AASR 2019 CONFERENCE Conference Theme: Religion and Violence


The 2019 AASR conference will be held from December 5-6 at the city campus of the University of Newcastle, co-hosted by the AASR, the Centre for the Study of Violence and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Conference Theme: Religion and Violence

We invite scholarly reflections on the complex and diverse relations between religion and violence, incorporating counter discourses of peace and social justice.

The relationship between religion and violence continues to be contentious and marked by significant changes in global and domestic politics including humanitarian crises, displaced peoples particularly asylum seekers, the rise and fall of extremist religious movements, the status of hate speech, the role of social media and the ongoing threat of religious terrorism. 

These major upheavals, particularly the claims to religious authority and legitimacy through violent means, have led to a growth in collective anxiety threatening global and local security.  Religious violence can be direct and institutional; aimed against individuals or groups; administered by the state or by non-state actors; material and symbolic.

A counterpoint is provided by religiously-motivated peace and social justice movements, including those for welcoming religiously-diverse refugees and migrants, interfaith initiatives and movements for gender and sexuality equality and animal rights. For example, values of religious diversity, social solidarity and pluralism have been notable in responding to recent expressions of violence including the events in Christchurch in March 2019 and provide notable moments of hope in moving towards religious diversity as a global value.

The conference invites papers engaging these issues from relevant disciplines including religious studies, politics, history, philosophy, law, theology, sociology and anthropology, social work, criminology, gender and women’s studies and education. Of particular interest are contributions examining:

  • ·         the relationship between religious identity and violent extremism
  • ·         state management of religious violence including the regulation of social media and hate speech
  • ·         state perpetration of religious violence
  • ·         perceptions and constructions of religious violence
  • ·         theoretical approaches to the meaning of religious violence including examples of scapegoating and symbolic forms of violence
  • ·         the relationship between gender, sexuality, religion and violence with particular attention to current issues of clergy abuse and domestic violence
  • ·         representations of religious violence in popular culture
  • ·         race, ethnicity, otherness and religious violence
  • ·         religion and animal rights
  • ·         religious movements for peace and social cohesion

How to Submit

Send proposals to the conference convenor Kathleen McPhillips: Kathleen.mcphillips@newcastle.edu.au

Please include Title, Author, Abstract (maximum 150 words) and university affiliation by 1st August 2019.

We are particularly interested in panel proposals on the conference theme, which must include no more than 4 panel members with a theme, paper titles, abstracts and authors.

Confirmations of acceptance will be sent by 1st September 2019. Late papers will not be considered.


Please note: submissions will only be considered if authors are members of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion.

For membership please visit the AASR website https://www.aasr.org.au/join-us. Members of NZASR do not need to also have AASR membership.

Conference Venue

The University of Newcastle is Australia’s leading regional university and has a record of global excellence in enquiry and engagement. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences supports the interdisciplinary study of religion including via the Centre for the History of Violence, where researchers work on projects across a breadth of themes including religion. The University’s city campus– Newspace – is located in the centre of the business district close to transport, accommodation, the harbour, beaches and the entertainment area. See https://www.newcastle.edu.au/about-uon/our-environments/new-space

Newcastle is located 2 hours north of Sydney and is easily accessible by road, air and train.  Transport to and from Newcastle airport provides easy access into the city and hosts international flights, including direct flights from Auckland and most major Australian cities.

Conference: "Theory and Practice in Amish Research"

Friday, August 2, 2019

Millersburg, Holmes County, OH

Conference hosted by the Amish & Plain Anabaptist Studies Association

Proposals are due by Friday, April 5; registration will follow.

For more details, see: www.amishstudies.org

The ongoing growth of the plain people—the Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites, German Baptists, Apostolic Christians, and others—means that more and more people are encountering these subcultures in the public sphere. For this reason, those who specifically study or work with the plain people—including health practitioners, public servants, and social researchers—must continue advancing our bodies of knowledge and best practices through critical evaluation of old paradigms and introduction of new concepts. The goal of this conference is to discuss advances in theory—the conceptual understanding of the plain people—and practice—the hands-on experiences of practitioners working with the plain people. We will also explore the connection between the two, how the lessons of one can be used by the other. For the convenience of attendees, the bi-annual Amish Health Conference of the Center for Appalachia Research in Cancer Education (CARE) will be held back-to-back, on Thursday, August 1, with this conference.

CFP: Conference on Racism and Religion 2019

Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism

Uppsala University

6-8 NOVEMBER, 2019

  • Submission of abstracts: 30 April (200 words)
  • Session proposal: 30 April (400 words)
  • Decision on acceptance: 15 May
  • Registration opens: 1 September
  • Registration closes: 30 September
  • Conference fees: Regular 1 500 SEK. PhD Student 1 000 SEK

The histories of racism and religion are entangled. To understand how processes of racism, nationalism, and exclusion come about in different forms we need to view these developments as intertwined with religion and ideas of religion and religiosity.

The rise of islamophobia and antisemitism, discrimination and violent persecution of minorities in the name of religion or secularism, and controversies around the visibility of religious practices in public space, all point to the need for a deeper understanding of in what ways religion historically and in the present plays a central role in producing and upholding racism and colonial practices/structures.

Religion has also played a central role in counter movements such as civil rights, indigenous rights, anti-colonial and, anti-apartheid movements. An additional aspect to explore is religious symbols and representations that have been part of anti-racist art and music and the place of spiritualism in artistic resistance to racism. What role has and does religion play in developing and upholding racist and nationalist structures? In what ways are different entangled forms of racism and religion being manifested? How can we for example understand antisemitism and islamophobia on a global and local scale? What does it mean to be living in a supposedly post-racial, post-secular world? What role does religion and/or spirituality play in antiracist struggles and movements?

The Center for Multidisciplinary Research on Racism (CEMFOR) invites scholars to send in abstracts for paper presentations and/or session proposals.

More information: http://cemfor.uu.se/events2/conference/conference-2019/

RC22 2019 Midterm Conference: Accra, Ghana — Nov 14-18, 2019


Rethinking Religion in the Public Sphere in 21st century Global South

RC-22 Mid-Term Conference
University of Ghana, Accra

Dates: November 14-18, 2019
Proposal Abstract Deadline: April 15, 2019
Notification of accepted abstracts: May 31, 2019.

The politics of knowledge that seeks to posit it as a preserve of the West has exacerbated a criticism against the dominance of Euro-American Scholarship in the sociology of religion, particularly in its interpretation of religious reality in Africa, and the global South more generally. In advancing the changing dominant pattern of knowledge production and consumption, which reflects a very stratified global division of intellectual labour, this conference draws on historical and methodological trajectories to explore innovative ways in which the sociology of religion can employ both theoretical and epistemological insights into sociological understanding of religion in the global South and its diaspora. What are the current trends and trajectories within the sociology of religion in the global South? What knowledges are being produced by sociologists of religion in the global South? How and to what extent do they contribute to global sociology of religion scholarship? How is religion located in private and/or public spheres? To what extent is religion engaged in the public sphere? How is religion even defined and negotiated in the global South within wider processes of secularization? Also important is the distinction between secular and sacred domains in public life.

The conference draws on ethnographic data of researchers in the field to demonstrate how religious forms, expressions and experiences in the global South either reinforce or transcend socio-political, ethnic, regional, class, age and gender identities and boundaries. Paper and panel proposals are invited from scholars of religion, sociologists of religion and others engaged in interdisciplinary research that extend debates on these and related questions.

Abstract proposals of not more than 150 words should reach the organizers by April 15, 2019 through the following email address: UG-ISA-RC22-Conference@ug.edu.gh  Notification of accepted abstracts: May 31, 2019.


  • Religion in private and public spheres
  • Public reason, public religion and the public sphere
  • South-south transnational networks
  • Religion and global South publics
  • Global South, secularism and post-secularism
  • Religion, migration and the public sphere
  • Controversies, religious transformation and innovation
  • Religion, environment and sustainable development
  • Religion and the political economy
  • Religion, governance and politics
  • Religion, leadership and public accountability
  • Religion, gender, sexuality
  • Religion, culture and media
  • Religion, conflict and violence
  • Sacred places and spaces


Host and local organizing committee:

  1. Michael P.K. Okyerefo, School of Arts, University of Ghana & Board Member, Africa Rep.
  2. Rose Mary Amenga-Etego, Department of Religions, University of Ghana
  3. Genevieve Nrenzah, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana

With the support of:

  • Afe Adogame, Princeton Theological Seminary & RC 22 President
  • Anna Halafoff, Deakin University, Australia, RC22 Secretary/Treasurer

Call for papers: Special journal issue on ‘Leadership, Authority and Representation in British Muslim Communities’

Special Issue of the journal ‘Religions’

Following our very successful one-day conference on ‘Leadership, Authority and Representation in British Muslim Communities’ at Cardiff University last month, we are now actively seeking articles for a Special Issue of the international peer-review journal Religions<https://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/special_issues/bmc> on the same conference theme. This edition of the journal is being co-edited by Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray and Dr Riyaz Timol.
We are inviting articles of 5,000-8,000 words (including all references and footnotes) by 25th April, though there may be scope to extend that deadline by a few weeks (only) if this makes the difference in terms of potential contributions.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like further information. We very much hope you will consider the submission of a paper. Please do circulate to your networks.

With thanks
Sophie Gilliat-Ray and Riyaz Timol

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Appel à communication pour le colloque AFSR (Association française de sciences sociales des religions) 2016, Indifférence religieuse et athéisme, Paris, 1 et 2 février 2016 / Call for paper for the 2016 conference of the French association of Sociology of religion, Religious indifference and atheism, Paris, February 1-2, 2016.

Les spécialistes de sciences sociales des religions se focalisent souvent sur leurs objets spécifiques, en oubliant d’interroger le phénomène de la non religion. Or, on ne peut comprendre les phénomènes religieux dans les sociétés contemporaines sans prendre en compte leur contestation (l’anti-religion) et les manifestations d’indifférence religieuse, malgré la difficulté à construire une science de l’irréligion – difficulté qu’il conviendra aussi d’analyser. Du fait de la perte d’influence sociale des religions instituées, du fait encore de l’individualisation des croyances et de la montée des incertitudes dans nombre de domaines, au premier rang desquels le domaine religieux, la non religion et la religion incertaine semblent notablement se développer. À la question, classique, de la socialisation à une religion semble ainsi s’ajouter celle d’une socialisation à l’incroyance. Dans un tel contexte, réfléchir sur la non religion, l’athéisme et l’indifférence religieuse devient un enjeu majeur pour les sociologues du religieux, pour l’ensemble des sciences sociales, et pour toutes celles et ceux qui souhaitent mieux comprendre l’évolution des sociétés. Tel est l’objet de ces deux jours de colloque. Le présent appel à communication invite les chercheurs et enseignants intéressés à proposer une intervention. Nous souhaitons aborder le sujet en trois temps.

1. Le premier temps précisera les définitions de l’athéisme et de l’indifférence religieuse en usage dans les sciences sociales, depuis leur théorisation jusqu’aux méthodologies afférentes. Ces définitions peuvent exister chez des penseurs à différentes époques, y compris dès l’Antiquité ; elles gagneront à être discutées et ajustées en fonction du présent. Provisoirement du moins, l’on peut définir l’athéisme comme un système de pensées et de croyances opposé à la religion, sinon antireligieux, quand l’indifférence religieuse se caractériserait par un désintérêt a priori complet pour les questionnements sur la dimension religieuse de l’existence. L’indifférence serait ainsi une attitude pratique, une distance (modulée) d’avec les univers religieux, qu’elle ne chercherait pas à critiquer peut-être parce que leur affaiblissement rend la critique caduque. Dès lors, on peut se demander ce qui s’oppose à la religion : la non religion, l’athéisme, l’indifférence, ou d’autres systèmes de sens alternatifs à la religion. Au-delà des cadrages théoriques, le colloque se développera en spécifiant d’un côté l’étude des formes de l’athéisme, de l’autre celles de l’indifférence religieuse. Pour chacun de ces deux grands thèmes, des approches historiques, sociologiques et ethnographiques seront privilégiées.

2. L’athéisme peut être analysé aussi bien au niveau des individus que des groupes organisés et militants (Union rationaliste, Libre pensée, Union des athées…). Il s’agira d’évaluer l’étendue du phénomène athée, aussi bien en France que dans d’autres pays, selon une perspective comparée. À travers une sociologie de cette population et de son système de valeurs, on cherchera également à savoir qui sont les athées, et comment ils sont perçus par la population globale : si les athées semblent aujourd’hui très bien acceptés en Europe de l’Ouest, ce ne fut pas toujours le cas. Aux États-Unis, ils semblent encore souvent perçus comme des déviants et de mauvais citoyens (D’après certains sondages, les Américains acceptent/teraient beaucoup plus facilement de voter pour un noir ou un homosexuel que pour un athée à l’élection présidentielle).

La dimension historique représente bien sûr un volet important de ces thématiques. Elle établit d’abord la manière dont différentes époques servent de référence pour réfléchir au positionnement de l’incroyance et de l’athéisme à l’échelle de la « grande histoire » ; elle offre ensuite d’exhumer les traces historiques d’athéisme qui ne furent pas nécessairement des signes précurseurs d’une indifférence religieuse. Dans la vie d’un homme / d’une femme, dans la trajectoire d’une société, les temps / lieux / formes de croyances et d’incroyances, d’adhésion ou de détachement des systèmes religieux admettent des variations bien plus complexes que le modèle classique d’un étiolement moderne de la foi ne le laisse penser. Ces variations ont jusqu’ici été peu étudiées, une carence que ce colloque entend pallier. Concernant spécifiquement la France, la période d’affirmation de la laïcité à la fin du XIXème siècle appelle des analyses plus approfondies, tout comme le devenir et les recompositions des organisations antireligieuses survenues depuis lors. Certains mouvements athées ont-ils glissé vers l’indifférence ? Si oui, pourquoi ? Pourrait-on parler d’une « sécularisation des athées »? Observe-t-on des trajectoires inverses de mouvements qui passent de l’affirmation d’une indifférence religieuse, ou d’un agnosticisme, à un athéisme militant?

Concernant les sociétés contemporaines, il paraît tout aussi intéressant de mettre en lumière l’athéisme très prégnant dans certaines professions : c’est par exemple le cas parmi les scientifiques (enquêtes réalisées ou en cours en France et dans d’autres pays), sur un arrièreplan de débats intellectuels et d’arguments échangés entre philosophes athées, agnostiques, indifférents, hésitants et dubitatifs, ou encore pro-religieux.

L’athéisme officiel de certains États, à l’époque soviétique notamment, est aussi un thème qui trouve sa place dans ce colloque – l’athéisme officiel n’ayant pas anéanti les religions, dont on observe une grande diversité dans l’Europe centrale et orientale contemporaine. Si toutefois certains pays ont plus ou moins connu des retours du religieux, ce n’est guère le cas dans d’autres. Comment expliquer le très fort impact de l’athéisme et de l’indifférence religieuse en Allemagne de l’Est, ou en République tchèque, en Estonie et Lettonie ? Et la politisation de l’athéisme aux États-Unis, en Turquie, en Chine ou en Inde ? L’examen comparatif, à une échelle nationale, des trajectoires suivies par les idées et pratiques athées, et/ou d’irréligion et/ou d’incroyance permettra de saisir ce qui relève de généalogies propres à un ensemble social et culturel donné.

3. L’indifférence religieuse est probablement plus difficile à cerner que l’athéisme, en vertu du peu de bruit qu’elle fait, n’étant pas militante, ne cherchant pas à s’exprimer dans l’espace public. Il appartient à l’histoire de dire si elle était déjà répandue à certaines époques ou si elle est une attitude spécifique aux sociétés contemporaines. Pour le présent, cette attitude peut être précisée :

– soit par des recherches qualitatives : entretiens ou observations ethnographiques, par exemple analyse de l’indifférence religieuse dans des catégories particulières (chez les adolescents, dans des milieux sociaux particuliers), dans des régions de différentes origines confessionnelles,

– soit à travers des résultats d’enquêtes quantitatives.

Il s’agira de montrer qu’il existe plusieurs formes d’indifférence ; celles-ci s’expriment selon des modalités particulières, qu’elles soient discursives ou pratiques, affirmées ou discrètes, individuelles ou collectives… Certains sociologues distinguent par exemple une indifférence d’ordre plutôt cognitif (absence d’intérêt pour connaître un ou des domaines religieux) et une indifférence d’ordre plutôt existentiel (ne donner aucune importance au religieux dans sa vie). Les affirmations d’indifférence religieuse ne sont peut-être pas toujours aussi absolues qu’on pourrait le croire a priori, et sur fond d’indifférence religieuse, un doute ou des interrogations religieuses peuvent se manifester dans certains contextes événementiels ou à certaines périodes de la vie.

Ce colloque est préparé par Pierre Bréchon, Sciences po Grenoble, Lionel Obadia, Université Lyon 2 et Anne-Laure Zwilling, CNRS Strasbourg, en lien avec le bureau de l’AFSP.

Les propositions de communications doivent nous parvenir avant le 15 octobre sous la forme suivante :

– un titre (provisoire) de communication,

– une présentation en une page de l’objectif poursuivi, des données utilisées,

– une notice biographique rapide.

Les documents seront envoyés par e-mail à nos trois adresses :pierre.brechon@iepg.fr ; Lionel.Obadia@univ-lyon2.fr ; anne-laure.zwilling@misha.cnrs.fr.

La décision sur les propositions sera communiquée très rapidement, de manière à ce que chacun puisse préparer son texte dans de bonnes conditions. Les textes seront attendus au 11 janvier. Il conviendra aussi de fournir avec le texte une page de résumé, qui sera diffusée à tous les participants.


International Conference, 29 Feb. – 1 Mar. 2016


Keynote speakers:

  • Prof. Peter Beyer, University of Ottawa
  • Prof. Peter van der Veer, Max Plank Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Main organizer: Global Asia Research Cluster, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, NTU

In recent years there has been growing academic and public interest in the global “resurgence” of religion around the world. This has in turn stimulated scholarly debates concerning “secularism” and its conceptual imbrication with notions such as modernity, the public sphere, multiculturalism, governance, citizenship and global civil society. Some have even envisioned the desecularization of the world or the coming of the “post-secular” era. Against this backdrop this conference will focus on the complex interactions between politics of secularism and changing religious expressions across contemporary Asia, especially how the “secular” and “religious” have mutually defined and shaped each other in diverse social, cultural and political settings. Inter-disciplinary studies on “the secular” have contributed to better scholarly understanding of not only the rise of the category of religion, but also the different transformations of the religious sphere in modern times. However, a dominant thread in existing scholarship tends to focus on how the majority of contemporary societies in Asia have reacted and responded to Western versions of secularism through colonial encounters.

This workshop seeks to go beyond this action-reaction model, and to examine the ways in which societies in Asia have been active contributors to the global engagement with, and formulation of, different expressions of secularism and the “religious”. Whether through accepting, appropriating or resisting secularism as a result of colonial experiences, or through elaborating and promoting their own versions of secularism, societies in Asia have diversely defined their various traditions as “religion”, “civilization”, “spirit” or “magic/cult/superstition” in their respective colonial and postcolonial contexts. In this conference, we will particularly examine how the interactions between forms of secularism and religious discourses and traditions have in Asian societies contributed to the rise of nation-states, transformed the religious terrains and reformulated the modern functional systems such as legal, financial and educational institutions.

We invite paper proposals from different approaches such as sociology, anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, international relations, law, history, geography, political science, media studies and cultural studies that examine, but not restricted to, the following questions:

  • In what ways have societies and cultures in Asia contributed to the discourses and conceptualizations of secularism, the post-secular and the religious in the context of regional and global encounters?
  • How do secular state and religious tradition shape the spaces of civil society? What are their implications for the formulation and practice of citizenship?
  • How is ethnic or identity politics related to the interplay of religion and secularism?
  • What forms of relationship do religion and the secular state have across Asia?
  • How do religions interpret and response to the building of secular nation-states across Asia?
  • How do different forms of secularism influence the growth or decline of religious institutions or engage with other forms of religious change or innovation across Asia?
  • How do secularisms and religious traditions affect the geopolitics and international relations of a globalized Asia?

We are pleased to provide meals and accommodation for presenters during the conference period. Partial subsidies for travel expenses might be available depending on funding availability and on a case-by-case basis. We intend to publish selected papers from the conference as a journal special issue and/or as an edited volume with a reputable academic press.


  1. Deadline: Please submit your proposal with title and an abstract of not more than 350 words, together with your name, title, institutional affiliation and email address by 13th July, 2015.
  2. Submission method: Send in MS Word via email to hssglobalasia@ntu.edu.sg
  3. Final papers: Paper presenters are requested to submit full papers by 8th February, 2016.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any questions or clarification regarding this workshop.


  • Associate Professor Francis Lim
  • Dr Kyuhoon Cho