“The Study of Religions in Ireland: People, Places, Projects” – 2015 ISASR Conference Report

“The Study of Religions in Ireland: People, Places, Projects” Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR), Trinity College Dublin, May 11th 2015. Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Dr. Eoin O’Mahony, Department of Geography, St Patrick’s College DCU

The fourth annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions took place at Trinity College Dublin on May 11th. It was organised in association with the Trinity Long Room Hub Art & Humanities Institute and sponsored by the Department of Religions & Theology, TCD. This year, it took a novel turn. In place of an event over two or three days, it was in the form of a research slam, a format set to test the garrulous nature of the academic. This was to take account of the IAHR Congress in Erfurt later this summer. Following an opening address from the outgoing president of the Association, Dr. Patrick Claffey, the slam began in earnest. The Society has a relatively small number of members but we had twelve presentations, seven minutes and one carefully monitored countdown clock.

Chris Heinhold (University of Chester) told us about his theory-building approach to investigating modern British Shia identity. Chris is about to embark on intensive fieldwork but has already noted how being part of a diaspora is performative. As a researcher and migrant himself, he has made attempts to build a flexible theory based on data collection. How culture is remembered and mythologised formed the centre of the contribution by Deirdre Nuttall (independent researcher). The stories we tell ourselves influence the way we act and the story of Ireland has been told largely through Roman Catholic action. She has found that the lives of a working class Protestant minority are largely absent from the folklore archives. Early attempts at nation building in Ireland reinforced a Catholic retelling of the myths at the expense of a shrinking Protestant minority.

Dr. Jenny Butler presenting. Photo by James Kapalo.

Dr. Jenny Butler presenting. Photo by James Kapalo.

In further tales of cultural erasure, Jenny Butler (University College Cork) told us about Irish fairy beliefs. She is trying to address the academic deficit in this subject. In most academic studies of Irish culture, the focus is on fairy beliefs as “explaining away” rather than as an animistic worldview; for example, there is a focus on folk stories in which fairies are blamed mostly for the ill-effects of human interaction with nature and fairies were often said to be the cause of infant loss or disability and even bad harvests. Her dialogical and anthropological approach is making an attempt to plait strands of research that currently run in parallel.

Lawrence Cox (Maynooth University) brought us on a lyrical journey of the lives of Buddhist monks from Ireland to Asia. He narrated these accounts through the letters sent by these monks in a poetic stroll through space and time. Tadhg Foley (NUI Galway) told us about the wanderings of Max Arthur McAuliffe. McAuliffe’s efforts to avoid responsibility for his progeny was bested only by his commitment to translating Sikh holy texts. Christopher Cotter (Lancaster University) brought us on a technical journey across continents. Christopher walked us through the process by which the Religious Studies Project manages content and podcasts across time zones and continents using online collaborative software.

RSP Editor Christopher Cotter presenting. Photo by James Kapalo.

RSP Editor Christopher Cotter presenting. Photo by James Kapalo.

Ireland’s missionary past was recalled in a presentation by (UCC’s) Yuwu Shan. His new research on the Columban missions to China over the course of 150 years shows us that globalisation is not necessarily a recent phenomenon. Through the archive available to him in Dalgan Park, the Columban order’s world headquarters based in Kildare, Ireland, Shan brought their long history in China to life. He is working with photographs and other material to reconstruct the efforts of the holy order navigating turbulent political revolution. Colette Colfer (WIT) and I outlined our initial data from a new project mapping the warehouse worship spaces of Dublin and Waterford, two very different cities. Our work is focused on the ways that warehouses form community around Pentecostal churches and mosques, often defying a visible centrality usually reserved for religious space in Ireland, a majority Catholic country. We are planning a lot more fieldwork. Alexandra Greiser (Trinity College Dublin) told us about transhumanism and how it may be developing into a new universalism through a scientific discourse. This forms part of a larger project she is working on that will take a comparative perspective and a possible account of multiple modernities. Bringing the universal to the local, Vlad Kmec (UCD) told us about his research on the formation of religious identity among migrants to Ireland. He is conducting focus groups with young people and adults among the Czech and Polish communities to examine the functional and substantive roles of religion in migrant lives.

Eoin O'Mahony and Colette Colfer. Photo by James Kapalo.

Dr. Eoin O’Mahony and Colette Colfer. Photo by James Kapalo.

Olivia Wilkinson (TCD) is interested in the role of faith based organisations in disaster relief efforts. She has conducted extensive participatory methods in her fieldwork in the Philippines as a way to examine what is counted as faith based in the post-Haiyan aid process. What gets prioritised and, perhaps more importantly, what does not is of central concern to her research. James Kapaló (UCC) told us about a relatively new network called the Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Study Centre. Its main work is to build comparative perspectives on these endangered of marginalised worldviews and their cultural expressions. The projects here are engaged forms of research and encouraging of a counter-hegemonical perspective for these forms of knowledge. Some were running to the seven minute bell, others seemed to have timed it perfectly to 6 minutes and 57 seconds.

Our slamming over, Brian Bocking (outgoing secretary) recalled for us how far the academic study of religions in Ireland had come in a few short years. Brian has been instrumental in founding and developing the ISASR, as well as the Department of Study of Religions at UCC (the only department of its kind in Ireland) and in his short lecture, summarised for us why the academic study of religions remains vital. He drew a crucial distinction using an analogy between astrology and astronomy. For astrologers, a cosmological system of belief in the power of star alignment forms the basis for earthly action. Among astronomers, the gathering of evidence about the composition of star systems helps us to understand our place in the universe. Both are concerned with the stars but equally both observe from a position of relative powerlessness over their object of study. The academic study of religions, in this way, is just as bound by tradition and human agency as their confessional co-researchers in Theology.

The day’s proceedings were rounded off with a book launch. The book, Muslims in Ireland: Past and Present (Edinburgh UP), is the first complete study of a little known Muslim presence in Europe. Two of its five editors, Oliver Scharbrodt (Univ. of Chester, formerly UCC) and Tuula Sakaranaho (Univ. of Helsinki) spoke about the purpose of the book, its meaning to the academic study of religions in Ireland. Its remaining editors, Adil Hussain Khan (Loyola University, New Orleans), Vivian Ibrahim (Univ. of Mississippi) and Yafa Shanneik (Univ. of Chester, formerly UCC) were acknowledged. Edinburgh University Press sponsored the reception that followed and the Silk Road Café provided wonderful food. The conference as a whole points to a secure future for the small and yet vital academic study of religions in a country with a long tradition of theological investigation. It is not that one pushes the other out of the light of investigation. Rather, it is the academy investing itself with a way to specify the meaning, location and features of religious culture.

Religious Studies Project Opportunities Digest – 3 February 2015

Dear subscribers,

We are happy to provide you with this week’s thick and juicy digest, full of opportunities to present intriguing thoughts, discuss important matters, and—not least—do some really engaging research!

Thank you to everyone who forwarded calls for papers, notifications of events, and job openings. Please continue to do so in the future! You know the address, right? (No? It’s

Calls for papers

Conference: American Academy of Religion: Annual conference

November 21–24, 2015

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Deadline: March 2, 2015

More information

AAR group: Religion in Europe

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AAR group: Sociology of Religion

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AAR panel: Religion in Public Schools: International Perspectives 

More information

Conference: The European Sociological Association

August 25–28, 2015

Prague, Czech Republic

Deadline: February 15, 2015

More information

Conference: Latin America Peace Research Association

October 26–28, 2015

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Deadline: May 1, 2015

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Conference: Asia-Pacific Peace Research Associaton

October 9–11, 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal

Deadline: March 31, 2015

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Conference: The Sacred Journeys: Pilgrimages and Beyond Project

July 3–5, 2015

Oxford, UK

Deadline: March 13, 2015

More information

Symposium: Marginal presences: Unorthodox belief and practice, 1837–2014

April 23, 2015

Deadline: March 9, 2015

London, UK

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Journal: Religion & Theology

Looking for book review(er)s

Deadline: N/A

More information


Conference: European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies

Munich, Germany

June 25–29, 2015

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Open access: Entangled Religions: Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Religious Contact and Transfer

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Lectureship in Radicalisation and Protest in a Digital Age

Lancaster University, UK

Deadline: February 22, 2015

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Doctoral student: Religious history

Universiteit Antwerpen, the Netherlands

Deadline: February 22, 2015

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Postdoctoral researcher: Religious history

Universiteit Antwerpen, the Netherlands

Deadline: February 22, 2015

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Postdoctoral fellow: Media studies

Stockholm University, Sweden

Deadline: February 28, 2015

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Research associate: Magic and the Expanding Early Modern World

University of Manchester, UK

Deadline: March 1, 2015

More information


Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 18 Jan 2013

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

In this issue:

  • Resources
  • Books
  • Call for papers
  • Conferences
  • Jobs
  • Funding


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

THE NETWORK FOR THE STUDY OF ESOTERICISM IN ANTIQUITY is the website for the Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity (NSEA), a thematic group associated with the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE).

Our website provides resources and information for students and specialists of ancient esoteric thought, history, and literature.


Religion, Science and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India

Peter Gottschalk

Oxford University Press: 2012

Buddhism in a Dark Age: Cambodian Monks under Pol Pot

Ian Harris

Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press

45 illus. 256pp. December 2012

Paper – Price: $22.00ISBN: 978-0-8248-3561-3

Paganism and Christianity in Egypt

Philip David Scott-Moncrieff

Cambridge University Press

Dec 2012


Paranthropology, vol 4 no. 1

The BASR committee is pleased to announce the publication of issue 13 of Diskus (our online peer reviewed open access journal). This issues contains papers arising from presentations at BASR’s 2011 conference (at Durham University) addressing the topics of Ritual Knowledge and Knowing.

·  Loyal Rue: Rites make Right

·  Peter Collins: On Ritual Knowledge

·  Christian Karner and David Parker: Religious and Non-Religious Practices and the City

·  Jan Krátký: Cognition, material culture and religious ritual

A further addition to these excellent articles is expected and will be announced when published.


CFP: Risk and Rapture: Apocalyptic Imagination in Late Modernity

Centre for Faiths and Public Policy, University of Chester

Wednesday 11th September 2013

Keynote Speaker: Professor Scott Lash (Goldsmiths College, University of London)

Apocalypse captivates the human imagination. Once synonymous with end of the world scenarios and confined largely to the religious, the term is part of vernacular language in the West and is used to describe a myriad of events from the fiscal difficulties of the Eurozone to nuclear war, from environmental disaster to the dangers of digital technology.

The advancement of science and technology has assisted in expediting anxiety with regard to apocalyptic catastrophe because such progress has produced unforeseen hazards and risks. Critical theories of risk have been developed that harness and organise responses to scientific developments in an attempt to provide solutions to possible catastrophe. It is suggested that in order to prevent global catastrophe, modern society must be reflexive. Moreover, the advent of such hazards has served as a recruiting sergeant for fundamentalist religious groups who have clear and explicit eschatologies. Rather than viewing possible risks and hazards as by-products of late modernitysigns of the times, they are re-interpreted as signs of the end times. Consequently, one strand that runs through the above is the political implications of apocalyptic ideology and theories of risk. Whether this is the focus some Christian dispensationalist groups put on the role of the state of Israel in the Middle East, or the so-called catastrophic acceleration of global-warming, decisions based on interpretations of these inevitably have political ramifications.

The purpose of this inter-disciplinary conference is to investigate and evaluate some of the variety of apocalyptic discourse that exists in contemporary popular western culture along with critical theories of risk. Papers are invited that explore both the secular and religio-political dimensions of apocalyptic language in contemporary society and include, but not restricted to, the following themes:

        Secular interpretations of apocalypse;

        Religio-political apocalyptic discourse;

        Critical theories that seek solutions to contemporary notions of risk;

        Correlations between critical theories of risk and apocalyptic ideology;

        The growth of fundamentalisms as a reaction to risk culture(s).

Proposals for short papers are invited on any aspects or themes related to the above. Papers will be 20 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes discussion. Applications to submit a paper should include:

        Proposers name and affiliation;

        Title of the paper;

        250-word abstract;

        Details of any audio-visual equipment you will need to deliver your paper.

Short paper proposals should be submitted to Riskraptureconf [at] by no later than 4pm on Friday 6th April 2013.

Conference costs: 50 (25 unwaged and students) inclusive of lunch and refreshments.

Conference registration will open in due course.


CFP: Eighteenth Annual Postgraduate Religion and Theology Conference.

Hosted by the University of Bristol.

8th;9th March 2013.

Keynote speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton.

Amended Submission Deadline – Friday 25th January 2013 Midnight.

Amended Registration Opening – Monday 4th February 2013 Midday.

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

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

  • The extended deadline for submitting proposals will be 12:00 midnight on Friday 25th January 2013.

  • Registration for the conference will open at 12:00 midday on Monday 4th February 2013 and will include refreshments and lunch on both days.

  • Early registration is free for members of partner institutions and £10 for participants from other institutions or for those who are unaffiliated.

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

  • Please note that all registrations received after 12.00 midday on Monday 18th February, will incur a £10 late registration fee.

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

For more information and registration, please visit:

CFP: RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2013, London, 28th-30th August 2013.

Occult Geographies: (im)material agents and the geographical imagination.

Sponsored by the History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG).


Julian Holloway (Manchester Metropolitan University)

James Thurgill (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Over the last decade geography has turned its attention to engaging with those elements of place that remain unseen and to exploring the relationality between materiality, agency and the invisible as affect or spectrality.

The session invites papers that deal with occult and esoteric geographical imaginations and spatial practices. Furthermore, we seek papers that highlight new occult directions for the geographic imagination and explore how the occult can potentially be used to redefine the world around us.  Therefore, we seek papers that both analyse occult movements and their geographies, and papers that aim to deal with the occult as an exploratory method in the study and development of geographic thinking that have the potential to reconfigure our understanding of place, materiality and agency.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Geomancy and arcane cartographics

  • Magick and the esoteric manipulation of space and place

  • Ambiguous materialities and their spaces

  • UnNatural agents

  • Occult movements and their geographies (Rosicrucian, Speculative Freemasonry, The Golden Dawn, The Illuminati, Hermeticism, Chaos Magick, etc.)

  • Haunted and ghostly landscapes.

  • Placing the occult

  • Geopolitics and the occult

  • Occult prophecies and apocalypticism

  • Conspiracy culture and the ‘hidden control’ of geography.

  • Popular culture and commodifying the occult imaginary (from Dan Brown to ghost tourism)

Please send abstracts (c.300 words)  to both session organisers James Thurgill (

and Julian Holloway ( by Monday 4th February 2013.

RE21 Religious Education in a Global-Local World


Study of Religions Department

University College Cork,

Cork, Ireland

Date: 29-30 August 2013

 Religious Education (RE) is a term that conveys diverse and often incompatible meanings to different constituencies. For some, RE means religious nurturing, either tailored to parental views or meant to inculcate a uniform religiosity. For others, RE means learning about the many religious and non-religious world-views and secular ethics that exist, not promoting one religion or another. Some seek to avoid the ambiguous term religious education, replacing it with terms such as education about religions and beliefs or the religious dimension of intercultural education.

The RE21 Religious Education in a Global-Local World conference starts from two assumptions: (a) that RE has and will continue to have multiple and contested meanings and (b) that local interpretations of RE are increasingly in negotiation with each other as a consequence of globalisation. The RE21 conference emphasises a student-centred approach, viewing any kind of RE (or indeed its absence) as a formative lived experience for pupils. It stresses a bottom-up, sociological and ethnographic/anthropological research-based approach to the study of RE, rather than the top down approaches which often start from prescriptive legal, ideological or religious standpoints.

One aim of this conference is to further international academic research into the diverse past, present (and possible future) forms of RE and we hope to publish selected papers from the conference. A second aim is through discussion and debate at the conference to enhance public and professional understanding, in Ireland and beyond, of the complex issues and debates surrounding RE in the wider world.

We encourage early-career scholars, including advanced postgraduate research students, to share their empirical research findings and insights with others. Subject to availability, priority for funding assistance (see below) will be given to early-career scholars and those from countries geographically distant from Ireland. The RE21 Conference which takes place on Thursday-Friday 29-30 August 2013 is timed to help overseas delegates to attend both the RE21 conference in Cork and the Religion, Migration, Mutation EASR/BASR Conference in nearby Liverpool, UK, 3-6 September 2013.

Delegates from all relevant disciplines who are actively engaged in peer-reviewed research and publication in the field of RE worldwide are warmly invited to Cork. Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

        Childhoods role and childrens agency in RE and wider socio-religious formations,

        [Auto-] biographical research on experiences and evaluations of RE,

        Qualitative studies and quantitative surveys of student and teacher attitudes to RE,

        Historical and comparative studies of RE across cultures.

        RE teacher education and accreditation,

        The impact, especially on pupils experience and evaluations of RE, of particular configurations of state-religion-education relations.

        Policy analysis in relation to RE and cognate fields.

RE21: Submission Guidelines and Deadlines:

The following deadlines are for those planning to apply for funding assistance:

Submissions for panels, individual papers or poster presentations should be sent to Dr Yafa Shanneik, email: y.shanneik [at]

Panel proposals deadline: Thursday 7 February 2013.

A panel proposal should come from one proposer and comprise: (1) name and institutional affiliation of proposer, (2) panel title (max 20 words), (3) panel description (max 150 words), (4) names and institutions of participants (if any) expected to offer papers to the panel.

Decisions on panels will be notified by 18 February 2013 and an initial list of panels posted on the conference website

Note: if the website does not show properly, check the address showing in your browser and delete everything before the last http.

Individual paper proposals deadline: 28 February 2013.

Poster presentations deadline: 28 February 2013

Individual papers do not need to fit into a listed panel. If you are proposing your paper for a panel listed on the website, please state this on the proposal.

Individual paper or poster proposals should comprise: 1. Name and institutional affiliation (2) paper/poster title, (3) abstract (max. 150 words).

Decisions on acceptance of papers/posters will be notified by 20 March 2013 and a list of papers/posters accepted will be published on the conference website.

The above deadlines apply especially to those who intend to apply for help with funding (see Funding Assistance below). If there is still space, paper proposals may be accepted after these dates, but proposals submitted after these dates will not be eligible for funding assistance.

Conference Fees (payable on full registration at a later stage):

Waged 70, unwaged 30.

(Unwaged in this context means not in receipt of a regular living wage.)

The conference fee includes teas/coffees, two lunches and a conference dinner.

Information about registration, payment of fees, accommodation, travel etc. will be provided on the RE21 website at

Note: if the website does not show properly, check the address showing in your browser and delete everything before the last http.


Funding assistance

The RE21 Conference will take place shortly before the large EASR/BASR Conference on the theme of RELIGION, MIGRATION, MUTATION to be held at Liverpool Hope University, UK, 3-6 September 2013.

Limited funding for the RE21 conference in Cork will be available to assist with flights to Cork and towards accommodation costs for scholars wishing to come to Cork either for RE21 alone or, where possible, en route to Liverpool for the EASR/BASR Conference. Liverpool may be reached easily from Cork by direct Ryanair flight from Cork-Liverpool or by bus from Cork to Dublin and then flights from Dublin Liverpool.

To be eligible for funding assistance, you must first have your paper or poster proposal accepted by the organisers for RE21. Hence, applications for funding will be accepted only after written approval of papers, i.e. after 20 March 2013.

Application forms for funding assistance will be made available only to those whose papers have been approved, after 20 March 2013. As a guide, applications for funding will be accepted up to 30 April and funding decisions notified by 14 May 2013.

Enquiries: Dr Yafa Shanneik   y.shanneik[at]


CFP: Correspondences Journal <>

A new academic journal on the study of Western esotericism seeks paper submissions.

Correspondences is a new, biannual online journal devoted to the academic study of Western esotericism. The journal seek to create a public academic forum devoted to discussion and exposition of issues and currents in the field commonly known as ‘Western esotericism.’ The editors acknowledge that the use of “Western esotericism” as an umbrella term for a widely variant field of alternate scientific and religious ideas is problematic. Thus, articles related to esoteric currents from other global cultural centres may be accepted if a connection to alternative currents in “western culture” is implicitly established. The following list of areas of study is provided for


Alchemy, Anthroposophy, Astrology, Eco-spirituality, Esotericism in art, literature, and music, Freemasonry, Geomancy, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Illuminism, Initiatory secret societies, Kabbalah, Magic, Mesmerism, Mysticism, Naturphilosophie, Neo-paganism, New Age, Occultism, Occulture, Paracelsianism, Rosicrucianism, Satanism, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Traditionalism, Ufology, Witchcraft.

Correspondences intends to promote a wide forum of interdisciplinary debate regarding such areas of study, and therefore does not require academic credentials as a prerequisite for publication. Students and non-affiliated academics are encouraged to join established researchers in submitting insightful, well-researched articles that offer new ideas, positions, or information to the field.

We are currently accepting book reviews (max. 1500 words) and articles

(5000-10000 words) for our first issue. The deadline for submission is February 28. Following a peer-review process, the first issue will be published June 1, 2013. Manuscripts should be submitted as per our submission guidelines, available at Please send your manuscript and any enquiries to submissions [at]


Fifth International Dharmakīrti Conference in Heidelberg from

25-29 August, 2014.

The conference is aimed to showcase current research on all aspects of Buddhist epistemology and logic in India, China or Tibet from a historical, philological and/or philosophical perspective. Papers may also address aspects of the relationship of Buddhist pramāṇa to other currents of thought within Buddhism or in the respectively pertinent

broader intellectual environment.

The conference is scheduled for the week immediately after the IABS conference in Vienna (August 18-23), to facilitate participation in both conferences for scholars from overseas.

To receive further circulars for the Dharmakīrti conference in the future, please subscribe to the conference mailing-list at this website:

(Click “subscribe” on the right-hand side.)

Participants of the last conference who already received the first circular are already subscribed to the list. An online registration system for the conference will be made available by 31 July 2013.

Representing Sikhism a centennial conference in honour of the Irish scholar Max Arthur Macauliffe

(11 September 1838 15 March 1913)

Date: 15 March 2013

Time: 2pm

Place: UCC, Western Gateway Building,

(near Victoria Cross)

Western Road, Cork, Ireland


Attendance free For those interested in religions, Irish-Indian history and cultural diversity

This Centennial Conference in honour of M. A. Macauliffe is organised by the Study of Religions Department, School of Asian Studies, UCC and made possible by the generosity of the Sikh community in Ireland through the Cork University Foundation


Enquiries: email   studyofreligions[at]


University of British Columbia – Assistant Professor in Japanese or

Korean Art History or Architectural History

University of British Columbia – Assistant Professor in Japanese or

Korean Art History or Architectural History

Smith College – Lecturer in Modern Hebrew

Director of charity

Central London

£40000-55000 per annum

Inform collects, evaluates and disseminates objective information about minority religions.  The Director is responsible for ensuring that it achieves its aims.

Inform is a registered charity that collects, evaluates and disseminates information about minority religions which is as reliable and objective as possible. The Director is responsible to Inform’s Board of Governors for ensuring that these aims are achieved.  The job requires ‘vision’ in the sense of setting the directions in which research needs to be steered in order to investigate the constantly changing landscape of minority religions and the reactions to them.  The Director also needs to be a ‘self-starter’ and ‘doer’ who not only initiates new areas of research but also sees them through to completion, including the dissemination of findings for the benefit of stakeholders and the public.

Further particulars and the application form can be downloaded from Applications and any questions to be sent to informdirector [at]


The Religion and Diversity Project, a SSHRC funded Major Collaborative Research Initiative, is seeking new PhD level students who are interested in completing thesis research related to the goals of the project (see project proposal at in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. Students will be supervised by either Dr. Lori Beaman (Project Director) and/or Dr. Peter Beyer (Project Co-investigator).

This research funding is contingent on successful application and acceptance to the Department of Religious Studies graduate program and the offer of an admissions scholarship as well as demonstrated research capacity. The research award granted through the Religion and Diversity Project will be determined based on the number of successful applications but will range from $3,000-$7,500 per year and will be contingent on completion of assigned research tasks. The funding and expectations will be outlined specifically with the successful student (s).

As one of the few large scale research initiatives housed in a Canadian institution for the study of religion, the Religion and Diversity Project in the Department of Religious Studies offers a unique graduate research experience. Students involved in the project are afforded a broad array of opportunities, such as graduate student workshops, participation at team meetings, workshops and conferences, access to a large research network, and research opportunities with the team.

The Department of Religious Studies focuses on religions in Canada and on religions in a comparative cultural context, particularly religions in the Roman Empire and in the contemporary period. The department offers specialization in Canadian Studies. Because the study of religions reaches well beyond programs and courses, the Department seeks many other avenues to facilitate the exchange of ideas. This includes regular lecture series (Critical Thinkers in Religion, Law and Social Theory and Building Bridges Lunch and Learn Lecture Series) and Professional Development Workshops for graduate students. The Religious Studies Graduate Students’ Association hosts a variety of social and scholarly events throughout the year. The Department also publishes the Ottawa Journal of Religion, a peer-reviewed journal showcasing some of our graduate students’ best work.

Proposals should be 2-3 pages in length, and should include a project description that specifically addresses the ways in which it will work within the broader mandate of the Religion and Diversity Project. It should also include theoretical and methodological approaches and elaborate on previous research experience. We are presently especially interested in projects related to religious nones, religion and health, comparative policy studies, and the spatial and geographic aspects of religious diversity.

Send proposals to Dr. Heather Shipley, Project Manager, at hshipley [at] no later than March 1, 2013.

CEU Department of History, the Religious Studies Program and the Jewish Studies Program offer fellowships for graduate students

Date: 2013-01-24

Description: The History Department at CEU Budapest offers competitive fellowships for MA and PhD programs. Central European University in Budapest, Hungary is the only international English-language graduate school in Europe that is accredited in both Europe (Hungary) and in the United States. The History Depar …

Contact: BendikAg [at]


Announcement ID: 200067

Feinstein Center Kaiserman Summer Fellowship Announcement

Date: 2013-03-15

Description: The Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History announces its annual Kevy Kaiserman summer fellowship to support research in the American Jewish

experience. The grant of $3,000 is available to graduate students and recently graduated Ph.D. students. There is no requirement that ap …

Contact: feinsteincenter [at]


Announcement ID: 200065


Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 9 November 2012

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

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

In this issue:

  • Journals
  • Books
  • Special Offer – Ashgate Publishing
  • Call for Papers
  • Conferences
  • Jobs
  • Funding

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


Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception, vol. 2, issue 2:

New Journal: Asian Literature and Translation (ALT): A Journal of Religion and Culture ISSN: 2051-5863

Asian Literature and Translation (ALT) is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal established by the Centre for the History of Religion in Asia (CHRA), Cardiff University. The main objective of the journal is to publish research papers, translations, and reviews in the field of Asian religious literature (construed in the widest sense) in a form that makes them quickly and easily accessible to the international academic community, to professionals in related fields, such as theatre and storytelling, and to the general public.

The scope of the journal covers the cultural, historical, and religious literature of South, Southeast, East and Central Asia in the relevant languages (e.g. Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese, et al.). We particularly welcome literary translations, including extracts from longer works in progress, manuscript reports and commentarial material, new adaptations of classic texts, archive stories and debate pieces, and the discussion of new approaches to translation. Book and performance reviews, including visual material, and letters to the editor, including responses to published material, are also solicited.

As an open access online publication, ALT (Online) can be more flexible and creative than a standard print journal. The texts are in pdf-format and can be published and downloaded at virtually no cost. To increase the speed with which material can be accessed and disseminated, all contributions are issued individually in numerical order.

Contributions are welcome on a wide range of topics in the research area as defined above. All contributions should be sent electronically to altjourn [at] The covering email should have two copies of the submission attached, one as a word.doc and one as a pdf. A short abstract of the piece must also be included. For further information, see


Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular

Edited by Abby Day, AHRC British Council Fellow, University of Kent, UK, Giselle Vincett and Christopher R. Cotter, Lancaster University, UK

Focusing on the important relationship between the ‘sacred’ and the ‘secular’, this book demonstrates that it is not paradoxical to think in terms of both secular and sacred or neither, in different times and places. International experts from a range of disciplinary perspectives draw on local, national, and international contexts to provide a fresh analytical approach to understanding these two contested poles. Exploring such phenomena at an individual, institutional, or theoretical level, each chapter contributes to the central message of the book – that the ‘in between’ is real, embodied and experienced every day and informs, and is informed by, intersecting social identities.


The Ashgate History and Religion lists have just launched a new series, Compostela International Studies in Pilgrimage History of Culture. We have just published the first book in the series by Anton M. Pazos, Pilgrims and Politics. If you would like to know more about this series, please click here and read our blog post:

20% discount on Gender, Nation and Religion in European Pilgrimage with Ashgate Publishing…

By Willy Jansen and Catrien Notermans

Old pilgrimage routes are attracting huge numbers of people. Religious or spiritual meanings are interwoven with socio-cultural and politico-strategic concerns and this book explores three such concerns of hot debate in Europe: religious identity construction in a changing European religious landscape; gender and sexual emancipation; and (trans)national identities in the context of migration and European unification. Through the explorations of such pilgrimages by a multidisciplinary range of international scholars, this book shows how the old routes of Europe are offering inspirational opportunities for making new journeys.

October 2012   £55.00  £44.00

Here is how to claim your discount:

·         Make a note of the code C12GYU20

·         When entering the checkout stage, enter the code C12CYU20 in the box marked Promotional Code in Step one of the basket.

·         Click the update basket button and you will see the discount applied to all qualifying titles.

·         Continue through the checkout to make your purchase.

·         This discount is valid until 31st January 2013.


CFP: 2nd Annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium, 9-10 March 2013, Oxford.

Date: 2012-12-15

Description:  project Southeast Asia, University of Oxford invites paper proposals for the 2nd Annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium, to be held 9-10 March 2013 in Oxford. The Call for Papers is open until 15 December 2012. Papers focusing on any topic relating to Southeast Asia are welcome. In particular, pap …

Contact: pingtjin [at]


Announcement ID: 198441

Religion, Spirituality, and the Politicization of Sexualities – French Association for American Studies annual

meeting 2013

Date: 2012-12-15

Description:  French Association for American Studies annual meeting 2013 Angers, France, 22-26 May 2013. Panel on “Religion, Spirituality, and the Politicization of Sexualities in the United States.” Chair: Guillaume may be in French or English. This CFP addresses historians, sociologists, and political scienti …

Contact: gmarche [at]

URL: 10

Announcement ID: 198498

CFP: An Interdisciplinary Workshop on Locative Materiality organised by Laura Veneskey and Annette Hoffmann

20th/21st June 2013

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut

The study of holy places has long been a central concern of not only the humanities, but also the social sciences. Much of this body of scholarship has focused on pilgrimage and sacred centers, either as theoretical constructions or as concrete places, such as Jerusalem, Mecca or Benares. These subjects have been explored, on the one hand, through the study of ritual and liturgy, and on the other, through various modes of representation, be they architectural, cartographic, iconic, or textual. Complementary to these lines of inquiry, we invite papers that explore the material and tactile dimensions of locative sacrality across religious traditions. How is a sense of place communicable through physical means? What can a consideration of matter tell us about the often fraught relationship between the tangible world and its representation?

We seek analyses of all materials evocative of a particular sacred milieu, not only earth, dust, stone, but also wood, metal, pigments, oil, or water. Presentations exploring either the substances and places themselves or textual and iconic depictions thereof are equally welcome. We invite papers from all disciplines on any locale conceived of as sacred, whether scriptural, pilgrim, monastic, ascetic, or cultic, between antiquity and the early modern period. The workshop is aimed at young researchers, and is intended to bring together graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and those in the early stages of their teaching or professional careers.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Sacred landscapes (deserts, mountains, caves, etc.)

  • The material dimensions of topographic representation (iconic or textual)

  • Earthen, geographic, and locative relics

  • Transportable versus site-specific sanctity

  • The physicality of built environments and places of worship

Interested applicants should send a current c.v. and an abstract of no more than 250 words (for presentations of twenty minutes) to Proposals must be received by date 30th November 2012.

For questions and further information please contact:

Laura Veneskey (lv2308 [at]

or Annette Hoffmann (hoffmann [at]

CFP: Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

16 17 18 May 2013

In the contemporary Western European world traditional, institutionalized religions are losing ground, while alternative religions, literature and the arts, film and media, as well as commercial enterprises are offering alternatives. Old concepts, symbols and rituals are translated into new forms.  This is a recurrent phenomenon: as sensitivities change throughout the ages, the ways to express this changed interiority change and result in new manifestations of spirituality.

This multi- and interdisciplinary Conference on Aesthetics and Spirituality looks at how, both in the past and the present, people devise(d) new ways of conceiving and manifesting interiority. In order to look at the forms interiority has received throughout the ages we use different approaches: literature, cultural studies, theology, art (iconography/iconology), history (of ideas) and architecture, anthropology, political sciences/sociology, psychology, philosophy…

How do exteriority and interiority relate? What does it mean to be in a place, to be at home in the world or with oneself (cf Pierre Nora, Les lieux de m魯ire)?  How can urban planning, public and private buildings, furniture and other material things, clothes, prescribed attitudes, etc. be conducive to interiorization (conscious or unconscious reflections, contemplation)? Or, conversely, how can material factors repress interiority (cf repressive political systems)? In order to imagine a topology of interiority that would draw on an inter-disciplinary field of studies and research we invite papers on the different kinds of language which translate outside to inside and vice versa.

If interiority is a question of presence and orientation we need to look at

(a) Bodily expressions: a religious community prescribed a certain body language which could bring about a spirituality (cf. nineteenth-century feminine congregations focusing on nursing, weaving and embroidering); manifold forms of biblical spirituality (Schneider et al) inspire the body, while psychology of religion and psychoanalysis develop ways of reading religious bodies (Vergote, Lacan, Vasse, Moyaert et al).

(b) Expressions through things, images (iconology), words:

-changes in the attitude to relics, books, icons, devotional cards, rosaries,

-different links between theology, art and literature produce different forms: the bondieuserie in France (1850s) differed from Pre-Raphaelite depictions of the divine (criticized by Dickens), or from the Pilgrims Movement in Flanders; after the Great War Benedictine spirituality was revived, while Franciscan spirituality brought a new attention for nature and animals in literature; 21st-century ecocriticism brings a new attitude to representations of nature, as do gender studies to aspects of spirituality

(c) Changes in Ritual, as a means to link physical and metaphysical aspects of experience: which forms of ritual are depicted, developed, in contemporary literature, to mark forgiveness, reconciliation, or other transitions (to adulthood, married life, divorce, healing from sickness, death,) Which theories of performativity are used in liturgy these days? Which kind of poetics are used in contemporary prayer? How do contemporary political symbols (fail to) develop? (Cf. prevalence of Christian symbols in commemorations of British army casualties et al). Can ritual help in conflict situations, and how are new rituals validated? How do religious institutions relate to the secularization?

(d) Contributions relating to or focusing on Irish topics will be especially welcomed.

Are Celtic symbols still known, used, adapted?  How does Irish urbanization, architecture, make space for interiority? How is interiority conceived at all in contemporary art and philosophy? Which places, moments, figures, phenomena, concepts, does contemporary film, drama, poetry, fiction, art, hold in special reverence? Does nature (stone, plant, animal) still harbour something sacred, and if so, how? Do angels still figure?

Are there still references to the Jewish, Greek, Christian stories? Is twentieth-century and contemporary art, literature and film reacting or indifferent to this tradition, does it translate archaic symbols (animals and trees, food and drink, textile and books, home and travel, ) into new forms, or does it divest these old icons of their symbolism?

The conference is hosted by the KU Leuven, the Faculties of the Arts, Theology and KADOC (Interfaculty Institute of the KU Leuven for Documentation and Research for Religion, Culture and Society) in cooperation with the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies (LCIS). It will take place in the newly refurbished Irish college in Leuven (the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe). The Scientific Committee consists of Barbara Baert (KU Leuven, Arts), Reimund Bieringer (KU Leuven, Theology), Ralph De Koninck (Universit頃atholique de Louvain, Arts), Jan De Maeyer (KADOC, KU Leuven, History/Heritage), Borbala Farago (Central European University Budapest, Gender Studies), Veerle Fraeters (U Antwerpen, Literature), Christine Greer (University Bern, Arts), Hedwig Schwall (KU Leuven/Kortrijk, Literature), Paul Vandenbroeck (KU Leuven/ Anthropology/Social sciences), Henrik von Aachen (University of Bergen, Norway, Arts)

Papers should not exceed 2500-3000 words (20 minutes delivery). Proposals for papers (250 words) and a short biography should be sent by e-mail to

Hedwig Schwall , Hedwig.schwall [at]

You will be notified by 20 December.

More information about the conference will be posted on


Religion and the Idea of a University’ Conference

Date: 2013-04-03

Description:  On April 3 -5 2013, at Clare College, Cambridge (UK), the ‘Religion and the Idea of a Research University project will host an exciting international and interdisciplinary conference exploring the question of: What place does religion have in the Western research university?

From John Henry Newman …

Contact: jh343 [at]


Announcement ID: 198352

NSRN Annual Lecture 2012

In Spite of Christianity: Humanism and its Others in Contemporary Britain

By Matthew Engelke

What do we talk about when we talk about religion? What do we recognize as essential and specific to any given faith, and why? In this lecture, I address these questions by drawing on fieldwork among humanists in Britain, paying particular attention to humanism’s relation to Christianity. In one way or another, humanists often position themselves in relation to Christianity. In a basic way, this has to do with humanists’ commitment to secularism—the differentiation of church and state. In more complex ways, though, it also has to do with an effort to move “beyond” Christianity—to encourage a world in which reason takes the place of revelation—while often, at the same time, recognizing what’s worth saving and even fostering from the legacies of faith. All these various relations and perspectives suggest how we should understand social life in contemporary Britain as what it is in spite of Christianity—and not.


Matthew Engelke is a Reader in the Department of Anthropology and co-ordinates the School’s recently launched Programme for the Study of Religion and Non-Religion. His research career has focused on the connections between religion and culture (amongst other things) but he has recently completed pioneering ethnographic fieldwork working with British humanists. In this lecture, Matthew will reflect upon the various and complex dynamics between contemporary British humanism and Christian cultures, past and present.

The NSRN Annual Lecture for 2012 will be held at the Conway Hall in London on Wednesday 28 November at 6.30pm (doors from 6pm; the lecture will be followed by a drinks reception). This event is free to attend, but places are limited. To register, please email Lois Lee at l.a.lee [at] A poster for this event is attached, and further and up-to-date details of the event can also be found at the NSRN Online.

Contemporary religion in historical perspective: engaging outside academia

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

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

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

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

·         integrating ‘religious history’ and contemporary religious practitioners;

·         the relevance of historical research on religion for contemporary debates on religion; and for present-day religious groups, organisations and institutions;

·         intersections between research on contemporary religion and present-day contemporary understanding and practice of religion;

·         the idea of ‘applied’ or ‘public’ Religious Studies;

·         methodological, theoretical and ethical issues relating to Religious Studies and knowledge exchange;

·         relationships between academic and practitioner, or academic institution(s) and non-academic ‘partner’ and their implications and challenges.

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

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

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

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


Bucknell University – Assistant Professor in Chinese history

Gallaudet University – Tenure Track Assistant Professor; History of

Asia, Africa, or the Middle East

Marywood University – Assistant Professor East Asian/Asian Studies

University of Alberta – Assistant Professor in Korean Studies

University of Cambridge – Two Postdoctoral Fellowships (Research

Associate) in modern Japanese/East Asian History for three year


Lecturer in New Testament – International Christian College, Glasgow, Scotland

Salary: £22,090 – £25,740 pa

Lecturer in Philosophy, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Closing Date:  3 December 2012

Please quote ref:  ME8808

Salary:  £37,012 – £45,486 per annum

Start Date:  1 September 2013, as soon as possible


Senior Research Assistant, Centre for Social Relations

Coventry University

Fixed Term for 2 years

Salary: £29,250 – £37,014 per annum

Application Closing Date: 29/11/2012

Coventry University will shortly be launching an innovative Applied Research Centre focused around the study of social relations. The new internationally focused Centre will direct its research and teaching towards one of the prime challenges and responsibilities of our time: how we can live together in peaceful relationships in a world of difference.

 Acting as a space for cross- and inter-disciplinary dialogue, education and research, the centre will encourage work in applied and policy research in areas of integration and cohesion, while simultaneously expanding the portfolio to include multi- and inter-cultural relations, community relations, trust, identity, social policy as well as tension monitoring, conflict management, migration, diversity, integration, secularism and belief, the role of science in society, and international relations.

The successful candidate will have a PhD (or nearing completion) in an appropriate subject such as social sciences, sociology, humanities, anthropology, social psychology or other relevant discipline.

Further details can be found here:

For all enquiries and to submit expressions of interest please contact Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker:

Fern.Elsdon-Baker [at]


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

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

The closing date for applications is the 30 November 2012. Please visit our website for application details (

image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest – 20 July 2012

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

In this issue:

  • Journals
  • Calls for Papers
  • Scholarships
  • Conference Announcements
  • Jobs
  • Funding & Research Excellence Framework (REF)




Journal of Hindu Studies, vol. 5, no.2

Anthropology in Action, vol. 19, no.1


Deadline Extended: Call for Papers, “Raptures Path: The Legacy of Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth”

Deadline: 2012-08-15

Open Inquiry Archive announces that the call for papers for a special issue entitled “Raptures Path: The Legacy of Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth” has been extended.

Abstracts for proposed papers will be accepted until August 15, 2012.

CFP: Identity, Religion and Ethnicity: New Patterns, Realities, and Pitfalls, 29 November 2012, Istanbul, Turkey

Identity, Religion and Ethnicity are three terms interrelated and become all important issues in the European Union and its neighbourhood. The socio-economic transformations of societies resulting from immigration and emigration of people, mindsets, symbols are forcing the change on identity and citizenship relations. Today, a high degree of human mobility, telecommunications have contributed to the new understanding of citizenship as a mode of identity in relation to national identity, ethnicity, religion and social movements. Belonging to an ethnic-religious group and consequent features are increasingly either blurred or strengthened in the new national and international contexts. The motivations and modes of belonging and identifying are much more diverse. It is therefore useful to explore relatively new patterns of the interactions between religion, identity and ethnicity issues. The workshop proposes to analyse the relation between these three notions interconnected in different political, cultural and economical cases to understand also some challenges and pitfalls in a plural society.

Authors are invited to send abstracts (maximum 500 words) of their papers on themes of their own choosing. Abstracts (300–500 words maximum) and CVs (maximum 1 page) to be received by 10th August 2012.


CFP: 2013 Bangkok International Conference on Social Science – BICSS 2013

25-27 January 2013- Bangkok, Thailand

2013 Bangkok International Conference on Social Science – BICSS 2013 is the premier forum for the presentation of new advances in the fields of theoretical, experimental, and applied Social Science. The conference will bring together leading researchers, engineers and scientists in the domain of interest from around the world.

Submission Deadlines

Deadline for submission of abstracts/ full papers: October 15 2012

Notification of Acceptance/Rejection: November 1 2012

Deadline for full conference registration payment for all presenters: November 26 2012

BICSS Conference: January 25-27 2013


Proposals must be linked to one of the following themes:


  • Culture

  • Economics

  • Education

  • Finance

  • Law

  • Management

  • Politics

  • Psychology

  • Society

Further details:

CFP: 5th Global Conference:Hope (March, 2013: Lisbon, Portugal)

Sunday 10th March – Tuesday 12th March 2013

Lisbon, Portugal

Call For Presentations:

When Pandora’s box was emptied of all the ills that would plague the world, one small winged creature still remained: hope. The project inquires into the nature of this gift. Is hope, in fact, a good, encouraging us to do or be good? Or is it an evil; an illusion, perhaps an impossible fantasy? How does hope manifest itself in the world, in language, literature, and the arts? How – should – hope be encouraged? Is hope individual or collective in nature? Or both? What does hope contribute to individual or national identity?

This inter- and multi-disciplinary research and publications project seeks to explore the multi-layered ideas, actions, and cultural traditions regarding hope. The project aims to explore the nature of hope, its relationship with other emotions or movements, and its manifestation in the actions of individuals, cultures, communities and nations. The project will also consider the history of hope, its philosophical or scientific ‘legitimacy’, the meaning(s) of hope – especially in the nascent field of future studies, and the distinctions between hope and optimism. Representations of hope in film, literature, television, theatre and radio will be analysed; cultural traditions of hope will be considered.

What to Send

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 12th October 2012. All submissions are minimally double blind peer reviewed where appropriate. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 18th January 2013.

Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract f) up to 10 key words

E-mails should be entitled: HOPE Abstract Submission.

Further information:

CFP: Mapping the Occult City: Exploring Magick and Esotericism in the Urban Utopia

A pre-conference for the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religions in Chicago, on Friday November 16, 2012, presented by Phoenix Rising Academy and DePaul University.

In his classic essay, “Walking in the City,” ethnologist and historian Michel de Certeau distinguished between the “exaltation of a scopic and gnostic drive” that comes from viewing the city from a high vantage point and the quotidian negotiations of the walker at street level, who creates his or her own map, takes shortcuts and resists the strategies of typical urban planning. One perspective is totalizing and distancing, constructing an illusory, unified view of the metropolis, while the other seeks out hidden avenues of knowledge and intersections of stories, myths, and happenings. The occultist tends to shift between both views, sometimes spinning grand narratives of the city as a New Atlantis, a utopian civilization of knowledge and wonder, other times imagining a secret world of dark mysteries, unknown to most passersby, that lay just beyond the twilight of the streetlamps.

Many esotericists, conspiracy theorists, and urban fantasy authors have speculated on the occult meaning of symbols, monuments, and architecture in major cities, from Cleopatra’s Needle in London to the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. Or they see powerful sigils in the neon signs, building facades and billboards. Some speak of urban ley lines and “energy centers” that bubble with occult power ready to be tapped into by those with the right sense and ability. These energy centers are focused on geometric street patterns or the lines created by the placement of sacred sites in the city, such as churches, temples, and cemeteries. Others speak of haunted places, charged with story and legend, often full of the sense of violence, trauma and the urgency of events that occurred there.

Historically, cities have been home to countless esoteric groups who have met, planned, and conducted ritual within the towering buildings that glitter the metropolitan skyline. For instance, Chicago, the location of this year’s AAR conference, was once the home of the 32 floor Masonic Building, owned by the Illinois Freemasons, and the tallest building in the world in 1892. Prominent figures in the esoteric world have spoken, performed and offered their wisdom to the masses through the many salons, lectures, performances, congregations, conferences, and world’s fairs that have been either publicly advertised or available only to those with the right password and invitation. Cities are where the ideas of Western esotericism spread to the masses through these public events and the many urban publishing houses. Cities are also home to public events and happenings that connect the esoteric, the theatrical and the political world through protest and public actions and happenings, such as the W.I.T.C.H. protests at Chicago’s Federal Building on Halloween 1969. Finally, cities are centers of diversity and diaspora and often become hothouses for the development of hybrid traditions based on immigrant cultures, such as Santeria and Vodun.

For scholars of magick and esotericism, cities like Chicago can offer up rich resources for tracking group activities and events through library archives and public records. Understanding occult life in the city, in both its historical and contemporary contexts, is crucial in mapping the proliferation of ideas and connections between practitioners and traditions. Popular practical texts have addressed how the practice of magick changes in an urban setting, especially when the magician or witch must adapt a nature-centered practice to a city-based practice. Investigating esoteric actions in the city can reveal the ways in which the practitioner is caught up and complicit with strategic structures of power while also offering possibilities for the occultist to resist those structures through the kind of tactical, magical moves described by de Certeau. As the Occupy movement and other political protests proliferate, especially in America’s election year, what are the possibilities for harnessing and directing the energy of the occult city?

Phoenix Rising Academy would like to explore these intersections of the esoteric and the urban, focusing on the city as a locus for power and knowledge, both hidden and revealed. Are cities oppressive entities that stifle creative and esoteric drives or do they hold in their structures the potential for powerful action? To this end, we invite scholars and practitioners to submit proposals for papers, presentations, rituals and performances that address these questions pertaining to the occult city. Though our focus is primarily on American cities, particularly Chicago, we welcome explorations in other prominent global metropolitan centers.

For this pre-conference, we plan on creating 2-3 panels of papers, presentations, performances, rituals, workshops, roundtables, or discussion groups. Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):

· The activities of certain groups, traditions, and communities, both historical and contemporary, in particular cities.

· The city life of prominent esoteric figures and how that city life shaped their ideas and practices.

· Particular events, meetings, lectures, performances, happenings, protests whose urban setting featured prominently in their execution and influence.

· The mythology of the occult city, based on legend, occult symbolism, and esoteric symbolism of architecture and urban planning.

· A practical approach to working magick and ritual in the city, perhaps based on Urban Shamanism or Chaos Magick.

· Interpretations of the city and its occult power by urban fantasy authors.

· The intersections of the occult and the political through the use of ritualized protest actions, focusing on setting and urban scene.

· Though not focusing on hauntings per se, an investigation of spiritualism, mysticism and psychic practices prominent in urban settings.

· A study of how hereditary or hybridized indigenous practices survive, evolve and adapt in an urban setting.

With your submission, please include the following:

  1. Presenter information (name, mailing and email addresses, phone number)
  2. Type of presentation (paper, non-paper presentation, workshop, performance, roundtable). Note: if you are proposing a roundtable discussion, please submit info for all participants.
  3. Title and affiliation (institution, organization, independent scholar, or practitioner).
  4. Proposal or abstract (not to exceed 250 words). Should include title of presentation and a clear description of the presentation’s intent, plus any audio/visual needs.
  5. Biographical data (not to exceed 200 words).

Please email all submissions by August 20th to:

Dr. Jason L. Winslade

DePaul University

Please include “PRA Pre-Conference” in the subject line. All submissions will be reviewed and you will be notified of a decision one week after the deadline.

CFP: International Conference on “Negotiating Ethnicity: Politics and Display of Cultural Identities in Northeast India”

Vienna –1st week of July 2013 – 3 days


Submission deadline for abstracts: September 2012

Submission deadline for registration: February 2013

Submission deadline for papers: Papers submission deadline: two weeks

before the conference. The papers will be circulated among participants

prior to the conference.

Participants: Around 40 people, 20 from India (fees covered: travel fares and lodging for all speakers and discussants).

20 minutes to present each paper, and 15 minutes for each discussant to take questions.


Bianca Son, Jürgen Schöpf, Mélanie Vandenhelsken, Shahnaz Kimi Leblhuber:

Call for Papers

Collective identities and ethnicity are subject to changes in many parts of the world today as several scholars have highlighted. Through this conference, we wish to examine those changes, particularly the new forms and meaning given to ethnic identities, belonging, etc. in various parts of Northeast India, as well as look at practices related to ethnicity and cultural identities. “Northeast India” is the political unit defined by the Indian Government as the ‘North Eastern Council,’ which now includes Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.


Socrel / HEA Teaching and Studying Religion, 2nd Annual Symposium

Call for Papers

The 2012 Socrel / HEA Teaching and Studying Religion symposium will explore the theme: Religion and Citizenship: Re-Thinking the Boundaries of Religion and the Secular.

The symposium is organised by Socrel, the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group, with funding from the Higher Education Academy, Philosophy, and Religious Studies Subject Centre. Last year’s inaugural symposium was over-subscribed and therefore early submissions are encouraged.

Keynote speaker: Dr Nasar Meer, Northumbria University

Venue: BSA Meeting Room, Imperial Wharf, London

Date: 13 December 2012

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Religions today are implicated in a wide variety of publics. From contests over the environment and democracy to protests against capitalism, religions remain important factors in political and public life across diverse, and interconnected, global contexts. A variety of diverse responses have been articulated to the so-called ‘return of religion’ in the public sphere, drawing into question relations between the religious, the non-religious and the secular. As scholars have developed new theoretical understandings of the terms of these debates and questioned how these are bound up with cultural conceptualizations of citizenship, education – in schools, universities and less formal educational contexts – has often been a site where contestations of the religious and the secular have been acutely felt.

The aim of this symposium is to consider the interrelation between conceptions of the religious, the secular, citizenship and education, and to explore how these issues affect the study of religion in higher education. We hope to attract presentations of sufficient quality to lead to an edited publication.

The day will be highly participative and engaged. The symposium will be organised as a single stream so that the day is as much about discussion as it is about presentation, and therefore the number of formal papers will be limited.

Papers are invited from students, teachers, and researchers in the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, geography, theology, history, psychology, political science, religious studies and others where religion is taught and studied. Empirical, methodological, and theoretical papers are welcomed.

Presenters will circulate a five-page summary of their paper before the day so that all participants can come prepared for discussion. Presentations will last 10 minutes and will be structured into three sessions, each followed by a discussant drawing out key points. The day will conclude with a discussant-led, focused panel discussion.

Key questions to be addressed may include, but are not limited to:

What are the relationships between the religious, the secular and the public sphere, and how do these affect the study of religion, in both universities and schools?

How do different historical constructions of religion and secularity shape understandings of the civil sphere and citizenship, and what are the implications of this for the study of religion?

Does the increased public visibility of religion in national and global contexts affect how we study it?

What is the role of religious education (school and/or university) in forming citizens and shaping understandings of citizenship?

Are there distinct regional, national or international conceptions of the secular?

Are there distinct regional, national or international conceptions of citizenship?

How do different disciplines approach and study these conceptions, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches?

Abstracts of 200 words are invited by September 15 2012. Please send these to: Dr Paul-François Tremlett

Costs: £36.00 for BSA/SocRel members; £45.00 for non-members; £20.00 for SocRel/BSA Postgraduate members; £25.00 for Postgraduate non-members.

3rd Global Conference Spirituality in the 21st Century

Thursday 7th March Saturday 9th March 2013, Lisbon, Portugal

Call for Presentations:

The contemporary study of spirituality encompasses a wide range of interests. These have come not only from the more traditional areas of religious scholarship—theology, philosophy of religion, history of religion, comparative religion, mysticism—but also more recently from management, medicine, and many other fields.

This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to expand the range of ideas, fields, and locales of Spiritual work for the 3rd Global Conference. Perspectives are sought from those engaged in the fields of Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation, Business, Counseling, Ecology, Education, Healing, History, Management, Mass/Organisational/Speech Communication, Medicine, Nursing, Performance Studies, Philosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology, Reconciliation/Refugee/Resettlement Projects, Social Work, and Theatre. These disciplines are indicative only, as papers are welcomed from any area, profession and/or vocation in which Spirituality plays a part.

Presentations, papers, performances, reports, works-in-progress and workshops are invited on issues related to any of the following themes:

  • Conceptualizations of Spirituality
  • Social and/or Cultural Aspects of Spirituality
  • History(ies) of Spirituality
  • Interpreting elements and examples of Spirituality
  • The Liminal elements and facets of Spirituality
  • Research and/or Pedagogical Approaches to Spiritual Work
  • Social and cultural aspects of Spirituality
  • Spirituality and Children
  • Spirituality in Education, Curriculum Development and/or Pedagogy
  • Spirituality Compassion and Reconciliation
  • Spirituality and Cultural Identity
  • Spirituality and Healing
  • Spirituality and Addiction, Health Care, Medicine, and/or Nursing
  • Spirituality in Counseling, Healing, Hospice Care, Psychology, Psychiatry, Social Work, Therapy and/or Wellbeing
  • Spiritual and Ecological Maintenance of Health and Life of Human Beings
  • Spirituality as Therapy
  • Development of Personality as a Process of Spirit Creation
  • Cultural Expressions of Spirituality via Art, Dance, Film, The Internet, Literature, Music, Radio, Television and/or Theatre
  • Spirituality and Communication
  • Spirituality and the Environment
  • Spirituality in Business and/or Management
  • Spirituality and Gaia
  • Teaching Spirituality
  • Theology and Spirituality – use and/or abuse
  • Teleology and Spirituality
  • Comparisons and/or Contrasts between Spiritual Theory, Praxis and Pedagogy

The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Presentations, Papers and performances will be considered on any related theme.

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 12th October 2012. All submissions are minimally double blind peer reviewed where appropriate. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 18th January 2013. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract f) up to 10 key words E-mails should be entitled: S21-3 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

The conference is part of the Ethos programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.on.


2nd Global Conference: Sins, Vices and Virtues

Wednesday 13th March – Friday 15th March 2013, Lisbon, Portugal

Call For Presentations:

Not every culture recognises the notion of sin but all of them recognise the idea of a religious or spiritual transgression. All or nearly all the ‘Christian’ vices-virtues were those espoused by Greek-Roman philosophers first and are, therefore, not exclusively Christian in the origin. The Judaic idea of ‘sin’ varies considerably across time and the accountability of society/group vs. individual fluctuates as well. Also, the (Latin) idea of sin as ‘transgression’ or ‘breaking of the (divine) law’ is at variance with the (Greek) idea of sin as ‘missing the mark’ and ‘mistake/error.’

The idea of virtues likewise does not seem to be universal, though all offer guidelines to what they consider ‘right living. Actions that violate rules of morality and the guidelines concerning virtuous living have been the foundations of every culture across centuries. However, due to civilisational progress and secularisation, the ideas and definitions behind the variously understood concepts of ‘sin’, ‘vice’ and ‘virtue’ have changed. For instance, in Christian culture the traditional list of the Church Fathers was unofficially updated to include social sins prevalent in what is called the era of ‘unstoppable globalisation’ and these DO not necessarily embrace Christians only.

Thus, apart from the familiar: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth, which individuals were to test their conscience for, the Roman Catholic Church now cautions the whole of humanity inter alia about: Genetic modification and human experimentations; Polluting the environment; Social injustice; Causing poverty; Paedophilia, contraception, abortion; Taking drugs; and Financial gluttony. Not only are the ‘new sins’ not necessarily Christian in nature but they seem inter- and transcultural, disregarding religious persuasion. It seems no longer the matter of individual transgression that has spiritual repercussions, but rather the sin whose subject is the entire, global and transcultural society. Furthermore, the question that arises is whether the notions of virtue are changing their meaning in the commercially-driven ‘dog-eat-dog’ modern world as well, and whether to be ‘good’ or ‘virtuous’ means the same for all cultures.

Are we then to talk about a completely new culture-blind hamartiology or new schematization of virtues? What are the real changes between medieval and today’s religious/moral doctrines preached across the modern world and its diverse cultural make-up? What about non-Christian cultures with different categories of religious/spiritual transgressions? May one actually still talk about ‘sin’ at all or is it an obsolete word in a multicultural world? Are all Western Christian sins, vices and virtues recognised and shared by other cultures as well?

This interdisciplinary conference seeks a new, provocative, intercultural perspective on some enduring truths concerning virtues and vices, sins and transgressions. Do we need a new list of moral commandments in the globalised, multicultural 21st century? Should they be religious or secular in nature? Who are these aimed at? And, finally, is it possible, reaching back to the origins of humanity, to find common denominators between religious/spiritual definitions of vices and virtues of all belief systems? Can discussions of ‘sin’ not introduce theology and religion into the contemporary discussion?

We are inviting scholars, theologians, anthropologists, artists, teachers, psychologists, therapists, philosophers, teachers of ethics, etc. to present papers, reports, works of art, work-in-progress, workshops and pre-formed panels on issues related but not limited to the following themes:

  • The genealogy of the idea of sin or religious transgression around the world
  • Anthropology of transgression
  • Sinful/Transgressive actions, evil thoughts, religious taboos in Christian and non-Christian cultures
  • What are the pre-Islam Arabic ideas of sin? How do these influence Islamic thought and how do they shape or not shape fundamentalist Islamic political thought?
  • Lexicon of sinfulness/transgression and virtuousness in Christian and non-Christian cultures
  • Social functions of sins and virtues
  • Modern sins and vices: Individual and social; religious and secular; intercultural
  • Social ‘sins’: ‘Institutional’ and ‘structural’; their social ramifications
  • ‘-isms’ in religious and spiritual discourse
  • Communal versus individual sins/transgressions: Do societies sin? How are societies
  • policing them?
  • The concept of sin or spiritual transgression/deviation and philosophy
  • The notions of ‘sins’, vices and virtues on the political arena (secular morality or no morality)
  • Psychology of sin (‘sinful’ or ‘abnormal’?; the concept of sin after Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud)
  • Emotions and moral decision-making
  • How to represent evil and morality in art: Representation of sins and sinners, vices, transgressions and virtues in art, literature, movies in Christian and non-Christian cultures
  • Genderisation of sins, vices and virtues in Christian and non-Christian cultures
  • Ideology of sin/religious transgression and technological progress: G/god or the Machine; ‘sins’ of productive necessity
  • Theologies and Nature: Environmental studies and the notions of ‘sin’, transgression and virtue
  • Sins/Vices and/in the Media (ie adveritising)
  • Medieval crusades and modern (holy) wars
  • Sinless, non-transgressive life in 21st century: Possibility or wishful thinking?
  • Fear of the confessional or ‘McDonald-isation’ of spiritual life; is confession needed at all?
  • Public and penitential practices across the ages and cultures
  • Punishment for sin/transgression and rewarding virtue across the ages and cultures: individual and collective
  • Visions of Hell, Paradise and other afterlife Realms across cultures
  • Virtues in the modern times; virtues in a modern man

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 12 October 2013. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper of no more than 3000 words should be submitted by Friday 18th January 2013. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract E-mails should be entitled: Sins and Virtues 2 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.


Workshop on the Reception of Josephus by Jews and Christians from Late Antiquity to 1750

Applications are invited to participate in this workshop to be held at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies on January 7-8 2013. Bursaries to cover travel expenses and accommodation will be available for selected participants.

The workshop will be the first in a series as part of a project on the reception of Josephus in Jewish culture from the 18th century to the present.

Please submit your application in English, with a short CV and an abstract (not more than 500 words) of a research paper to be discussed in the workshop to the Academic Registrar of the OCHJS by Friday 14 September 2012.

Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Yarnton Manor, Yarnton





Visit the website at


Institute for Research in the Humanities

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Robert M. Kingdon Fellowship in Judeo-Christian Religious Studies

Through a generous bequest from Robert M. Kingdon, a distinguished historian of early modern Europe, the Institute offers 1-2 external, academic-year Kingdon Fellowship(s) to scholars outside the University of Wisconsin-Madison working in historical, literary, and philosophical studies of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition and its role in society from antiquity to the present. Projects may focus on any period from antiquity to the present, on any part of the world, and in any field(s) in the humanities; can range widely or focus on a particular issue; and can explore various forms of Jewish and/or Christian traditions; the interaction of one or both of these religious traditions with other religious traditions; and/or the relationship of one or both of these religious traditions to other aspects of society such as power, politics, culture, experience, and creativity.

Fellows are expected to be in residence throughout the academic year (except for short research trips, lectures, conferences, etc.) and may extend their residency through the following summer on a non-stipendary basis. The award provides a stipend of $45,000, office space, support services, and access to all university facilities.

Application deadline is Oct. 15, 2012.

Web site:



BSA TEACHING GROUP Inaugural Conference

28th – 30th September 2012

Menzies Strathallan Hotel, Birmingham

Programme now online at:


Professor John Holmwood (University of Nottingham),

Former Chair of the Council of UK Heads & Professors of Sociology,

Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences & the incoming

President of the British Sociological Association

Professor Corrine Squire (University of East London), Humanities & Social Sciences

Author of ‘Women & AIDS: Physiological Perspectives’

Dr Paul Bagguley (University of Leeds)

Researcher in the Sociology of Protest

Author of ‘Riotous Citizens: ethnic conflict in multicultural Britain’

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

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

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

Conference Registration Cost:

Full Conference (including accommodation & food):

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

Saturday Day Delegate (excludes Conference dinner & accommodation)

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

Postgraduates £35 – Saturday only: includes refreshments and lunch as well as free membership of the BSA Teaching Group until December 2012. Membership will keep you up to date with what is happening in sociology and in the teaching of sociology and enable you to network with like minded people. Limited places available on a first come first served basis.

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

For further information please go to

Please direct any enquiries to: Tel: (0191) 383 0839

The Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations (Woolf Institute, Cambridge) is delighted to announce that it is hosting a colloquium, Christian Anti-Judaism in Baroque Music. The colloquium will be held on 23 and 24 September 2012 and take place at Lucy Cavendish College (Cambridge).

The speakers at the colloquium will be CJCR Visiting Fellow, Michael Marissen (Swarthmore College), Ruth HaCohen (Hebrew University), and Jeanne Swack (University of Wisconsin, Madison).

Registration required. Bursaries for graduate students available.

For further details and the registration form, please see

Call for papers Societas Magica sessions IMC Kalamazoo

The Societas Magica invites abstracts for four sessions to be held at the next International Congress on Medieval Studies Kalamazoo, MI, 9-13 May 2013. The four sponsored sessions are:

Session I – Astrology and Magic (co-sponsored with the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)

Contact: Dr. David Porreca (University of Waterloo)

Session II – Magic, Material Culture and Technology (co-sponsored with the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)

Contact: László Sándor Chardonnens (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Session III – Water as Symbol, Sign and Trial: Aquatic Semantics in the Middle Ages (co-sponsored with the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)

Contact: Mihai-D. Grigore (University of Erfurt)

Session IV – Magical Practices in Pre-Modern China

Contact: Dimitri Drettas (Collège de France)

If you have material suitable to one of these topics, please send an abstract (ca. 250 words) electronically to the contact person listed for that session by 15 September 2012 along with the Participant Information Form.

More detailed information about the sessions and a link to the participant information form may be found at


Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion & Philosophy 2013

ACERP 2013 is to be held from March 28 – 31 2013, at the Ramada Osaka Hotel, Osaka, Japan. CONFERENCE THEME: “Connectedness and Alienation: The 21st Century Enigma” Being connected through social networking sites has become an accepted form of communication in today’s digitalized world.

Call for papers deadline: 1 December 2012


University of Saskatchewan – Instructor, South / Southeast Asian Buddhism

Deadline: 26 July 2012

Further details:

University of Saskatchewan – Special Lecturer, Islamic Studies

Deadline: 24 August 2012

Further details:


RCUK open access policy

The new RCUK policy requires that, from 1st April 2013, peer-reviewed research papers which result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the Research Councils must:

  • Be published in journals which are compliant with Research Council policy on open access
  • Include details of the funding that supported the research, and a statement on how the underlying research materials such as data, samples or models can be accessed

To be compliant with the Research Councils’ Open Access policy, a journal must:

  1. Either provide via its own website immediate and unrestricted access to the publisher’s final version of the paper and allow immediate deposit of this final version in other repositories without restriction on re-use
  2. Or allow deposit of accepted manuscripts that include all changes resulting from peer review (but not necessarily incorporating the publisher’s formatting) in other repositories (e.g. institutional repository), without restrictions on non-commercial re-use and within a defined period (usually within 6 months of online publication)

Some of the Research Councils may specify certain repositories in which papers need to be deposited.

Further information:

The REF (Research Excellence Framework)

Post-2014, open access will also be a consideration in the Research Excellent Framework (REF), or whatever its successor is called. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC), along with its three other UK counterparts, will develop plans to ensure that outputs submitted to the REF are as widely accessible as is practical.

Further information:

SFC – Open access to research publications:

Weekly Opportunities Digest (March 30 2012) – Journals, Papers, Jobs and more

Opportunities Digest – 30 March 2012

We have moved opportunities digests until Fridays, largely to promote more discussion related to the reponse essays and podcasts, and also to give readers the chance to think about the opportunities over the weekend. We have linked each heading below to the appropriate section so you can (hopefully) jump to whatever you are interested in. We are not responsible for any content contained herein, but have simply copied and pasted from a variety of source


Contained below

Advance Notice – Journals

Sociology of Religion –

The Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, new to Oxford Journals in 2012, has just published its first issue!

The OJLR will be freely available online in 2012, so visit the table of contents for the first issue:

Make sure to create or update your My Account profile so you don’t miss Advance Access alerts for the OJLR’s articles as they publish online ahead of print here:


2012 Australian Association for the Study of Religion Conference

University of Western Sydney

Parramatta Campus, 28-30 September 2012

Multiple Religious Modernities

Deadline for submissions of abstracts (individual paper or panel proposals): 31 May, 2012

At the local and global level, religion is changed through social processes, but religion also impacts on societies at the structural and grass roots levels.

As modernity and (de)secularisation are multilateral processes, the conference explores the multiple types of (de)centralisation, pluralism and voluntarism of religious life.

First Call for Individual or Panel Presentations

• Individual paper proposals (200-300 words)

• Panel proposals (200 word for the panel concept and 200-300 words on each panel paper).

• For each paper, please provide a bio (up to 50 words) of the presenter(s).

• Please submit your abstract to Alan Nixon at:

Local Organising Committee

  • Julia Howell
  • Alphia Possamai-Inesedy
  • Adam Possamai
  • Judith Snodgrass
  • Irena Veljanova

Programme Committee

  • Carole Cusack, University of Sydney
  • Jamila Hussein, University of Technology, Sydney.
  • Jay Johnston, University of Sydney and University of New South Wales
  • Paul Oslington, Australian Catholic University.
  • Adam Possamai, University of Western Sydney
  • Malcolm Voyce, Macquarie University

The event is hosted by the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies, the School of Social Sciences and Psychology and the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. Your assistance in distributing this information to other interested parties will be appreciated.


An International, Interdisciplinary Conference:


University of Pretoria, South Africa. December 2-5, 2012

This International Conference brings together scholars/researchers, practitioners of diverse religious traditions and spiritualities, FBOs/NGOs and policy makers to interrogate how and to what extent various religions and spiritualities in Africa and the African diaspora engage in processes of economic, social and political transformation. Public commentators often criticize political entrepreneurs and African states of their failure to develop an ethic of public probity and accountability, partly exemplified by corruption. The enigmas of public transparency and probity can hardly be limited to public governance. We can also explore how religious institutions in Africa interrogate, critique, practice or fail to eschew transparency, accountability and probity in the quest for economic and social-political transformation. Religious entrepreneurs grapple with similar issues of leadership, good governance, probity, integrity as a reflection of their wider societies. Ecclesiastical, Islamic, or Indigenous religious polities are situated within wider pluralistic (secular) polities in Africa and are thus mutually reinforcing each other. The significance of leadership and corporate governance (religious/secular) lies in its contribution to prosperity, peaceful coexistence, moral regeneration and accountability. Accountability requires appropriate rules and regulations, doctrines, codes of conduct, values and behaviour to make for viable transformation. For instance, a historical perspective on leadership dynamics can be helpful in the present crisis in leadership in church and secular contexts. The churches and missionary societies played a crucial role in the shaping of South African cultures, as much in the colonial period as during the years of the formation of the Union and the apartheid era.

The conference provides a platform in which scholars/researchers, practitioners and policy makers will explore, through historical and contemporary perspectives, how authority structures, institutionalized myths, beliefs, and rituals of authority differently mobilize and influence members? behaviour and attitudes towards financial probity and organizational policies. How do various hierarchical/decentralized religious polities (i.e. structures of church government) in Africa deal with issues of probity (moral regeneration), equity and sustainable development? What values do African religions and spiritualities evince that represent a boon or bane for improving corporate governance and ensuring improved ethics and probity in African systems of governance? How should religious polity structures respond, critique and identify with national/international policies that are aimed at a disciplined management and equitable distribution of public resources, and the establishment of a viable culture of financial probity? What various models condition religious polities and leadership in Africa, and how have these been influenced by modern political movements, such as Western democracy, as well as by modern economics and technology? Are liberal or conservative forms of religiosity compatible with Western democracy? How and to what extent should religious insights be present in the public sphere of the secular polity and vice versa? ?How do engage prayer ritual action impact on their religious and national polities to maximize probity at personal and institutional levels?

The conference will highlight and explore how and to what extent African and diaspora religious traditions and spiritualities may cohere on the critical issues, such as that of probity, equity and accountability, which confront the African continent, their ?faiths? in relation to the wider, global community. Interrelated issues on religion, spirituality, leadership, social capital, public role, poverty, corruption, transparency will be discussed. The conference is intended to build synergies and forge dialogue on how religious/spiritual communities in Africa and the African Diaspora can combat poverty and foster probity and sustainable development.

The conference programme shall focus on the following and related sub-themes:

  •       African politico-economies, religious polity and accountability

  •       religious polity structures, corruption and transparency

  •       religious polity, social and religious capital

  •       religious values, behaviour, probity and financial accountability

  •       ethics, socio-cultural values, and social action

  •       democracy and ecclesiastical polity

  •       traditional (indigenous) systems of governance and probity

  •       religion/spiritualities, prayer and poverty

  •       religion, politics and socioeconomic empowerment

  •       church polity, apartheid and post-apartheid transformation

  •       religion, spiritualities and sustainable development in Africa and the African Diaspora

  •       Probity and African and African-derived religions/spiritualities in a new global order

Paper/presentation proposals based or related to one or more of the above themes are invited from the interested public: scholars, religious/spiritual communities and organizations, policy makers, and FBOs/NGOs. Interested panelists are invited to submit a paper/abstract proposal (max. 200 words), stating institutional affiliation, on or before 28 May 2012. The conference will be jointly hosted by the University of Pretoria, University of South Africa, The University of Edinburgh, and PANAFSTRAG. Abstract proposals and all correspondences regarding the conference should be sent electronically (email) to the conference organizers: Afe Adogame: and Graham Duncan:

Journal for the Academic Study of Religion: Special Postgraduate Issue

Religion and Rethinking the Human

The ‘human,’ like that of ‘religion,’ is a category always under contestation. In current Euro-American scholarship and public culture, there is an acute anxiety about humans’ excessive reliance on technology, its environmental costs, and the ominous prospect of a post-human dystopia. These anxieties have been recognised, theorised, and allayed by a number of academic sub-disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It is therefore noteworthy that the study of ‘religion,’ ultimately concerned with the consideration of one of the most enduring products of the ‘human,’ has yet to wholeheartedly embrace a deconstruction of this seemingly transparent category.

Although ‘humans’ are credited with creating ‘religion,’ ‘religion’ itself has played a central role in constructing the ‘human’ as we understand it today. This symbiotic relationship is multifaceted, multivalent, and under-theorised within much of the current field of the contemporary study of religion. In order to bridge this gap between the study of religion and the plethora of recent ‘turns’ in academic scholarship that trouble the ‘human,’ the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion (formerly the Australian Religion Studies Review) seeks papers that provide a valuable insight into this issue of endurance and relevance from a variety of interdisciplinary and methodological perspectives.

Articles may present viewpoints, arguments, and analyses on broad delineations of religion, religiosity, and any of the following, or other and divergent, topics:

  • The historical construction of the human
  • The human and the non-human, super-human, or post-human
  • Anthropocentrism and the biopolitical processes that bring about the centrality of the human and of certain humans
  • Notions of sentience, identity, and individualism
  • Human rights, law, governance, politics, media, and relations with ‘nature,’ climate, and the environment
  • Interspecies relations, especially between the human, the animal, the plant, the microbial, and the technological
  • Human evolution and cognition
  • The politics and governance of death, dying, and decomposition

This issue of the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion is a special issue that will be edited by postgraduate students featuring contributions from national and international postgraduate students. We are hoping that this will provide students not only with an important platform from which to share their research interests and efforts, but also an invaluable opportunity for the academic community at large to sample the high quality work and the innovation of scholars at a postgraduate level. We are seeking unique essays on the subject of Religion and Rethinking the Human that showcase the original research of students, and we welcome a variety of submissions that provide a unique insight into this highly pertinent issue.

If you would like to contribute to this Special Issue, please send your abstract to the guest postgraduate editors: George Ioannides (<>) and Venetia Robertson (<>) by 1 July 2012. Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and accompanied by a brief author biographical statement. Authors will be notified by the end of July, and the deadline for submission of complete articles (6000 words) will be 1 December 2012. Papers will be published subject to peer review. This special issue of the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion will be published in December 2013.


Seminar: Muslim Women at Risk: Gendered Islamophobia by Dr. Barbara Perry, Professor of Criminology, Associate Dean, Faculty of Social Science & Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Tuesday 24th April – 4-5:30pm

Room 230, Geoffrey Manton Building, All Saints Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University


All welcome


Post 9/11, most western nations have seen dramatic increases in bias motivated violence against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. Predicated on the long-lived vilification of Muslims by the media and the state, such violence is a reactionary reminder of Muslims’ outsider status. Interestingly, little attention has been paid to the particular vulnerability of women and girls to anti-Muslim hate crime. This paper begins such a dialogue, drawing on extant scholarship as well as early findings from an ongoing project on anti-Muslim violence in Ontario, Canada.


Dr. Barbara Perry has written extensively in the area of hate crime, including two books on the topic: In the Name of Hate: Understanding Hate Crime; and Hate and Bias Crime: A Reader. She has just completed a book manuscript for University of Arizona Press entitled The Silent Victims: Native American Victims of Hate Crime, based on interviews with Native Americans, and one on policing Native American communities for Lexington Press. She is also General Editor of a five volume set on hate crime (Praeger), and editor of Volume 3: Victims of Hate Crime of that set.


1) Lecturer in Sociology, Job Reference Number: UOS004300

2) Lecturer in Social Policy, Job Reference Number: UOS004299

Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociological Studies

Salary: £37,012 to £44,166 per annum, with potential to progress to £49,689 (grade 8 )

Closing Date: 26th April 2012

3) Research Assistant

Job Reference Number: UOS004272

Contract Type: Fixed term until 31 March 2014

Working Pattern: 40%, days of working to be agreed

Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociological Studies

Salary: £28,401-£35,938 per annum (pro-rata) (grade 7)

Closing Date: 5th April 2012

Further information for all three jobs can be found at


By sharjah_lover -

Academic Positions: The Application and Interview

By L. W. Hurtado, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

In what follows I have attempted to give some basic information and advice intended for the person who has recently finished graduate work and is seeking a junior-level academic position in a Humanities discipline (I can claim no experience with other academic subject areas). These remarks are based on experience as applicant and as a member of the evaluation/hiring committee at academic institutions in North American and UK settings. I do not pretend that following the advice given here will give the applicant an “edge”, much less an “inside track” for positions. My intentions rather are to assist applicants to understand a little better what all is involved in evaluating applicants for a position, and perhaps to help applicants prepare themselves better to participate in the application and interview processes. This is only an introduction. Applicants are encouraged to compare notes with sympathetic holders of academic positions in order to gain a certain breadth of perspective and advice.1

General Remarks

l. Understand that the people evaluating and interviewing applicants will be fellow academics (usually a committee from the department in question), whose primary training and interests are in the academic field. They are not trained in “personnel” matters, and must take time from their preferred pursuits to engage in the hiring process. You have the primary responsibility to present yourself well, so try to make their work as easy as you can by supplying needed information before being asked for it and by being forthcoming and cordial at all stages of the application process.

  1. Recognize that nowadays institutions will receive many more applications than a committee will want to handle, and that the committee will look for any reason to cull out applications so that an initial “short list” can be prepared for more thorough examination. At the first stage, therefore, you must try to avoid getting culled out, so insure that your application and all supporting documents arrive promptly and in good condition. (See also The Academic Résumé: Some Recommendations.)

  2. If there is a first-stage culling, the committee will re-read even more critically each application still under consideration and all supporting documents. Committee members may at this stage examine some publications of applicants, if available. (I recommend sending samples of your recent publications (only one or maybe two), if you have some, along with your résumé to save the committee members looking them up. If you have no publications yet, you may consider sending a sample of unpublished research, e.g., a conference paper or thesis chapter, but only if it is very strong and likely to help.) After considering applicants on this initial short list, a revised short list may be drawn up, containing perhaps three to six names.

  3. In the UK,at this point letters of reference will be invited for the short-listed applicants. In both North America and the UK committee may contact references personally or by phone to get fuller information and insight on the more impressive applicants. The committee is usually looking for several strengths: (a) a scholarly and research ability; (b) aptitude for teaching (often with emphasis on undergraduate teaching, especially in the case of junior positions), involving good communicative abilities, social skills, ability to organize and explain technical material, and ability to evaluate student work; (c) “collegiality” (they will have to live with the person hired after all, perhaps for a long time in the case of a “tenure-stream” appointment!). Because budgets often allow the department to bring to the campus only a few applicants (often only two or three in North America, perhaps three to five in the UK), and because it is sometimes difficult to tell much about the personal qualities of applicants on the basis of their dossiers alone, understand that either being known (favorably!) to members of the committee or having a strongly favorable reference from one or more persons known and respected by committee members can be of great advantage.

  4. I recommend, therefore, that, certainly by the later stages of your Ph.D. program, you “circulate” at academic society meetings, perhaps presenting papers and participating in discussions. This will give another view of academics at work and an opportunity for you to get known for your own research interests and abilities. And during your graduate work you should consider opportunities to publish some of your work.2 In addition to doing as well as you can academically and trying to get your research published as soon as possible, you should also consider accepting opportunities to do some instruction or teaching assistance, both to gain some experience and to establish some basis for references to estimate accurately your promise in this area. (Obviously, finishing the graduate research comes first in priorities, so use good judgement, but if limited teaching experience can be included in your graduate “career” without unduly prolonging completion of your degree I recommend it.)

  5. Further, quite frankly, give attention to developing “social skills”, for I have known some very bright and promising researchers who have failed to obtain or keep positions because they did not have the promise of getting on well with students or perhaps with colleagues. Beware! Secluding yourself in a library and working exclusively with ideas, written arguments and theoretical concepts will not necessarily prepare you for the very human world of academic life.

The Interview

In the present North American scene, applicants may be interviewed in two basic settings. (1) Some institutions will ask applicants to appear for preliminary interviews at annual meetings of relevant academic societies (esp. in the U.S.), to allow the employer to see a number of applicants without having to bring them to the campus. (2) There is also the more familiar interview which is a part of an invited visit to the campus. The latter type of interview will normally be much more extensive than the former type, involving the whole committee and perhaps other members of the department as well, and often involving two or more sessions. The person interviewed may also be invited to present a lecture and/or paper during the visit, so that the department can get some direct sense of the applicant’s communicative ability and of how the applicant handles a formal presentation. (If you are invited to a formal interview, and are not asked to give a lecture or paper, I recommend that you offer to give one or both. The offer communicates a proper confidence in yourself, and, if your offer is accepted and you perform well, may give you a significant “edge”.) Normally, only one to three applicants will be invited to the campus for a formal interview (and normally one at a time in the North American setting), so the invitation means that you are on the final list and stand a good chance of being offered a job. In the UK the short-list will all be invited for presentations and interviews on the same day(s). The interview can be crucial, either turning undecided committee members toward you or the opposite. There are some things you can do to prepare yourself to handle the interview well.

  1. Find out as much as you can about the school, department, programs, and the department members. This way you can ask more intelligent questions and show that you are serious about the job and capable of preparing properly for an interview. Also, it is frankly a little complimentary to the department to find that you are informed about their programs and people, and that can’t hurt!

  2. In keeping with the above, if you are unfamiliar with the work of the department members (for example, if they are outside your own area), do a crash reading of some of the publications of the senior department members. Again, you may be asked what you know of the work of the department members, and it will make a better impression if you have at least a limited acquaintance with their research interests.

  3. There is no way to predict exactly the format of the interview. You may be interviewed solely by the committee as a whole, and/or in the North American setting you may be interviewed by committee/department members individually. The whole process can be quite demanding physically and mentally, so come rested and alert!

  4. You may be asked about lots of things in addition to your own professional and personal background, e.g., your ideas about student evaluation, or about a good introductory course in your field, or what you might do with a seminar, or your own longer term research/publication plans, or your view of where your area is headed over the next decade or so. In short, as you look ahead to applying for positions, give some thought to the “larger picture”, if you have time, so that you are prepared for such questions. (The questions you are asked will tell as much about the department/college as your answers will about you! Listen carefully.)

  5. The committee may very well be interested in how you would fit into their institutional context. Thus, a department in a public university or other non-confessional school may want to know how you see your role in such a setting as a teacher in Religion, and how comfortable you think you would be in such a setting and why. Or, a seminary/theological college committee may want to know how you relate yourself to the preparation of ordinands for church ministry. A confessional college/university may want to know how comfortable you feel with their particular emphasis and whether you understand it properly. Again, research on the institution before the interview will be very helpful.

  6. At some point you will probably be asked what questions you have for the committee. It may well be that you will have had discussions with the Search Committee Chair, Department Head/Chair, or Dean prior to the committee interview, and will have had the chance to ask any questions then. If not, however, and you are asked for your questions at the beginning of the interview, suggest that you defer them until the committee has dealt with its concerns first. Then, when the committee is relatively finished with its questions, present yours. If you are not invited to ask questions, before the interview is concluded you should ask to present your questions. But be sensitive to the situation. In the UK setting all short-listed applicants are interviewed usually on the same day, so the committee has to move along. In the North American setting normally applicants will come to the campus one at a time, so there will be more time given to each applicant and you can take more time for your questions.

The first things to ask about are matters about the department, its programs, curriculum, aims, plans, etc., where these matters have not already been covered by any orientation given you by the committee or its chair. Ask about the emphasis in the department on such things as teaching or research, and what interest and support there is for junior faculty members getting ahead with their research and publishing aims. If the position is “tenure-stream” (North America), ask about the time frame and basic procedures for tenure consideration and promotion, e.g., criteria and weighting of criteria. Ask about the department members and their specializations (although it will look good to know about at least some department members already). Ask about relevant supporting programs and departments, e.g., classics, history, or social science departments, depending on your own interests. In a well conducted campus visit, either the committee or the department head will explain such things as salary, benefits, moving allowance, etc. Wait, for this information may not be given early in the visit. But, before you leave the campus be sure to get this sort of information, probably best sought from the department head privately if the information is not volunteered. In the UK, the salary range will usually be indicated in the advertisement. Intelligent questions make a good impression, so be prepared to offer a few, but no more than necessary. With individual faculty members you can ask their impressions of the department as well as questions about recent publications, etc. In short, be prepared to make the visit a two-way conversation, with you playing an active and intelligent role.

  1. In North America, you will probably not be told of the department’s disposition toward you until after you have left the campus and all applicants have been interviewed (which can take a few weeks). In the UK the committee will usually try to decide immediately after concluding interviews, which can be on the same day. So in the UK the successful applicant may well be offered the job shortly after the interviews. If you’re offered the job you should be prepared to indicate your response within a few days at the most. You can negotiate any points that were not clear or were not fully satisfactory, such as salary. All the terms of the job should be put into writing, either in the letter of offer or in a memorandum of understanding (salary, basic description of duties, course load, moving allowance, etc.). You can at this point also ask for a copy of the faculty handbook, contract, or whatever document governs the relationship of the faculty member to the institution. Be business-like but don’t antagonize.
1  For a survey of hiring practices at many U.S. universities, in another field but with probable relevance for many other disciplines also, see R. Carson and P. Navarro, “A Seller’s (& Buyer’s) Guide to the Job Market for Beginning Academic Economists,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 2/2(1988), 137-48. For a more extensive introduction to seeking an academic position, especially in North America, see now Mary Morris Heiberger, Julia Miller Vick, The Academic Job Search Handbook (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992).
2  Students in the Humanities often do not consider attempting to publish until after the Ph.D. (and sometimes have been advised not to try to publish anything until completion of the Ph.D.). This is a mistake as a general policy. If you develop something that is a contribution to the discussion in a subject, ask your advisor’s help in revising it for publication. And, depending on the extent of the advisor’s contribution, you should acknowledge this help in a reference note, or perhaps invite the advisor to be listed as second author. For a good introduction to writing and publishing, see Beth Luey, Handbook for Academic Authors (rev.ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Larry Hurtado is a scholar of early Christianity and Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at The University of Edinburgh. He was Director of the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins until his retirement in August 2010.
By sharjah_lover -

Theses on Professionalization

By Russell T. McCutcheon, University of Alabama

Too many graduate students seem unprepared for what awaits them once they complete their dissertations. Sadly, in many cases their professors seem not to have considered it to be their responsibility to provide them with some of the tools necessary for navigating the job market and beginning their careers. It is into this gap that the following twenty-one thesis statements–which have benefited from the comments of a variety of people at different career stages–are offered. I do so with a deferential nod not only to Martin Luther’s ninety-five and Karl Marx’s twenty-one, but also to the thirteen offered more recently by Bruce Lincoln.

  1. Academia is unlike other professions in that the pre-professional period of training–which includes coursework, dissertation research and writing, and teaching assistantships–is not akin to an apprenticeship. Accordingly, there is no direct linkage between the accumulation of credentials and admission to the profession, no necessary relationship between feeling oneself to be qualified and the ability to obtain full time employment as a university professor.

  2. A Ph.D. is awarded not only as a mark of intellectual competence and disciplined method but also as a professional credential that signals one’s eligibility for employment as a researcher and teacher within academia. Although these two aspects of the degree can complement one another, they can just as easily conflict, as in when one’s research expertise fails to overlap with ever changing employment needs.

  3. Pursuing a Ph.D. purely for the “love of learning” is one among many legitimate reasons for graduate studies. Pursuing such studies for both intellectual stimulation and eventual employment requires candidates to be as intentional as possible about opportunities to increase their competitiveness on the job market.

  4. Applying for full-time employment prior to being awarded the Ph.D. degree (i.e., when, after successfully completing comprehensive or general exams, one holds the status known as ABD [i.e., All But Dissertation]) is not uncommon; however, failure to gain employment at this stage must not undermine one’s confidence. Apart from extraordinary circumstances (e.g., the so-called “fit” between your expertise and a Department’s needs), the doctoral degree remains a necessary condition for entrance into the profession.

  5. Whether as an ABD or after having been awarded the Ph.D., some candidates accept year-to-year work as a full-time Instructor or Lecturer (sometimes also called a Sessional position or a Part-time Temporary Instructor). Such positions often entail teaching loads that are heavier than tenure-track or tenured faculty members and, depending on the salary offered, may necessitate supplemental teaching (e.g., evening or summer courses) for one to earn sufficient income. Although the benefits of teaching experience and an academic home can be invaluable to an early career person, the costs such temporary employment entails for one’s ability to carry out research and writing can be high. Navigating these costs/benefits is no easy task; for instance, one might learn that, sometimes, time is more valuable than money.

  6. Although it is necessary, the doctoral degree alone is hardly a sufficient credential for being admitted to academia as a full-time employee because most of the other applicants also possess this credential (i.e., it is the level playing field onto which ABDs have yet to be admitted). There was a time, prior to the early 1970s, when the job market was such that merely possessing a Ph.D. would lead to multiple tenure-track job offers; in the Humanities that time has long passed.

  7. For some of those who will be judging candidates’ credentials to determine their admission to the profession, the reputation of the school from which they have earned their Ph.D. plays a significant role in assessment of applicants’ skills and future promise as colleagues. Although one’s alma mater does communicate with whom one has trained and what traditions of scholarship one may pursue, for yet others the reputation of candidates’ schools is secondary to the quality of their current research, the places where they have published their work, and the experience they have had in the classroom.

  8. Like all institutions, academia provides a case study in the complex relationship between structure and agency; for, although there are a variety of things that one can do to increase one’s competitiveness, job candidates must recognize that there are also a host of factors of which they are unaware and which are therefore beyond their control (e.g., the unstated needs, interests, goals, and even insecurities of the hiring Department; the number of other candidates qualified at any given time in your area of expertise; the impact of world events on the perceived need for scholars in your subject area, etc.). Success likely requires one to learn to live with the latter while taking control of the former.

  9. A structural element that must be taken into account is that Departmental search committees often fail to entertain the difficult questions in advance and, instead, go on “fishing expeditions” by defining their open positions far too broadly and vaguely, such as looking for “the best qualified” applicant (without ever articulating what counts as “qualified”). Making explicit their implicit and often competing preferences may strike members of a Department as being too costly an exercise. It is into this mix of unstated disagreements and longstanding rivalries that job applicants can be thrust, affecting such things as how their letters of application are read, their credentials judged, and their performance during campus interviews measured. While one cannot control such factors, when representing oneself one at least ought to be aware of their potential presence and impact.

  10. Whether working at a publicly or privately funded institution, professors are comparable to self-employed entrepreneurs inasmuch as they can increase their social capital (i.e., reputation) by seeking out new books to read and review, unique topics on which to research and write, novel and timely courses to develop and teach, and different professional service opportunities to provide them with additional experience as well as new national and international contacts. Graduate students are in much the same position and the additional qualifications that result from their entrepreneurial pre-professional activities can serve to distinguish one job applicant from another. Documentation from such activities, as recorded on one’s c.v., communicate to the hiring committee that one is already skilled at participating in the many aspects of the profession that will surely be required of a tenure-track Assistant Professor.

  11. While higher education is organized so as to train ever increasing specialists–a process that begins with surveys and broad course work, examines candidates on their knowledge in general areas, and then culminates in writing a dissertation on a highly technical topic–eventual full-time employment can just as easily depend upon one’s ability to contribute lower-level, so-called Core or General Education introductory courses to a Department’s curriculum. Because many Departments of Religious Studies justify their existence not simply by appealing to the number of their majors or graduates, but also the number of Core or General Education courses that they offer to students pursuing degrees in other areas of the University, gaining early experience in such courses as a Teaching Assistant is an important step toward being able to persuade future employers of one’s ability to be a colleague who helps to teach their Department’s “bread and butter” courses.

  12. Many doctoral students do not realize that finding authors willing to write book notes, book reviews, etc., is sometimes difficult for journal editors. As a first step in professionalizing themselves, graduate students should become aware of the journals in their field and write to their book review editors, suggesting that the journal allow them to write and submit a review (especially for books that they are already reading for their courses or research, thereby minimizing on work additional to their class and dissertation research). Besides providing experience in writing and a much needed line on one’s c.v., one never knows who will read the review or what other opportunities might follow upon it.

  13. Because there is no direct relationship between seniority and the quality of one’s writing, one’s familiarity with the literature, or the novelty of one’s ideas, graduate students ought never to refrain from submitting their work to a scholarly journal for possible peer review publication simply because they understand themselves to be novices. Even if rejected, the comments that result from the blind review process will be of benefit to students who have so far only received feedback from professors already familiar with their work.

  14. Depending on the type of institution into which one is hired (i.e., its teaching load, service obligations, emphasis on research, sabbatical opportunities, etc.), the dissertation may constitute one of the few, or quite possibly even the last, opportunity a candidate has to devote an extended period of time to one, focused project, free from the many obligations routinely expected of an Assistant Professor. Given the pressure to publish that, for some time, has attended academic careers, graduate students would be wise to write their dissertations while keeping in mind their eventual submission for possible publication-whether as a monograph (which, depending on a Department’s “Tenure and Promotion” requirements, may be preferable) or as separate peer review essays.

  15. Having successfully defended the dissertation, the manuscript does candidates no good in their desk drawer. However, before making revisions (unless they are dissatisfied with its argument or quality), graduates should create a prospectus containing a brief cover letter, annotated table of contents, and sample chapter (e.g., the Introduction) and submit it to a select number of top tier publishers in their area of expertise. Obtaining an outside experts’ assessment of the manuscript-a step often essential to a publisher’s process of evaluation-provides the best place to begin one’s revisions of a manuscript with which one is intimately familiar and, perhaps, too closely tied.

  16. Apart from professionalizing themselves through research and publication, candidates should consider the cost of regularly attending regional and national scholarly conferences simply as the price of being a graduate student. Waiting until one is on the job market is therefore too late to consider attending and trying to participate in such conferences–especially when one learns that being placed on the program of such annual meetings often comes about gradually, over the course of several (or more) years. Whereas regional meetings are often useful places to try out one’s research, become accustomed to speaking in public, and learn the rituals of the question/answer sessions that follow the presentation of papers (knowledge especially important during on-campus interviews), national meetings play a crucial role in efforts to integrate oneself into networks of colleagues at other institutions who share one’s interests.

  17. National scholarly conferences and professional associations often host on-site job placement services and publish employment periodicals. Becoming thoroughly aware of such services and resources, long before actually being on the job market, may not only assist one’s decision-making when it comes time to select an area of expertise (i.e., judging national employment trends over time may shed light on areas likely to require staffing in the coming years) but also prepare one for the eventual time when one is on the market and seeking campus interviews.

  18. Despite being the primary, and sometimes even the exclusive, focus of candidates’ attention during the last years of their Ph.D., once hired into a tenure-track position a variety of other just as time consuming tasks compete for their attention. Learning to juggle many balls simultaneously–knowing which will bounce if dropped and which will break–is therefore an essential skill for early career professors who wish to continue carrying out original research while also teaching a full course load and serving the needs of their Departments and the profession at large.

  19. Although it can be intellectually stimulating, developing new courses is time consuming. Depending on the needs of their Department, teaching multiple sections of the same course provides early career professors with fewer course preparations, helps them to quickly establish their area of expertise in the curriculum and among students, and allows them to gain teaching competencies far quicker, thereby enabling them to devote more time to their research and writing.

  20. Despite what some maintain, teaching and research are complementary activities, inasmuch as teaching, somewhat like publication, constitutes the dissemination of information gained by means of prior research. Based on one’s strengths, candidates can understandably emphasize one over the over, but declining always to carry out both, integrating them together when possible, is to shirk one’s responsibilities as a scholar.

  21. As with the effort to enter any profession, a price must inevitably be paid–economic as well as social–in terms of the other activities and goals one might instead have worked toward and possibly attained. Candidates must therefore not only be as deliberate as possible in determining which costs they are willing to pay and which they are not, but they must also learn to trust their own judgments when, regardless how their job search turns out, they someday look back on the decisions they once made.

Reproduced with permission from Mathieu E. Courville’s edited collection of essays, Next Step in Studying Religion: A Graduate’s Guide (London, UK: Continuum, 2007)

Using Bibliographic Software: Zotero or Mendeley?

Managing your bibliography is one of the most essential skills you can develop as an academic. For some, the system will be a matter of organised chaos; a personalised mess of paper, online files, post-it notes which makes sense to you and only you. And that’s fine. In the end, no one else needs to understand your system for organising your personal reference library. For others, there will be a complex system of neatly ordered cards or word-processed documents. And for others, like me, there will be bibliographic software. Once I started using Zotero, I have never looked back… and obviously I would encourage you all to do the same. But, in the end, it is about what works for you, and I hope that you will find this post informative if nothing else.

This piece was written by Christina Costa and posted initially on the University of Salford’s Postgraduate Studies Team Blog. It has been reposted with permission.

Zotero or mendeley…

Or both?

When it comes to organise your references it is important to find a strategy from the very beginning. I have learnt this from experience, and mistakes, as I spent ages trying to sort it out just weeks before I finished my MPhill. A bit of a nightmare, I must say!

So when I started the PhD I decided to be a bit more organised. At first, I started with a word document. I kept and updated all the references I was using in this document, but I soon dropped it! It almost reminded me of those perfumed journals I had during my teen years. I always started them with a lot of motivation and conviction, but sooner after I dropped them. It never became part of my routine. The writing became more fluid after I moved to the online medium and started to blog. Since I started using an online bibliographic system, I have also been able to organise my references on a more constant basis.

I know that a lot of people use EndNote. Here at the University this is also the official package and training about it is offered. [EDIT: This seems to be the case at most universities… and remember, there is generally training available in a whole host of skills to make your study life easier]

But there are also other alternatives out there that you might consider. They are particularly important because of the network that supports them.

I, for instance, use two of these systems: Mendeley and Zotero.

They enable you to organise your references in folders. In many cases the data can be extracted automatically, and a bibliography created using your home computer can be accessed through your work computer on or via the browser. Additionally, it also helps you connect to other people working on similar topics. These are becoming quite powerful systems.

From different conversations I have add with people on twitter and in other spaces, [Mendeley] seems to me by far the favourite one.  However, I would not discard Zotero. In fact, I must say I am a big fan of Zotero because of its automatic bibliographic data extraction from googlebooks, amazon, and journal sites. It just makes my life so much easier. I do no longer need to input the data manually!

Although Mendeley has now developed a similar solution to extract bibliographic data from the web, I think it is still far from achieving Zotero’s quality.  However, I do recognise Zotero’s vulnerability. It is in its collective intelligence. The group function in Zotero has not taken off the same way it has in Mendeley. Mendeley’s community is huge. The number of contributions to a collective pool of knowledge is also rather impressive. This is the main reason I keep using it, because you can get really good tips about published research in your field as well as connecting to other researchers.

So here is my strategy:

I use Zotero to create my reference lists. I also have a Mendeley account so I can share references and participate in thematic groups. Although Zotero also has a group feature, the topics I deal with are more developed in Mendeley. The collective intelligence in there is way more powerful in there. You’ve got to be where your community is if you want to keep learning with them, right?

It would be great if you could share your own views,  experiences and tricks about keeping your reference database updated.

Further Information:

Bibliographic Tools (how to)

Zotero Guide and tips

By sharjah_lover -

How to Give an Academic Talk

NB: On behalf of bored audiences everywhere, I wrote this essay to promote good public speaking. It is being circulated widely on the Internet. As a result, I am receiving large volumes of email from students and others requesting help with presentations. Unfortunately, I do not have the ability to respond to the many emails I receive about this. I already have many students here at the University of Michigan, and that’s about all I can handle. This essay may be redistributed freely as long as nothing is added or removed, and as long as the copyright notice is attached. Copyright 1998-2001, Paul N. Edwards. All rights reserved.

How to Give an Academic Talk:

Changing the Culture of Public Speaking in the Humanities

Paul N. Edwards, School of Information, University of Michigan

The Awful Academic Talk

You’ve seen it a hundred times.

The speaker approaches the head of the room and sits down at the table. (You can’t see him/her through the heads in front of you.) S/he begins to read from a paper, speaking in a soft monotone. (You can hardly hear. Soon you’re nodding off.) Sentences are long, complex, and filled with jargon. The speaker emphasizes complicated details. (You rapidly lose the thread of the talk.) With five minutes left in the session, the speaker

suddenly looks at his/her watch. S/he announces — in apparent surprise — that s/he’ll have to omit the most important points because time is running out. S/he shuffles papers, becoming flustered and confused. (You do too, if you’re still awake.) S/he drones on. Fifteen minutes after the scheduled end of the talk, the host reminds the speaker to finish for the third time. The speaker trails off inconclusively and asks for questions. (Thin, polite applause finally rouses you from dreamland.)

Why do otherwise brilliant people give such soporific talks?

First, they do this because they’re scared. The pattern is a perfectly understandable reaction to stage fright. It’s easier to hide behind the armor of a written paper, which you’ve had plenty of time to work through, than simply to talk.

But second, and much more important, it’s become a part of academic culture — especially in the humanities. It’s embedded in our language: we say we’re going to “give a paper”. As a euphemism for a talk, this is an oxymoron. Presentations are not articles. They are a completely different medium of communication, and they require a different set of skills. Professors often fail to recognize this, or to teach it to their graduate students.

Stage fright is something everybody has to handle in their own way. But academic culture is something we can deliberately change. This short essay is an attempt to begin that process with some pointers for effective public speaking.

Principles of Effective Talks

Any effective talk must do three things:

(1) communicate your arguments and evidence,

(2) persuade your audience that they are true, and

(3) be interesting and entertaining.

In our obsession with persuasive argumentation, academics sometimes forget about the third item on this list. Sometimes we think it follows automatically from the first two. (It doesn’t.) Sometimes we even scoff at the goal itself. Perversely, we seem to believe that if a talk is entertaining, it’s probably not very deep.

These attitudes are seriously mistaken. It is impossible to communicate and persuade effectively without entertaining as well. Keeping your audience interested and involved — entertaining them — is essential because in order to communicate your work and its value, you need their full attention.

Listening is hard work. Especially at conferences, where audiences listen to many talks over many hours, people need the speaker’s help to maintain their focus. This is the true meaning and importance of “entertainment.” In an academic talk, entertainment isn’t about making your audience laugh or distracting them from their troubles, but simply about keeping them focused

on and interested in what you have to say.

How to Give a Great Talk: Some Rules of Thumb

No rule applies always and everywhere. But the following principles work almost all the time. Try them!



Talk Read
Stand Sit
Move Stand still
Vary the pitch of your voice Speak in a monotone
Speak loudly and clearly, 

toward the audience

Mumble, facing downward
Make eye contact with the 


Stare at the podium
Focus on main arguments Get lost in details
Use visual aids: outlines, 

pictures, graphs

Have no visual aids
Finish your talk within your 

time limit. Corollary: rehearse 

your talk

Run overtime. Don’t practice.
Summarize your main 

arguments at the beginning and 


Fail to provide a conclusion
Notice your audience and 

respond to its needs 

Ignore audience behavior
Emulate excellent speakers

This list really says it all. But a little discussion may help make clear why these principles are so important.

1) Talk rather than read. It’s easier to listen to and understand, and it allows you to make genuine contact with your audience. Furthermore, it ultimately helps you to think more clearly, by forcing you to communicate your points in ordinary terms.

2) Stand up unless you’re literally forced to sit. People can see you better. Standing also puts you in a dominant position. This may sound politically incorrect, but it’s not. Remember, you’re the focus. The audience wants you to be in charge. Listeners need your help to maintain their attention.

3) Move around, rather than standing still. It’s easier to keep focused on someone who’s moving than on a motionless talking head. (Hand gestures are good, too.) It’s possible to overdo this one, though. Simply walking back and forth from one side of the room to the other every three or four minutes is probably enough. Gesturing too much will create distraction.

4) Vary the pitch of your voice. Monotones are sleep-inducing. Many people don’t realize they do this. Get a trusted friend or colleague to listen to your delivery and give you honest feedback. (This is an important principle in itself!) Even better, tape or videotape yourself and check out how you sound.

5) Speak loudly and clearly, facing the audience. Be careful, especially when using visual aids, that you continue to face the audience when you speak.

An important element of vocal technique is to focus on the bottom (the deepest pitch) of your vocal range, which is its loudest and most authoritative tone. (This can be especially important for women.) Speak from the gut, not the throat. Breathe deeply — it’s necessary for volume, and will also help you keep your mind clear.

Tip: here are two effective vocal “special effects.” First, when you come to a key phrase that you want people to remember, repeat it. Second, pause for a few seconds at several points in your talk; this breaks the monotony of a continuous flow of speech. It also gives you a chance to sip some water.

6) Make eye contact with the audience. If this is anxiety-inducing, at least pretend to do so by casting your gaze toward the back and sides of the room. Be careful not to ignore one side of the audience. Many speakers “side” unconsciously, looking always to the left or to the right half, or only to the front or the back, of the room.

7) Focus on main arguments. Especially in a conference situation, where talks are short and yours is one of many, your audience is not going to remember the details of your evidence. In such a situation, less is more. Give them short, striking “punch lines” that they’ll remember. They can always read your written work later, but if you don’t get them interested and show them why it’s important, they won’t want to.

8) Use visual aids. This is one of the most important principles of all. At a minimum, have an outline of your talk. Some people seem to think they’re giving everything away by showing people what they’re going to say before they’ve said it. But the effect of a good talk outline is exactly the opposite: it makes your audience want to hear the details. At the same time, it helps them understand the structure of your thinking.

Talk outlines should be extremely concise and visually uncluttered. 7-10 lines of text per slide is plenty. Pictures, graphs, and other images are especially helpful. People are visual creatures. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is especially apropos in the context of a talk.

One very important principle of slide presentations: always choose white or light-colored backgrounds. To see dark slides, you’ll have to turn off the lights. This will make it hard for you to see your notes, and will also tend to put your audience to sleep. Really. If at all possible, do NOT turn off room lights or close window shades! Light-colored slides can usually be read with lights on.

Don’t talk to the screen. If you do, not only will the audience be looking at your back, but also they’ll be unable to hear you. Have a paper version of your outline in front of you; speak from that, rather than from the one on the screen. This takes practice.

About Powerpoint:

Microsoft Powerpoint — now standard issue in many presentation settings — can be a great tool, not least because its default presentation formats encourage brevity.

But beware: Powerpoint’s fades, transitions, backgrounds, sound effects, and so on can be a real pitfall. Preparing glitzy presentations can be a serious time sink for you. Worse, they can give your audience the impression that you care more about surface than substance. My recommendation: choose simple, light-colored backgrounds with dark type, and limit the use of special effects.

9) Finish your talk within the time limit. Not to do so is disrespectful of your audience, not to mention bad strategy. Never go on longer than 45 minutes, which is most people’s maximum attention span. If you exceed this limit, you’ll lose them at the crucial point, namely your conclusion.

Furthermore, in conference settings, exceeding your time limit can be incredibly rude, since it cuts into other speakers’ allotted time and/or the discussion period. You can make real enemies by insisting on continuing after your time is up. The only way to be certain you can keep within your limits is to rehearse your talk. After lots of experience, some people can gauge talk times accurately without this. But nothing is more embarrassing — for both you and your audience — than getting only halfway through before hitting the time limit.

Tip: If you use Powerpoint or some other presentation system, you can develop a good sense of timing by always using the same slide format. After you’ve given a few talks with the same format, you’ll know about how long it takes you to talk through each slide, and you can gauge the length of your talk this way (at least roughly).

10) Summarize your talk at the beginning and again at the end. “Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em; tell ‘em; and tell ‘em what you told ‘em”: this ancient principle still holds. Following this rule helps your audience get your main points. Even more important, it helps them remember what you said, which is, after all, what you’re there for.

11) Notice your audience and respond to its needs. If people seem to be falling asleep or getting restless or distracted, the problem may not be you. Is the room too hot or cold? Too dark? (This is especially important.) Can people see you? Is the microphone on? Is something outside the room distracting people? Don’t hesitate to stop talking in order to solve these problems.

Alternatively, you may have gone on too long, or you may need to speak louder. Whatever the case, notice what’s happening and use it as feedback. If you can’t figure out why your audience is responding poorly, ask somebody later and fix the problem next time.

If you’re not sure whether people can see or hear, ask someone in the back row directly. (This is also a good technique for setting up initial communication with your audience. It makes listeners feel included, and puts you in touch with them as human beings.)

Tip: NEVER let someone else take control of room conditions. Many audiences — thinking they’re being helpful — react to slide or computer projectors by jumping up to turn off lights and close window shades. Unless this is truly necessary, avoid it at all costs, especially at conferences, which often take place in exceedingly dim rooms. Taking charge of the talk environment is part of your job as a speaker.

12) Emulate excellent speakers. Perhaps the best way to become an excellent speaker yourself is to watch really good, experienced speakers and model your talks on theirs. Notice not just what they say, but what they do: how they move, how they use their voices, how they look at the audience, how they handle timing and questions. If you find an excellent model and emulate that person, you can’t go wrong.

By sharjah_lover -

The Academic Résumé: Some Recommendations

By L. W. Hurtado, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

The following remarks are intended to give some assistance to the candidate who is perhaps applying for the first academic appointment. They are based on the writer’s experiences as applicant and (as a result of successful applications!) as a participant in the selection and hiring process at academic institutions (on both sides of the Atlantic). I do not claim that these remarks are comprehensive, but I do hope that they may be of help. I should also mention that these observations have to do particularly with the application and hiring processes in a North American setting.1 The procedures are somewhat different in the UK. E.g., British universities tend not to ask for references at application stage, but only for those applicants whom they short-list. Also, whereas you will likely apply directly to the academic department or to the search committee in North America, in the UK you may be asked to send the application through the university’s personnel office.

General Remarks

Before turning to specific suggestions about the résumé itself, it may be helpful to mention a few general remarks about the application and hiring processes. First, applicants should realize that in today’s situation most institutions advertising a position will receive many more applications than those charged with evaluation of them want to handle. So, the person(s) going through the applications will initially look for reasons to set aside as many applications as possible, so that a smaller, manageable lot is left for more detailed consideration. Thus, you must try to see that the application gets past this first culling out procedure, trying to avoid giving the prospective employer a reason for culling out the application on first examination. This means that the résumé should contain all the information the employer will want to see at the initial stage of consideration. It also means that the résumé set out the information in organized fashion, with clear headings, a pleasant and intuitive format, a clean and neat appearance, and the information should be accurate and free of “typos”. The typing should be professional quality and only laser-printed originals or first-quality photo-copies of the résumé should be sent.

Second, technically, there is a difference between a résumé and the c.v. The latter may be a statement of the major data from the life of a person, perhaps under topical headings and in chronological order. The former is a presentation of information to a prospective employer for the purpose of applying for a job. Thus, the résumé should be designed to present the applicant (a) in the best light; (b) with a view toward the position being sought; (c) and with a view toward making the examination of the résumé as easy as possible. With these things in mind, I offer the following suggestions.

l. Some information is simply not very relevant, e.g., high school record and activities, hobbies, occasional employment record (except for academic-related positions of course), and should be omitted. Likewise, today, marital status, age, and some other such personal information may not be relevant, or, in some jurisdictions, appropriate to give.

  1. The information given should be arranged roughly according to the order of its importance for the particular position, and according to the probable order in which the employer will want to read it. A rough outline of material for most academic positions would be as follows (see below for more detailed advice):
  • basic personal information–name, home and (if applicable) professional address and phone number(s), citizenship (and residence visas, if held), date of birth, and (optionally) marital status & children;
  • higher education;
  • area(s) of expertise: list both teaching competence (usually described in terms of fields, e.g., Biblical Studies or Modern History, and sub-areas, e.g., Hebrew Bible or Christian Origins), and more specialized and research areas (in which you also might offer graduate instruction);
  • academic positions held (giving dates, ranks, institutions, and including temporary positions);
  • publications;
  • papers given at professional meetings (with titles, identification of meeting & dates);
  • research project(s) in progress and/or planned (with indication of likely publication format, and approximation of time of completion);
  • research grant(s), if any (other than scholarships and graduate fellowships);
  • courses taught (with institution name and the level–e.g., undergraduate, etc.) and (if applicable) experience in dissertation/thesis supervision;
  • academic-related awards and honors (including scholarships, fellowships, prizes, other recognitions);
  • memberships (and any offices held) in professional societies (e.g., AAR, SBL);
  • other academic-related activities (e.g., service on academic committees, assistance in research projects for teachers or in development of curricular materials, organizing/conducting conferences);
  • a list of references (about three to five, with full titles and institutional addresses).
  1. If you apply for more than one position, it may be wise to draw up more than one résumé. For example, if you apply to a college/seminary with a specific religious orientation, you may wish to state either in the résumé or in a covering letter your own religious affiliation and activities. But such information would be irrelevant on a résumé sent to a religiously pluralist institution such as a public university.

  2. I recommend listing the information in reverse chronological order under each heading, so that your most recent, and highest, attainments catch the reader’s attention first.

  3. Use headings under which to arrange the information and try for a pleasant and readable effect. Do not crowd the page, but leave generous margins and proper spacing.

Specific Suggestions

With these general remarks in mind, I should like to give a few, more specific suggestions about particular parts of the résumé.

Education–Give the degrees earned, the dates of award, the institutions, the major(s) and minor(s) and mention distinctions (e.g., cum laude) if relevant. For graduate degrees include thesis title(s), name of supervisor(s), and areas of study in which you worked and were examined (i.e., candidacy exam areas).

Publications–List only items that have either appeared or have been accepted for publication. If you have items circulating for evaluation for publication, list them under a separate heading (e.g., “Work submitted for publication”) after listing all publications. Obviously, the most relevant items are books, articles in recognized journals and in books, and signed reviews in recognized journals. Publications on irrelevant subjects or in popular periodicals (such as denominational magazines, etc.) may be omitted or else listed under a separate subheading. For each item listed, give full information (e.g., for journal articles give article title, journal title, vol., date, & page numbers). For work(s) accepted and forthcoming, give the publisher of journal name, probable date, and size of manuscript(s).

To make the greatest effect, you should also consider sending one or two samples of your published work (e.g., off-prints of journal articles) along with your résumé (at least to those institutions whose advertised positions you find especially attractive!). If you have no publications yet, send a sample of your research, e.g., a conference paper or thesis chapter.

References–In the North American scene good references are crucial in getting onto the short list. In the UK, however, letters of reference from referees you list on your résumé will often be invited by the employer after short-listing applicants for the interviews. Choose those whom you use as referees carefully, selecting people who (a) know your academic work (teaching and/or research), preferably at graduate level and beyond; (b) sincerely have your interests at heart and will write as favorably as they can; (c) can and will describe your specific abilities and attributes, and will not simply write brief, general comments; and (d) have some recognition and standing in their field (at the early stages of your career, before you have had the chance to make your own mark, the standing of those who recommend you will be especially important). They should probably all be in academic positions themselves. As mentioned earlier, you may want to prepare more than one version of your résumé for different types of institutions, and you may want to vary the references (if you can!) to choose people whose recommendation would have the most effect at this or that type of school.

You should ask each person if he or she is happy to serve as a reference for you, putting on no pressure and using only those who appear to be genuinely interested in furthering your chances. (Of course, your Ph.D. supervisor is expected to be on the list.) Provide referees with a copy of the position-description/advertisement so that they can address particulars, and always see that they have a current résumé such as you are submitting for the post.

The letters of reference should be confidential, i.e., not open to you. If you are applying for positions in North America, ask your references if they would mind sending their letters directly to the parties to whom applications are to be sent. (If you anticipate applying for more than one position, alert your referees in advance, and suggest that they draw up a basic letter, keeping it in a computer file and adapting it as needed, so that they don’t have to compose a fresh one each time.)

The Application Letter–with your résumé (and items attached, such as off-prints), always enclose a carefully-composed covering letter addressed specifically to the party mentioned in the advertisement. In your letter you should (a) highlight briefly the features from your résumé that are especially significant for the position as advertised; (b) indicate why you are particularly interested in the position and institution; (c) mention that confidential letters from X, Y, Z are coming directly (in North America) or can be requested (in the UK); and (d) in general, try to make a professional but cordial impression. Each application should have its own specially written covering letter, and try to keep the letter no more than two pages. This will take time, of course, but the letter will be the first (and perhaps only!) thing read, so it’s worth making the effort to produce a good first impression.

1  For further discussion of this and related matters, see Mary Morris Heiberger, Julia Miller Vick, The Academic Job Search Handbook (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992).

Larry Hurtado is a scholar of early Christianity and Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at The University of Edinburgh. He was Director of the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins until his retirement in August 2010.
By sharjah_lover -

Ways to Increase Your Academic Visibility

by Adrian Andreescu, Associate Circulation Editor, IJTS

The Enigma

The aim of scholarly research is to make a contribution to the existing human knowledge. Still, many scholars are aware of valuable articles that are rarely cited in the academic literature. The innovative advances delayed by the cumulative research impact lost cannot be accurately calculated at this moment. Probably eighty years from now, future studies will present detailed insights into the causes and consequences of the early 21st century’s increased scholarship fragmentation.

One Motive (Among Others)

A large number of your peers (most of them outside your specific area of research) have a million and one reasons to do something other than spend long hours searching for articles from different fields and trying to find out which of them might offer (against the odds) some novel perspective or unexpected justification for their own research.

A Five-Step Solution to Increase Your Academic Visibility

1. Craft your articles for a larger audience.

There is no secret that papers grounded in and speaking to multiple fields often have the broadest impact and appeal. If most of your articles do not fall in this category, spend some time trying to identify a different academic audience that currently debates issues to which you could provide an unexpected perspective (concentrate on publishing in international journals across disciplines). Remember that “We are not students of some subject matter but students of problems. And problems may cut right across the borders of any subject or discipline”. (Karl Popper)

As dissemination of scientific publications via the web is becoming more common nowadays, serendipity is intricately woven within the fabric of a casual Google search. Make sure you write “search engine-friendly” papers (read here and here some useful tips).

Present your finding in ways that are credible and persuasive to the readers. Without engaging your expected audience into the text, a flawless logic of complex arguments might have in some cases alienating effects as many potential readers do not attempt to decipher those academic articles looking like an impenetrable thicket of words. In case you have been socialized into the norms of writing through a process of implicit learning, you might appreciate some articulated suggestions on academic discourse from peers like Sternberg (here), Boellstorff (here and here), Ellis (here), Bem (here and here), Caulley (here), Weick (here), Frank (here), Fernández-Ríos & Buela-Casal (here) or Knox (here).

2. Submit your articles to suitable journals.

Don’t aim only at those journals that are rejecting over 80% of the manuscripts submitted for consideration as this narrow approach might imply in the end a lot of frustration for you, a delay in publication and an inefficient use of reviewers’ time and energy.

3. Self-archive your papers.

Why it is very important to self archive your academic articles in a repository? Because the goal ofyour dissemination activity should be to maximise research usage and impact. Try to avoid uploading your papers exclusively in institutional repositories that are not open to public access. Better solutions are currently available (e.g., Social Science Research Network, The Social Science OpenAccess Repository, HAL,  HprintOpenDepot, ResearchGate)Self-archiving is easy! As many articles can be self-archived in compliance with publisher policy, put them on the paths that most scholars use when they explore the information jungle. Open repositories are especiallyuseful when you are not publishing in journals that have sufficient mass to make your work rapidly visible to a wider international audience.

A brief synthesis relevant to the OA/non-OA debate can be found in an article published not long ago in Journal of Clinical Psychology:

“Harnad and Brody(2004) compared the citation counts of individual OA and non-OA physics articles appearing in the same (non-OA) journals (The OA articles in non-OA journals were made OA by their authors through self-archivede prints). They found citation advantages for OA articles of 200 to 300%, depending on the publication year. Similar studies have compared OA and non-OA articles in astronomy, computer science, electrical engineering,  mathematics, philosophy, and political science, finding OA impact advantage rates of 25 to 250% (Antelman, 2004; Eysenbach, 2006; Hajjem, Harnad, & Gingras, 2005b; Kurtzet al., 2005a; Lawrence, 2001), with an average OA advantage of 93.2% in psychology (Hajjem et al., 2005a). […] Scholars wishing to maximise the diffusion of their research among the professional community should deposit prints of their work in OA archives. There are no copyright or other legal barriers to this OA strategy, with 91% of research journals (including all APA and Wiley journals) already giving their explicit green light to authors self-archiving of pre- or postprints (Eprints, 2008). One hundred percent OA is a reachable goal.”

4. Be committed to disseminate the findings of your work.

A “CERN for social scientists” is unlikely to be created in the next decades. In this context, you should become more involved in the dissemination of your papers. As stated by Shelley E. Taylor in her article, “marketing papers, a concept alien to some scientists, is increasingly important if we are to reach the multiple fields to which ourwork may contribute. […] We can send our papers out to a target audience that might otherwise not read the journal. Authors might be well advised to create a list of people in other fields unlikely to otherwise encounter the paper and e-mail it to them.”

5. Network curiously and habitually with other scholars.

You might consider creating an account on a site like Your profile should not be limited to your name and the email address. Upload a photo, your papers, select at least some relevant research interests, “follow” the profiles of your peers, etc. Give others a chance to find out more about your work! Uncuriosity can be dangerously comfortable especially within the sophisticated, intellectual world of Academe. In the effort to raise your long-term visibility and impact, you must become aware of novel research opportunities. Also, remain curious about big, intractable problems and invest at least one hour/week for online interaction with scholars from outside your niche research area. Keep in mind that theoretical innovation and new findings come often through cross-fertilization and interdisciplinary research.

Note: You can help scholarly research circulate and interact more freely by forwarding the above educational hypertext to your peers or byposting it on any academic blog or listserv, under the CreativeCommons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike3.0 . The author does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss or damage resulting from the unappropriate use of information mentioned in Ways to Increase Your Academic Visibility (the web pages and their contents are provided on an “as is” basis, with out warranty of any kind, either express or implied from the author). Sept. 2010

The Religious Studies Project launches…

The Religious Studies Project, in association with the British Association for the Study of Religions, launches on 16 January 2012!

Every Monday, we’ll be putting out a new podcast featuring an interview with a  leading international scholar, presenting a key idea in  the contemporary socio-scientific study of religion in a concise and accessible way. Our first podcast features Professor Emeritus James Cox (University of Edinburgh) speaking to David about the phenomenology of religion. You can find the podcast and accompanying notes here, or alternatively subscribe on iTunes.

Every Wednesday, we’ll feature a resource to help postgraduate students and aspiring academics. And every Friday, we’ll be publishing a response to the podcast, reflecting on, expanding upon or disagreeing with the Monday podcast. Plus conference reports, opinion, publishing opportunities, book reviews and more when we have them.

In the meantime, please have a look around the site, follow us on Twitter, “Like” us on Facebook, rate us on iTunes, tell all your friends about us… and let us know what you think!


Submitting to journals, increasing academic visibility, getting funding – whether you’re an undergraduate or an early-career academic, or even if you aim to be one of these, you need these posts in your life. We will publish to our resources category every Wednesday – with the first post occuring on 18 January 2012.