. Because then, of course, if you do just superficial revisions the chances are high that you’ll get it back again, that referees aren’t happy yet. So then, of course, you can complain that it takes so much time, but it’s also the authors who are involved here as the crucial factor. And now I agree that not all referees read the articles in the most sympathetic ways. But this is also their job as it were. The point is that as authors we are . . . I mean, we are not just editors we are also authors. So we are also subject to the same process. So we find ourselves misunderstood: “Why doesn’t the referee get it, what I’m trying to say?!” Now you might say, as a conspiracy theorist, that “They don’t want me published at all!” or “They’re stupid!”, or “They are malevolent”, or . . . what do I know? But the point is often, really, what seems very clear to us, when we write, isn’t very clear to others who read. So we then really have to take that to heart. I mean these people did a job; they did read the thing. And then, as authors, we should also actually . . . . It’s the referees’ duty to give us a favourable reading, but it’s also our duty to give the referees’ report a favourable reading. And that means that one really takes that seriously.

GA: I disagree just a little bit. I don’t think it’s the referees’ duty to give you a favourable reading,

MS: But a fair reading.

GA: A fair reading, yeah. A fair reading and an honest reading. And I think the worst thing you can do as an author is not take a referee’s report seriously. Take it seriously and revise. Probably the thing you don’t want is a quick decision. If I give you a decision in two weeks, three weeks . . .

MS: It’s not good! (Laughs).

GA: It probably means that I decided within twenty four hours that this was not really something that we really wanted. But I didn’t want you to feel too badly, so I’m going to hold onto it for two or three weeks and then give you a statement saying this is not for us, right? And maybe give you some indications. So the process is there to ensure that your work is the best work possible for this particular journal, and for your sake as well. So participate in the process and take it seriously.

SO: I would like to add, I guess . . . . Would you say, generally, to expect some revision? Yes, so in my experience too, I think, you expect some revision. (20:00) We can move onto another question here.

MS: Excuse me, may I just add one more comment? Please don’t resend an unrevised article to a different journal. We see this happening all the time: that articles that have been rejected here and there appear exactly in the same form on other editors’ desks. And this isn’t really a good way to make use of the resources that go into the peer review process. On the one hand. On the other hand be aware that our field is a collection of niches. The pool of potential referees is fairly restricted, so the chances are very high that you’ll run into the same referees everywhere. And we are getting these messages all the time, Greg don’t we? “You know, I have seen this paper before for a different journal.” And if you as an editor with a good conscience can say, “You know, you might have read it, but it’s now a very different paper”, then it might work. But it rarely is.

Question 2: My name is (audio unclear). I’m from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and my question is mostly directed towards the monograph side of publishing. So, very roughly, is it better to approach a series editor or the editor for the topic of religion in general? If there’s a particular series at a publishing house that fits what the monograph would be about, which way would be better to go? Thank you.

JW: So the answer to that, predictably, is that you can sort-of do both. And which would I recommend? Probably if you already have had some contact with the series editor and maybe you at least know each other by name, or have been at the same conference, it might be quite useful to approach them in the first place, because they’ll be able to give you a bit of advice on how to put the proposal together in a way that’s going to appeal to an editor like me. However, having said that, most editors like me are generally pretty friendly and looking for ideas. So actually, if you approached us with an idea we would give you guidelines and say, “This is how to submit proposals. These are the sort of things we’re looking for.” Maybe the only sort-of advantage of coming to an editor first is that obviously, if you go to a series editor, you might be limiting yourself to that series. And it might be, actually, that the editor says, “Well, actually I think there might be another series that it fits in a little bit better.” So, obviously, we’ve got a wider view of our publishing output. And so rather than have the slightly awkward situation where you’ve got to extricate yourself from a series, you might want to approach an editor first. So I think if you’re very clear on which your proposal is for and it’s definitely going to fit that series, and you’ve got a professional relationship with the series editors, I think it’s absolutely not inappropriate at all to approach them. But it would be absolutely fine to approach the publishing editor as well. Because we’ll have a conversation anyway. So whether it comes in via them or comes in via me, we’ll always share that proposal and discuss it first.

SO: I think Michael Stausberg would like to answer this, too.

MS: I think, as a series editor, of course I would like you to contact me! Because I mean usually, as series editors, you have a clear understanding of what kind of things you want to have in your series. And the publishers might not always kind-of have the same clarity in vision for a series. And even as a series editor of course you might say, you know, “May be you might want to take it to this series?” So we do not just say usually “We don’t fit.” But we might also suggest other alternative series. And please bear in mind that the national publication landscapes are very different. So when you work with the British press they usually operate very differently from the German press, for example. Or an Italian one. So there are very big national differences in terms of how to proceed with proposals or, for example, British presses or Anglo presses are more averse to publishing PhD theses as they are (25:00). Whereas this is quite normal in Germany, for example, where they would require only minor revisions and not a complete rewrite of your work. So be aware that the publishing requirements, and strategies, and procedures, and timelines, etc. are very different according to which country you go to. And previously, that was kind-of not really for you to worry about, because if you wanted to publish in English you had to go to an Anglo publisher anyway. But now since also German or Italian publishers, or French ones even, publish in English you as an author also have much more choice to draw benefits from this relatively non-homogeneous publishing landscape.

SO: I’d actually like to take that kind-of question to Jenny and James about your experience of proposing for book-length projects?

JB: I think part of it is knowing your own field. If it’s quite a niche area or . . . I work in New Religious Movements. So in locating a list and a particular publisher I educated myself on where it would best fit. I looked at what had already been published, and also looked at a series. So in terms of marketing a monograph, it’s usually good to be in a series. So to take those kinds of things into account as well.

SO: You often have to cite this in your proposal as well – your own research, into the field that you’re publishing in. You have to know it a bit.

Question 3: I’m Anya, I did my PhD at Cambridge which I recently finished, and I’ve started post-doc-ing there, as well. I have a brief question about inter-disciplinarity. I know that Religious Studies is its own thing, but many people approach it as a subject from other fields. And I was wondering if you have any suggestions for scholars who are outside of the core area of research who would like to publish within Religious Studies?

MS: Well I think Religion has a very long tradition of trying to absorb work from scholars outside of Religious Studies. And so if you ask, “Does one get in, not being part of the tribe?” I’d say this isn’t really an issue, is it? But I think, actually, when you look at open access, there are quite a number of interdisciplinary journals that are leading. And my impression is that the disciplinary journals, they have a long history and they are quite established. And sometimes new ones come up, and new publishers want to start publishing journals etc. But basically they’re . . . the dyes are cast. And as long as these journals aren’t run by an association that uses membership fees to sponsor journals that might feed into open access. I think the traditional journals are not really at the forefront of this, but in the interdisciplinary fields that is very different. Because they aren’t kind-of part of these disciplinary power structures. So I think, on the inter-disciplinary field, the open access landscape is much more vibrant. And this might actually be a very interesting option for scholars to get published also more . . . and get a wider reading. Because you are in the open access landscape.

GA: I think it’s really important point that you raise. But not quite the way you raise it. I don’t think Numen would reject an article simply because you don’t belong to the tribe. Because we don’t actually know what tribe you belong to, in one sense. But I think what you really need to do, when you submit an article to a journal, is know what its editorial range is, what its agenda is, what its scope is. Because sometimes I get articles and it’s like, “Well, this would be a great article for a journal specifically devoted to a particular topic.” (30:00) But we’re trying to reach a more general readership of all scholars of religions. So if it’s too narrowly focussed then it’s not right for us. But that does not mean it’s not right for someplace else. And there are other ways that you can be out of scope as well. So have a sense for what the editorial policy of the journal is, what the journal is trying to accomplish, the kinds of article that they published in the past. It’s no guarantee that they’re not going to go out of that range. In Numen we’ve got a habit of publishing a lot of philologically very heavy material, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to publish something that’s not philologically heavy .I would welcome things that aren’t philologically heavy. So if you have something that isn’t philologically heavy, think about our journal. But I think that’s what you need to do. Figure out what’s the editorial . . . what’s the journal trying to do editorially, and submit to them. You can always contact the editor, and the editor will let you know.

Question 4: My name is John, and I would like to ask a question on: how do we meet the challenges of the twenty-first century? I mean, do people still read the paper journals? The general public, not scientists, not limited . . .? I mean, I notice that my grandfather reads, but I don’t know what my children will be reading. Because the contemporary generation is only on the internet, not in the books any more. How do we, as scientists, meet this change and reach this audience, the general public?

SO: I know that Valerie Hall, at Equinox…

VH: Our journals are on-line, and definitely the print is going way down. So the preference is for on-line journals now, really. I mean, we have one journal which is only on-line. And I can see that others might potentially go that way. Or the other thing we’re thinking about doing is perhaps having just one print volume at the end of each year, with all of the issues in it, rather than sending out individual issues throughout the year. So it’s definitely moving towards on-line for sure, I think.

JW: I’ll add to that that again, books are slightly different. We would sort-of find at Routledge that the increase in the share of where our revenue comes from is getting more and more from electronic, but not as quickly as you might think. So it was a very fast increase and then it’s actually tended to plateau a bit. Do I think the technological changes are coming? Yes. But I think they’re actually not in every area of academia. I don’t think they’re going as quickly as people suspect they might. Because they’re still . . . some people still just prefer printed stuff, for all sorts of reasons. But I think all publishers are definitely having to react to people expecting . . . . The thing about making your content electronic is that it’s just much easier to find, in the great sea of information. So adding discoverability tools. And I think a lot of publishers are looking at how they can organise their content, how they can deliver their content in a way that you can find it, simply and easily, by typing in a couple of key search words. So I think that’s probably going to be one of the key challenges going forwards. It might still be in print but it’ll have to probably be print and electronic at all times so people can find stuff – and they might buy the print anyway, after that.

SO: And I don’t doubt, briefly, Joshua and Valerie, that you are now advising the future of publishing as publishers. And maybe either warning, or preparing authors, or changing things? So what would you say that you think is developing, that we need to know about perhaps?

VH: I’d have to think about that!

SO: I mean in terms of the commercial aspect, I guess that’s always a priority.

JW: OK. So, for many of us, governmental educational budgets, and maybe individual institutional library budgets have tended to shrink. (35:00)You know, it was the case that libraries would buy books just on the off-chance they might need them. But now, many of them have electronic systems where, basically, if enough people request it then they automatically order a copy. So that is obviously better for libraries, because they’re only buying what people want, and what people use. And that’s absolutely fair enough. But publishers are going to have to react to that by, it’s not just enough to be in the general field and probably someone will pick it up. Actually it’s got to be useful to somebody. So I would think, if you’re thinking about putting your proposal together, quite a lot of that proposal should be explaining to me, as an editor who’s going to read it, why is it useful? How does it fit into the general academic conversation that’s going on in your field? Because we are having to be more and more judicious about what we put through. Because things that are being bought are things that people are actively requesting to use – increasingly, anyway.

VH: Yes, I would definitely agree with that. I mean one of the things we are trying to do is publish more textbooks, and less monographs, probably. Sorry, fewer monographs. But yes. It’s definitely true about the libraries and it’s a customer-demand-driven acquisitions model now. So definitely e-books are increasing and print books are decreasing, in terms of sales, I would say. And also library packages are something we’re really pushing at the moment. So we have subject packages with journals and books, just journals, just books – libraries can choose which titles they want to have. You can have front lists, back lists, it’s basically bespoke packages for different libraries. So that’s kind-of where it’s going for us really, at the moment.

SO: And do people want to talk a little bit about what the process of reviewing is? You’ve indicated Greg, a little bit about the process, about where it goes to, and the stages. And is there anything more to add to that?

GA: What do you have in mind, specifically?

SO: With the journals, in general. Do they all follow the same pattern, do you think? Do they all have a checklist? And they all have two reviewers?

GA: I think the protocol these days has become two blind reviewers. If the reviewers disagree then I always try and get a third person, unless it’s something that I know about. And then I also try and assess, do I think the reviewer’s been fair? Or do I think the reviewer’s done a decent job? Some reviewers are very, very thorough. Some reviewers aren’t very thorough. Sometimes you can see personal animosity in the review, and you try and allow for that. And, as James said, you try and give the author some directions. I had cases where I’ve written to the author and I’ve said “This reviewer is just really a nasty person. Don’t take it personally. I disagree with . . . . There are things here that are worth considering, but don’t take it personally”, right?

SO: I have to say the first time I had something published was based off of a conference paper, because I was invited to submit the finished article. But it was still liable for revision or rejection. But that was my foot in. And I think that’s why presenting at conferences is also . . . . Because there’s lots of editors roaming around who might be looking for articles, as well. But obviously it depends. Some of these journals have this backlog. It maybe that you’re not hunting them out, but there’s probably lots of other journals who are actually looking for papers.

VH: Yes, we often publish papers with thematic issues, special issues, which come from conferences. So that would just be papers from a particular conference and that’s very successful. Sometimes they become book volumes as well, afterwards.

SO: Do you want to comment on that?

GA: I know Brill likes to have special issues for Numen, because they think that the different articles are going to feed off of each other. So if you’ve got a whole set of articles… like we had an issue on “Religion and Terrorism” that Jim Lewis edited. Mark Jeurgensmeyer was in there, Lorne Dawson was in there, and so on. And you know, that then attracts attention. Because it has higher visibility. So another thing to think about in terms of getting yourself published is not just to submit individual articles but try and get a group of people together to work on the same topic and then submit a whole block. (40:00) And that’s often received much more favourably.

SO: Yes. To propose a group of papers in a theme, or particular problem that you are addressing, together. Yes.

MS: If I just may comment on the backlog. There are different procedures, of course, among the journals. So for example with Religion, we first publish digital and then eventually it comes in an issue. But there can be a year, or one-and-a-half years, between these two dates. Whereas other journals . . . I think Numen still doesn’t have that. So then you are kind-of more dependent on when the next slot is free. But let me just add this. I think we do have very many journals out there. And the publishers, apparently, are eager to put out more journals because it gives kind-of payment up front if you have subscribers. So it’s apparently a lucrative strategy. And the field is an ecology, or a market, where all the time new players want to come in. And the question is are they sustainable? Is the thematic range too small or, I don’t know, or key actors disappear or shift their interest. But in general there are very many journals in the field. And in that sense, really, it shouldn’t be impossible to be published. It’s rather the contrary. The contrary fact is that there are very few good, or very good, articles out there. If you get them to us, we’d be delighted. So I think we can just say that. You get many articles, but the ones that really kind-of make a point, argue solidly, give a clean argument, have good documentation, make some contribution, are well-written and somehow relevant, are not that many. So I just wrote that down. I wanted to get that across. So on the one hand there aren’t that many good, or very good, or even shining articles out there. On the other hand, there are many journals. So don’t be kind-of discouraged. Try to seek journals that fit your articles. Don’t necessarily go to a generalist journal. If you have something that, for example, specifically deals with fieldwork then there is a particular journal on fieldwork in religion, which maybe isn’t of interest for a generalist journal. So try to screen the journal landscape and you’d be surprised how many journals there are. They are all craving for content, right? And that is basically… yeah. You want to add something?

GA: (Laughter) What I would say, coming to this . . . and I was thinking, there are plenty of opportunities out there. All you have to do to get published is have something important to say, and say it well, right? Have something important to say, and say it well. And then find somebody who wants to hear it. And you know, be really self-critical. But then also write, and write, and write. Human beings and human brains did not evolve to write, we’ve evolved to speak, right? Writing is a skill, writing is an art. It takes practice. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. And sometimes you may think you have a great article. Be critical. I mean you can write an article and then look at it: “I’ll bin this. This is garbage! Why did I write this?” Because you just don’t like it any more. But then, turn to something else and move on from there. But if you have something important to say, and you can say it well, somebody will publish it.

SO: We got to you in the middle, I think. You haven’t asked a question yet.

Question 5: I’m Monica, from SOAS. And I’m doing my PhD there now. And I would like to know how you deal with the different scenarios of knowledge production between the Global North and the Global South. So at the moment, your articles have to be paid for and a lot of people are being excluded, right, from accessing the knowledge and being part of the system of knowledge production? And, as somebody who is working in the Global South, I really would like to have my work being accessible to the people I’m working with. So now I’m facing this moral dilemma. On the one side, that is there, but on the other side I also would like to pursue a career in academia. So do you see any solutions to this, or any suggestions on this please?

SO: I’m thinking Greg Alles?

GA: Yes this is . . . I think that’s a really, really important question. And it doesn’t just involve publication, but it involves the entire academy. I think there’s . . . . It’s probably, maybe, a question that’s under people’s radars, right? But it’s still there. It becomes a real problem because scholarly conventions differ from one place to the next, to the next, to the next, right? And it’s not always easy for reviewers, for editors to . . . . I try and see, try and discern where people are coming from and see potential, and see whether they can be made into something that’s worthwhile, and try and give advice in that way. During my time at Numen, I’ve really wanted to bring in authors from different parts of the world. We don’t get much submitted from the Global South – I wish we did. You know, we don’t get much submitted from Asia. There are certain problems there in terms of linguistic facility, also certain problems in terms of the audience that people want to address. This is only tangentially related to what you asked. But one thing that’s been really frustrating for me . . . . But I understand where it’s coming from, because I’ve written in German. I can talk in German but my written German isn’t great, right? English, if you’re writing in English, or German, or French, whatever language you’re writing in, if it’s not your native language there are certain kinds of errors that people tend to make. And those, unless you learn the language at age five age six . . . . I think it was this room I heard a woman do a talk on language learning by adults, versus language learning by kids. And there are certain kinds of mistakes that adults are just going to make routinely, simply because of the way they learned languages, right? And as an editor, I’ve spent a lot . . . . When I first started with Numen, we didn’t have a copy editor and I spent a lot of time revising articles sentence by sentence, by sentence, by sentence – just reworking the English language. And that’s frustrating. And so it would be in your best interest, if English isn’t your first language – or German, French, whatever it is – to have someone read over the language and improve the language, so that it looks as good as possible when it’s submitted. Because it could be very interesting. But if it’s going to cost me a hundred hours of time to put it in a readable fashion, I’m going to think three times before I accept it. And, you know, I’ve spent way too much time revising people’s English. I’m happy to do it, but after a while one just says, “Enough is enough”. So keep that in mind. Because a lot of people here . . . .

SO: Make it easy for them.

GA: Make it easy for us. If you’re submitting an article in English, and I guess most people are. We’re supposed to publish in German and French, but we haven’t done it for years. If you’re submitting an article in English, have a native speaker look it over so it reads well. Because otherwise, it’s just a real headache. And then you’re going to think twice about it. So keep that in mind. Also keep in mind the scholarly conventions where you’re trying to publish.

SO: And now you’re also talking about access to the Global South as well. Not just from the Global South to publishing, but access to the Global North.

Monica (M): Yes, and how I personally can find a balance between on the one side trying to pursue a career in the West, where I’m living . . . (50:00).

SO: In English language journals.

M: And at the same time having my writings accessible to the people whom I’m working with, so that I also get a very honest and critical feedback. So that the knowledge is not legitimised only from one side.

SO: As far as I know, if something’s in translation you can publish it independently, I mean through a different publisher.

JW: That would depend on your contract.

M: But with the indexing . . . . Then it’s not part of one of these journal titles.

SO: Yes. Do you have partners with other . . .? I don’t know if that’s the kind of question you’re looking at. But you want your people that you work with to be able to read it?

M: Yes. So for example, in the university . . . . In, say, a university in Saudi. I have studied there as well, and I have seen that so many of the journals are just not accessible because the universities do not have the subscriptions. So it just becomes very difficult. And there is a very one-sided knowledge which is legitimised from the West, even though we are talking about other areas.

SO: Just briefly, yes.

VH: The only thing I can say is that for some journals we do have preferential rates for some parts of the world, so it’s worth looking on the journal website. Some of them are much cheaper.

SO: Sure, James. Yes.

JW: Simply that, as maybe the only other person on the panel who works on a non-English speaking journal, a non-English language journal: for a start, to make our work accessible to my colleagues in Russian universities – and we publish from a Russian university – our journal is open access, and is devotedly open access. Despite offers from Elsevier last year, we have decided to remain open access, to provide access to our Russian colleagues. And I have to reflect and repeat the sentiments offered earlier, that basically, of course, I have many excellent Russian colleagues who wish to publish in Western journals, who wish to publish in English. And often the boundary . . . the problem isn’t language; they can write perfectly acceptable English with a few corrections here and there. It’s simply the academic Russian style and the English or Anglo academic style are almost . . . are extremely different. And when you’ve put this into . . . when a Russian has written an English article, it does look, you know, very different. And it sometimes won’t be accepted by an English or Anglo Academic journal precisely because the style is different. The Russians, they like their point-by-point argumentation rather than a narrative, for instance. I’m a historian, so in British historical journals in particular, we like a nice narrative, a nice story. We don’t like this point-by-point analytical argumentation.

SO: I just wanted to say that we haven’t actually talked about the pay-to-publish . . . which you might feel under pressure to do as a new scholar. And don’t do it. Try to find other ways first. But I would like to end, actually, with our final advice in maybe one sentence. I know Michael has a list. But if you can give some final advice about what you wish the people who approach you had in mind, or could do, before they approach you to submit an article?

MS: Let me say something more general, please. On the one hand, please don’t let yourself be irritated or discouraged by the fact that everybody else seems to be publishing much more than you do. This is, I think, something that we all think. “All the others are much more productive.” I mean set yourself a realistic goal: what can I achieve given my constraints? Don’t think of, I don’t know, seven pieces or articles when you have lots of teaching to do. Make clear what you can achieve, and don’t try to get kind-of distracted in all sorts of directions. And also, don’t try to overpublish. There is the tendency to think that if you have a publication list of twenty titles, you’ll get hired. If you only have three, you don’t. I think it doesn’t really work that well if you have ten articles that basically all say the same thing, (55:00) and quote the same sources. That will also, basically, at some point, be held against you by some committee. So, rather, try to do some really good pieces rather than do tons of things that are basically identical. And another thing is, I think there are two pitfalls. One is you can be a perfectionist and the other one you can be sloppy. And you should avoid both. If you are a perfectionist you will never end up publishing anything, because you will always be unhappy. So even if you are unhappy, spread the paper. Often people really like what you write, even though you don’t. So it helps you to kind-of get . . . it’s always good to get . . .

SO: Other perspectives.

MS: Not only to get the criticism, but also to get encouragement. But don’t be sloppy, either. I mean, really work on your writing. Get your argument across, and don’t try to take short cuts. So I think it’s in between. It’s in between these two things. And one final thing: something we do very little still in Religious Studies, or the Study of Religions, or whatever you might call it, is co-author. We get very few articles that are co-authored. Don’t you also, Greg? And I’ve co-authored with a handful of people. And it’s always been a very rewarding process. And some of the things that we’ve been talking about here actually become then part of the set up: that you comment on each other’s pieces. And I think this will be, also. . . . And when you get the reports back, you aren’t kind-of alone in receiving the feedback. I think this is really a rewarding experience. And I think we are still doing this to far too little a degree.

SO: I think rather than everyone answer, if somebody has something to add to that, that’s different? Greg, do you have something different to add to that? Or Valerie?

JWh: I’m just going to add, from my perspective as a young career scholar, in both the jobs I have now the attitude still is “publish or perish”. And you have to take that into account, as you’re publishing. As much as we would like to take all the time in the world to perfect and get our articles right, there is always going to be pressure on you from grant bodies, from university bodies, to publish as much as possible. This can make it difficult, sometimes, to get the kind of quality that you would like. I know from my position, I have to publish a certain amount in a year. You are going to have to learn to deal with this, I think, most certainly, to try and balance these two things between quality and pressure. But the thing that I would emphasise – especially if you haven’t published an academic article yet, you haven’t published your book – is, it is a learning experience. Your experience of writing so far is a long form dissertation, or long form thesis, not a ten thousand word article. It takes time to perfect that. So if your first article that gets published doesn’t satisfy your desire for quality, well, over time you’ll get better at short form writing, I think. Over time you’ll be able to perfect short form writing. I’ve certainly found, comparing my first ten thousand word article to the last couple I’ve written is, personally, I’m more satisfied with how I write short form now. So that’s my only advice.

GA: Two pieces, actually. One: don’t get discouraged. I don’t know how you feel. Writing for me is a very personal thing. I sort-of bleed myself onto the page, in a way. And if you get somebody who’s criticising you, that could be taken very, very personally. It can be a very discouraging experience. Don’t let that happen. You have to have a certain amount of self- confidence. Everybody gets criticism. Everybody gets rejected. And you can’t let that stop you. So I think that’s a really, really important point about where the writer comes from. The second thing – and maybe we’ve gotten away from this a little bit – for a while, everything that was published was “ground-breaking”, was “brilliant”, was “paradigm-shifting”! (1:00:00) I just hate that inflated rhetoric! I’d rather people be honest about what the contribution is that their article is making, and their manuscript is making, and not say “This is changing the paradigm! It’s going to change the way people think for the next two hundred years!” Because that just isn’t going happen. In most cases it’s not going to happen. So, just be honest to yourself and be honest to the people you’re selling the material to, about what the contribution is.

JB: I’ll add a very general piece of advice. The “publish or perish” situation is true. But try not to think of it that way – or try not to focus on that. Try not to focus on what will get you hired, or what will be funded, because it’s important to have passion for what you do. Because you need that if you’re going to be an academic. You need to love what you do, what you research, and to be enthusiastic about it. And when you publish, it opens up other opportunities. And the academy is a community. And there are many positive outcomes, and all of the different aspects of academia are interconnected. So, for example, people tried to dissuade me from publishing on areas that really have nothing to do with my main area of research, things that I’m personally interested in. So I am interested in popular culture and film studies, which is not the area that I work in. So I published something on that many years ago, and now I’m in a position to merge that into Study of Religions, into what I’m mainly doing now. So you know, follow what you most want to do.

SO: I have two audiences as well, and two fields. So you know it’s ok to do that. Last advice?

VH: Yes, I don’t have a lot to add. Just the idea of collaboration is brilliant, I think, for book projects and journal articles as well. And if you’re not collaborating, just try and get as much feedback from other people as you possibly can, and make sure that the kind-of remit of the piece of writing is appropriate for the word length that you’re given, as well. I think that can be a problem sometimes.

SO: And lastly, Joshua?

JW: Yes, ok. So I think I would say, firstly, that as a publisher I want your book to be good – because I want to do good books. So don’t feel like you have to come to me cap in hand. It’s actually . . . if you’ve got a good idea and a good book, I want to hear about it. I think, secondly, just think about how you’re explaining that idea. So if you can try and come out of your involvement with it for a second and think about it . . . put yourself in my shoes. If you’ve just got this email through, how might you react to it? And just a very small practical thing, if you were emailing someone like me out of the blue. What I quite like in an email: introduce yourself, say what stage you’re at, maybe a paragraph or something just explaining the book and then say, “Does that sound interesting?” Because if you just send me your thesis and go “Do you want to publish it?”, very honestly, I don’t have time to sit and read your whole thesis. I’ve got hundreds of emails a day, hundreds of projects to look through a year. So, just a brief summary that I can get the general gist of it, and that’s going to make me much more likely to respond to you quickly. If you leave it quite vague, I’m going put that on the I’ll-get-to-that-in-a-bit pile. That’s just a bit of honesty. Brief, concise detail in your initial contact with me will probably go a long way.

SO: Well, I think we will end it here. And I’d like to thank our speakers here answering questions, and also all of you for coming, and staying this long, and asking questions. And so thank you very much, and enjoy the rest of the conference. And come and speak to the publishers!

 

 

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EASR 2019 Publishing Panel (Classroom Edit)

This panel, recorded at the EASR conference 2019 at the University of Tartu, is intended for PhD students and early career scholars who want to learn more about the publishing world. We encourage listeners to watch the video version of this week’s episode on YouTube, which has timestamps in the video description for the different questions answered by these experienced editors and publishers in their hour-long discussion.   On the panel chaired by Suzanne Owen were Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, and James White.   This event was organized by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions and University of Tartu in cooperation with Religious Studies Project, and was supported by the European Regional Developmental Fund (through Enterprise Estonia). We thank them for their generous help to produce this resource.    

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Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 24 May 2016

Calls for papers

BASR: Religion Beyond the Textbook

September 5–7, 2016

University of Wolverhampton, UK

Deadline: May 31, 2016

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

May 23–26, 2017

Concepción, Chile

Deadline: August 30, 2016

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

September 23, 2016

Trinity College, Cambridge, UK

Deadline: June 1, 2016

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

September 21, 2016

University of Manchester, UK

Deadline: June 17, 2016

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

March 24–25, 2017

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany

Deadline: September 4, 2016

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

November 10–11, 2016

Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion, The Netherlands

Deadline: June 1, 2016

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Exodus: Migrants and frontiers

September 21–23, 2016

University of Aveiro, Portugal

Deadline: June 12, 2016

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Comparative Study of Religious Seminaries

October 5, 2016

UCL, UK

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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

26-28 September 2016

Durham University, UK

Deadline: May 31, 2016

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

October 1, 2016

Boston University, USA

Deadline: June 1, 2016.

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Middle East – Topics and Arguments

Special issue: Iconography

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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Open Journal of Social Sciences

Special issue: Cross-Cultural Studies

Deadline: May 31, 2016

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Events

Modern Religious History

June 14–15, 2016

University of Stirling, UK

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Public Religions and Their Secrets, Secret Religions and Their Publics

October 27–28, 2016

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

NEW DEADLINE: June 1, 2016

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Summer school: Doing and Communicating Qualitative Research

July 4–8, 2016

Kingston University London, UK

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

June 3–4, 2016

Aberdeen, Scotland

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Religion, Gender and Sexualities

July 1, 2016

Aston University, UK

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

June 22–24, 2016

The Loyola Institute in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

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Translating Buddhism

June 30–July 2, 2016

York St John University, UK

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Awards

Sofja Kovalevskaja Award

Humboldt Foundation

Deadline: July 31, 2016

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Jobs

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

University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: June 1, 2016

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University Teacher in Islamic Studies

University of Glasgow, UK

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Tutor: Theology and Religious Studies

University of Glasgow, UK

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University Teacher

University of Glasgow, UK

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Doctoral scholarships

University of Erfurt, Germany

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PhD positions: History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Deadline: July 15, 2016

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Utrecht University, The Netherlands

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PhD positions: Medieval Studies

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: August 1, 2016

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Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 27 October 2015

Dear subscriber,

Please be aware that the previous Opportunities Digest contained two mistakes in the posting of the 41st Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, which may have confused some readers. A corrected version of the listing is found below. 

As usual, we would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has forwarded notifications. On that note, we would also like to encourage you to continue to do so (and invite those who remain hesitant to begin)!

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

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Calls for papers

Symposium: 41st Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions

April 15–17, 2016

Deadline: December 7, 2015

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Conference: Construction and disruption: The power of religion in the public sphere

July 12–14, 2016

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: December 11, 2015

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Conference: Heritage, Religion and Travel

May 27–29, 2016

Mersin Congress and Exhibitions Centre, Turkey

Deadline: December 15, 2015

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Conference: Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe

April 6–8, 2016

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

Deadline: December 31, 2015

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Journal: Gamevironments

Topics: Gamevironments, Games, Religion, and Culture

Deadline: January 15, 2016

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Events

Conference: Collective Worship and Religious Observance in Schools

University of Leicester, UK

November 13, 2015

More information

Conference: Allaitement entre Humans et Animaux: Représentations et Pratiques de l’Antique à Aujourd’hui

November 12–14, 2015

Université de Genève, Switzerland

More information

Winter School: Interrelational Selves and Individualization

January 5–9, 2016

University of Erfurt, Germany

More information

Workshop: The Diversity of Nonreligion

November 12–14, 2015

University of Zürich, Switzerland

More information

Jobs

New managing editor

The Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network

Deadline: November 6, 2015

More information

4 new members for Editorial Board

Sociology

Deadlines vary

More information

Junior Professorship: Anthropology and History of Religion in South Asia

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: November 30, 2015

More information

Senior Lecturer/Lecturer in Politics/International Relations and Religion

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: November 15, 2015

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 13 October 2015

Dear subscriber,

We are pleased to bring you this week’s opportunities digest, booming with calls for papers, events and job opportunities!

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has forwarded notifications. On that note, we would also like to encourage you to continue to do so (and invite those who remain hesitant to begin)!

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

We thank you for your contribution.

Now, sink your teeth into this:

Calls for papers

Conference: Religious Materiality and Emotion

February 17–18, 2016

Adelaide City, Australia

Deadline: October 31, 2015

More information

Conference: Hermeneutics, symbol and myth and the Modernity of Antiquity in Italian Literature and the Arts

December 1–2, 2015

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy

Deadline: November 10, 2015

More information

Conference: Shia Minorities in the Contemporary World

May 20–21, 2016

University of Chester, UK

Deadline: December 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Religion and Non-Religion in Contemporary Societies

April 21–24, 2016

Zadar, Croatia

Deadline: November 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Esotericism, Literature and Culture in Central and Eastern Europe

May 27–28, 2016

Belgrade, Serbia

Deadline: December 1, 2015

More information

Conference: Religion and Revolution

June 16–17, 2016

University College Cork, Ireland

Deadline: January 21, 2016

More information

Conference: Dialogue among religions as strategy and means for peace

July 12–15, 2016

Havana, Cuba

Deadline: November 20, 2015

More information

Conference: Anticipating the End Times: Millennialism, Apocalypticism, and Utopianism in Intentional Communities

October 6–8, 2016

Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Deadline: May 15, 2016

More information

Conference: Knowing Demons, Knowing Spirits

July 5–7, 2016

University of Oxford, UK

Deadline: November 10, 2015

More information

Colloquium: Translating Christianities

December 7, 2015

University of Stirling, UK

Deadline: October 30, 2015

More information

Symposium: The End of the World: A Universal Imagination

June 8–10, 2016

Nantes, France

Deadline: December 15, 2015

More information

Symposium: 41st Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions

April 15–17, 2015

Cardiff University, UK

Deadline: December 7, 2014

More information

Symposium: Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies

December 7–9, 2015

University of Oxford, UK

Deadline: November 6, 2015

More information

EASR panel: Nonreligion and Atheism in Central and Eastern Europe

June 28–July 1, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

More information

Journal: Preternature

Special issue: Delineating the Preternatural: Modern Occultism in a Scientific Context

Deadline: December 15, 2015

More information

Journal: Open Theology

Special issue: Religion and Racism: Intercultural Perspectives

Deadline: January 31, 2016

More information

Events

Conference: Religion, Addiction and Recovery

November 2, 2015

University of Chester, UK

More information

Seminar: Islamic Studies in Scotland: Retrospect and Prospect

October 23–24, 2015

University of Edinburgh, UK

More information

Jobs

4 PhD positions: “Communication and Exploitation of Knowledge in the Middle Ages”

University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Deadline: October 15, 2015

More information

Assistant Professor of Religion: Buddhist Studies

Bard College, NY, USA

Deadline: November 1, 2015

More information

Senior Research Associate: CREST

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: October 23, 2015

More information

Doctoral positions: Muslim Cultures and Societies

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Deadline: November 15, 2015

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 24 February 2015

Call for papers

Journal: Open Theology

Special issue: Manichaean religion

Deadline: June 15, 2015

More information

Journal: Secularism & Nonreligion

Special issue: Intersectionality and Power

Deadline: August 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Material Religion: Embodiment, materiality, technology

September 11–12, 2015

Duke University, NC, USA

Deadline: March 15, 2015

More information

Events

Conference: Nature and Religion

March 13–14, 2015

University of Bristol, UK

More information

Seminar: Mourning and Morbidity: Death and British Art

March 10, 2015

University of York, UK

More information

Jobs

PhD Studentship in Ethical Monotheism

Birkbeck University of London, UK

Deadline: March 20, 2015

More information

Canadian Women’s and Gender History

St Francis Xavier University, Canada

Deadline: March 6, 2015

More information

Visiting Assistant Professor in Religion and Gender & Queer Studies

University of Puget Sound, WA, USA

Deadline: Until filled

More information

Instructor of Religion

Western Carolina University, NC, USA

Deadline: Until filled

More information

Research Assistant

Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany

Deadline: April 1, 2015

More information (English, German)

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 17 February 2015

Dear subscribers,

Welcome to this week’s digest!

We are grateful to everyone who forwards calls for papers, notifications of events, and job openings. Please continue to do so in the future!

Don’t forget the address! It’s oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com

Have a lovely week!

Calls for papers

Journal: Nordic Journal of Youth Research

Special issue: Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Culture

Deadline: May 31, 2015

More information

Article collection: Healing gods, heroes and rituals in the Graeco-Roman world

Open Library of Humanities

Deadline: May 25, 2015

More information

Events

FCSU Faith and Public Professions: Does teacher training help teachers teach religion?

February 18, 2015, 5:30–7:00 PM

Goldsmiths University of London, UK

More information

Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions 2015

April 10–12, 2015

Edinburgh, UK

More information

RomArché: Archeologia e antropologia della morte

May 20–22, 2015

Rome, Italy

More information (Italian, English)

Summer school: ERiC: Eurasian Religions in Contact

July 20–28, 2015

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

Deadline: March 6, 2015

More information

Jobs

Researchers in Ancient History of Religion

University of Erfurt, Germany

More information (GermanEnglish)

Dissertation reviews: Editor

Deadline: February 20, 2015

More information

PhD studentships

University of Winchester, UK

Deadline: March 13, 2015

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 10 February 2015

Calls for papers

Conference: In Search of the Origins of Religions

September 11–13, 2015

Ghent, Belgium

Deadline: March 1, 2015

More information (English)

Conference: Second Undegraduate Conference on Religion and Culture

March 28, 2015

Syracuse, NY, USA

Deadline: February 15, 2015

More information

Symposium: Society for the Study of Religion and Transhumanism (SSRT)

June 27, 2015

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2015

More information

AAR group: Secularism and Secularity

Deadline: March 2, 2015

More information

Journal: Studi e materiali di storia delle religioni

Theme issue: Religion as a Colonial Concept in Early modern History (Africa, America, Asia)

Deadline: May 15, 2015

More information

Article collection: Religious subcultures in Unexpected Places

Deadline: May 1, 2015

More information

Events

Conference: International Tyndale Conference

October 1–4, 2015

Oxford, UK

More information

Congress: “Ad Astra per Corpora: Astrología y Sexualidad en el Mundo Antiguo

February 19–21, 2015

Málaga, Spain

More information (Spanish)

Jobs

Research assistant: Indology

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany

Deadline: February 28, 2015

More information (German)

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 27 January 2015

Calls for papers

Conference: Tracing the Path of Tolerance: History and Critique of a Political Concept from the Early Modern Period to the Contemporary Debate

May 26–27, 2015

University of Padua, Italy

Deadline: March 1, 2015

More information

Conference: Sociology of Islam: Reflection, Revision & Reconceptualization

June 25–27, 2015

Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

Deadline: January 30, 2015

More information

Seminar: Myth(s) in the Social Sciences and Humanities

May 13, 2015, 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM

University of York, UK

Deadline: March 2, 2015

More information

Panel series/Journal: Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence

AAR program unit

Deadline: N/A

More information

Journal: Glossolalia

Deadline: March 23, 2015

More information

Book series: Philosophy of Religion, De Gruyter Open

Deadline: February 28, 2015

More information

Conference

Sister Act: Female monasticism and the Arts across Europe ca. 1250–1550

March 13–14, 2015

London, UK

More information

Jobs

University Lecturer in the Study of Religion

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: February 2, 2015

More information (Norwegian)

PhD scholarship: “Nature, culture, identity”

University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: February 12, 2015

More information (Norwegian)

Senior Lecturer/Associate Director in Women’s and Gender Studies

Vanderbilt University, USA

Deadline: February 1, 2015

More information

Mellon Visiting Assistant Professhorship

University of California Davis, USA

Deadline: March 9, 2015

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 9 December 2014

Welcome to the RSP opportunities digest!

Dear subscriber,

We are always grateful for your submissions and contributions to the opportunities digest, so please feel free to forward calls for papers, conference, job, grant notices etc. to us!

As per usual:

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

Calls for papers

Conference: “‘Making all things new?’ Evangelii Gaudium and Ecumenical Mission

June 29–July 1, 2015

St John’s College, Cambridge

Deadline: February 18, 2015

More information

Conference: Astrology as Art: Representation and Practice

June 27–28, 2015

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Deadline: December 31, 2014

More information

Conference: Power and Speech: Mythology of the Social and the Sacred

June 10–12, 2015

Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Information and values: ethics, spirituality and religion

June 2015

Vienna, Austria

Deadline: February 27, 2015

More information

Anthology: Video Games and Religion: Methods and Approaches

Editors: Vit Sisler, Kerstin Radde-Antweiler, Xenia Zeiler

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

Journal: Princeton Theological Review Special Issue

Theme: Church for the World: Essays in Honor of the Retirement of Darrell L. Guder

Deadline: February 1, 2015

More information

Journal: Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology

Deadline: March 31, 2015

More information

Grants and awards

Donnerska institutets pris för framstående religionsforskning 2015

Deadline: January 31, 2015

More information (Swedish)

Jobs

Junior and Senior Fellows

Heidelberg University, Germany

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

Four major scholarships

Swedish Institute in Rome, Italy

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information (generalarchaeologyarchitecturephilology and art history, form

15 fully funded PhD scholarships

Nottingham Trent University, UK

Deadline: December 12, 2014

More information

MPhil/PhD Religious Studies programme w/opportunities for funding

Goldsmiths, University of London UK

Deadline: January 14

More information

Postdoctoral fellowship

Université de Montréal, Canada

January 15, 2015

More information (English, French)

PhD position

Durham University, UK

Deadline: January 26, 2015

More information

PhD position in research group “The Politics of Resources”

Berlin, Germany

Deadline: December 12, 2014

More information (German)

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 28 July 2014

Calls for papers

Conference: IAHR registration reminder

August 23–29, 2015

Erfurt, Germany

Calls for: papers, panels

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information

Conference: Migration, Religion and Asia

November 27–29, 2014

Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: August 31, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conference: Presence and Invisibility: Sign-bearing artefacts in sacral spaces

February 23–25, 2015

Heidelberg, Germany

Calls for: lecture proposals

Deadline: September 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conference: 2nd Biennial Graduate Conference on Iranian Studies

April 8–9, 2015

University of Cambridge, UK

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: November 15, 2014

More information

IAHR panel: Way of Life and/as Religious Knowledge: Premodern Constellations?

Calls for: papers

Deadline: September 1, 2014

More information (pdf)

BASR roundtable: Interrogating integrity? Insider and outsider social research with faith based groups

Calls for: discussants

Deadline: July 29, 2014

More information (pdf)

Journal: Science, Religion & Culture

Special issue: Atheism, Secularity and Science

Calls for: Articles, art

Deadline: December 31, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conferences and events

Conference: Defining Jewish Medicine

July 27–29, 2014

UCL, UK

More information (pdf)

SocRel response to gender trouble in theology and religious studies

October 4, 2014

London, UK

More information (pdf)

Workshop: Gods and Goddesses in Ancient Italy

September 18, 2014

University of Oxford, UK

More information

Networking day: Researching Gender in Theology and Religious Studies

September 27, 2014, 10 AM–4 PM

Birmingham, UK

More information (pdf)

Material and literature

Free access: Virtual special issues from Folklore

More information

Jobs

2 PhD scholarships in Buddhist Studies

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany

Deadline: September 15, 2014

More information

Postdoc: Value politics: Religion in foreign affairs?

University of Oslo, Norway

Deadline: October 1, 2014

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 22 July 2014

Welcome to this week’s opportunities digest!

We would like to invite our readers to contribute to the Religious Studies Project. If you would like to contribute with an interview, book reviews, conference reports, comments or other ideas, we would love to hear from you! Also keep in mind that you can find us on TwitterFacebook and iTunes!

Now, for this week’s digest:

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

Calls for papers

Journal: International Journal of Pedagogy, Innovation and New Technologies

Calls for: articles

Deadline: N/A

More information

Workshop: Social Networking in Cyber Spaces: European Muslims’ Participation in New Media

November 27–28, 2014

KU Leuven University, Belgium

Calls for: abstracts, CVs, papers

Deadline: October 15, 2014

More information

Conferences and events

Making Space for Religion, Youth and Sexuality? Implications for Policies, Politics and Public imaginations

August 1, 2014, 3 PM–7 PM

London, UK

More information

Religious Offerings and Sacrifices in the Ancient Near East

July 20–22 / July 7–9, 2015. (Note: Both dates given by ARAM.)

University of Oxford, UK

More information

Jobs

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Brown University, USA

Deadline: September 15, 2014

More information

Postdoc in Arabic/Islamic Literary Studies

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Deadline: July 31, 2014

More information

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Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 31 January 2014

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

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

Calls for Papers

Denton Conference on ‘Implicit Religion’ and ‘Spirituality’

May 2014. See attached pdf for details.

The Uses of Witchcraft in Modern Germany

German Studies Association Conference, Kansas City, MO, 18-21

September 2014

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=209887

Igbo Conference 2014, May 2-3, SOAS, University of London

http://www.soas.ac.uk/cas/events/conferences/igbo-conference/

AAR Regional Meetings

NEW ENGLAND and CANADIAN MARITIMES REGIONAL MEETING of the AMERICAN ACADEMY of RELIGION

Massachusetts, New England and Canadian Maritimes region of the AAR (NEMAAR), April 26, 2014.

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=209878

2014 Eastern International Regional Meeting

Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York

May 2–3, 2014

http://www.eiraar.net/cfp

Evil Incarnate: Manifestations of Villains and Villainy

11-13 July 2014 Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

http://www.case.edu/artsci/engl/evilincarnate

Religious History Association Conference

Brisbane, Australia 8-10 July 2014

http://sapmea.asn.au/conventions/aha2014/

Society for the Scientific Study of Religion

October 31-November 2, 2014

JW Marriott, Indianapolis, Indiana

http://www.sssrweb.org/news.cfm?newsid=208

Interdisciplinary Conference on Religion in Everyday lives

Vienna, Austria, 28-29 March 2014.

http://socialsciencesandhumanities.com/upcoming-conferences-call-for-papers/index.html

Entangled Worlds: Science, Religion, and Materiality

Drew Theological School, New Jersey, 28-30 March 2014

http://depts.drew.edu/tsfac/colloquium/13/about.html

Lecture – Neutrality and Religious Freedom

Daniel Weinstock, McGill University

UCL Department of Political Science, Thursday, 6 February 2014 from 17:00 to 19:00 (GMT)

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/neutrality-and-religious-freedom-tickets-10368571677?aff=eorg

Jobs

Fo Guang University

Assistant Professor (or higher), Chinese Buddhism

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48364

Call for Submissions – Nomos Journal

1st Quarter 2014

http://www.nomosjournal.org/about

Research Fellowships

(Trans-)formation of religious traditions in the context of intra- and interreligious contact

Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

http://www.khk.ceres.rub.de/en/news/all/en-20140128-cfa-tradition-fellowships/

 

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 10 January 2014

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

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

RSP Recruiting Assistant Editor

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

The successful applicant should:

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

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

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

Calls for Papers

Religion in the Public Domain

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

3-5 September 2014 in Belfast.

Conference Theme – Religion in the Public Domain

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

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

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

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

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Dates & Deadlines in 2014

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

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

Contact: belfast2014@esareligion.org

The Marriage of Heaven and Earth

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

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture,

School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology

Annual Sophia Centre Conference

Second Call for Papers

28-29 June 2014

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

Keynote Speakers:

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

Conference Theme

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

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

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

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

The Proceedings will be published by the Sophia Centre Press.

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

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

The Programme will be confirmed by 15 February 2014

RGS-IBG Annual Conference

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

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

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

Sheffield, t.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

Sponsored by the Developing Areas Research Group (DARG)

Session Abstract:

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

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

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

participate.

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

Deadline for abstracts: 3rd February 2014

References:

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

Amos S. Ron – Ashkelon Academic College, Israel

Daniel H. Olsen – Brandon University, Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Demography–Multiculturalism–Citizenship

International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania, 7th Annual

Academic Conference, April 4-5, 2014

Date: 2014-04-04

Description: Migration continues to radically rearrange the makeup

of populations all over the world. Migrants are often very

different than native populationsin language, religion and

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

Europe more generally, struggle with the effects of demographic

transf …

Contact: jdmininger@lcc.lt

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

Announcement ID: 209105

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

Society of Biblical Literature

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

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

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

Buddhism and Healing

University of Leeds 1-2nd July 2014

Call for Papers – Postgraduate Panel

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

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

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

ISASR Conference

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

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

Conference theme: ‘Religion and Remembering’

Cross-Disciplinary Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

IAHR World Congress

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

http://www.iahr2015.org

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

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

These will be addressed within four areas:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philosophy, Religion and Public Policy

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

http://philosophyreligion.wordpress.com/

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

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

Call for Papers

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

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

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

Strand One: Economic and Political Regeneration

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

Strand Two: Rethinking Philosophy of Religion

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

Strand Three: Engaging the Public in Research on Religion

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

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

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

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

Registration

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

DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: March 28th 2014

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

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

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

SIKH RESEARCH CONFERENCE

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

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

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

www.sikhconference.com

Social Relations, Transformation and Trust

Friday 28th – Saturday 29th March

Centre for Social Relations, Coventry University

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

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

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

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

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

Keynote Speakers Include:

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

Nature of the conference

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

Submission Guidelines:

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

socialrelations@coventry.ac.uk

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

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

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

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

Round Table Session, EASR 2014

“The Study of Religions and Religion in Secular Education”

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

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

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

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

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

Conferences

Death in Scotland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond Consent and Dissent

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

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

Last Booking Date for this Event: 18th January 2014

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

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

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

Inform Anniversary Conference

Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future

New Academic Building, London School of Economics, London

Friday 31 January – Sunday 2 February 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Studentships

Open University

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

Faculty of Arts

AHRC CHASE PhD Studentships

circulation date : 12/12/2013

closing date : 31/01/2014

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

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

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

Closing date for applications: 31 January 2014

Equal Opportunity is University Policy.

Further particulars

Aarhus University/Queen’s University

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

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

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

Methods Training

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

Monday 17rd – Friday 21st March 2014

Department of Religious Studies, University of Kent

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

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

Topics covered by the training will include:

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

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

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

Jobs

University of Washington

Lecturer in Religious Studies

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

Aarhus University

Postdoctoral scholarship at the Grundtvig Study

Centre

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

Summer Courses

HARVARD SEMINAR ON DEBATES ABOUT RELIGION AND SEXUALITY

HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL, JUNE 10-19, 2014

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

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

AU SUMMER COURSE

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

Place: Kathmandu, Nepal

Dates: July 27th-August 10th, 2014

Host: Aarhus University Summer School

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

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

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

Faculty:

Jørn Borup, Associate Professor

Marianne Fibiger, Associate Professor

Bjarne Wernicke Olesen, PhD Candidate

Cameron David Warner, Assistant Professor

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

Apply by 15 March 2014 at:

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

New Book

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

Edited by Fabrizio Ferrari and Thomas Dahnhardt

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

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

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

Podcasts

Maud Frances Eyston Sumner’s painting Woman Writing

Use Peer-Review to Become a Stronger Writer

As a librarian involved with editing (I am editor-in-chief of two journals: Theological Librarianship and The Christian Librarian both of which are open access) and publishing, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to respond to the dialog among editors and authors about publishing in religious studies from the EASR publishing panel.

I would like to comment on a few elements of this dialog.  First, towards the beginning (6:06), the question was asked “How did you first get something published?” I was comforted to discover that many of them started with book reviews, as this is exactly how I started.  I particularly appreciated one of the editors who would critique the syntax and grammar of my book reviews and then return them to me.  At first, this was kind of difficult to swallow.  I would think, “Who is this person to re-write my perfectly understandable review?” (There is a bit of sarcasm in that statement.)  However, after my second or third review with this editor, I was encouraged to double-check my grammar and syntax before submitting for publication.  The practice of double-checking my syntax and grammar has become a habit that developed early in my writing experience and one for which I am eternally grateful.  If you cannot find an editor who will do that for you, find a peer who will tear your work apart.  This editor and my peers have been invaluable assets in improving my writing.

Secondly, like many authors, I have submitted content for peer-review, and like many (if not all), I have been rejected.  My initial responses to the reviewer’s comments tend to be defensive.  However, I really took Michael Stausberg’s comment (16:50) to heart regarding taking reviewers’ comments seriously.  After I get over my initial emotional response, I return to reviewers’ comments to strengthen my writing and argumentation, even if I don’t re-submit the work.  Understand that even if reviewers disagree with your presuppositions and use that as a ground for not accepting your article, as a writer, you must address this fundamental concern.  Perhaps you need to spell out your presuppositions or not assume that the reader is aware of the presuppositions to which you hold.  Gregory D. Alles commented (19:42): “The process (speaking of peer-review) is there to ensure that your work is the best work possible for the sake of the journal and for your sake as well.”  That statement speaks to what drives peer-review.  Keeping this in mind when you get feedback from peer-review will help you utilize that feedback to strengthen your ability to communicate, write, and argue.

A third point that intrigued me was related to open access content.  One of the questions asked related to open access (and I was a bit disappointed at the responses) was: “How do we meet the challenges of the 21st century?  Does the general public read scholarly journals?” (31:20).  A little bit later in the dialog, another question was asked about the differences in production between the global north and the global south (45:05).  For the first question, answers were given related to discovery tools, and the fact that much content is available online (but behind a paywall – i.e. the article cannot be accessed without paying for it).  While I do agree that discovery tools and having an abstract and title of an article online may assist somewhat in making the general public aware of what is being published, the fact that much online content is behind a paywall makes these resources useless.  Granted, those with institutional affiliations may have institutional access to that web-site, enabling them to bypass the paywall; however, this does not account for the fact that much content that could be incredibly beneficial to individuals pursuing research is limited by paywalls (particularly in the global south).  Internet availability could be an incredible gateway to making journal content available to the general public, encouraging readership of journal content outside of disciplinary silos and subsequently educating a broader readership.  However, publishing in journals that are paywalled prohibits this interaction and only makes content available to institutions that can afford it.

Most would agree that equity is a large issue in the 21st century—some precisely because of their religious perspectives, including the research participants religious studies scholars may write about and who may not even be able to access information they contributed to the work.  Unfortunately, paywalls prohibiting access to journal content counter much of the efforts made for equity in the realm of scholarship.  At about 45 minutes into the presentation, the question is asked related to the differences in knowledge production between the global north and the global south: payment limits access.  It was asked: “How would an individual who works in the global south make his/her content available to colleagues who work in the global south who do not have the resources to pay for that article?  How can a balance be found between pursuing an academic career (which likely has a tenure track requiring publication in non-open access journals) and a passion to make discoveries open to colleagues in the global south?”  These are very insightful questions.  Changes need to be made so that content is available to everyone – and open access strives to do so. 

Many tenure-track faculty members must publish in certain journals to earn tenure.  How does one pursue open access publishing under these restrictions?  First, seek open access journals as venues to pursue publication.  If you are not sure of the open access journals in your discipline, look at the Directory of Open Access Journals. If none of these fit where you want to go and you need to publish in a particular journal that is not open access, work with the contract.  Many journals are willing to grant you what is often-times termed a “green open-access” – that is, they give you the rights to post your content in an institutional repository.  If you are not certain what this is or whether your institution has an institutional repository, contact your university librarian.  They enjoy assisting in these areas and are major advocates of open access.

Open access does not fix everything, but it does assist in resolving the equity issue between the global north and south as well as assists in crumbling disciplinary silos.  I am very proud to say that both of the journals that I edit are open-access.  Frankly, I could not be editor-in-chief of these journals if they were not. 

Salomon Konick’s A Scholar Writing at a Table

I would like to close my comment by simply affirming the responses given by the panel regarding their final advice.  I appreciate and completely agree with a remark provided by Gregory D. Alles:

“Don’t get discouraged – I don’t know how you feel, but writing for me is a very personal thing, I sort of bleed myself onto the page in a way and if you get somebody who is criticizing you, that can be taken very personally, it can be a very discouraging experience.  Don’t let that happen.   You need to have a certain amount of self-confidence, everybody gets criticism, everybody gets rejected, and you can’t let that stop you.” (59:16)

I completely agree with this.  Everybody gets criticism, everybody gets rejected, you cannot let that stop you.  Writing is an incredibly personal endeavor. Equate the difficulties of peer-review with the pain from a good workout: everyone experiences it, but you are getting stronger.  Build upon the critique and comments reviewers offer, strengthen your paper, strengthen your argument, and then re-submit.  The intent of reviewers is to strengthen your argument, strengthen your essay, and strengthen your thinking.

EASR 2019 Publishing Panel

This panel, recorded at the EASR conference 2019 at the University of Tartu, is intended for PhD students and early career scholars who want to learn more about the publishing world. We encourage listeners to watch the video version of this week’s episode on YouTube, which has timestamps in the video description for the different questions answered by these experienced editors and publishers in their hour-long discussion.

On the panel chaired by Suzanne Owen were Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, and James White.

This event was organized by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions and University of Tartu in cooperation with Religious Studies Project, and was supported by the European Regional Developmental Fund (through Enterprise Estonia). We thank them for their generous help to produce this resource.

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, sardines, popcorn, and more.


EASR Publishing Roundtable 2019

Podcast with Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, James White and Suzanne Owen (28 October 2019).

Transcribed by Helen Bradstock.

Audio and transcript available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/easr-publishing-roundtable-2019/

PDF version of the transcript available here.

Suzanne Owen (SO): Welcome, this evening, to the panel on how to get published – particularly in the Study of Religion – at the European Association for the Study of Religion in Tartu, Estonia. And we have here people that represent different areas of publication and career. So my furthest is Michael Stausberg, and he is editing a journal and he will talk about that in a minute; and also we have James White, who is at the University here, so a local; and Greg Alles who’s also an editor of a series and journal; and we have Jenny Butler, considered early career – but has also ready done so much; and Valerie Hall, from Equinox publishers; and Joshua Wells, from the Routledge Publishers. And we want to have each of them introduce themselves in turn, and what they work on, and then we can start the discussion. So, let’s start with you, Michael.

Michael Stausberg (MS): What we work on? What do you mean?

SO: What you edit, and your experiences.

MS: Right, ok. Yes. Well, thanks for showing up! It’s a bit weird to sit down here and be kind-of at your service. And I have been one of the two editors of a journal called Religion since 2008. My co-editor is the Canadian, Steven Engler. And Religion started around 50 years back . . . 49, basically. Greg was on the editorial board for decades, I suppose!

Gregory Alles (GA): Until you kicked me off!

MS: Right! (Laughs). And so the journal is published with Routledge since 2012, I believe. It had a series of publishers in between. And I also co-edit two book series. One called Religion and Reason for Walter de Gruyter and one called Critical Studies in Religion which is a bilingual series published by (a German publisher). I think that should suffice for the moment.

James White (JWh): Hello. So I’m James White. As our chair introduced me, I do work here at the University of Tartu as a research fellow. But actually, most of my career for the last three to four years has been spent at the Ural Federal University in Ekaterinburg, Russia. I’m a young scholar, at the beginning of my career – as that story wold suggest. I’ve probably published, in the last four – five years, about ten articles in both English language journals and Russian language journals. I do have some experience on the other side of the coin, because I’m actually the English Language Editor of (Russian name) which is the Journal of Russian Studies for Ural Federal University, currently on both Scopus and Web of Science. So I do have both the experience of a young, junior academic publishing, but also being on the editorial side of things. So, thank you very much.

GA: I’m Greg Alles. I wish I could say I’m at the beginning of my career. It would be nice to be a young scholar again. But of course I’m not. I’ve been co-editing Numen almost as long as Michael has been co-editing Religion. I started that in 2010 first with Olav Hammer and now with Laura Feldt. I was also, as Michael mentioned, on the editorial board of Religion for a long time. I think I started that in ’94. And MTSRMethod and Theory in the Study of Religion – I think in ’96. Eventually they get tired of you being on the editorial board and rotate you off, right? Which is a good thing. And so maybe that’s enough to say.

Jenny Butler (JB): I’m Jenny Butler and I’m based in the Department of Study of Religions at University College, Cork. I’m the secretary of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions. I’ve also been on a number of editorial boards. And I’ve guest edited some peer-reviewed journal volumes. And I published early on as a PhD student. I think that’s what I’m here to speak about.

Valerie Hall (VH): Hi. I’m Valerie Hall (5:00). I work for Equinox publishing. I’ve worked there since 2004, which was the beginning of the company, and previously worked at Continuum. And I do the marketing for the books and journals. But I also do some editorial work on the book side.

Joshua Wells (JW): Good evening. My name is Josh Wells. I work for Routledge, and I’m one of two Religion editors at Routledge so my colleague, Rebecca Shillabeer does books for undergrads – so pedagogical stuff, textbooks – and my focus is on research-level books in Religious Studies – so monographs and edited collections.

SO: And I should introduce myself as chair of this panel. I’m Suzanne Owen, based at Leeds Trinity University in the UK. I am also editor for the British Association for the Study of Religions, and on editorial boards as well. So we will open to discussion very soon. But I thought, maybe to start with: how did you first get something published? And just say, for the editors or the publishers, what was your first going out to find something to publish? How did that work? How did you go about that? So Michael – sorry I mispronounced your name earlier. How did you first get published, and in what?

MS: Good question. I think I started with book reviews. And I think my first proper article was published in a Scandinavian journal and at that time it was a Danish, Norwegian co-production. And that was based on a conference paper I gave. If that’s sufficient.

SO: Yes.

JWh: Thank you. My first publications. Well, I have to echo the comments of Michael, that my first serious publications were book reviews. I think, good training for later. But my first serious couple of publications . . . the first one I did was an article which was translated to Russian for the journal for which I now work. I didn’t work for it when it was published. I was asked by a colleague of mine, who was one of the only other people who specialises in the same subjects as I specialise in – because I chose an entirely irrelevant subject for my PhD Thesis! But my first, if you want to describe it in this way, major peer-reviewed English publication was for the Canadian Journal of Russian History. And of course it was an entirely different process with full peer-review, entirely different checks and balances that one had to tick off than publishing in the Russian journal, which was much more informal, and where the peer review team was internal and tended to be far less exacting. So that was my dual experience of publishing.

GA: I don’t really recall, to be honest with you. I don’t remember what the first publication was. I’d have to look at the CV and find out which came out first. No I don’t have it. It’s not there. I worked as an editorial assistant for a history of religions journal when I was a graduate student, so I kind-of knew the process. I knew what to do, right? I don’t know that my first article came out in HR but as a grad student I also co-wrote several things with Joseph Kitagawa and did some work with (audio unclear) who’s a specialist. And so I sort-of got into the business that way, right? So that’s another way that you can do that, is to co-write with your senior supervisors and so on.

JB: As far as I recall, the first publication was in a peer review journal called Cosmos produced by the Traditional Cosmology Society. And that was on the neopagan ritual year and gender. And it was a special issue of the journal that came out in 2002. Well it was dated 2002, but I think it had actually been backdated. So my first publication would have been . . . I think the first one was a book chapter in a book called Communicating in Cultures that was edited by (audio unclear). And it was published by Lit Verlag. You’ll have to excuse me because I have a cold and I’m trying not to cough. (10:00) (Laughs).

VW: Thanks. I can’t remember exactly the first one. But because I go to a lot of conferences – because I do the marketing at the academic conferences – my involvement with commissioning tends to be in talking to people at the conferences, where they can see the kind of books that we publish and approach us with proposals. So that’s kind-of one of the main reasons why I go to conferences like this. And that is how I’m involved in commissioning.

JW: So it’s also a while since I commissioned my first book. So I actually commissioned my first book as an editorial assistant. Before I was an editor. One thing I neglected to mention in my introduction is that I’ve been working at Routledge now for nearly ten years, but I’ve only been on the Religion list for three and a half years. And that’s, maybe, something to bear in mind when you’re preparing your proposal: that not every commissioning editor actually has their academic background in the subject that their commissioning in. So my academic background is in literature, and I commissioned my first book in Sports Science. So it was the absolutely vital tome The Science of Equestrian Sports. That was my first ever book. And similarly I happen to be attending a conference, and I met an academic there who wanted to publish. And the editor that was looking after me said, “Well, as you’ve made the contact, as a development opportunity you can see the book through the process.” So I was supervised in doing that.

Question 1: I’m Jason, a PhD student at the University of Tartu. My question is, is there a usual amount of time between a submission of an article and the decision on whether to publish it, and then the actual publication? Because I heard that a couple of journals, it takes them one to two years. So I’m just wondering what kind of range there is.

SO: We can start with the two at the end. James?

JWh: Yes. My experience – I mean I assume we’re talking about English language journals here? My experience has been, yes, a one-and-a-half to two years process. It can depend, as far as I’ve seen, basically on where you submit the article in terms of its content and the match between the content and the journal. So, for instance, I submitted a Russian history article to a general European History journal not very long ago. It took them a very long time to find peer reviewers, simply because they did not have, in their contact lists, specialists on Russian History. So it was . . . for what I regard as being a rather second rank publication, it took an extremely long time. But generally, yes. One-and-a-half to two years has been my experience.

GA: There are a lot of practical problems involved. And a lot of practical issues. On the one side, it’s a matter of getting something reviewed. And that’s often – I don’t know what your experience is like Michael, or yours is like, James – but that’s often outside of our control. Sometimes you get a peer review in within a week and it’s very positive, and then you’re waiting months and months. Somebody’s agreed to review it. They don’t respond, they don’t respond, they don’t respond.You nag, you nag, you nag, right? And that’s a frustrating experience. That’s on one hand. The other hand is in terms of how much copy you have in the pipeline. For a while, when Olav and I were editing Numen, we were both saying “Look, you’re e a new career scholar. You’re a junior scholar. We’ve got a backlog. We can’t publish anything that you give us until 2019.” So I recommended several people to go to other places because they needed to get published more quickly, right? That strategy also backfires because word gets out, “Oh, you got a backlog. It’s going to take a while”, and people stop sending you stuff, right? So, you’ve got to be careful about that. But you’ve got those two factors. And you want to be fair. I mean, if somebody’s got an article accepted they’re in line first. So you have to sort-of do that. It’s hard to say, exactly. It’s hard to predict exactly how long it’s going to take. And you can always ask the editor. If I think you need a publication out sooner than I can get it out, I’ll tell you. “This looks good, but you need to go someplace else, because you need to have that out.”

MS: Now I can only speak for Religion, and we do publish these figures roughly every other year in editorials where we list our referees (15:00). There we give the statistics about the time. Usually with Religion, and of course we are subject to the same factors as mentioned by Greg. It takes three months per decision step. So that means that usually we are able to provide a first decision after three months. But a first decision is very rarely to accept as is. That almost never happens. So then comes the second. And then you are, again, in this three month loop, right? So I think where much time is actually being lost, if you might say it like this, in this process where it adds up to these horrendously sounding figures like a year or two. It’s actually that when the authors get their review back they have other things to do. So they don’t do it right away sit down and revise and rewrite their articles. But then they get to it a couple of months later. And then they take their time. So sometimes we do not get a second version back until after a year. So that means, when you then, again, go for a the three months, and then maybe you have another round, and again you get it back after six months or so, then you end up with two years. But it has been with the journal only for twice three months. So you have to add the authors’ speed to revise. And then you see different attitudes. Some authors try to cut it short by just doing superficial revisions – kind-of doing some sort-of lip service to what is required – while others basically rewrite their papers. And that, of course, takes much more time, but might be a more rewarding exercise. Because then, of course, if you do just superficial revisions the chances are high that you’ll get it back again, that referees aren’t happy yet. So then, of course, you can complain that it takes so much time, but it’s also the authors who are involved here as the crucial factor. And now I agree that not all referees read the articles in the most sympathetic ways. But this is also their job as it were. The point is that as authors we are . . . I mean, we are not just editors we are also authors. So we are also subject to the same process. So we find ourselves misunderstood: “Why doesn’t the referee get it, what I’m trying to say?!” Now you might say, as a conspiracy theorist, that “They don’t want me published at all!” or “They’re stupid!”, or “They are malevolent”, or . . . what do I know? But the point is often, really, what seems very clear to us, when we write, isn’t very clear to others who read. So we then really have to take that to heart. I mean these people did a job; they did read the thing. And then, as authors, we should also actually . . . . It’s the referees’ duty to give us a favourable reading, but it’s also our duty to give the referees’ report a favourable reading. And that means that one really takes that seriously.

GA: I disagree just a little bit. I don’t think it’s the referees’ duty to give you a favourable reading,

MS: But a fair reading.

GA: A fair reading, yeah. A fair reading and an honest reading. And I think the worst thing you can do as an author is not take a referee’s report seriously. Take it seriously and revise. Probably the thing you don’t want is a quick decision. If I give you a decision in two weeks, three weeks . . .

MS: It’s not good! (Laughs).

GA: It probably means that I decided within twenty four hours that this was not really something that we really wanted. But I didn’t want you to feel too badly, so I’m going to hold onto it for two or three weeks and then give you a statement saying this is not for us, right? And maybe give you some indications. So the process is there to ensure that your work is the best work possible for this particular journal, and for your sake as well. So participate in the process and take it seriously.

SO: I would like to add, I guess . . . . Would you say, generally, to expect some revision? Yes, so in my experience too, I think, you expect some revision. (20:00) We can move onto another question here.

MS: Excuse me, may I just add one more comment? Please don’t resend an unrevised article to a different journal. We see this happening all the time: that articles that have been rejected here and there appear exactly in the same form on other editors’ desks. And this isn’t really a good way to make use of the resources that go into the peer review process. On the one hand. On the other hand be aware that our field is a collection of niches. The pool of potential referees is fairly restricted, so the chances are very high that you’ll run into the same referees everywhere. And we are getting these messages all the time, Greg don’t we? “You know, I have seen this paper before for a different journal.” And if you as an editor with a good conscience can say, “You know, you might have read it, but it’s now a very different paper”, then it might work. But it rarely is.

Question 2: My name is (audio unclear). I’m from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and my question is mostly directed towards the monograph side of publishing. So, very roughly, is it better to approach a series editor or the editor for the topic of religion in general? If there’s a particular series at a publishing house that fits what the monograph would be about, which way would be better to go? Thank you.

JW: So the answer to that, predictably, is that you can sort-of do both. And which would I recommend? Probably if you already have had some contact with the series editor and maybe you at least know each other by name, or have been at the same conference, it might be quite useful to approach them in the first place, because they’ll be able to give you a bit of advice on how to put the proposal together in a way that’s going to appeal to an editor like me. However, having said that, most editors like me are generally pretty friendly and looking for ideas. So actually, if you approached us with an idea we would give you guidelines and say, “This is how to submit proposals. These are the sort of things we’re looking for.” Maybe the only sort-of advantage of coming to an editor first is that obviously, if you go to a series editor, you might be limiting yourself to that series. And it might be, actually, that the editor says, “Well, actually I think there might be another series that it fits in a little bit better.” So, obviously, we’ve got a wider view of our publishing output. And so rather than have the slightly awkward situation where you’ve got to extricate yourself from a series, you might want to approach an editor first. So I think if you’re very clear on which your proposal is for and it’s definitely going to fit that series, and you’ve got a professional relationship with the series editors, I think it’s absolutely not inappropriate at all to approach them. But it would be absolutely fine to approach the publishing editor as well. Because we’ll have a conversation anyway. So whether it comes in via them or comes in via me, we’ll always share that proposal and discuss it first.

SO: I think Michael Stausberg would like to answer this, too.

MS: I think, as a series editor, of course I would like you to contact me! Because I mean usually, as series editors, you have a clear understanding of what kind of things you want to have in your series. And the publishers might not always kind-of have the same clarity in vision for a series. And even as a series editor of course you might say, you know, “May be you might want to take it to this series?” So we do not just say usually “We don’t fit.” But we might also suggest other alternative series. And please bear in mind that the national publication landscapes are very different. So when you work with the British press they usually operate very differently from the German press, for example. Or an Italian one. So there are very big national differences in terms of how to proceed with proposals or, for example, British presses or Anglo presses are more averse to publishing PhD theses as they are (25:00). Whereas this is quite normal in Germany, for example, where they would require only minor revisions and not a complete rewrite of your work. So be aware that the publishing requirements, and strategies, and procedures, and timelines, etc. are very different according to which country you go to. And previously, that was kind-of not really for you to worry about, because if you wanted to publish in English you had to go to an Anglo publisher anyway. But now since also German or Italian publishers, or French ones even, publish in English you as an author also have much more choice to draw benefits from this relatively non-homogeneous publishing landscape.

SO: I’d actually like to take that kind-of question to Jenny and James about your experience of proposing for book-length projects?

JB: I think part of it is knowing your own field. If it’s quite a niche area or . . . I work in New Religious Movements. So in locating a list and a particular publisher I educated myself on where it would best fit. I looked at what had already been published, and also looked at a series. So in terms of marketing a monograph, it’s usually good to be in a series. So to take those kinds of things into account as well.

SO: You often have to cite this in your proposal as well – your own research, into the field that you’re publishing in. You have to know it a bit.

Question 3: I’m Anya, I did my PhD at Cambridge which I recently finished, and I’ve started post-doc-ing there, as well. I have a brief question about inter-disciplinarity. I know that Religious Studies is its own thing, but many people approach it as a subject from other fields. And I was wondering if you have any suggestions for scholars who are outside of the core area of research who would like to publish within Religious Studies?

MS: Well I think Religion has a very long tradition of trying to absorb work from scholars outside of Religious Studies. And so if you ask, “Does one get in, not being part of the tribe?” I’d say this isn’t really an issue, is it? But I think, actually, when you look at open access, there are quite a number of interdisciplinary journals that are leading. And my impression is that the disciplinary journals, they have a long history and they are quite established. And sometimes new ones come up, and new publishers want to start publishing journals etc. But basically they’re . . . the dyes are cast. And as long as these journals aren’t run by an association that uses membership fees to sponsor journals that might feed into open access. I think the traditional journals are not really at the forefront of this, but in the interdisciplinary fields that is very different. Because they aren’t kind-of part of these disciplinary power structures. So I think, on the inter-disciplinary field, the open access landscape is much more vibrant. And this might actually be a very interesting option for scholars to get published also more . . . and get a wider reading. Because you are in the open access landscape.

GA: I think it’s really important point that you raise. But not quite the way you raise it. I don’t think Numen would reject an article simply because you don’t belong to the tribe. Because we don’t actually know what tribe you belong to, in one sense. But I think what you really need to do, when you submit an article to a journal, is know what its editorial range is, what its agenda is, what its scope is. Because sometimes I get articles and it’s like, “Well, this would be a great article for a journal specifically devoted to a particular topic.” (30:00) But we’re trying to reach a more general readership of all scholars of religions. So if it’s too narrowly focussed then it’s not right for us. But that does not mean it’s not right for someplace else. And there are other ways that you can be out of scope as well. So have a sense for what the editorial policy of the journal is, what the journal is trying to accomplish, the kinds of article that they published in the past. It’s no guarantee that they’re not going to go out of that range. In Numen we’ve got a habit of publishing a lot of philologically very heavy material, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to publish something that’s not philologically heavy .I would welcome things that aren’t philologically heavy. So if you have something that isn’t philologically heavy, think about our journal. But I think that’s what you need to do. Figure out what’s the editorial . . . what’s the journal trying to do editorially, and submit to them. You can always contact the editor, and the editor will let you know.

Question 4: My name is John, and I would like to ask a question on: how do we meet the challenges of the twenty-first century? I mean, do people still read the paper journals? The general public, not scientists, not limited . . .? I mean, I notice that my grandfather reads, but I don’t know what my children will be reading. Because the contemporary generation is only on the internet, not in the books any more. How do we, as scientists, meet this change and reach this audience, the general public?

SO: I know that Valerie Hall, at Equinox…

VH: Our journals are on-line, and definitely the print is going way down. So the preference is for on-line journals now, really. I mean, we have one journal which is only on-line. And I can see that others might potentially go that way. Or the other thing we’re thinking about doing is perhaps having just one print volume at the end of each year, with all of the issues in it, rather than sending out individual issues throughout the year. So it’s definitely moving towards on-line for sure, I think.

JW: I’ll add to that that again, books are slightly different. We would sort-of find at Routledge that the increase in the share of where our revenue comes from is getting more and more from electronic, but not as quickly as you might think. So it was a very fast increase and then it’s actually tended to plateau a bit. Do I think the technological changes are coming? Yes. But I think they’re actually not in every area of academia. I don’t think they’re going as quickly as people suspect they might. Because they’re still . . . some people still just prefer printed stuff, for all sorts of reasons. But I think all publishers are definitely having to react to people expecting . . . . The thing about making your content electronic is that it’s just much easier to find, in the great sea of information. So adding discoverability tools. And I think a lot of publishers are looking at how they can organise their content, how they can deliver their content in a way that you can find it, simply and easily, by typing in a couple of key search words. So I think that’s probably going to be one of the key challenges going forwards. It might still be in print but it’ll have to probably be print and electronic at all times so people can find stuff – and they might buy the print anyway, after that.

SO: And I don’t doubt, briefly, Joshua and Valerie, that you are now advising the future of publishing as publishers. And maybe either warning, or preparing authors, or changing things? So what would you say that you think is developing, that we need to know about perhaps?

VH: I’d have to think about that!

SO: I mean in terms of the commercial aspect, I guess that’s always a priority.

JW: OK. So, for many of us, governmental educational budgets, and maybe individual institutional library budgets have tended to shrink. (35:00)You know, it was the case that libraries would buy books just on the off-chance they might need them. But now, many of them have electronic systems where, basically, if enough people request it then they automatically order a copy. So that is obviously better for libraries, because they’re only buying what people want, and what people use. And that’s absolutely fair enough. But publishers are going to have to react to that by, it’s not just enough to be in the general field and probably someone will pick it up. Actually it’s got to be useful to somebody. So I would think, if you’re thinking about putting your proposal together, quite a lot of that proposal should be explaining to me, as an editor who’s going to read it, why is it useful? How does it fit into the general academic conversation that’s going on in your field? Because we are having to be more and more judicious about what we put through. Because things that are being bought are things that people are actively requesting to use – increasingly, anyway.

VH: Yes, I would definitely agree with that. I mean one of the things we are trying to do is publish more textbooks, and less monographs, probably. Sorry, fewer monographs. But yes. It’s definitely true about the libraries and it’s a customer-demand-driven acquisitions model now. So definitely e-books are increasing and print books are decreasing, in terms of sales, I would say. And also library packages are something we’re really pushing at the moment. So we have subject packages with journals and books, just journals, just books – libraries can choose which titles they want to have. You can have front lists, back lists, it’s basically bespoke packages for different libraries. So that’s kind-of where it’s going for us really, at the moment.

SO: And do people want to talk a little bit about what the process of reviewing is? You’ve indicated Greg, a little bit about the process, about where it goes to, and the stages. And is there anything more to add to that?

GA: What do you have in mind, specifically?

SO: With the journals, in general. Do they all follow the same pattern, do you think? Do they all have a checklist? And they all have two reviewers?

GA: I think the protocol these days has become two blind reviewers. If the reviewers disagree then I always try and get a third person, unless it’s something that I know about. And then I also try and assess, do I think the reviewer’s been fair? Or do I think the reviewer’s done a decent job? Some reviewers are very, very thorough. Some reviewers aren’t very thorough. Sometimes you can see personal animosity in the review, and you try and allow for that. And, as James said, you try and give the author some directions. I had cases where I’ve written to the author and I’ve said “This reviewer is just really a nasty person. Don’t take it personally. I disagree with . . . . There are things here that are worth considering, but don’t take it personally”, right?

SO: I have to say the first time I had something published was based off of a conference paper, because I was invited to submit the finished article. But it was still liable for revision or rejection. But that was my foot in. And I think that’s why presenting at conferences is also . . . . Because there’s lots of editors roaming around who might be looking for articles, as well. But obviously it depends. Some of these journals have this backlog. It maybe that you’re not hunting them out, but there’s probably lots of other journals who are actually looking for papers.

VH: Yes, we often publish papers with thematic issues, special issues, which come from conferences. So that would just be papers from a particular conference and that’s very successful. Sometimes they become book volumes as well, afterwards.

SO: Do you want to comment on that?

GA: I know Brill likes to have special issues for Numen, because they think that the different articles are going to feed off of each other. So if you’ve got a whole set of articles… like we had an issue on “Religion and Terrorism” that Jim Lewis edited. Mark Jeurgensmeyer was in there, Lorne Dawson was in there, and so on. And you know, that then attracts attention. Because it has higher visibility. So another thing to think about in terms of getting yourself published is not just to submit individual articles but try and get a group of people together to work on the same topic and then submit a whole block. (40:00) And that’s often received much more favourably.

SO: Yes. To propose a group of papers in a theme, or particular problem that you are addressing, together. Yes.

MS: If I just may comment on the backlog. There are different procedures, of course, among the journals. So for example with Religion, we first publish digital and then eventually it comes in an issue. But there can be a year, or one-and-a-half years, between these two dates. Whereas other journals . . . I think Numen still doesn’t have that. So then you are kind-of more dependent on when the next slot is free. But let me just add this. I think we do have very many journals out there. And the publishers, apparently, are eager to put out more journals because it gives kind-of payment up front if you have subscribers. So it’s apparently a lucrative strategy. And the field is an ecology, or a market, where all the time new players want to come in. And the question is are they sustainable? Is the thematic range too small or, I don’t know, or key actors disappear or shift their interest. But in general there are very many journals in the field. And in that sense, really, it shouldn’t be impossible to be published. It’s rather the contrary. The contrary fact is that there are very few good, or very good, articles out there. If you get them to us, we’d be delighted. So I think we can just say that. You get many articles, but the ones that really kind-of make a point, argue solidly, give a clean argument, have good documentation, make some contribution, are well-written and somehow relevant, are not that many. So I just wrote that down. I wanted to get that across. So on the one hand there aren’t that many good, or very good, or even shining articles out there. On the other hand, there are many journals. So don’t be kind-of discouraged. Try to seek journals that fit your articles. Don’t necessarily go to a generalist journal. If you have something that, for example, specifically deals with fieldwork then there is a particular journal on fieldwork in religion, which maybe isn’t of interest for a generalist journal. So try to screen the journal landscape and you’d be surprised how many journals there are. They are all craving for content, right? And that is basically… yeah. You want to add something?

GA: (Laughter) What I would say, coming to this . . . and I was thinking, there are plenty of opportunities out there. All you have to do to get published is have something important to say, and say it well, right? Have something important to say, and say it well. And then find somebody who wants to hear it. And you know, be really self-critical. But then also write, and write, and write. Human beings and human brains did not evolve to write, we’ve evolved to speak, right? Writing is a skill, writing is an art. It takes practice. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. And sometimes you may think you have a great article. Be critical. I mean you can write an article and then look at it: “I’ll bin this. This is garbage! Why did I write this?” Because you just don’t like it any more. But then, turn to something else and move on from there. But if you have something important to say, and you can say it well, somebody will publish it.

SO: We got to you in the middle, I think. You haven’t asked a question yet.

Question 5: I’m Monica, from SOAS. And I’m doing my PhD there now. And I would like to know how you deal with the different scenarios of knowledge production between the Global North and the Global South. So at the moment, your articles have to be paid for and a lot of people are being excluded, right, from accessing the knowledge and being part of the system of knowledge production? And, as somebody who is working in the Global South, I really would like to have my work being accessible to the people I’m working with. So now I’m facing this moral dilemma. On the one side, that is there, but on the other side I also would like to pursue a career in academia. So do you see any solutions to this, or any suggestions on this please?

SO: I’m thinking Greg Alles?

GA: Yes this is . . . I think that’s a really, really important question. And it doesn’t just involve publication, but it involves the entire academy. I think there’s . . . . It’s probably, maybe, a question that’s under people’s radars, right? But it’s still there. It becomes a real problem because scholarly conventions differ from one place to the next, to the next, to the next, right? And it’s not always easy for reviewers, for editors to . . . . I try and see, try and discern where people are coming from and see potential, and see whether they can be made into something that’s worthwhile, and try and give advice in that way. During my time at Numen, I’ve really wanted to bring in authors from different parts of the world. We don’t get much submitted from the Global South – I wish we did. You know, we don’t get much submitted from Asia. There are certain problems there in terms of linguistic facility, also certain problems in terms of the audience that people want to address. This is only tangentially related to what you asked. But one thing that’s been really frustrating for me . . . . But I understand where it’s coming from, because I’ve written in German. I can talk in German but my written German isn’t great, right? English, if you’re writing in English, or German, or French, whatever language you’re writing in, if it’s not your native language there are certain kinds of errors that people tend to make. And those, unless you learn the language at age five age six . . . . I think it was this room I heard a woman do a talk on language learning by adults, versus language learning by kids. And there are certain kinds of mistakes that adults are just going to make routinely, simply because of the way they learned languages, right? And as an editor, I’ve spent a lot . . . . When I first started with Numen, we didn’t have a copy editor and I spent a lot of time revising articles sentence by sentence, by sentence, by sentence – just reworking the English language. And that’s frustrating. And so it would be in your best interest, if English isn’t your first language – or German, French, whatever it is – to have someone read over the language and improve the language, so that it looks as good as possible when it’s submitted. Because it could be very interesting. But if it’s going to cost me a hundred hours of time to put it in a readable fashion, I’m going to think three times before I accept it. And, you know, I’ve spent way too much time revising people’s English. I’m happy to do it, but after a while one just says, “Enough is enough”. So keep that in mind. Because a lot of people here . . . .

SO: Make it easy for them.

GA: Make it easy for us. If you’re submitting an article in English, and I guess most people are. We’re supposed to publish in German and French, but we haven’t done it for years. If you’re submitting an article in English, have a native speaker look it over so it reads well. Because otherwise, it’s just a real headache. And then you’re going to think twice about it. So keep that in mind. Also keep in mind the scholarly conventions where you’re trying to publish.

SO: And now you’re also talking about access to the Global South as well. Not just from the Global South to publishing, but access to the Global North.

Monica (M): Yes, and how I personally can find a balance between on the one side trying to pursue a career in the West, where I’m living . . . (50:00).

SO: In English language journals.

M: And at the same time having my writings accessible to the people whom I’m working with, so that I also get a very honest and critical feedback. So that the knowledge is not legitimised only from one side.

SO: As far as I know, if something’s in translation you can publish it independently, I mean through a different publisher.

JW: That would depend on your contract.

M: But with the indexing . . . . Then it’s not part of one of these journal titles.

SO: Yes. Do you have partners with other . . .? I don’t know if that’s the kind of question you’re looking at. But you want your people that you work with to be able to read it?

M: Yes. So for example, in the university . . . . In, say, a university in Saudi. I have studied there as well, and I have seen that so many of the journals are just not accessible because the universities do not have the subscriptions. So it just becomes very difficult. And there is a very one-sided knowledge which is legitimised from the West, even though we are talking about other areas.

SO: Just briefly, yes.

VH: The only thing I can say is that for some journals we do have preferential rates for some parts of the world, so it’s worth looking on the journal website. Some of them are much cheaper.

SO: Sure, James. Yes.

JW: Simply that, as maybe the only other person on the panel who works on a non-English speaking journal, a non-English language journal: for a start, to make our work accessible to my colleagues in Russian universities – and we publish from a Russian university – our journal is open access, and is devotedly open access. Despite offers from Elsevier last year, we have decided to remain open access, to provide access to our Russian colleagues. And I have to reflect and repeat the sentiments offered earlier, that basically, of course, I have many excellent Russian colleagues who wish to publish in Western journals, who wish to publish in English. And often the boundary . . . the problem isn’t language; they can write perfectly acceptable English with a few corrections here and there. It’s simply the academic Russian style and the English or Anglo academic style are almost . . . are extremely different. And when you’ve put this into . . . when a Russian has written an English article, it does look, you know, very different. And it sometimes won’t be accepted by an English or Anglo Academic journal precisely because the style is different. The Russians, they like their point-by-point argumentation rather than a narrative, for instance. I’m a historian, so in British historical journals in particular, we like a nice narrative, a nice story. We don’t like this point-by-point analytical argumentation.

SO: I just wanted to say that we haven’t actually talked about the pay-to-publish . . . which you might feel under pressure to do as a new scholar. And don’t do it. Try to find other ways first. But I would like to end, actually, with our final advice in maybe one sentence. I know Michael has a list. But if you can give some final advice about what you wish the people who approach you had in mind, or could do, before they approach you to submit an article?

MS: Let me say something more general, please. On the one hand, please don’t let yourself be irritated or discouraged by the fact that everybody else seems to be publishing much more than you do. This is, I think, something that we all think. “All the others are much more productive.” I mean set yourself a realistic goal: what can I achieve given my constraints? Don’t think of, I don’t know, seven pieces or articles when you have lots of teaching to do. Make clear what you can achieve, and don’t try to get kind-of distracted in all sorts of directions. And also, don’t try to overpublish. There is the tendency to think that if you have a publication list of twenty titles, you’ll get hired. If you only have three, you don’t. I think it doesn’t really work that well if you have ten articles that basically all say the same thing, (55:00) and quote the same sources. That will also, basically, at some point, be held against you by some committee. So, rather, try to do some really good pieces rather than do tons of things that are basically identical. And another thing is, I think there are two pitfalls. One is you can be a perfectionist and the other one you can be sloppy. And you should avoid both. If you are a perfectionist you will never end up publishing anything, because you will always be unhappy. So even if you are unhappy, spread the paper. Often people really like what you write, even though you don’t. So it helps you to kind-of get . . . it’s always good to get . . .

SO: Other perspectives.

MS: Not only to get the criticism, but also to get encouragement. But don’t be sloppy, either. I mean, really work on your writing. Get your argument across, and don’t try to take short cuts. So I think it’s in between. It’s in between these two things. And one final thing: something we do very little still in Religious Studies, or the Study of Religions, or whatever you might call it, is co-author. We get very few articles that are co-authored. Don’t you also, Greg? And I’ve co-authored with a handful of people. And it’s always been a very rewarding process. And some of the things that we’ve been talking about here actually become then part of the set up: that you comment on each other’s pieces. And I think this will be, also. . . . And when you get the reports back, you aren’t kind-of alone in receiving the feedback. I think this is really a rewarding experience. And I think we are still doing this to far too little a degree.

SO: I think rather than everyone answer, if somebody has something to add to that, that’s different? Greg, do you have something different to add to that? Or Valerie?

JWh: I’m just going to add, from my perspective as a young career scholar, in both the jobs I have now the attitude still is “publish or perish”. And you have to take that into account, as you’re publishing. As much as we would like to take all the time in the world to perfect and get our articles right, there is always going to be pressure on you from grant bodies, from university bodies, to publish as much as possible. This can make it difficult, sometimes, to get the kind of quality that you would like. I know from my position, I have to publish a certain amount in a year. You are going to have to learn to deal with this, I think, most certainly, to try and balance these two things between quality and pressure. But the thing that I would emphasise – especially if you haven’t published an academic article yet, you haven’t published your book – is, it is a learning experience. Your experience of writing so far is a long form dissertation, or long form thesis, not a ten thousand word article. It takes time to perfect that. So if your first article that gets published doesn’t satisfy your desire for quality, well, over time you’ll get better at short form writing, I think. Over time you’ll be able to perfect short form writing. I’ve certainly found, comparing my first ten thousand word article to the last couple I’ve written is, personally, I’m more satisfied with how I write short form now. So that’s my only advice.

GA: Two pieces, actually. One: don’t get discouraged. I don’t know how you feel. Writing for me is a very personal thing. I sort-of bleed myself onto the page, in a way. And if you get somebody who’s criticising you, that could be taken very, very personally. It can be a very discouraging experience. Don’t let that happen. You have to have a certain amount of self- confidence. Everybody gets criticism. Everybody gets rejected. And you can’t let that stop you. So I think that’s a really, really important point about where the writer comes from. The second thing – and maybe we’ve gotten away from this a little bit – for a while, everything that was published was “ground-breaking”, was “brilliant”, was “paradigm-shifting”! (1:00:00) I just hate that inflated rhetoric! I’d rather people be honest about what the contribution is that their article is making, and their manuscript is making, and not say “This is changing the paradigm! It’s going to change the way people think for the next two hundred years!” Because that just isn’t going happen. In most cases it’s not going to happen. So, just be honest to yourself and be honest to the people you’re selling the material to, about what the contribution is.

JB: I’ll add a very general piece of advice. The “publish or perish” situation is true. But try not to think of it that way – or try not to focus on that. Try not to focus on what will get you hired, or what will be funded, because it’s important to have passion for what you do. Because you need that if you’re going to be an academic. You need to love what you do, what you research, and to be enthusiastic about it. And when you publish, it opens up other opportunities. And the academy is a community. And there are many positive outcomes, and all of the different aspects of academia are interconnected. So, for example, people tried to dissuade me from publishing on areas that really have nothing to do with my main area of research, things that I’m personally interested in. So I am interested in popular culture and film studies, which is not the area that I work in. So I published something on that many years ago, and now I’m in a position to merge that into Study of Religions, into what I’m mainly doing now. So you know, follow what you most want to do.

SO: I have two audiences as well, and two fields. So you know it’s ok to do that. Last advice?

VH: Yes, I don’t have a lot to add. Just the idea of collaboration is brilliant, I think, for book projects and journal articles as well. And if you’re not collaborating, just try and get as much feedback from other people as you possibly can, and make sure that the kind-of remit of the piece of writing is appropriate for the word length that you’re given, as well. I think that can be a problem sometimes.

SO: And lastly, Joshua?

JW: Yes, ok. So I think I would say, firstly, that as a publisher I want your book to be good – because I want to do good books. So don’t feel like you have to come to me cap in hand. It’s actually . . . if you’ve got a good idea and a good book, I want to hear about it. I think, secondly, just think about how you’re explaining that idea. So if you can try and come out of your involvement with it for a second and think about it . . . put yourself in my shoes. If you’ve just got this email through, how might you react to it? And just a very small practical thing, if you were emailing someone like me out of the blue. What I quite like in an email: introduce yourself, say what stage you’re at, maybe a paragraph or something just explaining the book and then say, “Does that sound interesting?” Because if you just send me your thesis and go “Do you want to publish it?”, very honestly, I don’t have time to sit and read your whole thesis. I’ve got hundreds of emails a day, hundreds of projects to look through a year. So, just a brief summary that I can get the general gist of it, and that’s going to make me much more likely to respond to you quickly. If you leave it quite vague, I’m going put that on the I’ll-get-to-that-in-a-bit pile. That’s just a bit of honesty. Brief, concise detail in your initial contact with me will probably go a long way.

SO: Well, I think we will end it here. And I’d like to thank our speakers here answering questions, and also all of you for coming, and staying this long, and asking questions. And so thank you very much, and enjoy the rest of the conference. And come and speak to the publishers!

 

 

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EASR 2019 Publishing Panel (Classroom Edit)

This panel, recorded at the EASR conference 2019 at the University of Tartu, is intended for PhD students and early career scholars who want to learn more about the publishing world. We encourage listeners to watch the video version of this week’s episode on YouTube, which has timestamps in the video description for the different questions answered by these experienced editors and publishers in their hour-long discussion.   On the panel chaired by Suzanne Owen were Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, and James White.   This event was organized by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions and University of Tartu in cooperation with Religious Studies Project, and was supported by the European Regional Developmental Fund (through Enterprise Estonia). We thank them for their generous help to produce this resource.    

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Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 24 May 2016

Calls for papers

BASR: Religion Beyond the Textbook

September 5–7, 2016

University of Wolverhampton, UK

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

May 23–26, 2017

Concepción, Chile

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

September 23, 2016

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

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

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

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Exodus: Migrants and frontiers

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Comparative Study of Religious Seminaries

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

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Events

Modern Religious History

June 14–15, 2016

University of Stirling, UK

More information

Public Religions and Their Secrets, Secret Religions and Their Publics

October 27–28, 2016

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

NEW DEADLINE: June 1, 2016

More information: Conference, Master Class

Summer school: Doing and Communicating Qualitative Research

July 4–8, 2016

Kingston University London, UK

More information

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

June 3–4, 2016

Aberdeen, Scotland

More information

Religion, Gender and Sexualities

July 1, 2016

Aston University, UK

More information

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

June 22–24, 2016

The Loyola Institute in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

More information

Translating Buddhism

June 30–July 2, 2016

York St John University, UK

More information

Awards

Sofja Kovalevskaja Award

Humboldt Foundation

Deadline: July 31, 2016

More information

Jobs

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

University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: June 1, 2016

More information

University Teacher in Islamic Studies

University of Glasgow, UK

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

Tutor: Theology and Religious Studies

University of Glasgow, UK

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

University Teacher

University of Glasgow, UK

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

Doctoral scholarships

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: May 29, 2016

More information

PhD positions: History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Deadline: July 15, 2016

More information

PhD positions

Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Deadline: June 15, 2016

More information

PhD positions: Medieval Studies

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: August 1, 2016

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 27 October 2015

Dear subscriber,

Please be aware that the previous Opportunities Digest contained two mistakes in the posting of the 41st Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, which may have confused some readers. A corrected version of the listing is found below. 

As usual, we would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has forwarded notifications. On that note, we would also like to encourage you to continue to do so (and invite those who remain hesitant to begin)!

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

We thank you for your contribution.

Calls for papers

Symposium: 41st Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions

April 15–17, 2016

Deadline: December 7, 2015

More information

Conference: Construction and disruption: The power of religion in the public sphere

July 12–14, 2016

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: December 11, 2015

More information

Conference: Heritage, Religion and Travel

May 27–29, 2016

Mersin Congress and Exhibitions Centre, Turkey

Deadline: December 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe

April 6–8, 2016

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

Deadline: December 31, 2015

More information

Journal: Gamevironments

Topics: Gamevironments, Games, Religion, and Culture

Deadline: January 15, 2016

More information

Events

Conference: Collective Worship and Religious Observance in Schools

University of Leicester, UK

November 13, 2015

More information

Conference: Allaitement entre Humans et Animaux: Représentations et Pratiques de l’Antique à Aujourd’hui

November 12–14, 2015

Université de Genève, Switzerland

More information

Winter School: Interrelational Selves and Individualization

January 5–9, 2016

University of Erfurt, Germany

More information

Workshop: The Diversity of Nonreligion

November 12–14, 2015

University of Zürich, Switzerland

More information

Jobs

New managing editor

The Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network

Deadline: November 6, 2015

More information

4 new members for Editorial Board

Sociology

Deadlines vary

More information

Junior Professorship: Anthropology and History of Religion in South Asia

University of Erfurt, Germany

Deadline: November 30, 2015

More information

Senior Lecturer/Lecturer in Politics/International Relations and Religion

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: November 15, 2015

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 13 October 2015

Dear subscriber,

We are pleased to bring you this week’s opportunities digest, booming with calls for papers, events and job opportunities!

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has forwarded notifications. On that note, we would also like to encourage you to continue to do so (and invite those who remain hesitant to begin)!

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

We thank you for your contribution.

Now, sink your teeth into this:

Calls for papers

Conference: Religious Materiality and Emotion

February 17–18, 2016

Adelaide City, Australia

Deadline: October 31, 2015

More information

Conference: Hermeneutics, symbol and myth and the Modernity of Antiquity in Italian Literature and the Arts

December 1–2, 2015

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy

Deadline: November 10, 2015

More information

Conference: Shia Minorities in the Contemporary World

May 20–21, 2016

University of Chester, UK

Deadline: December 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Religion and Non-Religion in Contemporary Societies

April 21–24, 2016

Zadar, Croatia

Deadline: November 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Esotericism, Literature and Culture in Central and Eastern Europe

May 27–28, 2016

Belgrade, Serbia

Deadline: December 1, 2015

More information

Conference: Religion and Revolution

June 16–17, 2016

University College Cork, Ireland

Deadline: January 21, 2016

More information

Conference: Dialogue among religions as strategy and means for peace

July 12–15, 2016

Havana, Cuba

Deadline: November 20, 2015

More information

Conference: Anticipating the End Times: Millennialism, Apocalypticism, and Utopianism in Intentional Communities

October 6–8, 2016

Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Deadline: May 15, 2016

More information

Conference: Knowing Demons, Knowing Spirits

July 5–7, 2016

University of Oxford, UK

Deadline: November 10, 2015

More information

Colloquium: Translating Christianities

December 7, 2015

University of Stirling, UK

Deadline: October 30, 2015

More information

Symposium: The End of the World: A Universal Imagination

June 8–10, 2016

Nantes, France

Deadline: December 15, 2015

More information

Symposium: 41st Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions

April 15–17, 2015

Cardiff University, UK

Deadline: December 7, 2014

More information

Symposium: Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies

December 7–9, 2015

University of Oxford, UK

Deadline: November 6, 2015

More information

EASR panel: Nonreligion and Atheism in Central and Eastern Europe

June 28–July 1, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

More information

Journal: Preternature

Special issue: Delineating the Preternatural: Modern Occultism in a Scientific Context

Deadline: December 15, 2015

More information

Journal: Open Theology

Special issue: Religion and Racism: Intercultural Perspectives

Deadline: January 31, 2016

More information

Events

Conference: Religion, Addiction and Recovery

November 2, 2015

University of Chester, UK

More information

Seminar: Islamic Studies in Scotland: Retrospect and Prospect

October 23–24, 2015

University of Edinburgh, UK

More information

Jobs

4 PhD positions: “Communication and Exploitation of Knowledge in the Middle Ages”

University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Deadline: October 15, 2015

More information

Assistant Professor of Religion: Buddhist Studies

Bard College, NY, USA

Deadline: November 1, 2015

More information

Senior Research Associate: CREST

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: October 23, 2015

More information

Doctoral positions: Muslim Cultures and Societies

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Deadline: November 15, 2015

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 24 February 2015

Call for papers

Journal: Open Theology

Special issue: Manichaean religion

Deadline: June 15, 2015

More information

Journal: Secularism & Nonreligion

Special issue: Intersectionality and Power

Deadline: August 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Material Religion: Embodiment, materiality, technology

September 11–12, 2015

Duke University, NC, USA

Deadline: March 15, 2015

More information

Events

Conference: Nature and Religion

March 13–14, 2015

University of Bristol, UK

More information

Seminar: Mourning and Morbidity: Death and British Art

March 10, 2015

University of York, UK

More information

Jobs

PhD Studentship in Ethical Monotheism

Birkbeck University of London, UK

Deadline: March 20, 2015

More information

Canadian Women’s and Gender History

St Francis Xavier University, Canada

Deadline: March 6, 2015

More information

Visiting Assistant Professor in Religion and Gender & Queer Studies

University of Puget Sound, WA, USA

Deadline: Until filled

More information

Instructor of Religion

Western Carolina University, NC, USA

Deadline: Until filled

More information

Research Assistant

Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany

Deadline: April 1, 2015

More information (English, German)

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 17 February 2015

Dear subscribers,

Welcome to this week’s digest!

We are grateful to everyone who forwards calls for papers, notifications of events, and job openings. Please continue to do so in the future!

Don’t forget the address! It’s oppsdigest@religiousstudiesproject.com

Have a lovely week!

Calls for papers

Journal: Nordic Journal of Youth Research

Special issue: Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Culture

Deadline: May 31, 2015

More information

Article collection: Healing gods, heroes and rituals in the Graeco-Roman world

Open Library of Humanities

Deadline: May 25, 2015

More information

Events

FCSU Faith and Public Professions: Does teacher training help teachers teach religion?

February 18, 2015, 5:30–7:00 PM

Goldsmiths University of London, UK

More information

Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions 2015

April 10–12, 2015

Edinburgh, UK

More information

RomArché: Archeologia e antropologia della morte

May 20–22, 2015

Rome, Italy

More information (Italian, English)

Summer school: ERiC: Eurasian Religions in Contact

July 20–28, 2015

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

Deadline: March 6, 2015

More information

Jobs

Researchers in Ancient History of Religion

University of Erfurt, Germany

More information (GermanEnglish)

Dissertation reviews: Editor

Deadline: February 20, 2015

More information

PhD studentships

University of Winchester, UK

Deadline: March 13, 2015

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 10 February 2015

Calls for papers

Conference: In Search of the Origins of Religions

September 11–13, 2015

Ghent, Belgium

Deadline: March 1, 2015

More information (English)

Conference: Second Undegraduate Conference on Religion and Culture

March 28, 2015

Syracuse, NY, USA

Deadline: February 15, 2015

More information

Symposium: Society for the Study of Religion and Transhumanism (SSRT)

June 27, 2015

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2015

More information

AAR group: Secularism and Secularity

Deadline: March 2, 2015

More information

Journal: Studi e materiali di storia delle religioni

Theme issue: Religion as a Colonial Concept in Early modern History (Africa, America, Asia)

Deadline: May 15, 2015

More information

Article collection: Religious subcultures in Unexpected Places

Deadline: May 1, 2015

More information

Events

Conference: International Tyndale Conference

October 1–4, 2015

Oxford, UK

More information

Congress: “Ad Astra per Corpora: Astrología y Sexualidad en el Mundo Antiguo

February 19–21, 2015

Málaga, Spain

More information (Spanish)

Jobs

Research assistant: Indology

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany

Deadline: February 28, 2015

More information (German)

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 27 January 2015

Calls for papers

Conference: Tracing the Path of Tolerance: History and Critique of a Political Concept from the Early Modern Period to the Contemporary Debate

May 26–27, 2015

University of Padua, Italy

Deadline: March 1, 2015

More information

Conference: Sociology of Islam: Reflection, Revision & Reconceptualization

June 25–27, 2015

Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

Deadline: January 30, 2015

More information

Seminar: Myth(s) in the Social Sciences and Humanities

May 13, 2015, 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM

University of York, UK

Deadline: March 2, 2015

More information

Panel series/Journal: Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence

AAR program unit

Deadline: N/A

More information

Journal: Glossolalia

Deadline: March 23, 2015

More information

Book series: Philosophy of Religion, De Gruyter Open

Deadline: February 28, 2015

More information

Conference

Sister Act: Female monasticism and the Arts across Europe ca. 1250–1550

March 13–14, 2015

London, UK

More information

Jobs

University Lecturer in the Study of Religion

University of Bergen, Norway

Deadline: February 2, 2015

More information (Norwegian)

PhD scholarship: “Nature, culture, identity”

University of Tromsø, Norway

Deadline: February 12, 2015

More information (Norwegian)

Senior Lecturer/Associate Director in Women’s and Gender Studies

Vanderbilt University, USA

Deadline: February 1, 2015

More information

Mellon Visiting Assistant Professhorship

University of California Davis, USA

Deadline: March 9, 2015

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 9 December 2014

Welcome to the RSP opportunities digest!

Dear subscriber,

We are always grateful for your submissions and contributions to the opportunities digest, so please feel free to forward calls for papers, conference, job, grant notices etc. to us!

As per usual:

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

Calls for papers

Conference: “‘Making all things new?’ Evangelii Gaudium and Ecumenical Mission

June 29–July 1, 2015

St John’s College, Cambridge

Deadline: February 18, 2015

More information

Conference: Astrology as Art: Representation and Practice

June 27–28, 2015

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Deadline: December 31, 2014

More information

Conference: Power and Speech: Mythology of the Social and the Sacred

June 10–12, 2015

Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Information and values: ethics, spirituality and religion

June 2015

Vienna, Austria

Deadline: February 27, 2015

More information

Anthology: Video Games and Religion: Methods and Approaches

Editors: Vit Sisler, Kerstin Radde-Antweiler, Xenia Zeiler

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

Journal: Princeton Theological Review Special Issue

Theme: Church for the World: Essays in Honor of the Retirement of Darrell L. Guder

Deadline: February 1, 2015

More information

Journal: Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology

Deadline: March 31, 2015

More information

Grants and awards

Donnerska institutets pris för framstående religionsforskning 2015

Deadline: January 31, 2015

More information (Swedish)

Jobs

Junior and Senior Fellows

Heidelberg University, Germany

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

Four major scholarships

Swedish Institute in Rome, Italy

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information (generalarchaeologyarchitecturephilology and art history, form

15 fully funded PhD scholarships

Nottingham Trent University, UK

Deadline: December 12, 2014

More information

MPhil/PhD Religious Studies programme w/opportunities for funding

Goldsmiths, University of London UK

Deadline: January 14

More information

Postdoctoral fellowship

Université de Montréal, Canada

January 15, 2015

More information (English, French)

PhD position

Durham University, UK

Deadline: January 26, 2015

More information

PhD position in research group “The Politics of Resources”

Berlin, Germany

Deadline: December 12, 2014

More information (German)

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 28 July 2014

Calls for papers

Conference: IAHR registration reminder

August 23–29, 2015

Erfurt, Germany

Calls for: papers, panels

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information

Conference: Migration, Religion and Asia

November 27–29, 2014

Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: August 31, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conference: Presence and Invisibility: Sign-bearing artefacts in sacral spaces

February 23–25, 2015

Heidelberg, Germany

Calls for: lecture proposals

Deadline: September 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conference: 2nd Biennial Graduate Conference on Iranian Studies

April 8–9, 2015

University of Cambridge, UK

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: November 15, 2014

More information

IAHR panel: Way of Life and/as Religious Knowledge: Premodern Constellations?

Calls for: papers

Deadline: September 1, 2014

More information (pdf)

BASR roundtable: Interrogating integrity? Insider and outsider social research with faith based groups

Calls for: discussants

Deadline: July 29, 2014

More information (pdf)

Journal: Science, Religion & Culture

Special issue: Atheism, Secularity and Science

Calls for: Articles, art

Deadline: December 31, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conferences and events

Conference: Defining Jewish Medicine

July 27–29, 2014

UCL, UK

More information (pdf)

SocRel response to gender trouble in theology and religious studies

October 4, 2014

London, UK

More information (pdf)

Workshop: Gods and Goddesses in Ancient Italy

September 18, 2014

University of Oxford, UK

More information

Networking day: Researching Gender in Theology and Religious Studies

September 27, 2014, 10 AM–4 PM

Birmingham, UK

More information (pdf)

Material and literature

Free access: Virtual special issues from Folklore

More information

Jobs

2 PhD scholarships in Buddhist Studies

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany

Deadline: September 15, 2014

More information

Postdoc: Value politics: Religion in foreign affairs?

University of Oslo, Norway

Deadline: October 1, 2014

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 22 July 2014

Welcome to this week’s opportunities digest!

We would like to invite our readers to contribute to the Religious Studies Project. If you would like to contribute with an interview, book reviews, conference reports, comments or other ideas, we would love to hear from you! Also keep in mind that you can find us on TwitterFacebook and iTunes!

Now, for this week’s digest:

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

Calls for papers

Journal: International Journal of Pedagogy, Innovation and New Technologies

Calls for: articles

Deadline: N/A

More information

Workshop: Social Networking in Cyber Spaces: European Muslims’ Participation in New Media

November 27–28, 2014

KU Leuven University, Belgium

Calls for: abstracts, CVs, papers

Deadline: October 15, 2014

More information

Conferences and events

Making Space for Religion, Youth and Sexuality? Implications for Policies, Politics and Public imaginations

August 1, 2014, 3 PM–7 PM

London, UK

More information

Religious Offerings and Sacrifices in the Ancient Near East

July 20–22 / July 7–9, 2015. (Note: Both dates given by ARAM.)

University of Oxford, UK

More information

Jobs

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Brown University, USA

Deadline: September 15, 2014

More information

Postdoc in Arabic/Islamic Literary Studies

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Deadline: July 31, 2014

More information

wordle

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 31 January 2014

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

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

Calls for Papers

Denton Conference on ‘Implicit Religion’ and ‘Spirituality’

May 2014. See attached pdf for details.

The Uses of Witchcraft in Modern Germany

German Studies Association Conference, Kansas City, MO, 18-21

September 2014

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=209887

Igbo Conference 2014, May 2-3, SOAS, University of London

http://www.soas.ac.uk/cas/events/conferences/igbo-conference/

AAR Regional Meetings

NEW ENGLAND and CANADIAN MARITIMES REGIONAL MEETING of the AMERICAN ACADEMY of RELIGION

Massachusetts, New England and Canadian Maritimes region of the AAR (NEMAAR), April 26, 2014.

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=209878

2014 Eastern International Regional Meeting

Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York

May 2–3, 2014

http://www.eiraar.net/cfp

Evil Incarnate: Manifestations of Villains and Villainy

11-13 July 2014 Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

http://www.case.edu/artsci/engl/evilincarnate

Religious History Association Conference

Brisbane, Australia 8-10 July 2014

http://sapmea.asn.au/conventions/aha2014/

Society for the Scientific Study of Religion

October 31-November 2, 2014

JW Marriott, Indianapolis, Indiana

http://www.sssrweb.org/news.cfm?newsid=208

Interdisciplinary Conference on Religion in Everyday lives

Vienna, Austria, 28-29 March 2014.

http://socialsciencesandhumanities.com/upcoming-conferences-call-for-papers/index.html

Entangled Worlds: Science, Religion, and Materiality

Drew Theological School, New Jersey, 28-30 March 2014

http://depts.drew.edu/tsfac/colloquium/13/about.html

Lecture – Neutrality and Religious Freedom

Daniel Weinstock, McGill University

UCL Department of Political Science, Thursday, 6 February 2014 from 17:00 to 19:00 (GMT)

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/neutrality-and-religious-freedom-tickets-10368571677?aff=eorg

Jobs

Fo Guang University

Assistant Professor (or higher), Chinese Buddhism

http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=48364

Call for Submissions – Nomos Journal

1st Quarter 2014

http://www.nomosjournal.org/about

Research Fellowships

(Trans-)formation of religious traditions in the context of intra- and interreligious contact

Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

http://www.khk.ceres.rub.de/en/news/all/en-20140128-cfa-tradition-fellowships/

 

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 10 January 2014

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

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

RSP Recruiting Assistant Editor

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

The successful applicant should:

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

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

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

Calls for Papers

Religion in the Public Domain

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

3-5 September 2014 in Belfast.

Conference Theme – Religion in the Public Domain

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

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

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

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

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Dates & Deadlines in 2014

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

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

Contact: belfast2014@esareligion.org

The Marriage of Heaven and Earth

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

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture,

School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology

Annual Sophia Centre Conference

Second Call for Papers

28-29 June 2014

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

Keynote Speakers:

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

Conference Theme

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

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

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

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

The Proceedings will be published by the Sophia Centre Press.

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

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

The Programme will be confirmed by 15 February 2014

RGS-IBG Annual Conference

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

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

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

Sheffield, t.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

Sponsored by the Developing Areas Research Group (DARG)

Session Abstract:

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

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

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

participate.

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

Deadline for abstracts: 3rd February 2014

References:

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

Amos S. Ron – Ashkelon Academic College, Israel

Daniel H. Olsen – Brandon University, Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Demography–Multiculturalism–Citizenship

International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania, 7th Annual

Academic Conference, April 4-5, 2014

Date: 2014-04-04

Description: Migration continues to radically rearrange the makeup

of populations all over the world. Migrants are often very

different than native populationsin language, religion and

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

Europe more generally, struggle with the effects of demographic

transf …

Contact: jdmininger@lcc.lt

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

Announcement ID: 209105

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

Society of Biblical Literature

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

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

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

Buddhism and Healing

University of Leeds 1-2nd July 2014

Call for Papers – Postgraduate Panel

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

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

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

ISASR Conference

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

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

Conference theme: ‘Religion and Remembering’

Cross-Disciplinary Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

IAHR World Congress

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

http://www.iahr2015.org

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

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

These will be addressed within four areas:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philosophy, Religion and Public Policy

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

http://philosophyreligion.wordpress.com/

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

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

Call for Papers

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

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

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

Strand One: Economic and Political Regeneration

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

Strand Two: Rethinking Philosophy of Religion

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

Strand Three: Engaging the Public in Research on Religion

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

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

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

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

Registration

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

DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: March 28th 2014

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

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

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

SIKH RESEARCH CONFERENCE

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

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

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

www.sikhconference.com

Social Relations, Transformation and Trust

Friday 28th – Saturday 29th March

Centre for Social Relations, Coventry University

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

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

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

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

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

Keynote Speakers Include:

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

Nature of the conference

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

Submission Guidelines:

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

socialrelations@coventry.ac.uk

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

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

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

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

Round Table Session, EASR 2014

“The Study of Religions and Religion in Secular Education”

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

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

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

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

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

Conferences

Death in Scotland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond Consent and Dissent

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

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

Last Booking Date for this Event: 18th January 2014

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

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

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

Inform Anniversary Conference

Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future

New Academic Building, London School of Economics, London

Friday 31 January – Sunday 2 February 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Studentships

Open University

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

Faculty of Arts

AHRC CHASE PhD Studentships

circulation date : 12/12/2013

closing date : 31/01/2014

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

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

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

Closing date for applications: 31 January 2014

Equal Opportunity is University Policy.

Further particulars

Aarhus University/Queen’s University

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

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

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

Methods Training

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

Monday 17rd – Friday 21st March 2014

Department of Religious Studies, University of Kent

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

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

Topics covered by the training will include:

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

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

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

Jobs

University of Washington

Lecturer in Religious Studies

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

Aarhus University

Postdoctoral scholarship at the Grundtvig Study

Centre

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

Summer Courses

HARVARD SEMINAR ON DEBATES ABOUT RELIGION AND SEXUALITY

HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL, JUNE 10-19, 2014

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

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

AU SUMMER COURSE

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

Place: Kathmandu, Nepal

Dates: July 27th-August 10th, 2014

Host: Aarhus University Summer School

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

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

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

Faculty:

Jørn Borup, Associate Professor

Marianne Fibiger, Associate Professor

Bjarne Wernicke Olesen, PhD Candidate

Cameron David Warner, Assistant Professor

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

Apply by 15 March 2014 at:

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

New Book

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

Edited by Fabrizio Ferrari and Thomas Dahnhardt

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

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

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