Intensive Training Programme: Research Methods in the Study of Religion

Research Methods in the Study of Religion

Intensive Training Programme, 8th-11th March 2016

Canterbury, Kent

We are pleased to announce that the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kent is again offering its annual intensive methods training programme which is open to doctoral researchers based at any university within the EU. The sessions will run at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge conference centre, in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral, and will cover:

  • Key elements of research design
  • The politics and ethics of research

  • The role of social theory in social research

  • Rigour and validity in research

  • Public engagement with research on religion

  • Conceptualising religion for research

  • Conducting research interviews

* Ethnographic research

  • Using visual methods
  • Researching religion and media

  • Researching objects and spaces

  • Reflexivity and the role of the researcher’s ‘self’

  • The process of research supervision

  • Sessions will be delivered by researchers who have engaged with these issues specifically in the context of research on religion. Confirmed speakers are: Prof Gordon Lynch, Dr Abby Day and Dr Anna Strhan (University of Kent), Dr Jasjit Singh (University of Leeds), Dr Steph Berns (University of Lancaster), Dr Ruth Sheldon (Birkbeck College) and Dr Katherine Robinson (Goldsmiths)

    This is the fifth year that this programme has been run with more than 70 doctoral and early-career researchers having previously undertaken this training from across the UK and continental Europe.
    To apply for this programme, please email Gordon Lynch ( stating where you are currently studying, giving a brief description(no more than 150 words) of your current research project and a short explanation of how this training would be relevant to it by Friday 5th February​.
    The registration fee for this programme is £100. Meals and accommodation are not included in this. The Cathedral Lodge is in the centre of Canterbury and there are a number of good hotels and guest-houses within a short walking distance. Canterbury is less than an hour from London by train and so daily commuting to the programme from London would also be possible.
    If you have any further questions on this, please email Professor Gordon Lynch.

    Christmas in the Multicultural City: Public and Private Rituals between Culture, Religion and Consumption

    Christmas in the Multicultural City: Public and Private Rituals between Culture, Religion and Consumption

    A workshop of the Religion and Public Memory in Multicultural Societies Project

    Christmas is a not a holiday just for Christians anymore, if it ever was. Embedded in calendars around the world and long a lucrative merchandising opportunity, the festive season of Christmas enters multicultural, multi-religious public spaces through decorative displays, ritual activities and collective gatherings. The presence of Christmas in the public sphere also affects what goes on in private homes: many non-Christians get caught up in the celebration of Christmas, adapting and transforming it, adding new layers of meaning to it. In the process, Christmas becomes a contested political object, particularly when various social players begin to articulate their claims to Christmas: Is it a religious holiday, as the churches would have it – and should it therefore be ‘secularized’ in the public sphere, as the secularist view would have it? Or is it ‘cultural’ – as many different groups argue – and what does this claim entail? This workshop takes a comparative historical and ethnographic perspective on the affective and political significance of Christmas in the multicultural city.  Based on a workshop model with pre-circulated papers, the two-day gathering will include scholars working on diverse regions who have considered the ways that Christmas has served as a catalyst of conflict and compromise in the “secular” yet religiously diverse city.

    10. – 12.12.2015  — Tübingen, Neue Aula, Kleiner Senat und Raum 236 
    Chair: Prof. Dr. Monique Scheer, University of Tübingen, Ludwig Uhland Institute for Historical and Cultural Anthropology; Prof. Dr. Pamela Klassen, University of Toronto; supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

    If you are interested in attending this workshop, please send an email


    Thursday, 10 December


    14:00 – 14:15


    Official welcome (Pamela Klassen, Monique Scheer)


    14:15 – 15:15

    Pamela Klassen, University of Toronto // Monique Scheer, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen: 

    Religion and Public Memory in Multicultural Societies


    15:15 – 16:00

    Isaac Weiner, Ohio State University: 

    And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!’: Listening to Christmas in the Multicultural City”


    COFFEE BREAK (30 minutes)


    16:30 – 17:15 

    Juliane Brauer, Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung Berlin: 

    Christmas Songs and Christmas Feelings – Music, Emotion and Remembrance 


    17:15 – 18:00

    Andreas Bandak, University of Copenhagen: 

    The Nativity Crib and the Scenery of Good Tidings; or on Celebrating Christmas Damascus’ Style





    Friday, 11 December


    9:00 – 9:45 


    Yaniv Feller, Jüdisches Museum Berlin: 

    “O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum”: The Role of a Christmas Tree in a Jewish Museum


    9:45 – 10:30

    Helen Mo, University of Toronto: 

    The Christmas Crisis: Lessons from a Canadian Public School’s Seasonal Skirmish



    COFFEE BREAK (30 minutes)


    11:00 – 11:45

    Christian Marchetti, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen:

    German Volkskunde, Christmas and Southeastern Europe


    11:45 – 12:30

    Pamela Klassen, University of Toronto: 

    ‘The First White Christmas’: Settler Odes and Nisga’a Hospitality on the Nass River



    LUNCH BREAK (1h 30 minutes)


    14:00 – 14:45

    Amy Fisher, University of Toronto: 

    Sleeping Rough and Feeling Stuffed: A “Homeless” Christmas in Toronto


    14:45 – 15:30

    Sophie Reimers, Viadrina University, Frankfurt/Oder: 

    “What Exactly Do You Celebrate on Christmas?”: Different Perceptions of Christmas Among German-Turkish Families in Berlin


    COFFEE BREAK (30 minutes)


    16:00 – 16:45

    Simon Coleman, University of Toronto: 

    The Walsingham Cathedral


    16:45 – 17:30 

    Katja Rakow, Utrecht University: 

    Christmas on Orchard Road in Singapore: Celebrating the Gift of Jesus Christ among Gucci and Tiffany’s stores


    17:30 – 18:00





    Saturday, 12 December



    The post Christmas in the Multicultural City: Public and Private Rituals between Culture, Religion and Consumption appeared first on ISA Research Committee 22.

    CFP: Co-IRIS Workshop and Panel

    We would like to invite you to participate in our Co-IRIS workshop at EISA’s EWIS and Co-IRIS panel at IPSA.
    The call for papers for the Co-IRIS workshop entitled “Worlding beyond the Clash of Civilizations: An Agenda for an International Relations-Islam Discourse” is available at
    The call for papers for the Co-IRIS panel entitled “Khaldunian Civilizational Analysis in International Relations” is available at

    The post CFP: Co-IRIS Workshop and Panel appeared first on ISA Research Committee 22.

    Workshop: Religious diversity in Asia

    Workshop: 7.-8. December 2015. Organised by the Centre for Contemporary Religion, Aarhus University, funded by the Danish Research Council.


    Applications are invited for a limited number of people to participate in the two days’ workshop in Aarhus, Denmark. Expenses for travel, food, and accommodation will be covered.

    The study of religious diversity has in recent years been rising on the agenda. Focus has almost exclusively been on North America, Europe and Australia and issues concerned with maintaining cohesion in these societies. It is however obvious that religious diversity is not a phenomenon confined to the west. Especially in Asia religious diversity at both individual and institutional level has a long history with many examples of both syncretic traditions and religious divisions of labour. Yet the concepts associated with research on religious diversity are clearly drafted in a Western context. This means that they are constructed upon concepts of membership and adherence, with a strong Christian and Western bias not necessarily fitting Eastern models of multiple and contextual affiliations.

    Previously, the Critical Analyses of Religious Diversity (CARD) have met for two workshops in Denmark ( This network explores ways in which research could proceed in order to craft concepts and models of understanding religious diversity which will allow fitting representations of religious diversity in Asia, and in a broader sense create new perspectives for understanding religious diversity globally.

    A workshop on the topic was held in Delhi in May 2015, and the network will have two more workshops in Kyoto and Nagoya in October before this final one in Aarhus in December, where a limited number of Asian scholars are invited to continue the scholarly discussions and make strategic plans for future cooperation and publication of an anthology on religious diversity.

    The network is be led by Jørn Borup, Lene Kühle, and Marianne Qvortrup Fibiger, Aarhus University.

    Invitees are expected to pesent a paper and be prepared to engage in a critical discussion of their work. In addition, we want our participants to think critically about the assumptions that have been made about religious diversity in their research methods/context.

    Some of the topics that we hope to have included in the workshop are:

    –       Terminology; do you (your colleagues) use “religious diversity”, “religious pluralism” and/or other concepts?

    –       Methods; Are you using quantitative data, qualitative data, census data, or micro, macro?

    –       Empirical data; Is your research focused on specific geographical areas, or do you engage in comparative work? Are there specific points about religious diversity in Asia compared to the West?

    –       Specific topics; do you investigate religious diversity in relation to demography, ethnicity, nationality, gender, human rights, diaspora, media, law, politics?

    If interested in joining the workshop, please send a 250 word abstract by Oct 1st  2015 to Jørn Borup,

    The post Workshop: Religious diversity in Asia appeared first on ISA Research Committee 22.

    CFP: Muslim and Sports

    In the recent years, there have been an increasing number of studies on
    the physical activity of muslim youth and especially on Muslim
    schoolgirls in Europe. The researches on physical activity have expanded
    in new domains such as sports activities during the month of Ramadan,
    wearing headscarf in olympic games and footbal matches, halal meals in
    football training camps, mixed-sex swimming lessons and dancing clubs.
    Sports are also at the centre of the debates on Islamic expressions of
    identity and diversity. These researches on life experiences of Muslims
    in different contexts reveal how sports constitute a terrain for
    identity making, empowerment, and religious plurality particulary with
    regards to Islam.

    The visibilty of Muslim and the presence of Islam in sports need
    specific attention. On the one hand, there is an increase in social
    mobility, socialisation and participation in the society via sport; on
    the other hand, research has indicated that this participation in sports
    reveals some particularities in Islamic codes of living. These
    particularities and religious expressions in sports are seen as a means
    of defying secular values and life.

    This workshop attempts to provide more insight on the relationship
    between Muslims who live in Europe and sports-physical activity. We
    would like to examine how Muslims make sense of religion and their
    religious identity in sportive activities and how public policies are
    organized vis-a-vis the needs of the Muslim populations in Europe.
    During this workshop we want to adress a range of issues such as space,
    gender, social inclusion, multiculturalism, citizenship, politics of
    identity and secularism.

    Tuition Fees

    There will be no tuition fees.


    An edited book will be produced and published by the GCIS with Leuven
    University Press, comprising some or all of the papers presented at the
    Workshop, at the condition that they pass a peer review organized by the
    publisher. 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.

    Selection Criteria

    The workshop will accept up to 10 participants, each of whom must meet
    the following requirements:

    • have a professional and/or research background in related topics
      of the workshop;
    • 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.


    Abstracts (300–500 words maximum) and CVs (maximum 1 page) to be
    received by 20th September 2015.
    Abstracts to be short-listed by the Editorial Board and papers
    invited by 30th September 2015.
    Conference: 7 December 2015

    Workshop Editorial Board and Organizers

    Joyce Koeman, KU Leuven

    Pascal Delheye, KU Leuven

    Erkan Toğuşlu, KU Leuven


    KU Leuven University, Belgium.

    The international workshop is organized by KU Leuven Gülen Chair for
    Intercultural Studies and Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation
    Sciences (FaBeR). The language of the workshop is English and will be
    hosted by KU Leuven Gülen Chair in Leuven.

    Papers and abstract should be sent to :

    For more information plz contact:

    Erkan Toguslu

    KU Leuven Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies

    Parkstraat 45 – box 3615
    3000 Leuven

    Dr. Erkan Toguslu
    Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies
    IMMRC – Anthropology
    KU Leuven

    The post CFP: Muslim and Sports appeared first on ISA Research Committee 22.

    CFP: Liberal Rights for Illiberal Purposes? Workshop 15-17 Oct 2015

    Call for Papers for the Workshop

    Liberal Rights for Illiberal Purposes? Comparing Discursive Strategies of Conservative Religious and Right-wing Actors in the Public Spheres

    October 15-17 2015

    European University Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder (Germany) and Słubice (Poland)

    A battle between institutions expanding liberal rights  and  conservative or right-wing forces has flared in most western societies since the mid-nineties. Whereas the promotion of gender mainstreaming, the recognition of cultural and sexual diversity or of „reproductive rights“ is naturally seen as part of a liberal agenda and as reliable tool for combating discrimination, also conservative coalitions base their claims on liberal argumentation. This is a novum in this debate.

    Instead of opposing gay-marriage on religious grounds, coalitions against the political implementation of gay rights increasingly formulate their demands on the basis of respect for freedom of expression or religious liberty. In a similar vein, political groups and parties opposing Muslim immigrants,  also claim to  defend the „western heritage“ of liberalism.

    In the light of these observations, we invite scholars from different disciplines such as social science, philosophy or communication studies to an international workshop. The aims of the workshop are:

    a)   a) To map and compare the public rhetoric or discursive strategies of conservative religious and right-wing actors on liberal norms:

    b)    b) To investigate the implications the mentioned empirical insights have for liberal thinking – taking into account that liberal theory considers the translation of religious reasons into a secular language before entering the public sphere a desirable condition for „post-secular“ societies (Habermas);

    c)   c) To analyze the effects such clashing interpretations of or reference to fundamental liberal democratic values (equality and liberal freedom) have for politics, society and research as well.

    d)    d) To think about publishing and further research on that issue.

    Against this background, paper-givers should address one or more of the following questions:


    In which ways, under which conditions and for which ends do conservative religious and/or right-wing groups apply a secular language of liberal rights in the public spheres?

    Conceptual and Methodological:

    How to conceptualize and methodologically approach the public reference to “liberal rights for illiberal purposes”?


    Which normative implications does the apparently strategic use of liberal rights language have for liberal theory on the one hand and the use of political/liberal concepts on the other?


    What are effects or implications of such „liberal“ rhetoric for politics, society and academic research alike? To what extent does it trigger the formation of new patterns of conflict or cleavages? In the case of religious groups: What are the effects for boundaries between religion and politics?

    The workshop is organized by the Chair of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Social and Cultural Science at European University Viadrina. It will take place from October 15-17, 2015 at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder and Słubice on the other side of the river Oder. The European University Viadrina is situated approximately 1h (by local train) from Berlin.

    Please send your abstract (300 words), and a short bio note, to Anja Hennig ( by August 4 2015. Applicants will be informed about the acceptance of their submission no later than September 1 2015.

    Travel costs and accommodation of a few selected participants can be covered.

    The post CFP: Liberal Rights for Illiberal Purposes? Workshop 15-17 Oct 2015 appeared first on ISA Research Committee 22.

    Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies,

    Invitation to the Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies, 2015, at the Old Library in the Oxford University Church of St Mary

    We are pleased to invite you to participate in the Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies. You may register for the Summer Session (3, 4 & 5 August) or the Fall Session (7, 8 & 9 December). The meeting will be held at The Old Library in the Oxford University Church of St Mary.  Constructed in 1320, The Old Library is the first university (as opposed to college) building in Oxford and therefore uniquely important; this is where the nascent University began.

    The sessions will be hosted by Canon Brian Mountford, Vicar of St Mary’s. Dr. Mountford is a Fellow and Chaplain of St Hilda’s College in the University of Oxford.

    You are invited to present a paper on an aspect of religious studies, or you may wish to attend as an observer.

    For more information visit our website Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies

    The post Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies, appeared first on ISA Research Committee 22.

    Workshop/CFP: “Religious and social dynamics amongst mercantile communities of the western Indian Ocean”

    Call for Papers

    Conveners: Iqbal Akhtar and Steven Vose, School of International and Public Affairs at FIU
    Venue: Florida International University, Miami, Florida (USA)
    Date: 12-13 November 2015

    Co-sponsors: Florida International University, Le Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CNRS), and the American Institute for Pakistan Studies.

    Title:  Rāhē najāt (The path of salvation): Religious and social dynamics amongst mercantile communities of the western Indian Ocean

    Agenda: A two-day conference with a public keynote bringing together interdisciplinary scholars in the humanities, generally defined, in order to present and discuss the medieval and modern histories of merchant communities of the western Indian Ocean. The output of the conference will be an edited volume or a special issue of a journal and key lectures made publically available via the FIU web portal.

    Theme: This gathering will explore religious and social transformations that occurred as a result of migration and cosmopolitanism, such as transformative cosmologies and transnational endowments. This conference attempts to transcend the transatlantic divide among scholars of medieval and modern trading communities of the west coast of the Subcontinent. For example, early modern Sindh and Baluchistan were home to a diverse array of religious communities from Ibāḍī Omanis to vāṇiyō Jain and Hindu merchants as well as numerous mercantile caste communities, such as the Khōjā and Bhāṭiyā. These South Asian communities were intimately linked to their settlements throughout the western Indian Ocean, particularly East Africa. This conference will explore how processes of migration transformed social dynamics and community identities.

    Some of the questions posed by this conference include: What were the changing dynamics of port-hinterland relationships of caste communities? How were the religious identities of these merchant communities formed and influenced by communal interactions with each other in the precolonial period? How did the oceanic caste communities develop distinct forms of praxis? What of the kāḷā pāṇī (‘black water’) taboo, was it operative? If so, for whom? How has the modern loss of ancestral scripts and dialects transformed their communal identities today?  How and to what extent were literatures transported?

    Deadline: Abstracts of 250 words including the name, affiliation, and contact information of proposed presenters are due by 15 June 2015 to be emailed to Iqbal Akhtar (

    The post Workshop/CFP: “Religious and social dynamics amongst mercantile communities of the western Indian Ocean” appeared first on ISA Research Committee 22.

    CFP: Workshop on Women Negotiating Secularism

    Invitation and call for papers

    Women negotiating secularism and multiculturalism through civil society organisations

    Centre for Trust, Peace & Social Relations, Coventry University, UK, June 30 – July 1st 2015

    This workshop is the second of a series of international workshops on the theme “Is secularism bad for women? Women, Religion and Multiculturalism in contemporary Europe” focusing on the relation between the role of religion in women’s lives and gender equality ( ). This is an important question to debate, given the increased visibility of religion in the globalized world of the 21st century. While some scholars and political actors argue that a form of political secularism is the best way to ensure gender equality, others consider secularism a bad political arrangement for religious people, because it excludes them from the political and public sphere. Taking forward discussions initiated by Susan Moller Okin’s controversial 1997 essay ‘Is multiculturalism bad for women?’ and continued recently in works of
    scholars including Saba Mahmood, Joan Scott, Nilüfer Göle, Nadje Al-Ali, Linell Cady and Tracy Fessenden, these workshops address the following questions:

    • How can European societies secure religious women’s freedom and flourishing?
    • What political arrangements offer the most to those who are religious and female? Is religion – at least some forms of it – an impossible impediment, something that must be destroyed in order for women to be free?
    • Or can religion be a positive force in women’s lives, something that enhances their wellbeing and aids social justice?

    This workshop will approach these issues by focusing on the organisational or group level; the first workshop at Uppsala University (May 2015) examines the individual or everyday level, and the third at University of Coimbra, Lisbon (November 2015), will address the public and political context. In the Coventry workshop we will investigate what women’s and religious organisations are doing to address issues of secularism and multiculturalism. How do these differ by geography or faith group? To what extent do faith-based organisations working for religious inclusion in civil society press for gender equality too? How do women’s organisations approach religion, and do they consider religion to be an equality issue alongside ethnicity, gender, sexuality or disability? How are women’s faith-based organisations’ working across secular/religious spheres and with other civil society organisations?
    How do theological/hermeneutical approaches inform religious organisations’ work on gender and women’s issues?

    Keynote speakers:  Dr Line Nyhagen (Loughborough University) and Dr Niamh Reilly (National University of Ireland, Galway)

    We invite papers that discuss these questions. Abstracts should be sent by 10th April, written in English and not exceed 300 words. Notification of acceptance will be given by April 30th. Please send abstracts to:

    Practical information:

    The workshop will run from 4 pm on 30th June to 5 pm on 1st July. Papers will be presented in thematic, parallel sessions. Participation fee is £15 per participant or £10 for PhD, post-doc or civil society organizations, which includes refreshments. The workshop is funded by the International Society for the Sociology of Religion and organized by Dr Kristin Aune (Coventry University), Prof Mia Lӧvheim (Uppsala University), Dr Terhi Utriainen (University of Helsinki), Dr Alberta Giorgi (Centre of Social Studies, University of Coimbra; GRASSROOTSMOBILISE, Eliamep) & Dr Teresa Toldy (Fernando Pessoa
    University, Porto; Centre of Social Studies, University of Coimbra). A book publication featuring some of the papers is planned.

    The post CFP: Workshop on Women Negotiating Secularism appeared first on ISA Research Committee 22.

    Seminar on Religious Transnationalism, April 16-17, 2015

    Dear colleagues,

    We would like to invite you to join our 2-day seminar on religious transnationalism on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 April 2015 at VU University Amsterdam.  

    Venue: VU University (Metropolitan building, room Z009 and Z007)

    Time: 9.30 a.m. till 5.00 p.m. (the programme is attached)


    Prof. Dr. Thijl Sunier, department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, VU University

    Prof. Dr. Nina Glick Schiller, University of Manchester

    General theme

    The seminar deals with the contemporary dynamics of transnational religious fields across the world by addressing the shifting configurations between new modes of transnational religious practices on the one hand and evolving forms of nation-building and national domestication of religious communities in a time of growing nationalism en exclusion. Transnational activity of religious communities and social actors is certainly not new, nor is the paradox between people living religious lives, locally and transnationally and states domesticating religions (Glick Schiller et al. 1994). However, emerging new forms of regulatory regimes both at a national and a local level have engendered new forms of transnational activity. The ever changing character of the ‘cosmologistical problem’ (Vasquez et al. 2003) informs and shapes new modes of transnational religious activity.

    Keynote address: Prof. Dr. Manuel Vasquez (University of Florida, USA), Thursday morning, 16 April, entitled “Seeng Transnationally:  Religion and the Emergence of New Regimes of Visibility and Discipline.”

    Four panels

    Transnational religious activism


    Secular intolerance

    Cosmopolitanism and religion

    Entrance: free, and open to everyone! Registration:

    Please find the programme attached. We would appreciate it if you could distribute this invitation among your network and/or students.

    We hope to welcome you on 16 and 17 April!

    Best regards, on behalf of the conveners,

    Heleen van der Linden

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