RSRC Public Lecture

Dear All,
The Religion and Society Research Centre
at the University of Western Sydney invites you to attend a Public Lecture:

‘Global Religion and the end of Secularization’

Speaker: Emeritus Professor Roland Robertson, University of Pittsburgh, USA and University of Aberdeen, UK

Date: Friday 7 June, 2013
Time: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Venue: Bankstown Campus<>, Building 3 Room 55, Sydney, Australia

Please RSVP to by 4 June.
Abstract In spite of or perhaps in part because of a wave of Western atheism – what some have called religious atheism – there appears to be a great wave of religiosity across much of the contemporary world. This is to be seen in various parts of Asian, Eurasia , the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. US American religiosity seems to be as strong as ever, in spite of the leading new atheists being themselves American or Anglo-American. These are, of course, very broad generalizations. Nonetheless, it is these that will form the context and the background for my presentation. Both the inter-societal and the intra-societal aspects of the global religious revival will be given attention. There will also be some consideration of extra-terrestrial factors.

Roland Robertson is Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh, USA and Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Global Society, University of Aberdeen, UK. He is also Distinguished Guest Professor of Cultural Studies, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China and he has held visiting positions in many countries. He is the author of many publications, his most influential ones being The Sociological Interpretation of Religion, Meaning and Change, and Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture (revised edition forthcoming). His major areas of specialization are cultural sociology, the sociology of religion, sociological theory, and global sociology. His present work deals with, inter alia, cosmology, antisemitism, dimensions and processes of civilization, the controversy over Southern theory, the cosmopolitanism debate, and the contemporary significance of glocality. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.

Religions in Digital Games – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet

Dear Colleagues,

The editors of “Online – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet” ( are pleased to announce the relaunch of the journal. It will come up with a new design as well as improved navigation and search functions. By establishing a peer-review system, we will renew our mission of publishing articles of a high academic standard from a multitude of disciplines.
We herewith invite researchers of all disciplines to hand in articles on their research dealing with religions on the internet. We are currently planning to publish 2 issues a year, one of which will be a special issue addressing a certain topic. The next issue to be published in December 2013 will broach the issues of “Religion in Digital Games” (for further information see Call for Papers below).
The journal is always keen to collect high quality scholarship on issues relating to religions on the Internet and welcomes submissions pertaining to all aspects of theses matters anytime to be published in a future issue! Submissions and queries should be send to the following address:

Best regards,
Simone Heidbrink (in behalf of the editorial team)

Call for Papers
Religions in Digital Games
Multi-perspective and Interdisciplinary Approaches

Special issue of “Online – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet”
(, due for publication in December 2013!

Over the past few years, the scientific analysis of digital games and their cultural and social impact has become a growing field of research in various scientific disciplines. Sadly, the issue of religion as an (explicit or implicit) factor in the construction and reception of game worlds, rules and mechanics has been vastly underrepresented in most studies on the field. This negligence seems rather unjustified given the vast presence of e.g. religious symbols, narratives and player actions in popular games like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim , Bioshock: Infinite and many others.

The special issue on “Religion in Digital Games” seeks to contribute to filling this gap in games research through a multi-perspective and interdisciplinary approach. We herewith invite scholars from Religious Studies, Cultural Studies, Social Studies, Media Studies, Game Studies, Educational Studies, Economics, Theology and other related disciplines to hand in proposals for possible articles which deal with all kind of religious aspects in the context of digital games, i.e. computer games, console games, mobile games.

The articles could (among others) broach the issue of
* game aesthetics
* gaming culture
* reception and recipient research
* ludology
* narratology
* content analysis

In order to present a broad insight into the aspects of religion in digital games, we invite theoretical, methodical and empirical studies referring to these or related topics. We are looking forward to receive the title and a short abstract (max. 250 words) of the planned article until June 30th 2013. The language of the Journal is English, for proposals in other languages please contact the editors beforehand.

Further important dates and deadlines are:
July 15th Notification on the acceptance of your proposal by the editors.
September 30th Submission deadline for full article.
October 15th Deadline for comments, requests of revisions by the editors (if necessary).
November 15th Submission deadline for revised articles.
December 1st Publication of the Online Journal.

Please send your abstract and / or further inquiries to the following e-mail address:
— online – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet
Institute for Religious Studies
University of Heidelberg
Akademiestraß 4-8 D – 69117 Heidelbergphone ++49-(0)6221-547482

Call for Paper: Everyday life practices of Muslims in Europe


Call for Paper
Everyday Life Practices of Muslims in Europe: Consumption and Aesthetics

Where: KU Leuven, Leuven-Belgium
Date: 28-29 November 2013

Organiser: KU Leuven Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies (GCIS)
Keynote Speakers:
Emma Tarlo, Goldsmith, University of London
Ali Mangera, MYAA Mangera Yvars Architects (to be confirmed)

Key words: Muslims in Europe, Consumption, Everyday life practices, leisure time, Aesthetics, Muslims Artists, Architecture, Muslim Self, Body, Memory

Muslims have a longer and deeper socio-economic and cultural experience in Europe and this presence requires a deeper understanding of the ways Muslims have become a part of Europe. In this vein, everyday practices (reading, talking, walking, dwelling, cooking, eating, clothing, consuming, shopping) are considered significant because they are not the “obscure background of social activity”, rather, they are the “investigation of ways in which users operate” (de Certeau). The socio-religious practices are obscure and not familiar with a non-Muslim, and the everyday practices are necessary to discover and penetrate this deeper experience of Muslims. The practices concern a mode of operation, a logic of doing, a way of being and a meaning. They do not link only to the question of personal choice and liberties. The content of the practice is to “make explicit the system of operational combination… to bring to light the models of action characteristic of users…” (de Certeau). The everyday practices create free areas through hobbies, games, art, clothes to the users in which one can see an essential formation of the self. We would need to discuss the increased sense that Muslims have of their distinctive-similar spatial locations that serve a free area or refuge to realize him or herself.

This conference sets out to understand the everyday practices of Muslims living in Europe. The diverse and various (non)-religious daily life practices indicate the non-defined boundaries of Muslims whose practices can be a part of the stigmatised-open spaces in public discourses. Examining the relationship between Islam and liberal democratic values, it is important to note what kind of practices and daily life experiences are exercised in private-public areas, which also determine the views and public perception of Muslims. The identification of Muslims with one or another practice is not a simply neutral matter; this entails also an attachment to liberal, communitarian and civil meanings. Regardless of the daily life activities, these perceptions of Muslims face the challenge that Muslims are not a fixed group, but they share the same practices that others have and do. Food and eating practices, consumer way of life, marriage, salutations; these banal practices of everyday life are central to discover the subjectivity of Muslims, or in other terms, a sense of the self, a way of embodiment. These daily practices are inextricably linked to the problematic of subjectivity. The meaning, discourses, argumentations and reasoning behind the daily life practices are detailed experiences of the self. This workshop seeks to explain the daily life choices and preferences in the context of subjectivity and self, looking at the questions concerning the religious-cultural-ethnic constructions of practices in which different perceptions are mediated on Muslims. The daily life practices and habits are not simply a matter of realising the self, taking enjoyment. They are in articulation with manifold cultural-religious-social meanings and discourses which serve to mark boundaries, to share some common values, to distinguish rituals, to strengthen social ties, and to symbolize a distinctive group awareness. Each of these functions and constructions concretise a kind of belief in everyday life, support a choice, and contribute to the construction of a self. However, the daily life practices and rituals have received little serious scholarly attention because of their “normal” nature and their link with ordinary subjects rather than with polemical and controversial issues such as integration, citizenship, security and sharia. Devoting attention to daily life practices needs to disrupt and disturb these debates about Muslims in Europe.

A particular focus will be on the impact of daily life on two areas and aspects: consumption and artistic performances.

Muslim consumerism and leisure time
Many such debates dealt with the integration and the compatibility of Muslims with western values indicating how Muslims should be. At the level of consumerism, there is little attention through the lens of religious rituals and everyday practices in Europe. Muslims’ relation with eating, leisure times, clothing, fashion, shopping etc. are interesting topics to look closely the transformative processes in public and private life. At these micro levels of analyses, the consumption practices offer a valuable route to understand relations between memory, body, space, culture, ethnicity, and gender among Muslims living in Europe. The on-going processes of transnationalism put in forward these daily practices as means of change and assume the creation of new religious combinations, hyphenated performances as seen in Muslim fashion. The daily life practices reveal the conceptualization of individuality, modernity and indicate how these (in)differences are produced between Muslims and non-Muslims. The complex socio-economic, religious and cultural elements that are involved in the construction of Muslim self through consumerism surface the question of modesty, secularism, and bodily prescriptions, public-private borders. Do the daily consumerist practices unsettle some of the established normativity in social codes in Europe or continuity with the local-existing culture? Around this question, this part of conference will look at a possible way of convergences between Muslims and non-Muslims to point the social-cultural mobility.

Artistic performances
Arts and religion are nowadays in controversial turns. Often debates about how art approaches a religious matter illustrate some social phenomena and crises linked with sacred-profane relations. Controversies between religion and art become a sort of parameter to re-think what contemporary Muslims in Europe do, know and believe. Examining artistic performances of Islamic patterns and visual expression of faith provides new elements on how Muslim cultures are translated and concretized in European public life. Certain kind of artistic creativities, including popular culture, traditional art, painting, cinema, theatre, hip-hop, new sufi groups, architecture; this theme of the conference would like to align the circulation of daily life practices with the artistic expressions of Muslims in Europe according to the title of this conference. How can an artistic expression of Islam be analysed in terms of everyday practices? In which way artistic productions transcend the existing boundaries creating new forms of practices and introducing these new daily practices in public spaces? What are the new socio-cultural and political contexts of artistic practices? How these contexts influence on Muslim aesthetics? Is there a kind of Muslim aesthetics? This theme of conference will not be only an analysis of the production of ‘Islamic art’, including the architectural side. The aim is to cover the performative and architectural expressions of Islam, the emerging of new styles, and of compositions from Muslims in Europe. The circulation of these new styles, expressions between performers and the public encompass new theoretical debates on boundaries, space, and body, transculturality.

Authors are invited to send abstracts (maximum 500 words) of their papers on themes of their own choice, which include at least one of these two aspects that the conference wants to treat.

ProgrammeA detailed schedule will follow in due course.
Tuition Fees and Scholarships
There is no tuition fee for participants in the conference programme. However, presenters and participants are expected to pay the costs of their travel and accommodation. The organizers have a reduced prize from ‘Irish College’ hotel in Leuven. The GCIS covers the meals and transportation in Belgium during the conference.

Within six months of the event, a book will be produced and published by the GCIS with Leuven University Press, comprising some or all of the papers presented at the Workshop. The papers will be arranged and introduced, and to the extent appropriate, edited, by scholar(s) to be appointed by the Editorial Board. Copyright of the papers accepted to the Workshop will be vested in the GCIS, and printed in the conference proceedings book.

Selection Criteria
The workshop will accept up to 20 participants, each of whom must meet the following requirements:
– have a professional and/or research background in related topics of the conference;
– be able to attend the entire programme.
Since the Workshop expects to address a broad range of topics while the number of participants has to be limited, writers submitting abstracts are requested to bear in mind the need to ensure that their language is technical only where it is absolutely necessary and the language should be intelligible to non-specialists and specialists in disciplines other than their own; and present clear, coherent arguments in a rational way and in accordance with the usual standards and format for publishable work.


1. Abstracts (300–500 words maximum) and CVs (maximum 1 page) to be received by 1stJune 2013.
2. Abstracts to be short-listed by the Editorial Board and papers invited by 7th June 2013.
3. Papers (3,000 words minimum – 5,500 words maximum, excluding bibliography) to be received by 1st September 2013.
4. Papers reviewed by the Editorial Board and classed as: Accepted – No Recommendations; Accepted – See Recommendations; Conditional Acceptance – See Recommendations; Not Accepted, by 30th September 2013.
5. Final papers to be received by 1st November 2013.

Conference Editorial Board
Johan Leman, KU Leuven
Erkan Toguslu, KU Leuven
Saliha Özdemir, KU Leuven
Conference Co-ordinator ErkanToguslu
VenueKU Leuven University

The international workshop will be entirely conducted in English and will be hosted by KU Leuven.
Papers and abstract should be sent to SalihaÖzdemir
For more information plz contact:Erkan Toguslu and Saliha Özdemir KU Leuven Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies

New book: Claiming Society for God: Religious Movements and Social Welfare in Egypt, Israel, Italy, and the United States

Nancy Davis and Robert Robinson’s
Claiming Society for God:

Religious Movements and Social Welfare in Egypt, Israel, Italy, and the United States
(Indiana University Press, 2012)
has been awarded the gold medal in the Religion category of the Independent Publishers Book Awards, which recognize books by university and independent presses. The book also won the Scholarly Achievement Award of the North Central Sociological Association. The book focuses on common strategies used by religiously orthodox (what some would call “fundamentalist”) movements around the world. Rather than using armed struggle or terrorism, as much of post-9/11 thinking suggests, these movements use a patient, under-the-radar strategy of taking over civil society. Claiming Society for God tells the stories of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Sephardi Torah Guardians or Shas in Israel, Comunione e Liberazione in Italy, and the Salvation Army in the United States, showing how these movements, grounded in a communitarian theology, are building massive grassroots networks of religiously based social service agencies, hospitals and clinics, rotating credit societies, schools, charitable organizations, worship centers, and businesses. These networks are already being called states within states, surrogate states, or parallel societies, and in Egypt have now brought the Muslim Brotherhood to control of parliament and the presidency. This bottom-up, entrepreneurial strategy is aimed at nothing less than making religion the cornerstone of society.

Show More<>

The Facebook page for the book, which includes news stories on orthodox movements and study questions for the book is at

New book: Islam and Society: Sociological Explorations

Islam and Society: Sociological Explorations
Riaz Hassan
Paperback $59.99

Sociological Explorations
The central focus of this volume is to explore and highlight the nexus between the ideology of Islam and social and cultural milieus with the aim of reconceptualising the sacred as a socially constructed reality and not a transcendental supernatural phenomenon. From this perspective, human agency and society become the main focus for shaping, perpetuating and institutionalising religious beliefs, ideas and practices, opening up space for empirical and sociological analyses of religious phenomena. The seven essays in this volume seek to explore and examine some of the key debates in contemporary sociology of Islam. The topics explored are: social factors in the origins of Islam; social theory and Muslim society; Islam and politics in South Asia; Muslim piety; anti-Semitism; the social foundations of Muhammad’s prophetic mission, with a special reference to Arab historical memory and the role of his first wife Khadija bint Khuwaylid; and the barriers to social inclusion of Australian Muslims in Australian society.

About the author
Professor Riaz Hassan has published extensively on Muslim societies in an academic career that has spanned more than 40 years.
Publisher Melbourne University Press
See more at:

SSRC Job Opening

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) seeks a Program Officer or Program Coordinator to work with the Council’s Program on Religion and the Public Sphere. The Program Officer/Coordinator will work closely with the Program Director on a variety of program management and development activities. S/he will also be responsible for a range of social media and communications activities emanating from the program’s various projects and will play a central editorial and managerial role for two digital publications (The Immanent Frame and Reverberations).

Qualifications include a PhD, MA, or professional degree with relevance to the social sciences, humanities, or a closely related field of study. Demonstrated achievement in editorial/communications-oriented work is strongly preferred, as is academic training or interest in religion.

Annual salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Comprehensive benefits include health, prescription, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance; gym reimbursement; an outstanding pension plan and tax savings programs; generous vacations and sick leave; and more. Provisions are made for professional staff to continue their development as academics or researchers while at the Council.

For more information, see:

Risky Liasons? Democracy and Religion: reflections and case studies

Risky Liasons?
Democracy and Religion: reflections and case studies.
G.J Buijs, J.T. Sunier and P.G.A. Versteeg (eds.) VU University Press, 2013

In a democracy, there is always the risk of antagonism, conflict and opposition rising to the surface. Most people in the West take these risks for granted and are predisposed to accept the imperfections of the system. Globally, however, democracy is not as self-evident. Actually, its acclaimed universality is highly contested. To what extent is democracy a Western, Eurocentric Project? And to what extent is this form of government compatible with other cultural and value systems?

Ιn this book, the authors address these questions by revealing how democracy is informed by religious values from a variety of traditions. In doing so, they make clear that religion and democracy are not as neatly separated as the secularist point of view would have us believe. They also question the popular opinion that Islam is at odds with democratic government, for example in the analysis of shura, an Islamic form of consultation with the people. Democratic traditions and religious value systems can, therefore, interact and co-exist in more than one way. Any reader who wants to examine these interactions, and the challenges that they pose for contemporary plural society will find this book useful.

With contributions from John Anderson, Ina ter Avest, Edien Bartels, Christoph Baumgartner, Lenie Brouwer, Herman de Dijn, Yaser Ellethy, Mohammed Girma, Matthew Kaemingk, Michiel Leezenberg, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Siebren Miedema, Frans van der Velden, and John Witte.

New book – Islam in the West: Iraqi Shi’i Communities in Transition and Dialogue


Islam in the West: Iraqi Shi’i Communities in Transition and Dialogue
By Kieran Flynn
Oxford: Peter Lang 259 pp. | ISBN 978-3-0343-0905-9 | £40.00

This book studies the historical, religious and political concerns of the Iraqi Shi‘i community as interpreted by the members of that community who now live in the United Kingdom and Ireland, following the 2003-2010 war and occupation in Iraq. It opens up a creative space to explore dialogue between Islam and the West, looking at issues such as intra-Muslim conflict, Muslim–Christian relations, the changing face of Arab Islam and the experience of Iraq in the crossfire of violence and terrorism – all themes which are currently emerging in preaching and in discussion among Iraqi Shi‘a in exile. The book’s aim is to explore possibilities for dialogue with Iraqi Shi‘i communities who wish, in the midst of political, social and religious transition, to engage with elements of Christian theology such as pastoral and liberation theology.

– Shi‘i Muslim Migration and Settlement in Ireland and the UK
– Shi‘i Religious Narratives in History and Ritual Memory
– The Narrative of Emancipation Among Shi‘a in Iran
– Narrative Shi‘i Opposition and Emancipation in Iraq
– Shi‘i Political Empowerment in Iraq
– Shi‘i Sermons and Narratives
– Catholic Theology in Dialogue with Shi‘i Narratives.

Available from <>

PhD scholarship at University of Kent

Postgraduate Research Scholarships in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) University of Kent.

SSPSSR has a world-wide reputation for excellence and is one of the leading and largest research centres for social science in the UK. In the last Research Assessment Exercise, we were ranked joint third with 70% of our research being evaluated as either ‘World Leading’ or of ‘International excellence in terms of originality, significance and rigor.’

The School offers an unrivalled context in which to study for a PhD in the social sciences. We are a member of the South East Doctoral Training Centre (SEDTC) which awards scholarships funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the School has been awarded European Union Erasmus Mundus funding for a Doctorate in Cultural and Global Criminology (DCGC).

As a result of our success in the 2013 ESRC SEDTC Scholarship competition we are in a position to award additional PGR scholarships to commence in September 2013. These cover tuition fees at the postgraduate standard home/EU rate together with an annual maintenance stipend of £13,590 per annum.

We have a thriving postgraduate community of over 200 students and offer a large and diverse range of professional seminars, School seminar programmes, workshops, methods and advanced methods training, transferrable skills, study groups, and writing/career workshops (home and abroad) for our students. Present postgraduate students are conducting research into a wide range of issues including comparative social welfare; the third sector; violence; cultural criminology; new media and technology; work and employment; environmental movements; the sociology of the body; penal policy; intoxication and drug policy; social and cultural theory; suffering; youth transitions; the sociology of private space; sex, gender and sexuality; ethnicity and identity; evangelical church membership; and a wide range of other topics.

Further information about this New Round of Scholarship can be found here
or email directly the Postgraduate Office

Deadline for receipt of applications is Thursday, the 27th of June 2013.
Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place on Wednesday the 10th of July 2013