Author Archives: Jim S

Beyond Insider Outsider Binaries: New Approaches in the Study of Religion

Beyond Insider Outsider Binaries: New Approaches in the Study of Religion (working title)

Edited by:
George D. Chryssides (Honorary Research Fellow in Contemporary Religion, University of Birmingham, UK) Stephen E. Gregg (Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Wolverhampton, UK)

Call for Chapters

Volume Abstract

It has become clear that binary notions of religious belonging, based upon narrow views of religion as a monolithic category of participation, are no longer tenable within the Study of Religion. Similarly, recent scholarship has emphasised a relational approach to engagement with religious communities and individuals, critiquing previous conceptions of scholastic objectivity and participation. However, much pedagogy and research about religion and religions still uses insider and outsider categories uncritically. As methodology within the study of religion – and particularly the study of everyday religion – has developed in the last decade, a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be an insider or outsider is needed. Indeed, this focus upon the performance of everyday religious lives must lead to a re-evaluation of ‘what religion is’, thus complicating issues of situation and approach to religion and religious communities. In so doing, we complicate the associated relationships religious practitioners and scholars have with these religious individuals and communities. Quite simply, when we re-negotiate ‘what religion is’ and ‘what religious people do’, with the subsequent challenging of sacred/profane dichotomies, we create a landscape where structured and restrictive notions of ‘insideness’ or ‘outsideness’ may no longer apply. If this is indeed the case, we need to re-focus upon performed everyday narratives and malleable, often complicated and contested, religious identities at the overlaps and edges between researchers, individuals and religious hierarchies, communities and worldviews.

Call for Chapters

The editors seek high quality original scholarship from a variety of international and multi-thematic and multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of religion in contemporary contexts. Chapters may be related to a particular religious community or tradition, or may focus upon a particular issue or methodological approach. Chapters should be
8,000-10,000 words in length. Examples of particular issues relevant to insider/outsider debate may include, but are not limited to:

  • Teaching and researching religion ‘after the world religions paradigm’
  • Sociological approaches to membership of religious communities * Ethnographic issues for researchers in relation to religious communities * Particular issues in researching controversial or problematic host communities * Contested religious identities within and between religious movements * Complicated processes of joining or leaving religious communities – converts, seekers, leavers and apostates.
  • Theoretical and methodological approaches within the Study of Religion * Public discourse on religious belonging and identity

Deadline: Potential contributors should email or with a title, 250 word abstract, and 250 word personal profile, including institution affiliation and research profile, before 1st November 2014. It is anticipated that final chapter submissions will be required by 1st September 2015.

Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies: Call for Applications 2015

The Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, funded by the German federal and state governments’ Excellence Initiative, will admit up to fifteen PhD students to its doctoral programme, which is to begin on 1 October 2015. Up to ten of these candidates will receive a Graduate School grant; the other candidates will be supported in their search for funding. The application deadline is 15 November 2014.

The Graduate School investigates the plurality, changeability, and global connectedness of Muslim cultures and societies. It invites applications from candidates whose dissertation project fits one of the Graduate School’s Research Areas.

As part of the three-year programme we expect doctoral students to take active part in the academic life of the Graduate School. Besides doing their PhD, doctoral students should be open to interdisciplinary and transregional exchange. A receptive attitude to challenging research questions on new terrain is very much appreciated.

For further information, please visit the website at

PhD position Mecca in Morocco: Negotiating the Meanings of Hajj in Everday Life, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

PhD position Mecca in Morocco: Negotiating the Meanings of Hajj in Everday Life

(vacancy number: 214261) University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Job description

The research project consists of extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Morocco to investigate the meanings and sociocultural embeddedness of pilgrimage to Mecca in contemporary Moroccan society.
The PhD study is one of the subprojects in a larger NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Researchl) funded cooperation between the University of Groningen and the University of Amsterdam for a project that studies modern articulations of pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj/Umra).
Approaching pilgrimage from the perspective of ‘lived religion’, the project in which the PhD student will participate addresses the question how references to religiosity, social identifications and self-identity in personal pilgrimage accounts reflect the ways in which the habitus of narrators is informed by various cultural discourses simultaneously.

The PhD student is expected:

  • to have an excellent master’s diploma (preferably a Research master) in Cultural Anthropology or another relevant discipline (by 1 November 2014 at latest)

  • ample experience with ethnographic fieldwork

  • to be ambitious, highly motivated and wishing to make a career in research

  • to be fluent in English (both oral and written)

  • to have an excellent profiency in (oral) Arabic, preferably the Moroccan-Arabic dialect

  • to be able and willing to work in an interdisciplinary environment

  • to have the abilities to finish the PhD thesis in four years; i.e. good skills in planning, taking initiatives, academic writing.

For more information, please contact:

dr. Marjo Buitelaar:

(please do not use for applications)

Religion and AIDS Treatment in Africa: Saving Souls, Prolonging Lives

Religion and AIDS Treatment in Africa:
Saving Souls, Prolonging Lives
Edited by Rijk van Dijk, Hansjörg Dilger, Marian Burchardt and Thera Rasing

Ashgate September 2014

This book critically interrogates emerging intertconnections between religion and biomedicine in Africa in the era of antiretroviral treatment for AIDS. Highlighting the complex relationships between religious ideologies, practices and organizations on the one hand, and biomedical treatment programmes and the scientific languages and public health institutions that sustain them on the other, this anthology charts largely uncovered terrain in the social science study of the Aids epidemic.

Spanning different regions of Africa, the authors offer unique access to issues at the interface of religion and medical humanitarianism and the manifold therapeutic traditions, religious practices and moralities as they co-evolve in situations of AIDS treatment. This book also sheds new light on how religious spaces are formed in response to the dilemmas people face with the introduction of life-prolonging treatment programmes.

Contents: Introduction: religion and AIDS-treatment in Africa: the redemptive moment, Hansjörg Dilger, Marian Burchardt and Rijk van Dijk.
Part I Agency, Subjectivity, and Authority: Fashioning selves and fashioning styles: negotiating the personal and the rhetorical in the experiences of African recipients of ARV treatment, Felicitas Becker; The logic of therapeutic habitus: culture, religion and biomedical AIDS treatments in South Africa, Marian Burchardt; ‘A blessing in disguise’:
the art of surviving HIV/AIDS as a member of the Zionist Christian Church in South Africa, Bjarke Oxlund; ‘God has again remembered us!’:
Christian identity and men’s attitudes to antiretroviral therapy in Zambia, Anthony Simpson. Part II Contesting Therapeutic Domains and
Practices: Prophetic medicine, antiretrovirals, and the therapeutic economy of HIV in northern Nigeria, Jack Ume Tocco; ‘Silent nights, anointing days’: post-HIV test religious experiences in Ghana, Benjamin Kobina Kwansa; The blood of Jesus and CD4 counts: dreaming, developing and navigating therapeutic options for curing HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, Dominik Mattes. Part III Emergent Organizational Forms in Times of ART: Societal dynamics, state relations, and international connections:
influences on Ghanaian and Zambian church mobilization in AIDS treatment, Amy S. Patterson; The role of religious institutions in the district-level governance of anti-retroviral treatment in western Uganda, A.M.J. Leusenkamp; Negotiating holistic care with the ‘rules’ of ARV treatment in a Catholic community-based organization in Kampala, Louise Mubanda Rasmussen; Notions of efficacy around a Chinese medicinal
plant: Artemesia annua – an innovative AIDS therapy in Tanzania, Caroline Meier zu Biesen; Index.

About the Editor: Rijk van Dijk is an anthropologist working at the African Studies Centre, Leiden and a professor in the study of religion and sexuality in Africa at the University of Amsterdam. He is an expert on Pentecostalism, globalization & transnationalism, migration, youth, and healing. He has done extensive research and published on the rise of Pentecostal movements in urban areas of Malawi, Ghana and Botswana. He is the author of Young Malawian Puritans (Utrecht, ISOR Press, 1993) and has co-edited 7 books. With Ria Reis and Marja Spierenburg he co-edited The Quest for Fruition through Ngoma (Oxford, James Currey 2000) and with Wim van Binsbergen Situating Globality. African Agency in the Appropriation of Global Culture (Leiden, Brill 2004). His current research deals with the religious, in particular Pentecostal, engagements with the domains of sexuality and HIV/AIDS in Botswana. Recently published articles entitled ‘Gloves in times of AIDS:
Pentecostalism, Hair and Social Distancing in Botswana’ (In: F. Becker ; P.W. Geissler (eds) Aids and Religious Practice in Africa, Leiden /
Boston: Brill, Studies on Religion in Africa, 2009) and ‘Marriage, commodification and the romantic ethic in Botswana.’ (In: Marleen Dekker & Rijk van Dijk (eds) Markets of Well-being. Navigating Health and Healing in Africa, Leiden: Brill, African Dynamics Series No. 9, 2010) are dealing with insights gained from this ongoing research. He is also the chair of the International Research Network on religion and Aids in Africa. In addition, he is the Editor-in-chief of the newly established journal African Diaspora. A Journal of Transnational Africa in a Global World which is published by Brill, Leiden, as of 2008.

Hansjörg Dilger is a Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin. He has conducted long-term fieldwork on HIV/AIDS and social relations in Tanzania, focusing on the dynamics of kinship and Neo-Pentecostalism in the context of rural-urban migration, as well as on the identity politics and the limitations of collective action in urban NGOs. Dilger is author of the book Living with Aids:
Illness, Death and Social Relationships in Africa (Frankfurt 2005; in German). He is also co-editor of the volume Morality, Hope and Grief:
Anthropologies of AIDS in Africa (Oxford 2010; with Ute Luig). His articles were published in Anthropological Quarterly, African Journal of Aids Research, Journal of Religion in Africa, Medical Anthropology and Africa Today. Dilger’s current book project is about Christian and Muslim Schools in Dar es Salaam. He is a member of the steering committee of the Research Network Religion and AIDS in Africa.

Marian Burchardt is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. His PhD, which he received from the University of Leipzig’s Cultural Studies Department, explores the entanglements of religion, biomedicine and sexuality in South Africa’s fight against HIV/AIDS from a transnational perspective. His research interests include the sociology and anthropology of religion, modern social thought, medical anthropology, the sociology of the body, transnationalism and globalization. His articles appeared, among others, in Oxford Development Studies and Culture, Health and Sexuality. One of his recent publications is ‘Subjects of Counselling: Religion, HIV/AIDS and the Management of Everyday Life in South Africa’, in AIDS and Religious Practices in Africa, edited by Becker and Geissler.

Thera Rasing (PhD. 2001, Erasmus University Rotterdam) studied Anthropology (specialised in Religious Anthropology) and Women and Development, both at the Free University, Amsterdam. Since 1992 she has conducted extensive research on female initiation rites and wedding ceremonies, gender relations, sexuality, traditional and Christian religion, urbanization, globalisation and HIV/AIDS in Zambia. From 1995 to 2001 she was affiliated to the African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands. She worked as Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam and as Senior Lecturer at the Catholic University Malawi, both at the Department of Anthropology. From 2005 to 2011 she was Senior Lecturer at the Gender Studies Department at the University of Zambia, and was the Head of the Gender Studies Department for two years. She is currently working as researcher at the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health in Zambia. Her main publications are: The Bush Burnt, the Stones Remain: Female initiation rites in urban Zambia (2001) and The persistence of female initiation rites: Reflexivity and resilience of women in Zambia (2004).

Reviews: ‘In the early days of the HIV epidemic on the African continent, anthropologists studied how religion provided healing and care to AIDS patients in the quasi-absence of medical treatment. As antiretroviral drugs become increasingly available and biomedicine reclaims its therapeutic role, the authors of this remarkable series of ethnographical investigations reverse the perspective and ask a fascinating question: what does this massive and effective treatment do to religion, and how does prolonging the lives affect the religious imagination?’
Didier Fassin, Institute for Advanced Study, USA and author of Humanitarian Reason. A Moral History of the Present _______________________________________________

New Technologies and Religious Communities

The Center for the Study of Information and Religion in Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science welcomes abstracts for consideration for its fifth annual Conference on Information and Religion, scheduled for June 4 and 5, 2015, at Kent State University.

The conference theme is “New Technologies and Religious Communities.”
David Michels, Head of Public Services at the Sir James Dunn Law Library, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, will present the keynote address.

Technology offers new resources that impact preaching by integrating multimedia in worship, expanding outreach through streaming services and podcasts, and providing live feedback through tools such as Twitter/chat. The life of religious communities is also impacted by new communication technologies that blur the boundaries of local and remote participation and challenge traditional ideas of koinonia. Our keynote speaker and participants will explore these issues and others.

This call for proposals seeks original contributions in all areas related to information and religion. The conference theme invites participants to share their work in a variety of areas that might be called intersections of technology with religion and information. Topics that might be addressed include but are not limited to the following:

  • Uses of information technology and/or social media in preaching, ministry and the life of the religious community as a whole – including (but not limited to) worship, children’s and youth ministries, organizational management, record-keeping, operation of religious libraries;
  • Privacy and security issues in information management or social media applications for religious organizations; – Uses of information by members of religious communities
  • Uses of information to add value to membership in a religious organization;
  • The application of information science/management principles for efficient, timely, and accurate research; – Dissemination of information by religious organizations;
  • Auto-ethnography as a research method in religious organizations;
  • The use of investigative or observational research and its impact on the religious service;
  • Information in its application to clergy and congregations as communities of practice.
  • Prospective participants are encouraged to submit abstracts that report on recent research and scholarship. Contributions to this call for papers should not have been previously published. There are no restrictions on research methodology.


Oct. 1, 2014: Deadline to submit abstracts – Go to and click on the “Submit Event” link.

Nov. 15, 2014: Notification of acceptance

May 1, 2015: Deadline to submit final, completed papers in order for them to be considered for publication in ASIR: Advances in the Study of Information and Religion.

Papers must be in proper APA style. Additional details regarding submission of full papers will be sent to those whose abstracts are accepted for conference presentation. Once selected, presenters are responsible for their own expenses related to the conference, including but not limited to registration fees, lodging, transportation and meals.


For more information, please contact Dr. Don Wicks (, Director of CSIR, or Dr. Dan Roland (, CSIR Primary Researcher.

Faculty Position Available

The Department of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston invites applications for a full-time tenure-track Assistant Professorship, to begin August 16, 2015. We seek a candidate with a PhD degree in Religious Studies or a related discipline, with specialization in African American religions and religions of the American South; the ability to teach religions of Africa or the African Diaspora, such as Afro-Cuban-Caribbean religions, will also be considered. Candidates should have competence in current theories on religion, race, gender, and ethnicity, with some preference for training in ethnography and fieldwork. A PhD by August 2015 in Religious Studies or a closely related discipline is required. Apply online at Bjerken. Screening begins immediately and continues until the position is filled. Preliminary interviews will be held at the AAR Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The College of Charleston is a nationally recognized public liberal arts and sciences university located in the heart of historic Charleston, SC. Since our founding in 1770, we have maintained a strong liberal arts curriculum. The College is a state-supported, comprehensive institution and ranks among the nation’s top universities in providing quality education in the arts, sciences, education, and business. No other university has the unique combination of our exceptional faculty, diverse programs, historic campus, coastal location, modern facilities and cutting-edge programs. The student body numbers approximately 12,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs combined.

Assistant Professor in Global Christianity, University of California, Riverside

Assistant Professor in Global Christianity (University of California, Riverside) Job #JPF0019

College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences – Religious Studies Recruitment Period Open Aug 29, 2014 through Jun 30, 2015 Next review date: October 15th, 2014 Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE – The Department of Religious Studies invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track appointment beginning July 1, 2015 at the rank of Assistant Professor for a specialist in the study of Global Christianity. The department welcomes applicants who engage in a cross-cultural or comparative frame and specialize in one or more of the following geographic areas: Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Candidates should be grounded in theoretical issues regarding the study of religion. Training in race and ethnic studies, gender studies, and/or post-colonial studies is desirable. Candidates must demonstrate expertise in the relevant research languages. They must also combine their research interests with questions of theory and method. Please upload to this system in PDF format a cover letter, 3 letters of recommendation, CV, and a writing sample no longer than 25 pages. If so desired, you may also submit student teaching evaluations, additional reference letters, or other relevant documents in the miscellaneous space provided in AP Recruit. ABD candidates may apply, but a Ph.D. is required at time of appointment. This position is open till filled. Review of applications will begin October 15, 2014.

For questions regarding the position please feel to contact Dr. Michael Alexander, search Committee Chair, at


Applicants who use Interfolio may utilize a feature provided by the Interfolio Service to allow Interfolio to upload their letters directly into AP Recruit without bothering the letter writer. Applicants can input an Interfolio-generated email address in place of their letter writer’s email address. Interfolio refers to this as online application deliveries. The following link on the Interfolio website shows how to set this up:

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Learn More

More information about this recruitment:



  • Curriculum Vitae – Please include your most recently updated C.V. – Cover Letter – Please include a cover letter
  • Writing Sample – Please contain your sample to no more than 25 pages long – Teaching Evaluations – If you so desire, this is an optional space (Optional)
  • Misc / Additional – If you so desire, you may add optional relevant material here (Optional)


3-5 letters of reference required

How to apply

  • Create an ApplicantID
  • Provide required information and documents
  • If any, provide required reference information

Religion, Diversity and Governance – AASR 2014 Conference – Registration now open

3-5 December 2014: Religion, Diversity and Governance

Registration is now open for the annual conference of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion, hosted in partnership with the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University, Religion and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney and the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at the Australian Catholic University.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Lori G. Beaman, University of Ottawa

Professor Gary D. Bouma, Monash University

Professor Matthew Clarke, Deakin University

Dr Cathy Byrne, Southern Cross University

3-5 December 2014 | Deakin University Melbourne City Centre | Find out more and register

Grant funding opportunity

The Science of Hope and Optimism Funding Initiative

We are pleased to announce a $1.4 million funding initiative for new research in the social sciences on hope and optimism. We encourage proposals for research using a variety of methods from new and established scientists on these topics. We especially welcome applications from researchers in cognitive, developmental, personality, health and social psychology, as well as sociology. Interdisciplinary teams that include members from cognate areas – e.g. cognitive science, anthropology, nursing, and biology – are encouraged though not required.

We invite requests for non-residential funding (between $50,000 and $250,000) for projects not to exceed two years in duration. For more information, including details on research questions, deadlines, eligibility requirements, and application instructions please visit the project website:

Letter of Intent deadline: November 1, 2014.

This funding initiative is part of Hope & Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations, a $4.5 million research initiative funded by a generous grant from The John Templeton Foundation, as well as by the University of Notre Dame and Cornell University.

Contact: hope.

Call: Law, Disability, Religion

Call for proposals: “Law, Religion and Disability”

Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies

The relationship of law, religion and disability is complex, emerging and still in development as a research area. Scholarship on religion and disability has included feminist reflections regarding religion and disability (e.g. Minister 2013) and analysis of the physical isolation that can result in congregations where accommodations are made but without reflection on the communal aspects of integration (Eiesland 1994). Further, health care providers working with disabled individuals negotiate and navigate their own religious identities in their professional sphere (Bray, Egan and Beagan 2012). Legal advancement within the disability movement has produced results such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Public and policy challenges remain highly contested and disability advocates reflect on the limitations of existing policy as well as the challenge of the application of these policies (e.g. Prince 2012; Johner 2013).

We are seeking articles that articulate the diverse perspectives of disability studies as it relates both to law and religion. There are multiple ways the religion, law and disability intersect with one another. The special issue intends to explore overlapping themes in dialogue to reflect on the current discourse about disability, disabled identities and its interconnections with law and religion.

Possible topics can include, but are not limited to:

· What social, cultural or religious norms have created exclusive or inclusive environments? E.g. What constraints might the Quebec Charter of Values have created for individuals at the intersection of religion and disabled identities?

· Religious individuals and organizations face challenges regarding the theological debates regarding inclusivity versus exclusivity in the accommodation of disabled individuals. What are some of the challenges of negotiating theological doctrine and what are the nuances made possible through theology regarding disability?

· How is disability taught or not taught, in schools or within religious institutions? What are the policies in the education system regarding disability and what challenges are ongoing regarding education and disability?

· How do religious organizations and law respond to disability within a health framework? What challenges are faced by healthcare workers who are religiously identified or disabled? In what ways are religion, law and disability or disabled identities negotiated?

We welcome submissions from across the disciplines of law, religious studies and disability studies, as well as submissions from outside those fields. Proposals should be no more than 2 pages in length (single spaced) and should include: theoretical and methodological approach; central thesis or argument; and data used within article (i.e. legislation, doctrine). Proposals must be submitted to Ravi Malhotra (Ravi.Malhotra) and Heather Shipley (hshipley) by September 30, 2014. Notifications will be sent out by November 15, 2014 and final submissions will be due January 30, 2015. Full articles should be between 6,000-7,000 words, using the Turabian style guide (16th Edition) or another recognized citation style. All final articles will be subject to the peer-review process. Publication is conditional on reviewer reports. As per Canadian Journal of Disability Studies policies, all methods and methodologies and disciplines are welcome, as are submissions in French or English. This CFP additionally invites perspectives on religion from across traditions, and legal perspectives from outside of Canada or North America.

Law Religion CJDS CFP.pdf