CFP: “Religion and the urban, natural and virtual environments”

Biennial Conference of the ESA RN34- Sociology of Religion
Groningen (Netherlands), 26-28 August 2020

This conference wants to adopt a broad approach to the study of the relation between religion and different “environments”: the urban environment, the natural environment and the virtual environment. This threefold approach allows us to capture three areas of religious transformation and innovation, which are of high academic and societal relevance in contemporary European societies and beyond. By approaching these three topics, we aim to contribute both to the academic advancement of the sociology of religion in relation to its conceptual and methodological tools and to a broader societal reflection on the dynamic between religion and the urban, natural and virtual environments. Some of the questions we seek to address are the following:

  • How do religions and cities interact with one another and transform each other? How does the urban environment affect religious practices and, conversely, how do religious practices and groups transform the urban environment? How are religious and secular meanings negotiated in urban spaces? How do tourism, heritage industries and gentrification processes produce and transform urban religious heritage?
  • How do religious groups relate to the natural environment? How do religions see and interpret the ecological crisis and which alternatives do they suggest? How do religious groups conceptualise their role in relation to environmental concerns and claims? Which forms does faith-based environmentalism take? How do religions position themselves in relation to other social actors in environmental concerns?
  • How do the virtual environment and religion interact with and affect one another? How does the virtual environment influence how we understand the idea of “religious community” and community in general? How are religion and the concept of religion affected and challenged by the increasingly digitalized world? What challenges and inspirations for religion can the developments in artificial intelligence and virtual reality bring about? What conceptual, epistemological, methodological and ethical challenges are faced by scholars exploring “virtual religion”?

Papers addressing these and other questions and topics relevant to the sociology of religion are welcome. Besides individual papers, it is possible to propose a panel with a maximum of four papers per panel.

Additionally, MA and PhD students will have the opportunity to combine their participation in the conference with a summer school. See more information here

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Dr. Giulia Evolvi, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Jens Koehrsen, University of Basel
  • Dr. Pooyan Tamimi Arab, Utrecht University

All interested should submit an abstract of 200 to 250 words, including a reference to the theoretical framework, research question, methodology and main findings. Panel proposals should include the title and a short description of the panel (200 to 250 words), the name and affiliation of the convener(s), and the title, author’s name and abstract (200 to 250 words) for each of the proposed papers. Proposals should be submitted to esarn34-groningen2020@rug.nl

Deadline: 31 January 2020 

Visit the conference website for more information: https://www.rug.nl/education/summer-winter-schools/religion-urban-natural-virtual-environments/

Call for Papers: Navigating the non/confessional in university Islamic studies

A three-day international conference funded and organised by the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham, in partnership with the Muslims in Britain Research Network

Dates: 20-22 April 2020

Across Europe there are numerous examples of recent linkages between universities and Islamic seminaries. In Germany the experiment, now over ten years old, of establishing departments of Islamic theology in five universities has now recruited close on 2000 students, many of whom will end up teaching confessional Islam RE in schools. At Vienna, in VU Amsterdam, and in UC Louvain there are programmes for Islamic leaders, teachers, and imams. In the UK, partnerships have been developed at under- and postgraduate level between e.g. Warwick, Birmingham and Middlesex universities and Islamic seminaries representing a range of Islamic traditions. Movement between confessional and non-confessional Islamic educational contexts by students and staff, both as a result of such formal links or informally, is now common.

The conference will explore the opportunities and challenges created by the emergence of bridges and permeable membranes between confessional and non-confessional Islamic educational contexts. It will bring together scholars from across Europe working in different policy and educational settings to look at how Islamic education operates, and the implications of this for the transmission and representation of the Islamic tradition, as well as the teaching of Islam in universities. The conference’s remit will be any arena where Islam is included as a part of higher-level study, from the confessional teaching of Islam, to theology and religious studies, history, politics and the social sciences. We have invited six main speakers to help us move the discussions along:

  • Prof. Bekim Agai, Dept. of Islamic Studies, University of Frankfurt
  • Prof. Ednan Aslan, Depts. of Teacher Education and Islamic Theology, University of Vienna
  • Prof. Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Professor in Religious and Theological Studies, Director for the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, Cardiff University
  • Prof. Birgitte Schepelern Johansen, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen
  • Dr Walaa Quisay, Teaching Fellow, University of Birmingham
  • Prof. Alison Scott-Baumann, Professor of Society & Belief, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Abstracts are now invited for papers that address any of the conference themes:

  • How students and staff navigate between confessional and non-confessional Islamic educational contexts
  • How policy contexts affect the development of linkages between seminaries and mainstream higher education institutions;
  • Teaching about Islam beyond Islamic and religious studies (for example, in history, politics and the social sciences);
  • ‘Insider’ and ‘outsider’ dynamics in the teaching of Islam in European contexts
  • Complementarities and tensions between confessional and non-confessional approaches to the study of Muslims and Islam
  • Securing the study of Islam within and beyond higher education institutions

The organisers will cover the costs of accommodation and scheduled meals for accepted paper authors, but they will need to cover their own travel costs.
If you are interested in presenting at this conference,  please send a 250 word abstract to the email address below by 17 January along with a biographical note of no more than 50 words. We intend to invite selected speakers to develop their contribution into an article for publication in a thematic volume.

Abstract submissions and any general questions should be sent to the conference organisers at MuslimsinBritainRN@gmail.com.

“SocRel at 45” Conference (July 2020) abstract submissions now open

THEME: “Celebrating SocRel at 45: Beyond Binaries in the Sociology of Religion”

The conference will be held at the University of York, 14-16 July 2020.

Keynote Speakers

  • Dr Sarah Jane Page (Aston University)
  • Professor Sam Perry (University of Oklahoma)

Special 45th Anniversary Panel

  • Professor Eileen Barker (London School of Economics)
  • Professor Jim Beckford (Warwick University)
  • Professor Grace Davie (Exeter University)
  • Professor Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University)

Sociological writing about religion is replete with binaries: secular/post-secular, sacred/profane, religion/non-religion, western/non-western, spiritual/religious, theistic/non-theistic, cognitive/corporeal and private/public, to name just a few. Theories that consider the relationship between these seemingly opposing concepts have shaped the evolution of the discipline, reflected changing social realities, and supported the production of new knowledge.

Although many of these binaries have become highly fashionable within the contemporary study of religion, does the use of these types of analytical frames limit our capacity for critical sociological engagement? Do our understanding of the lived realities for individuals across different communities support or reject the use of binary concepts? In this conference that celebrates 45 years of SocRel, we invite you to consider the possibilities for the sociology of religion ‘beyond binaries’. We encourage you to think about the relationships that you make in your own research with these, and other, binary frames, and the ways in which you find them both useful and limiting to think with.

Use this link to submit abstracts:  http://bit.ly/32ZoFdk

Further details regarding registration will be uploaded in due course.  Should you have any questions or queries, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Dr Rachael Shillitoe
Research Associate
Conference and Events Officer for the British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Group (SocRel)
School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT

Religious Organisation(s):Challenges and changes in contemporary society

17th-19th August 2020, Gothenburg, Sweden

The 25th Nordic Conference in the Sociology of Religion

In today’s globalised and fast changing society, religious organisation and religious organisations face several challenges. Globalization, migration and different secularisation processes, together with political, technological and environmental changes/issues, influence, not only society in general, but also religious organisations and the ways in which religion is practiced and expressed in contemporary society.

This situation prompts questions such as: How do religious organisations handle an influx of new members from other parts of the world and at the same time, an increased loss of members who have been there for a long time? How do religious organisations react to new technology such as digital communication instead of face-to-face interaction, and web-broadcasted religious meetings?

Other questions of interest are for example: how do religious groups and organisations handle the late modern individual who has little need of belonging to religious groups, and who is sceptical of religious authority? And, on the other hand, how can we explain why late modern individuals choose to belong to conservative and fundamentalist religious groups?

These, and other, questions concerning how religion is organised in contemporary society will be addressed at the 25th NCSR conference held in Gothenburg 17th-19th August 2020, which includes a pre-conference for doctoral students in the morning of the 17th August.

We are happy to announce the following distinguished keynotes for the conference:
• Professor Masooda Bano, Department of International Development, University of Oxford, UK
• Professor Mitsutoshi Horii, Shumei University, Japan, and Shumei Representative, Chaucer College Canterbury, UK
• Professor Detlef Pollack, Department of Sociology, University of Münster, Germany

Dates
15th November 2019 Deadline for submission of session proposals (paper sessions, panels, posters, authors-meets-critics, workshops etc): NCSR2020@lir.gu.se
15th Mars 2020 Deadline for submission of abstracts for papers: NCSR2020@lir.gu.se

Information on abstract format and delivery, progamme, registration, venue etc. will be available at the conference website : https://lir.gu.se/forskning/konferenser/the-25th-nordic-conference-in-the-sociology-of-religion

We look forward to seeing you in Gothenburg,

Magdalena Nordin, magdalena.nordin@lir.gu.se
Daniel Enstedt, daniel.enstedt@lir.gu.se
Mia Lövheim, mia.lovheim@teol.uu.se
Martha Middlemiss Lé Mon, martha.middlemiss@teol.uu.se

INFORM Seminar on Yoga & Alchemy in South Asia: 1 Feb 2020

Save the Date!

This is to let you know that Inform’s Winter/Spring Seminar will be on the theme of Immortality as expressed within minority religions. The seminar will take place on Saturday 1 February 2020 in Bush House, from 9.30am. It is offered in association with Inform Research Fellow Dr Suzanne Newcombe’s project on Yoga and Alchemy in South Asia and in collaboration with the Theology and Religious Studies department at King’s College London.

Information on speakers and a booking form will be posted on our website before Christmas.

With best wishes,

The Inform Team

CFP: “Mosques, power and politics” Copenhagen, Denmark 22-24 January 2020

Venue: University of Copenhagen, South Campus
Karen Blixens Plads 8, 2300 Copenhagen, Denmark

For this workshop we address the changing politics of mosque building, the different kinds of conflict surrounding the building of a mosque and the symbolic appropriation of territory by the mosque.

The building of a mosque can be seen as a social transformative interaction and accounts for the many stakeholders involved in the construction of mosques (e.g., Muslim organizations, international donors, local politicians, anti-Islam groups and other critics). As such, the mosques and the politics of construction can be seen as microcosms of the discourse on Muslims in a country.

Concerns with security, extremism and visibility of Muslim institutions in the Nordic and Western European countries are causing “existential” difficulties for mosques. The state criticizes mosques and change the politics of religion with reference to incidents in mosques as in Denmark in 2016-18.

This seminar will examine the power strategies used by national and local politicians, examining national legislation and municipal planning on mosques, and will investigate a number of concrete cases of contested mosque building. The operable questions are:

  • What are the political power dynamics at play in mosque building?
  • Do the mosques challenge the existing models of state-religion-relations?
  • How may mosques present and organize themselves to defuse these tensions of power?

Paper abstracts of 300 words and a short CV to be submitted to Niels Valdemar Vinding, lbm993@hum.ku.dk, on November 15th 2019 at the latest. Read more on: https://mosques.ku.dk/nordic-mosques/

Job Opening: Social Theory and the Digital Study of Religion

The Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of assistant professor in the area of Social Theory and the Digital Study of Religion, beginning August 2020.

The area of specialization (historic period, region, or group studied) is open; however, the successful candidate must complement and enhance the current specialties of the Department by using social theory to understand religion as an element of culture. The specific research area is thus part of the scholar’s attempt to answer broader, cross-cultural questions related to identity, power, and discourse. This position will supplement the Department’s B.A. curriculum (which now includes a digital humanities course) and will be of primary importance to the Religion in Culture M.A. program (which requires students to be familiar with a variety of digital skills). While a variety of digital specialties are potentially relevant, the Department is especially looking for a scholar with demonstrated expertise in digital humanities research methods (e.g., computational text analysis, data visualization, network analysis, GIS, etc.) and public humanities (e.g., digital collections, digital curation, podcasting, etc.)

The successful candidate will teach courses ranging from introductory/lower- and upper-level B.A. courses to graduate seminars on a variety of analytic topics related to the successful candidate’s historical and/or ethnographic area(s) of specialization. Additionally, the candidate will contribute to the department’s establishment of interdisciplinary digital humanities courses. All faculty are also expected to supervise M.A. students in the social theory of religion when student interests intersect with faculty expertise.

At the time of hire, a Ph.D. is required. The committee welcomes applications from candidates with training in the academic study of religion as carried out in a public university, but will also entertain training in related fields (literature, history, anthropology, etc.), as long as expertise in studying and teaching social theory and digital methods in the study of religion are evident. Applicants should demonstrate an active and ongoing research agenda, highlight their teaching experience, and make readily apparent their ability to contribute to the life of an academic department in the areas of service and collaboration.

For further information, see: https://facultyjobs.ua.edu/postings/45867

News & Opportunities from the Australian Association for the Study of Religion

The AASR 2019 Conference on ‘Religion and Violence’ is open for registration. Presenters: please ensure you register by 4 November 2019 to be included in the program. A conference schedule is nowavailable with exciting pre-conference workshops on 4 December that include:

The Journal for the Academic Study of Religion has a new list of books up for review. More info.

Call for Papers:
Conferences

  • Artificial Intelligence and Religion – AIR2020, 3 – 5 March 2020, Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), Trento. Abstract deadline: 21 October 2019. More info.
  • What’s God got to do with it? Debating religion and forced migration entanglements, July 27-30, 2020, Accra, Ghana. Abstract deadline: 25 October 2019. More info.
  • The 25th Nordic Conference in the Sociology of Religion. 17-19 August 2020, Gothenburg, Sweden on ‘Religious Organisation(s): Challenges and changes in contemporary society’. Session proposal deadline: 15 November 2019. More info.
  • Rethinking​ ​Media, Religion and Secularities. Conference of the International Society for Media, Religion and Culture Conference location: Sigtuna Foundation, Sigtuna, Sweden. Conference dates: 4-7 of August 2020. Deadline for Paper proposals: 6 December 2019. More info.
  • The XXII Quinquennial World Congress of the IAHR, hosted by the New Zealand Association for the Study of Religions, will take place at the University of Otago, in Dunedin, New Zealand from 23-29 August 2020. Submission deadline 31 December 2019. More info.

  Publications

  • Call for book proposals: Bloomsbury welcomes book proposals for Bloomsbury Studies in Material Religion, edited by Birgit Meyer (University of Utrecht, the Netherlands), David Morgan (Duke University, USA), Crispin Paine (UCL, UK), S. Brent Plate (Hamilton College, USA), and Amy Whitehead (Bath Spa University, UK). More info.
  • Book Proposals in East Asian Religions. More info.
  • Chapters: Religious Responses to Sex Work and Sex Trafficking – Routledge. Deadline for AASR members: 11 October 2019. More info.
  • Special Issue: Religion, Economy, and Class in Global Context. Abstract deadline 15 October 2019. More info.
  • Call for papers on Religion & Ecology for a special issue of Religions. Deadline 31 May 2020.

Events/Seminars

  • The 2019 Hans Mol Memorial Lecture: “Imagining Asian Australia: Constructions of ‘Asian Religion’ and Australian Federation” by Professor Marion Maddox, 18 October 2019. More info.
  • The 2019 Freilich Lecture of Bigotry and Tolerance: “An Australian Story: The Politics of Bigotry in a Tolerant Country” by David Marr. 31 October 2019. More info.
  • Religion in Contemporary Society – What do we need to know to manage complexity?
    31 October 2019, Turku/Åbo, Finland. More info.
  • Migrant Youth in Multicultural Cities: Comparative Perspectives on Culture, Religion and Identity. 31 October 2019, Deakin University. Panellists: Prof Lori Beaman, A/Prof Serena Hussain and Prof Fethi Mansouri. More info.

Job Opportunities

CFP: “What’s God got to do with it? Debating religion and forced migration entanglements”

Call for Contributions to a conference panel at the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) Accra, Ghana July 27-30, 2020

Violent conflicts, social unrest, and other humanitarian crises around the world have led to growing numbers of people seeking refuge both in the North and in the South. Migrating and seeking refuge have always been part and parcel of spiritual development. However, the current ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe and elsewhere in the world has brought to the fore fervent discussions regarding the role of religion in defining difference, linking the ‘refugee crisis’ with Islam, and fear of the ‘Other.’ Many religious institutions, spiritual leaders, and politicians invoke religious values and call for strict border controls to resolve the ‘refugee crisis.’ However, equally many humanitarian organizations and refugee advocates use religious values to inform their call to action to welcome refugees and migrants, provide them with assistance, and facilitate integration processes.

We are seeking panelists whose work fits a wide range of issues related to religion and forced migration, including, but not limited to, the examination of:

• re-politicization of religion and forced migration;
• religiously motivated violence as a root cause of forced migration;
• debates, policies, and activism based on values rooted in different religions;
• faith and the secular in realizing humanitarian values and principles;
• clashes between different religious values hindering immigrant integration;
• multi-religious responses to the ‘migration crisis;’
• engagement of religious institutions in providing assistance to refugees and migrants; • role of religion in populism;
• role of religion in coping with trauma of forced migration;
• methodological challenges involved in empirical studies of religion and forced migration;
• lived experiences of religion/s and forced migration.

The geographic focus of the panel is global. We welcome papers based on rigorous empirical research, policy analyses, and refugee narratives. We welcome submissions exploring issues from historical, philosophical, anthropological, theological, and interdisciplinary perspectives. If you are interested in participating, please send a title and a 250-word abstract to Elzbieta M. Gozdziak at emg27@georgetown.edu by October 25, 2019 at the latest.