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Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 17 March 2015

Esteemed subscriber,

We are happy to provide you with this week’s opportunities digest!

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

Having a call for papers, an exciting event, or an alluring job vacancy appear in future Opportunities Digests is easy! Simply 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. And now for this week’s digest:

Calls for papers

Anthology: Authority, Agency and Islam

Deadline: March 22, 2015

More information

Events

Workshop: Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum

May 26–28, 2015

York University Toronto, Canada

More information

Workshop: Fallen Animals Workshop

March 19–20, 2015

University of Aberdeen, UK

More information

Symposium: The End of Religion? An Essential Corrective to the Secularization Myth

May 5, 2015, 8:30 AM

Baylor University, USA

More information

Conference: Mythos: Costruzione e Percezione dei Racconti Tradizionali nel Mediterraneo Antico

June 9–13, 2015

Rome, Italy

More information (Italian)

Panel: Global Religious Freedom Summit

March 19, 2015, 2:00 PM

Baylor University, USA

More information

Networks

International Society for Historians of Atheism, Secularism, and Humanism

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 18 November 2014

Welcome to the RSP opportunities digest!

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

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

As per usual:

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

Calls for papers

Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity

August 24–28, 2015

York St John University, UK

Deadline: N/A

More information

The Power of the Word International Conference IV

June 17–20, 2015

Pontifical University of St Anselm, Italy

Deadline (extended): November 30, 2014

More information

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

September 25–26, 2015

London, UK

Deadline: January 1, 2015

More information (pdf)

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

April 16–18, 2015

Minsk, Belarus

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information (pdf, English, Russian)

European Conference on Ethics, Religion and Philosophy

July 6–8, 2015

Brighton, UK

Deadline: March 1, 2015

More information

Sociology of Religion: Foundations and Futures

July 7–9, 2015

Kingston University London, UK

Deadline: December 1, 2014

More information (scroll down a bit)

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

11-13 June 2015

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2015

More information (pdf)

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

May 3–4, 2015

Tel Aviv University, Israel

Deadline: November 30, 2014

More information

ISSR panel: Bodily Dimension, Experience, and Ethnographic Research

July 2–5, 2015

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

ISSR panel: Rethinking Spirituality through Gender and Youth

Repenser la spiritualité à travers le genre et la jeunesse

July 2–5, 2015

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conferences and events

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

February 7, 2015

London School of Economics, UK

More information (pdf)

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

November 25, 2014

European Institute, UK

More information (pdf)

Networks

Research School on Peace and Conflict

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

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information

Grants, awards, funding

Doctoral scholarship competition: Unitarianism

The Hibbert Trust

More information (pdf)

Funding for postgraduate teachers training

Department for Education, UK

More information

Jobs

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

University of Leeds, UK

Deadline: February 2, 2015

More information

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

Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

Deadline: March 15, 2015

More information

AHRC Doctoral Studentships

University of Aberdeen, UK

Deadline: January 12, 2015

More information

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

The MHS School of MIssion and Theology, Norway

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

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

Oxford Brookes University, UK

Deadline: November 24, 2014

More information (pdf)

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 16 September 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

IAHR: Updates

August 23–29, 2015

Erfurt, Germany

Calls for: panels, papers

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Symposium: Sacred and Secular: Faith and Formation

January 16, 2015

Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Calls for: Abstracts

Deadline: October 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Seminar: Prophetic Fragments: Humanities Past, Present, and Future

February 28, 2015, 10 AM – 5 PM

Wilson College, Chambersburg, USA

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: January 10, 2015

More information (pdf)

Conference: Martin Buber Memorial Conference

April 23, 2015

Manhattan College, USA

Calls for: proposals

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conference: New Technologies and Religious Communities

June 4–5, 2015

Kent State University, USA

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: October 1, 2014

More information

Symposium: Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions

April 10–12, 2015

University of Edinburgh, UK

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: October 31, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conference: Annual Sophia Centre Conference: Astrology as Art: Representation and Practice

June, 27–28, 2015

Bath, UK

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: December 31, 2014

More information (pdf)

Journal: Z?t?sis Vol. 3

Issue theme: “Twice Upon a Time: Magic, Alchemy and the Transubstantiation of the Senses”

Calls for: articles

Deadline: September 30, 2014

More information (pdf)

Journal: Open Theology

Issue theme: Manichaeism

Calls for: articles

Deadline: June 15, 2015

More information

Conferences and events

International Colloquium on Buddhism and LInguistics

September 19, 2014, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Liverpool Hope University, UK

More information

Christianity in Asia

September 14–27, 2014

University of Münster, Germany

More information

Spiritual Governance: The Chaplin as Priest of the Secular

September 24, 2014, 5:15 PM

UCL, UK

More information

Centro Italiano di Studi Superiori sulle Religioni: Annual Meeting on Christian Origins

October 2–5, 2014

University Residential Centre of Bertinoro, Italy

More information (English, Italian)

Study day: BSA Socrel Ethics of Representation

January 8, 2015

Imperial Wharf, UK

More information: General. Location.

Jobs

Series editor: Material Religion: the Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief

More information (pdf)

Assistant Professor in Latin American Religions

University of Texas at Austin, USA

Deadline: October 20, 2014

More information (pdf)

Communities and networks

faithXchange

Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

More information

wordle

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 28 February 2014

wordleWelcome to the ninth 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.

We are pleased to welcome Jane Skjoldli aboard as the new editor for the digest, so expect some changes in the coming weeks.

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

Conferences and Events

British Association for Islamic Studies

The inaugural conference for the British Association for Islamic Studies will be held on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th April 2014 at the John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh.

http://www.brais.ac.uk/annual-conference/ 

2nd Max Arthur Macauliffe Conference

“Emerging Trends and Developments in Sikh and Punjabi Studies”

Western Gateway Building Lecture Theatre 1.07, UCC, Cork, Ireland, Saturday 22 March 10.00-18.00.

Programme, abstracts & registration (free) at http://www.ucc.ie/en/religion/research/macauliffe2014/

All welcome, for all or part of the conference.

Religion in Urban Spaces

09.-11. April 2014, Göttingen

http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/426457.html

Religion: Views from Japan

Nous sommes très heureux de vous inviter à la conférence que donnera le prof. Jason A. Josephson (Williams College), auteur de The Invention of Religion in Japan, Chicago, 2012, organisée conjointement par l’Unité de japonais et l’Unité d’histoire des religions antiques de l’Université de Genève, sur le thème: RELIGION: VIEWS FROM JAPAN.

Le jeudi 20 mars 2014, 9-11h, Uni-Bastions, salle B105.

La conférence sera suivie d’une discussion. Toute personne interessée est la bienvenue.

New ESSWE Network

New ESSWE network for Central- and Eastern Europe

Eastern and Central Europe has been an area of growth for ESSWE in recent years. Now a new regional network is joining the fold and representing ESSWE more firmly on the ground in the region: the Central and Eastern European Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism (CEENASWE) will be launched officially this summer.

Find a call for papers for their launch event here.

Editorial Vacancies

Secularism and Nonreligion

The open access, peer-reviewed journal Secularism and Nonreligion is now recruiting for the following two vacancies:

  • Assistant editor, involving management of article submissions and other editorial duties.
  • Book reviews editor, involving co-management of book review submissions and other editorial duties.

We welcome applications from people in all stages of their academic career, including post-graduate students and early career researchers. Research experience within the field of nonreligion and secularity, or previous editorial experience is useful but not essential; we are also keen to hear from applicants working in other related research areas who feel they can offer a valuable external perspective on topics of S&N research.

Secularism and Nonreligion is an interdisciplinary journal published with the aim of advancing research on various aspects of ‘the secular.’ The journal is interested in contributions from primarily social scientific disciplines, including: psychology, sociology, political science, women’s studies, economics, geography, demography, anthropology, public health, and religious studies. Contributions from history, neuroscience, computer science, biology, philosophy, and medicine will also be considered. Articles published in the journal focus on the secular at one of three levels: the micro or individual level, the meso or institutional level, or the macro or national and international levels. Articles explore all aspects of what it means to be secular at any of the above levels, what the lives of nonreligious individuals are like, and the interactions between secularity and other aspects of the world. Articles also explore the ideology and philosophy of the secular or secularism.

Further information about the journal can be found at http://www.secularismandnonreligion.org/about.

To apply for these positions, please send a short cover note and CV to lois.lee@ucl.ac.uk by 21 March 2014. If you would like to be considered for either position, please state this in your covering note.

Both positions are unpaid.

Free Journal Articles

Folklore

Virtual Special Issue – Folklore and Paganism

http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/ah/folklore-and-paganism-vsi

Virtual Special Issue – Folklore, Religion and Contemporary Spirituality

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/explore/rfol-religion-spirituality.pdf

Networked religion, blurring boundaries and shifts in the field of authority

Central to questions of authority is the ability to define the tradition; to define how scripture should be interpreted, and to tell orthodoxy from heresy.

A freehand commentary, published by the Religious Studies Project on 12 June 2013 in response to the Religious Studies Project Interview with Heidi Campbell on Religion in a Networked Society (10 June 2013)

The past 15 years or so have witnessed a period of swift development of the World Wide Web and a wide range of other information and communication technologies (ICTs).  It has also become a truism that individuals, communities and cultures are more interconnected than ever before. This can be seen in all areas of life from economics and entertainment to education, and politics. Religion is no exception, and scholars of religious phenomena have increasingly turned their gaze to the ways in which these new technological possibilities affect religious communities.  As the field of interest has developed, researcher’s foci and insights have followed suit.

The Religious Studies Project’s interview with Heidi Campbell focuses mainly on her recently published article which examines the emergence of both online religion and the way scholars have approached this phenomenon. A key aspect examined in the article is the blurring boundaries between religion online and offline. Campbell uses the term ‘networked religion’ to better grasp the phenomenon.

The questions addressed in the interview are hugely interesting, and the topic is also a tricky one. The impact modern ICTs have on religious communities and religious activity must be mapped in an increasingly fluid and rapidly changing environment, in which distinctions between online and offline, public and private, as well as member and non-member is difficult, and often impossible, to maintain.

Blurred boundaries

Even though it is still technically possible to talk about time spent online and offline, this distinction is, according to Campbell, becoming more and more blurred. In everyday experience, this development seems fairly self-evident, as it is facilitated by the evolving communication technologies themselves. 15 years ago most people only had access to Internet from one or two, clearly defined geographical locations. For me, these were the family computer in our living room, and the single enormous PC with Internet access at the local library (under the watchful eye of the librarian). Growing connection speeds, the development of smart phones and tablets, and increasingly widespread access to wireless networks has made the Internet available almost everywhere. Consequently, ‘being online’ may – and in many cases, has – become a constant feature of everyday life.

Heidi Campbell uses the term networked religion to describe the more or less fused online/offline religion emerging in the digital age. With this term, Campbell wishes to point out how religion has been affected by the new ‘socio-technological infrastructure’ and its logic, much like all other areas of society. The term ‘network’ is probably most well-known from Manuel Castells’ extensive work on the emergence of the network society and the various social implications of the development of ICTs. Network has become a common metaphor in social sciences, but also outside academia.

Campbell mentions five core aspects that constitute a networked religion. These are convergent practice, multisite reality, network community, storied identity and shifts in authority. Although the names are different and the topic discussed here more specialized, these themes strike a familiar chord to many general sociological accounts of developments in contemporary religiosity. Dr Teemu Taira, for example, has written on ‘liquid religiosity’ (2006), which he describes as being individualistic and this-worldly in orientation. In Taira’s view this type of religiosity typically emphasizes the authority of the individual. Spiritual seekership and mix-and-match religiosity is accepted and common. Community formations are often loose networks or ‘coatrack communities’ where individuals come and go as they please. All sorts of religious and spiritual self-help materials, fairs, teachers and groups form a fluid milieu, in which people create their individual spiritual roadmaps – or ‘storied identities’, to borrow Campbell’s terminology.

Even though Taira’s work operates on a rather general level and does not focus on the Internet or ICTs, they are clearly present in his views. Where else can you find as liquid religion as on the Internet, where moving from one society and information source to another is only a matter of clicking a mouse?

An interesting question is, how do we research this type of religiosity and religious communities that are ‘liquid’ or in the state of ‘flux’? I for one am only beginning to examine these tricky methodological issues. On a more quantitative level, all sorts of new computer programs for data mining and network analysis are being developed rapidly. Ethnographically, though, how is it possible to fruitfully approach this kind of networked religion which stretches over the divide between online communities and offline environments, in which memberships are not clearly defined, and even the teachings are more or less open source, available for use and modification?  I am eagerly looking forward to innovative approaches.

Religion and technology

New technologies affect religious practices both directly and indirectly. Religions old and new take up these new tools and move in to these new forums, actively adopting innovative ways of organization, communication and attracting members. Needless to say, these new possibilities are not merely a passive medium in the hands of religion. They may well give rise to new questions and challenges, ranging from practical issues, to ethical and theological dilemmas. They may also affect the expectations people have of their community and of life in general. Some forms of religion handle these changes well, others less so.

New technologies allow for new possibilities for organizing communities, and for communication within communities as well as with the surrounding society. They also create new possibilities for thought and imagination, and so may affect values, expectations, and even inspire the creation of new religions.

An example of such connection between technology and religious thought is presented by Jeremy Stolow in his article Salvation by Electricity (2008). His article examines the relationship between the Spiritualist movement of the early 19th century and the newly invented telegraph. Stolow examines the ways in which Spiritualism developed hand in hand with the new technologies, and how both its ideas and the formation of the movement were in many ways facilitated by the technology. To put things briefly, on a material level, the telegraph made it possible to create loose grassroots networks and share ideas globally. Spirit mediums also found publicity and possibilities of voicing their opinions, thereby challenging powers that be and negotiating anew the existing locations of authority.

On a less tangible level, the new technologies brought with themselves very powerful new imageries. In Spiritualism, one of the most powerful images was electricity. Similarly, the Internet and other ICTs may also have an effect on new religious imaginations. There are religious groups that can be reasonably called digitally based. They may have existed before the Internet started spreading, but the Internet has given them the kind of environment where they can create a relatively free community. One interesting example is the Open Source Religion Project, an online community in which people discuss and debate religious ideas. As the name suggests, Open Source Religion shares the logic of collectively creating something that everyone can develop and improve.

Shifts in authority

The questions of networked religion are also central to my own research project. I am currently studying the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a quasi-religious community that is usually categorized as a spoof religion or a satire with political aims. The aim of my study is to examine precisely the blurring of boundaries – not only the border between online and offline, but also the blurring between the realms of public and private, and of religion, humour and politics.

Campbell notes that, on the one hand, religious communities and individuals online may challenge the authority of traditional authorities. On the other, these traditional authorities themselves have in some cases begun to use these new spaces to reassert their authority. Even the pope has a twitter account.

Central to questions of authority is the ability to define the tradition; to define how scripture should be interpreted, and to tell orthodoxy from heresy.  In the case of many new religious movements, such as some neo-pagan groups, it is not so much about definitions within the tradition but the category of religion in general. This is especially visible in cases where a religious community attempts become a state-recognized religious institution. Having been denied this status, these movements often claim that the definitions used in this legal framework are biased in favour of more established scriptural religions, often Christianity. This in turn creates interesting dilemmas for the state, as it has to define what a religion is and what it is not. Religion was, after all, supposed to be private and consequently not a political issue.

All in all, the interview with Professor Campbell gives a good, concise account on where the development of religion online seems to be headed. This is no small achievement, given the huge complexity of the field of online religion, and I am looking forward to getting my hands on her article. A small problem in general summaries like this is that they often tend to lose edge and become difficult to grasp and apply on a more concrete level.  Nevertheless, I think networked religion seems like a promising tool in examining the messy reality.  In this commentary I have tried to open up some possible fields where Campbell’s formulations could be taken and applied to. The next step is the quest for fruitful research methods…

This material is disseminated under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. and can be distributed and utilised freely, provided full citation is given.

About the Author

Digital CameraHanna Lehtinen is a graduate student and currently an intern in Comparative religion in Turku University, Finland. She is working on her MA thesis on the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Her research interests include parody religions, religious innovation, evolving discourse on religion, and power relations in general. She has also written the essays Divine Inspiration Revisited and What should we do with the study of new religions? for the Religious Studies Project.

 

References

  • Stolow, Jeremy. 2008. Salvation by Electricity pp. 668–686 in Hent de Vries (ed.) 2008: Religion. Beyond a Concept. New York: Fordham.
  • Taira, Teemu. 2006. Notkea uskonto. Published in Eetos-series. Turku: Eetos.

Religion in a Networked Society

CampbellMedia, religion and culture is an emerging area, with much attention being given to four themes, namely authority, community, identity and ritual. Research has focused on a wide range of topics, including different religions in virtual worlds; religion and video games; online cyber-churches and temples; and an exploration into how religious organisations and individuals are accepting or rejecting digital media. Heidi Campbell is one of the leading scholars in the field of media, religion and culture and has written extensively about this topic; providing us with an insight into the relationship between digital culture and religion. For scholars of religious studies, media studies and other related disciplines, the exploration of religion and the internet provides an insight into the relationship between religion and technology and consequently, the possible impact and challenge to traditional religion.

On a recent visit to Edinburgh, the Religious Studies Project (Louise) met with Heidi Campbell (the interview is set in a restaurant and so on occasion you may hear some background noise). The interview focuses on her recent article in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion (March 2012), “Understanding the Relationship between Religion Online and Offline in a Networked Society”, which presents five key traits of the concept of “networked religion”. These are: networked community; storied identities; shifting authority; convergent practice; and a multisite reality. Campbell presents an overview of each of these traits and concludes by questioning how digital communications technologies might affect religious authority in the future.

You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. And if you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us, or use our Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com link to support us when buying your important books etc.

Heidi Campbell is Associate Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University where she teaches in Telecommunications and Media Studies. Campbell’s teaching and research explores the social shaping of technology, rhetoric of new media, and themes related to the intersection of media religion and culture, with a special interest in the internet and mobile phones. She has written extensively about media, religion and culture, comprising of a number of journal articles and books, including When Religion Meets New Media (Routledge, 2010) and her recent publication Digital Religion. Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds (Routledge, 2012).

Select Publications:

Campbell, H. (2005). Exploring religious community online: We are one in the network. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Campbell, H. (2010). When religion meets new media. London, UK: Routledge.

Campbell, H & Connelly, L. (2012). Cyber behavior and religious practice on the internet, In Z. Yeng (ed.) Encyclopedia of Cyber Behavior, (pp. 434-445). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Campbell, H. (ed.) (2012). Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds. New York: Routledge.

Campbell, H. (2012). Understanding the Relationship between Religion Online and Offline in a Networked Society, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 80 (1), 64-93.

This interview was based upon the article: http://jaar.oxfordjournals.org/content/80/1/64.abstract

Podcasts

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 17 March 2015

Esteemed subscriber,

We are happy to provide you with this week’s opportunities digest!

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

Having a call for papers, an exciting event, or an alluring job vacancy appear in future Opportunities Digests is easy! Simply 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. And now for this week’s digest:

Calls for papers

Anthology: Authority, Agency and Islam

Deadline: March 22, 2015

More information

Events

Workshop: Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum

May 26–28, 2015

York University Toronto, Canada

More information

Workshop: Fallen Animals Workshop

March 19–20, 2015

University of Aberdeen, UK

More information

Symposium: The End of Religion? An Essential Corrective to the Secularization Myth

May 5, 2015, 8:30 AM

Baylor University, USA

More information

Conference: Mythos: Costruzione e Percezione dei Racconti Tradizionali nel Mediterraneo Antico

June 9–13, 2015

Rome, Italy

More information (Italian)

Panel: Global Religious Freedom Summit

March 19, 2015, 2:00 PM

Baylor University, USA

More information

Networks

International Society for Historians of Atheism, Secularism, and Humanism

More information

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 18 November 2014

Welcome to the RSP opportunities digest!

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

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

As per usual:

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

Calls for papers

Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity

August 24–28, 2015

York St John University, UK

Deadline: N/A

More information

The Power of the Word International Conference IV

June 17–20, 2015

Pontifical University of St Anselm, Italy

Deadline (extended): November 30, 2014

More information

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

September 25–26, 2015

London, UK

Deadline: January 1, 2015

More information (pdf)

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

April 16–18, 2015

Minsk, Belarus

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information (pdf, English, Russian)

European Conference on Ethics, Religion and Philosophy

July 6–8, 2015

Brighton, UK

Deadline: March 1, 2015

More information

Sociology of Religion: Foundations and Futures

July 7–9, 2015

Kingston University London, UK

Deadline: December 1, 2014

More information (scroll down a bit)

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

11-13 June 2015

University of Edinburgh, UK

Deadline: March 31, 2015

More information (pdf)

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

May 3–4, 2015

Tel Aviv University, Israel

Deadline: November 30, 2014

More information

ISSR panel: Bodily Dimension, Experience, and Ethnographic Research

July 2–5, 2015

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

ISSR panel: Rethinking Spirituality through Gender and Youth

Repenser la spiritualité à travers le genre et la jeunesse

July 2–5, 2015

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conferences and events

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

February 7, 2015

London School of Economics, UK

More information (pdf)

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

November 25, 2014

European Institute, UK

More information (pdf)

Networks

Research School on Peace and Conflict

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

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information

Grants, awards, funding

Doctoral scholarship competition: Unitarianism

The Hibbert Trust

More information (pdf)

Funding for postgraduate teachers training

Department for Education, UK

More information

Jobs

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

University of Leeds, UK

Deadline: February 2, 2015

More information

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

Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

Deadline: March 15, 2015

More information

AHRC Doctoral Studentships

University of Aberdeen, UK

Deadline: January 12, 2015

More information

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

The MHS School of MIssion and Theology, Norway

Deadline: January 15, 2015

More information

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

Oxford Brookes University, UK

Deadline: November 24, 2014

More information (pdf)

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 16 September 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

IAHR: Updates

August 23–29, 2015

Erfurt, Germany

Calls for: panels, papers

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Symposium: Sacred and Secular: Faith and Formation

January 16, 2015

Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Calls for: Abstracts

Deadline: October 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Seminar: Prophetic Fragments: Humanities Past, Present, and Future

February 28, 2015, 10 AM – 5 PM

Wilson College, Chambersburg, USA

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: January 10, 2015

More information (pdf)

Conference: Martin Buber Memorial Conference

April 23, 2015

Manhattan College, USA

Calls for: proposals

Deadline: December 15, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conference: New Technologies and Religious Communities

June 4–5, 2015

Kent State University, USA

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: October 1, 2014

More information

Symposium: Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions

April 10–12, 2015

University of Edinburgh, UK

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: October 31, 2014

More information (pdf)

Conference: Annual Sophia Centre Conference: Astrology as Art: Representation and Practice

June, 27–28, 2015

Bath, UK

Calls for: abstracts

Deadline: December 31, 2014

More information (pdf)

Journal: Z?t?sis Vol. 3

Issue theme: “Twice Upon a Time: Magic, Alchemy and the Transubstantiation of the Senses”

Calls for: articles

Deadline: September 30, 2014

More information (pdf)

Journal: Open Theology

Issue theme: Manichaeism

Calls for: articles

Deadline: June 15, 2015

More information

Conferences and events

International Colloquium on Buddhism and LInguistics

September 19, 2014, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Liverpool Hope University, UK

More information

Christianity in Asia

September 14–27, 2014

University of Münster, Germany

More information

Spiritual Governance: The Chaplin as Priest of the Secular

September 24, 2014, 5:15 PM

UCL, UK

More information

Centro Italiano di Studi Superiori sulle Religioni: Annual Meeting on Christian Origins

October 2–5, 2014

University Residential Centre of Bertinoro, Italy

More information (English, Italian)

Study day: BSA Socrel Ethics of Representation

January 8, 2015

Imperial Wharf, UK

More information: General. Location.

Jobs

Series editor: Material Religion: the Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief

More information (pdf)

Assistant Professor in Latin American Religions

University of Texas at Austin, USA

Deadline: October 20, 2014

More information (pdf)

Communities and networks

faithXchange

Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

More information

wordle

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 28 February 2014

wordleWelcome to the ninth 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.

We are pleased to welcome Jane Skjoldli aboard as the new editor for the digest, so expect some changes in the coming weeks.

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

Conferences and Events

British Association for Islamic Studies

The inaugural conference for the British Association for Islamic Studies will be held on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th April 2014 at the John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh.

http://www.brais.ac.uk/annual-conference/ 

2nd Max Arthur Macauliffe Conference

“Emerging Trends and Developments in Sikh and Punjabi Studies”

Western Gateway Building Lecture Theatre 1.07, UCC, Cork, Ireland, Saturday 22 March 10.00-18.00.

Programme, abstracts & registration (free) at http://www.ucc.ie/en/religion/research/macauliffe2014/

All welcome, for all or part of the conference.

Religion in Urban Spaces

09.-11. April 2014, Göttingen

http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/426457.html

Religion: Views from Japan

Nous sommes très heureux de vous inviter à la conférence que donnera le prof. Jason A. Josephson (Williams College), auteur de The Invention of Religion in Japan, Chicago, 2012, organisée conjointement par l’Unité de japonais et l’Unité d’histoire des religions antiques de l’Université de Genève, sur le thème: RELIGION: VIEWS FROM JAPAN.

Le jeudi 20 mars 2014, 9-11h, Uni-Bastions, salle B105.

La conférence sera suivie d’une discussion. Toute personne interessée est la bienvenue.

New ESSWE Network

New ESSWE network for Central- and Eastern Europe

Eastern and Central Europe has been an area of growth for ESSWE in recent years. Now a new regional network is joining the fold and representing ESSWE more firmly on the ground in the region: the Central and Eastern European Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism (CEENASWE) will be launched officially this summer.

Find a call for papers for their launch event here.

Editorial Vacancies

Secularism and Nonreligion

The open access, peer-reviewed journal Secularism and Nonreligion is now recruiting for the following two vacancies:

  • Assistant editor, involving management of article submissions and other editorial duties.
  • Book reviews editor, involving co-management of book review submissions and other editorial duties.

We welcome applications from people in all stages of their academic career, including post-graduate students and early career researchers. Research experience within the field of nonreligion and secularity, or previous editorial experience is useful but not essential; we are also keen to hear from applicants working in other related research areas who feel they can offer a valuable external perspective on topics of S&N research.

Secularism and Nonreligion is an interdisciplinary journal published with the aim of advancing research on various aspects of ‘the secular.’ The journal is interested in contributions from primarily social scientific disciplines, including: psychology, sociology, political science, women’s studies, economics, geography, demography, anthropology, public health, and religious studies. Contributions from history, neuroscience, computer science, biology, philosophy, and medicine will also be considered. Articles published in the journal focus on the secular at one of three levels: the micro or individual level, the meso or institutional level, or the macro or national and international levels. Articles explore all aspects of what it means to be secular at any of the above levels, what the lives of nonreligious individuals are like, and the interactions between secularity and other aspects of the world. Articles also explore the ideology and philosophy of the secular or secularism.

Further information about the journal can be found at http://www.secularismandnonreligion.org/about.

To apply for these positions, please send a short cover note and CV to lois.lee@ucl.ac.uk by 21 March 2014. If you would like to be considered for either position, please state this in your covering note.

Both positions are unpaid.

Free Journal Articles

Folklore

Virtual Special Issue – Folklore and Paganism

http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/ah/folklore-and-paganism-vsi

Virtual Special Issue – Folklore, Religion and Contemporary Spirituality

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/explore/rfol-religion-spirituality.pdf

Networked religion, blurring boundaries and shifts in the field of authority

Central to questions of authority is the ability to define the tradition; to define how scripture should be interpreted, and to tell orthodoxy from heresy.

A freehand commentary, published by the Religious Studies Project on 12 June 2013 in response to the Religious Studies Project Interview with Heidi Campbell on Religion in a Networked Society (10 June 2013)

The past 15 years or so have witnessed a period of swift development of the World Wide Web and a wide range of other information and communication technologies (ICTs).  It has also become a truism that individuals, communities and cultures are more interconnected than ever before. This can be seen in all areas of life from economics and entertainment to education, and politics. Religion is no exception, and scholars of religious phenomena have increasingly turned their gaze to the ways in which these new technological possibilities affect religious communities.  As the field of interest has developed, researcher’s foci and insights have followed suit.

The Religious Studies Project’s interview with Heidi Campbell focuses mainly on her recently published article which examines the emergence of both online religion and the way scholars have approached this phenomenon. A key aspect examined in the article is the blurring boundaries between religion online and offline. Campbell uses the term ‘networked religion’ to better grasp the phenomenon.

The questions addressed in the interview are hugely interesting, and the topic is also a tricky one. The impact modern ICTs have on religious communities and religious activity must be mapped in an increasingly fluid and rapidly changing environment, in which distinctions between online and offline, public and private, as well as member and non-member is difficult, and often impossible, to maintain.

Blurred boundaries

Even though it is still technically possible to talk about time spent online and offline, this distinction is, according to Campbell, becoming more and more blurred. In everyday experience, this development seems fairly self-evident, as it is facilitated by the evolving communication technologies themselves. 15 years ago most people only had access to Internet from one or two, clearly defined geographical locations. For me, these were the family computer in our living room, and the single enormous PC with Internet access at the local library (under the watchful eye of the librarian). Growing connection speeds, the development of smart phones and tablets, and increasingly widespread access to wireless networks has made the Internet available almost everywhere. Consequently, ‘being online’ may – and in many cases, has – become a constant feature of everyday life.

Heidi Campbell uses the term networked religion to describe the more or less fused online/offline religion emerging in the digital age. With this term, Campbell wishes to point out how religion has been affected by the new ‘socio-technological infrastructure’ and its logic, much like all other areas of society. The term ‘network’ is probably most well-known from Manuel Castells’ extensive work on the emergence of the network society and the various social implications of the development of ICTs. Network has become a common metaphor in social sciences, but also outside academia.

Campbell mentions five core aspects that constitute a networked religion. These are convergent practice, multisite reality, network community, storied identity and shifts in authority. Although the names are different and the topic discussed here more specialized, these themes strike a familiar chord to many general sociological accounts of developments in contemporary religiosity. Dr Teemu Taira, for example, has written on ‘liquid religiosity’ (2006), which he describes as being individualistic and this-worldly in orientation. In Taira’s view this type of religiosity typically emphasizes the authority of the individual. Spiritual seekership and mix-and-match religiosity is accepted and common. Community formations are often loose networks or ‘coatrack communities’ where individuals come and go as they please. All sorts of religious and spiritual self-help materials, fairs, teachers and groups form a fluid milieu, in which people create their individual spiritual roadmaps – or ‘storied identities’, to borrow Campbell’s terminology.

Even though Taira’s work operates on a rather general level and does not focus on the Internet or ICTs, they are clearly present in his views. Where else can you find as liquid religion as on the Internet, where moving from one society and information source to another is only a matter of clicking a mouse?

An interesting question is, how do we research this type of religiosity and religious communities that are ‘liquid’ or in the state of ‘flux’? I for one am only beginning to examine these tricky methodological issues. On a more quantitative level, all sorts of new computer programs for data mining and network analysis are being developed rapidly. Ethnographically, though, how is it possible to fruitfully approach this kind of networked religion which stretches over the divide between online communities and offline environments, in which memberships are not clearly defined, and even the teachings are more or less open source, available for use and modification?  I am eagerly looking forward to innovative approaches.

Religion and technology

New technologies affect religious practices both directly and indirectly. Religions old and new take up these new tools and move in to these new forums, actively adopting innovative ways of organization, communication and attracting members. Needless to say, these new possibilities are not merely a passive medium in the hands of religion. They may well give rise to new questions and challenges, ranging from practical issues, to ethical and theological dilemmas. They may also affect the expectations people have of their community and of life in general. Some forms of religion handle these changes well, others less so.

New technologies allow for new possibilities for organizing communities, and for communication within communities as well as with the surrounding society. They also create new possibilities for thought and imagination, and so may affect values, expectations, and even inspire the creation of new religions.

An example of such connection between technology and religious thought is presented by Jeremy Stolow in his article Salvation by Electricity (2008). His article examines the relationship between the Spiritualist movement of the early 19th century and the newly invented telegraph. Stolow examines the ways in which Spiritualism developed hand in hand with the new technologies, and how both its ideas and the formation of the movement were in many ways facilitated by the technology. To put things briefly, on a material level, the telegraph made it possible to create loose grassroots networks and share ideas globally. Spirit mediums also found publicity and possibilities of voicing their opinions, thereby challenging powers that be and negotiating anew the existing locations of authority.

On a less tangible level, the new technologies brought with themselves very powerful new imageries. In Spiritualism, one of the most powerful images was electricity. Similarly, the Internet and other ICTs may also have an effect on new religious imaginations. There are religious groups that can be reasonably called digitally based. They may have existed before the Internet started spreading, but the Internet has given them the kind of environment where they can create a relatively free community. One interesting example is the Open Source Religion Project, an online community in which people discuss and debate religious ideas. As the name suggests, Open Source Religion shares the logic of collectively creating something that everyone can develop and improve.

Shifts in authority

The questions of networked religion are also central to my own research project. I am currently studying the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a quasi-religious community that is usually categorized as a spoof religion or a satire with political aims. The aim of my study is to examine precisely the blurring of boundaries – not only the border between online and offline, but also the blurring between the realms of public and private, and of religion, humour and politics.

Campbell notes that, on the one hand, religious communities and individuals online may challenge the authority of traditional authorities. On the other, these traditional authorities themselves have in some cases begun to use these new spaces to reassert their authority. Even the pope has a twitter account.

Central to questions of authority is the ability to define the tradition; to define how scripture should be interpreted, and to tell orthodoxy from heresy.  In the case of many new religious movements, such as some neo-pagan groups, it is not so much about definitions within the tradition but the category of religion in general. This is especially visible in cases where a religious community attempts become a state-recognized religious institution. Having been denied this status, these movements often claim that the definitions used in this legal framework are biased in favour of more established scriptural religions, often Christianity. This in turn creates interesting dilemmas for the state, as it has to define what a religion is and what it is not. Religion was, after all, supposed to be private and consequently not a political issue.

All in all, the interview with Professor Campbell gives a good, concise account on where the development of religion online seems to be headed. This is no small achievement, given the huge complexity of the field of online religion, and I am looking forward to getting my hands on her article. A small problem in general summaries like this is that they often tend to lose edge and become difficult to grasp and apply on a more concrete level.  Nevertheless, I think networked religion seems like a promising tool in examining the messy reality.  In this commentary I have tried to open up some possible fields where Campbell’s formulations could be taken and applied to. The next step is the quest for fruitful research methods…

This material is disseminated under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. and can be distributed and utilised freely, provided full citation is given.

About the Author

Digital CameraHanna Lehtinen is a graduate student and currently an intern in Comparative religion in Turku University, Finland. She is working on her MA thesis on the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Her research interests include parody religions, religious innovation, evolving discourse on religion, and power relations in general. She has also written the essays Divine Inspiration Revisited and What should we do with the study of new religions? for the Religious Studies Project.

 

References

  • Stolow, Jeremy. 2008. Salvation by Electricity pp. 668–686 in Hent de Vries (ed.) 2008: Religion. Beyond a Concept. New York: Fordham.
  • Taira, Teemu. 2006. Notkea uskonto. Published in Eetos-series. Turku: Eetos.

Religion in a Networked Society

CampbellMedia, religion and culture is an emerging area, with much attention being given to four themes, namely authority, community, identity and ritual. Research has focused on a wide range of topics, including different religions in virtual worlds; religion and video games; online cyber-churches and temples; and an exploration into how religious organisations and individuals are accepting or rejecting digital media. Heidi Campbell is one of the leading scholars in the field of media, religion and culture and has written extensively about this topic; providing us with an insight into the relationship between digital culture and religion. For scholars of religious studies, media studies and other related disciplines, the exploration of religion and the internet provides an insight into the relationship between religion and technology and consequently, the possible impact and challenge to traditional religion.

On a recent visit to Edinburgh, the Religious Studies Project (Louise) met with Heidi Campbell (the interview is set in a restaurant and so on occasion you may hear some background noise). The interview focuses on her recent article in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion (March 2012), “Understanding the Relationship between Religion Online and Offline in a Networked Society”, which presents five key traits of the concept of “networked religion”. These are: networked community; storied identities; shifting authority; convergent practice; and a multisite reality. Campbell presents an overview of each of these traits and concludes by questioning how digital communications technologies might affect religious authority in the future.

You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. And if you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us, or use our Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com link to support us when buying your important books etc.

Heidi Campbell is Associate Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University where she teaches in Telecommunications and Media Studies. Campbell’s teaching and research explores the social shaping of technology, rhetoric of new media, and themes related to the intersection of media religion and culture, with a special interest in the internet and mobile phones. She has written extensively about media, religion and culture, comprising of a number of journal articles and books, including When Religion Meets New Media (Routledge, 2010) and her recent publication Digital Religion. Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds (Routledge, 2012).

Select Publications:

Campbell, H. (2005). Exploring religious community online: We are one in the network. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Campbell, H. (2010). When religion meets new media. London, UK: Routledge.

Campbell, H & Connelly, L. (2012). Cyber behavior and religious practice on the internet, In Z. Yeng (ed.) Encyclopedia of Cyber Behavior, (pp. 434-445). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Campbell, H. (ed.) (2012). Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds. New York: Routledge.

Campbell, H. (2012). Understanding the Relationship between Religion Online and Offline in a Networked Society, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 80 (1), 64-93.

This interview was based upon the article: http://jaar.oxfordjournals.org/content/80/1/64.abstract