Call for Session Proposals: ISA Research Committee on the Sociology of Religion (RC22)

XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology
Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities
Toronto, Canada, July 15-21, 2018

RESEARCH COMMITTEE 22: SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION: Religion, Power, and Resistance: New Ideas for a Divided World

NOW OPEN – Call for Session Proposals: ISA Research Committee on the Sociology of Religion (RC22):

Program Coordinators:

  • Anna Halafoff, Deakin University, Australia
  • Sam Han, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Caroline Starkey, University of Leeds, UK

Current environmental, economic, social, and political challenges indicate that people are losing faith in existing power structures and mechanisms for coping with crises. This creates increasingly divided societies, riven by ideological battles for the future of the human and the more than human world. Religion has a place in this picture. Not only is it often a source of divisions; it can also be a source for alternative means of addressing them.

These divisions take new and as yet unclear shapes, which sociologists are only now beginning to comprehend. It is not enough to refer to the struggle between ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’, terms that dominated sociology through the 1970s. Nor do the tropes ‘colonialism vs. anti-colonialism’ and the ‘clash of civilizations’ adequately explain what is going on. Nor, arguably, does ‘populism vs neo-liberalism’ fully capture such things as the recent clashes between cosmopolitan and anticosmopolitan actors in the major Western democracies. Each of these has a piece of the picture; none of them captures it all.

What is religion’s role in this situation: as a creator of divisions, as a locus of power, and as a ground of resistance?  How does religion influence our divided societies? How is religion influenced in turn?

We invite proposals for RC22 sessions that focus on religion, power, intersectional violence, and social divisions, and also resistance to power, violence, and division. We encourage sessions that explore the nexus between:

  • religion and global capitalism;
  • religion and colonialism;
  • religion and nationalism;
  • religion and racism;
  • religion and violent extremism;
  • religion and gender inequality;
  • religion and sexuality inequality;
  • religion and environmental crises;
  • religion and resistance to power and violence; and
  • other topics that speak to religion’s role in a divided world.

We particularly encourage a focus on new ideas. We thus encourage sessions on:

  • post-colonial, Southern and Eastern social theories;
  • gender and sexuality equality;
  • violent and nonviolent social movements;
  • human rights and peacebuilding;
  • third spaces, digital activism, and other new phenomena.

Above all, we seek new ways of understanding religion in our divided world.

The ISA CONFEX website site will be open to session proposals between 2 February and 15 March, 2017 24:00 GMT.

We welcome both pre-organised invited sessions, topical sessions that will be open to paper proposals by individuals, and poster sessions and roundtable proposals.

Once the sessions are chosen, individuals will have an opportunity to propose individual papers for those sessions, from April 25 to September 30, 2017 24:00 GMT, also at the CONFEX website.

Please address any questions to the Program Coordinators:

ISA-RC22 Statement of Opposition to the U.S. Restrictions on Visas and International Travel

January 31, 2017

The Board of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on the Sociology of Religion expresses its opposition to the restrictions on international travel, visas, and immigration that have been imposed by the President of the United States and his administration.  We join with many other scholarly associations to protest this restriction on the free movement of people and ideas across national borders.  As scholars of religion, we particularly protest the unjust singling out of Muslims and the residents of Muslim majority countries.

As sociologists, we oppose this Executive Order because it affects our colleagues and students as well as the conditions for knowledge production. In addition, sociologists have documented and analyzed the ways in which symbolic boundaries are made more rigid and result in the social exclusion of specific groups. This Executive Order targeting specific groups of individuals has effects not only on its immediate victims, but also on how our society understands itself and its orientation toward diversity and human rights.

We are an international scholarly organization with members from all over the world.  Some of our members come from the targeted Muslim countries.  Others come from the 38 countries that are affected by the suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program – including members of the European Union.  Banning or hindering their travel threatens to prevent them from attending our conferences and participating in our workshops and other intellectual exchanges.  Retaliatory travel banning by the affected countries will isolate U.S. scholars as well, weakening their contribution to our society.

As scholars, we know the importance of maintaining the free flow of information and persons across national borders.  Shared knowledge helps the public understand society’s workings.  It reduces international tensions.  It reduces prejudice.  It creates stronger social institutions.  And it increases international prosperity.  The Executive Order does not increase safety; it increases discord and indeed endangers people around the world.  We call on the American government to reverse the order immediately and restore the free flow of people and ideas between the U.S. and other countries.

On behalf of the Research Committee,
James V. Spickard, PhD, President
Professor of Sociology, University of Redlands
United States of America

Click HERE to download a PDF copy

Call for Papers for the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, November 2017

AAR Annual Meeting
Boston, MA
November 18-21, 2017

Sociology of Religion as part of a larger discipline is marked by a canonization of its theory and its division by paradigms and methodologies–whether these be the classics (Weber and Durkheim), the old paradigm (functionalism and social constructionism), or the new paradigm (rational choice) on the one hand or quantitative, qualitative, or historical-comparative sociology on the other. As it intersects with sociology of religion, the study of religion has drawn from theories and methodologies in conversation with sociology, anthropology, critical theory, psychology, history, and other related disciplines. We are interested both in papers that utilize the methods and theories in the study of religion and bring them into the sociological canon as well as those that help religious studies gain a better grasp of the sociological theory of religion. We encourage papers that exploit both the theory and methodology of sociology of religion and religious studies and use them as frames for analysis of concrete cases. We are interested in historical topics in the sociology of religion as well as contemporary ones. In particular, we request papers that touch upon social divisions examining race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, region, age, etc.

Critics of sociology of religion have pointed out that the field is dominated by North American scholars primarily interested in Protestantism. The discipline of religious studies provides a clear antidote to these perceived limitations. Therefore, we encourage contributions from academics who study the various religious traditions around the world as well as those studying North American religious communities. In particular, we would like submissions from scholars from all academic ranks across the lines of nationality, region, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

The purpose of the Sociology of Religion program unit of the American Academy of Religion is to bridge the gap and create cross-fertilization between the Sociology of Religion and Religious Studies. One way to do so is to break down each of these fields into their core component: theory, methods, and data. Comparing sociology of religion and religious studies: First, what are the core canons in each field? Sociological Theory of Religion (SOR) and Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (RS). What are their central theories? Second, what are the main methodologies that each field primarily relies upon? Finally, what count as data in each of these fields?

Along these lines, we are interested in the following topics:
• The intersection of theory, methods and data in Religious Studies and Sociology of Religion

• Bringing non-western theory into Sociological Theory of Religion and the Method and Theory in the Study of Religion

• Core Canons: Sociological Theory of Religion and Method and Theory in the Study of Religion

• Core Theories: Secularization Theory (or Religious Pluralism) and Critical Religion

• Comparative Methodologies: Sociology of Religion vs. Religious Studies

• What counts as data in Religious Studies and Sociology of Religion?

• Assessments of how “religion” is operationalized in quantitative sociology

Beyond this, we are particularly interested in the following more substantive topics. This is not an exclusive list and we encourage submissions on other topics as well.
• Peter Berger’s The Sacred Canopy at 50: Future Directions for a Sociological Classic

• Social and Religious Movements (along racial, ethnic, national, regional, or class lines)

• Sociology of Religion from Unheard Voices

In addition to this, the Sociology of Religion Unit is inviting proposal for a co-sponsored panel with the Anthropology of Religion Unit. Below is the description of the panel:
For a special panel co-sponsored with the Anthropology of Religion and Sociology of Religion program units, we invite papers that examine problems encountered or mistakes made in the context of ethnographic fieldwork. Papers should present the context of the research and the specific details of the problem/mistake that arose and how it was addressed. Extra time will be allotted to brainstorm additional solutions and to thinking broadly about a “methodology of/for mistakes.”

“Sociology of Islam” journal enters its 4th year

Greetings from Istanbul. 2017 will be our 4th year and we appreciate your support and activity as part of the mailing list. So far, we have published 16 issues including three ‘special issues.’ We are happy to accept articles related with the Sociology of Islam and Sociology of the Middle East which are related directly with the topics of inequality, social movements, political sociology, religion, nationalism and ethnicity, modernity, work and labor, criminology, aging, environment, health, deviance, sexuality, education, and social change. For your submission, we accept articles from 8000–12.000 words in length. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me, Gary Wood or other members of the editorial board. Additionally, we are open to special issue proposals, please email your ideas to us!

You can submit your article to the following website:

or send it to us for a prescreening process.   

Please remember that this is not a religious studies journal! All submissions must be related with the themes of Sociology of Islam and the Middle East.      

Our special issues can be found at the following website pages:

The Gülen Movement (Volume 1, Issue 3-4, 2014 )

A Guest editor: Joshua Hendrick, Loyola University of Maryland.

Contemporary Social Movements in the Middle East and Beyond, 2014 (Volume 2,  Issue 3-4, 2014)

A Guest editor: Mojtaba Mahdavi, University of Alberta

China, Islam and Middle East (Volume 4, Issue 1-2, 2016)

A Guest editor: Tugrul Keskin, Shanghai University


Editorial Board

Gary Wood, Virginia Tech
Tugrul Keskin, Shanghai University
Assistant Editors
Sara Swetzoff, Howard University
Michael McCall, American University of Beirut
Associate Editors
Rachel Rinaldo, University of Colorado-Boulder
Joshua Hendrick, Loyola University of Maryland
Isabel David, University of Lisbon
Mark Gould, Haverford College
Sari Hanafi, American University of Beirut
Sean Foley, Middle Tennessee State University
Book Reviews Editor:
Joshua Hendrick, Loyola University of Maryland

New Book: “Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality”

The book shows that religion is a major factor in shaping public opinion about homsoexulaity.

Public opinion about homosexuality varies substantially around the world. While residents in some nations have embraced gay rights as human rights, people in many other countries find homosexuality unacceptable. What creates such big differences in attitudes? This book shows that cross-national differences in opinion can be explained by the strength of democratic institutions, the level of economic development, and the religious context of the places where people live. Amy Adamczyk uses survey data from almost ninety societies, case studies of various countries, content analysis of newspaper articles, and in-depth interviews to examine how demographic and individual characteristics influence acceptance of homosexuality.


“Adamczyk has written the most comprehensive contemporary study on disapproval of homosexuality. She takes into account multidisciplinary theoretical insights on individual as well as contextual determinants to provide a worldwide readership with enlightening overviews on controversial issues.” —Peer Scheepers, Radboud University

“In this groundbreaking book Adamczyk has undertaken the daunting task of unraveling the complex dynamics shaping public opinion about same-sex relationships. She provides a rich theoretical understanding of the macro forces influencing attitudes and impressively integrates multiple types of methods and data to assess these ideas. A major contribution to cross-national public opinion research that I highly recommend.”—Christian Smith, University of Notre Dame
“Few studies have explored change in attitudes toward homosexuality on a global scale. Adamczyk’s mixed-methods approach and breadth of case studies, as well as her original and stimulating treatment of her materials, make for an ambitious and timely work that offers an important contribution to the scholarly community.”—Phillip M. Ayoub, author of When States Come Out
“Adamczyk has written the most comprehensive contemporary study on disapproval of homosexuality. She takes into account multidisciplinary theoretical insights on individual as well as contextual determinants to provide a worldwide readership with enlightening overviews on controversial issues.” —Peer Scheepers, Radboud University
“Drawing from a wealth of quantitative and qualitative cross-national data, Adamczyk provides an illuminating analysis of cross-national patterns in attitudes toward homosexuality. This highly informative book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the societal roots of sexual prejudice and tolerance in the 21st century.  I strongly recommend it.” —Gregory M. Herek, University of California, Davis
“True cross-national studies of public opinion are rare, and even rarer still are those that take religious differences seriously.  Adamczyk explores the diversity and sources of opinions among Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, and Confucian/Buddhist majority countries.  I recommend this book highly to those interested in the intersection of religion and the politics of sexuality, and of those interested in comparative public opinion more broadly.” —Clyde Wilcox, Georgetown University

“Conversation around the topic of diversity has never been more timely on college campuses, and Professor Adamczyk takes up the important subject of sexual diversity, offering a wide-ranging portrait of attitudes about same-sex relationships on a global scale. For graduate and undergraduate students interested in gay rights and sexual identity, Adamczyk’s new book offers an essential window into how religion, politics, and economic development affect public opinion on these topics, and will surely spark passionate campus conversation about her findings.”
-Donna Freitas, author of Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America’s College Campuses

To Order:

The book will be published by University of California Press on February, 7 2017.

If you purchase the book at the UC Press website, you can get a 30% discount by entering:16M4197 at checkout.

Presentation: Les transgenres de l’Inde : une communauté définie par la religion

Le Centre de recherche Société, Droit et Religions de l’Université de Sherbrooke (SoDRUS), en collaboration avec la chaire de recherche droit, religion et laïcité vous invite à une conférence publique qui aura lieu le mercredi 8 février 2017.

Les transgenres de l’Inde : une communauté définie par la religion

Date : Le mercredi 8 février 2017

Heure : De 12 h 00 à 13 h 30

Lieu : Campus principal de Sherbrooke, Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines, local A4-166

Cette conférence sera présentée par Mathieu Boivert, professeur au Centre d’études et de recherche sur l’Inde, l’Asie du Sud et sa diaspora de l’Université du Québec à Montréal. 

Call for Comments: IPSP report on “Rethinking Society for the 21st Century”

The International Panel on Social Progress invites comments on its first draft until the end of Dec. 2016

Browse the report on

The first draft of the report of the International Panel of Social Progress (IPSP), “Rethinking Society for the 21st Century”, is out now! We welcome comments on the online platform

This report is a product of a global initiative. It is the first comprehensive synthesis of state-of-the-art social sciences knowledge about key issues facing humankind today, and the first collaborative and participatory initiative of its kind. 

Key features include:

  • Written by more than 250 leading academics from all around the world 
  • Takes a holistic approach to social progress: not only the economy, but health, education, gender relations, political participation
  • Focuses on the consequences of globalization and inequality, with a normative focus on the pursuit of justice broadly understood
  • Identifies scholarly consensus as well as disagreements
  • Each chapter concludes with advice to change-makers

The first international collaborative document of its kind, the report highlights the direct relevance of scholarly knowledge to social and political change, and is eventually to be published by Cambridge University Press.

In the meantime, it is open to wide public discussion. We invite comments from all concerned citizens – including, but not exclusively, NGOs, think tanks, and social entrepreneurs. Comments entered on the online platform before the end of 2016 will feed the final version of the report. Please comment, circulate and advertise widely!

Symposium” “Pentecostal Charismatic Christianities in Australia”

I’d like to invite you to submit abstracts to the symposium Pentecostal Charismatic Christianities in Australia, which I am convening with Mark Hutchinson and Kathleen Openshaw at the Religion and Society Research Cluster, Western Sydney University.

  • Date: 11-12 of August, 2017
  • Abstract submission date: Friday, January 13, 2017
  • Submit to: Kathleen Openshaw
  • Keynote speaker: Prof Paul Freston (Wilfrid Laurier University)

Pentecostal Charismatic Christianities (PCC) have grown significantly worldwide, particularly in the Global South. In Australia, the latest National Church Life Survey has shown they have overtaken Anglicans as the second largest religious group by attendance, behind the Catholic Church. Data also points to PCC adherents’ higher educational attainment, now higher than among Anglicans. Moreover, Australia’s location in Oceania, the ‘most Christian part of the world,’ means that many migrants from the region are Pentecostal and Charismatic.

On the other hand, Australian megachurches such as Hillsong, Planetshakers, COC and C3 have been influencing churches in many parts of the world, including the USA and even Brazil, the largest Pentecostal country in the world. In this symposium we are interested in teasing out the remarkable growth of PCC in Australia, a country considered largely secular. We are hoping to discuss the following questions: How have PCC grown from their humble origins to become such a force in Australia? What makes Australians join a PCC movement? What is the relationship between PCC and Australian politics? How do migrants and refugees negotiate identity, belonging and home-making in Australia through Pentecostal/Charismatic churches? How can we account for the remarkable rise of PCC in Australia in a post-secular world? How do PCC expand in and out of the country?

This call for papers seeks authors on topics which include the connections between Australian PCC and:

  • Historical developments
  • Australian politics
  • Media, music, Information Communication Technologies
  • Branding and marketing
  • Late modernity and global capitalism
  • Material culture
  • Aesthetics and embodied practices
  • Lived experiences
  • Social justice movements/activism
  • Chaplaincy in schools
  • Aboriginal Peoples
  • Migration
  • Gender and class
  • Youth and celebrity cultures

The conveners are planning to publish chapters in an edited volume after the symposium.

Associate Professor Cristina Rocha
ARC Future Fellow
Director of Religion and Society Research Cluster
Western Sydney University
Editor: Journal of Global Buddhism
Editor: Religion in the Americas series, Brill

New Book: Religion and Non-Religion among Australian Aboriginal Peoples

Edited by James L. Cox and Adam Possamai

Religion and Non-Religion among Australian Aboriginal Peoples (Hardback) book cover

Offering a significant contribution to the emerging field of ‘Non-Religion Studies’, Religion and Non-Religion among Australian Aboriginal Peoples draws on Australian 2011 Census statistics to ask whether the Indigenous Australian population, like the wider Australian society, is becoming increasingly secularised or whether there are other explanations for the surprisingly high percentage of Aboriginal people in Australia who state that they have ‘no religion’. Contributors from a range of disciplines consider three central questions: How do Aboriginal Australians understand or interpret what Westerners have called ‘religion’? Do Aboriginal Australians distinguish being ‘religious’ from being ‘non-religious’? How have modernity and Christianity affected Indigenous understandings of ‘religion’? These questions re-focus Western-dominated concerns with the decline or revival of religion, by incorporating how Indigenous Australians have responded to modernity, how modernity has affected Indigenous peoples’ religious behaviours and perceptions, and how variations of response can be found in rural and urban contexts.

Five Post-Doctoral and Doctoral Fellows: “Religion & Ethnic Diversity”

We are happy to announce that the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity is advertising 5 research posts:

We would be very grateful if you could pass this website and attached notice on to excellent young scholars within your networks.