Author Archives: Jim

Article Notice: Comparing 19th-century kosher debates with contemporary halal debates

John Lever has recently published a paper comparing debates about kosher meat and Jewish immigration to England in the 18/19th centuries with contemporary controversy over halal meat and Muslim immigration in the 20/21st centuries.

Lever, J. (2018) Halal meat and religious slaughter: from spatial concealment to social controversy – breaching the boundaries of the permissible? Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space.

Symposium Notice & Call for Papers: Approaching esotericism and mysticism: Cultural influences, 5-7 June, 2019

The Donner Institute will arrange a symposium 5–7 June 2019 in Åbo/Turku, Finland

Approaching esotericism and mysticism: Cultural influences

Conference website:

Hashtag: #esomyst2019

Facebook event:

This multidisciplinary conference approaches the traditions of Western esotericism and mysticism from a cultural-historical perspective. The aim is to analyse the diverse influences of esoteric ideas and practices and the various forms of mysticism in their cultural-historical surroundings. We promote approaches that focus on individuals, groups and networks, and various archival source materials, but we also welcome papers dealing with esoteric or mystical textual traditions.

The conference will consist of keynote lectures and sessions that can be either traditional paper sessions or roundtable talks, panels and/or artistic performances. The social program of the conference will consist of e.g. esoteric and occult walking tours in Turku and artistic performances (plans for an event together with Art Teatro Circus -group). An excursion to the exhibition on Finnish art and clairvoyance at the Gallen-Kallela Museum (Espoo/Esbo, 11.5.–8.9.2019) is also being planned. The exhibition is part of the research project Seekers of the New and is curated by Nina Kokkinen.

Keynote speakers:

  • Per Faxneld, senior lecturer/associate professor at Södertörn University, Stockholm
  • Christine Ferguson, professor in English Literature at the University of Stirling

  • Olav Hammer, professor in the Department of History, Study of Religions at The University of Southern Denmark

  • Maarit Leskelä-Kärki (PhD, Adjunct Professor), University Lecturer at the Department of Cultural History at the University of Turku

The expert symposium is arranged jointly by the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural history and the research project Seekers of the New: Esotericism and the transformation of religiosity in the modernising Finland at the University of Turku. The project is funded by the Kone Foundation.

To apply, please send an abstract (or panel proposal with abstracts) of approximately 150 words to the Donner Institute,, no later than 31 December 2018. Letters of acceptance will be posted no later than 31 January, 2019.

On behalf of the organizing committee,

Björn Dahla

The Donner Institute

SSSR 2019 Call for Papers

Diversifying the Social Scientific Study of Religion: The Next Seventy Years

St. Louis, Missouri, USA
October 25-27

At a time of unparalleled communication among societies; at a time when religion holds both the power to bring conflict and the power to bring peace; at a time when pluralism and globalization are recasting what it means to study religion; it is the right time to celebrate and champion nuanced diversity in the social scientific study of religion. We need studies that bring together scholars from different social locations and different disciplines in service of a deeper understanding of diversity. We need studies that examine how religion sits alongside, influences, and is influenced by other social locations, identities and institutions:  social institutions where religion is important. We need studies that examine different nation and state contexts. We need studies that compare different religious traditions as well as understand the varieties of non-religion. We need studies that examine diverse publics as well as initiatives, which translate our research to and receive feedback from diverse publics. As we both critically examine the past while charting the vision for the future of the social scientific study of religion, we invite papers and panels that address some aspect of diversity in the social scientific study of religion.

Submissions Open: February 1, 2019
Submissions Close: March 31, 2019
Decision Notification: April 30, 2019

Please direct all inquiries to the SSSR 2019 Program Chairs:

Ryon Cobb, School of Social Work, the University of Texas at Arlington

Justin Tse, Asian American Studies Program, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University

CFP: Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements

The Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements (CenSAMM) is pleased to announce its first annual conference, to be held at the University of Bedfordshire (Bedford Campus) 27-28 June

The theme of the conference is The Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements: Critical and Interdisciplinary Approaches.

The aim of the conference is to facilitate critical and interdisciplinary discussion of apocalypticism, millenarianism and associated movements across time, place, and culture, and will cover academic fields such as anthropology, archaeology, biblical studies, critical theory, cultural studies, history, literary studies, Political studies, psychology, religious studies, sociology, etc. The interdisciplinary scope is broadly understood to include methodologies, comparative approaches, and showcasing of research more specific to individual fields of expertise.

Speakers include:

  • John J. Collins (Yale Divinity School)
  • Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck College, University of London)
  • Bill McGuire (University College London)
  • Sarah Rollens (Rhodes College)
  • Beth Singler (University of Cambridge)
  • Fatima Tofighi (EUME, Berlin/University of Religions, Qom)
  • Paul-Francois Tremlett (Open University)

We invite individual paper proposals from scholars at all stages of their career, including postgraduates, and we welcome suggestions for group panels. Please submit proposals to

Submissions for papers should include a 300-word abstract and short CV.
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2019.

Please see the CenSAMM website for more information

CFP: Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion & Race, Nairobi, Kenya

The Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race (TRRR) invites presentation proposals for its 2019 conference, which will convene at Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations (HIPSIR), Hekima University College in Nairobi, Kenya, July 1-5.

This conference takes place against the backdrop of an era of increased political authoritarianism and a noticeable rise in racial and religious intolerance across the world. In Africa the issues of migration, review of conflict intervention mechanisms and an ideological shift on the war on terrorism have raised questions on US strategy in Africa. There has also been a noticeable increase in recent years of suspicions toward known and settled facts and of an economic and cultural nationalism that is fuelling conflicts across the World.

This time of global uncertainty requires a bold and progressive agenda, that also recognizes assets and cultures of cooperation to challenge the existing order. We seek papers that will address these issues with urgency, clarity and an understanding of what is at stake and what can be imagined.

Themes to be addressed include:
  *   Political and Religious Authoritarianism: Past, Present and Future
  *   Deconstructing Conflict, Violence and Sovereignty in Africa and Across the Diaspora
  *   Assets, Cooperatives and the Culture of Cooperation
  *   Patriarchy, Sexism and the Role of Culture in Africa and the Diaspora
  *   Faith-based Responses to the Immigration Crisis
  *   New Formations of African Identity on the Continent and Across the Diaspora
  *   Old Media New Media, Social Media and the Production of Knowledge-based Development
  *   Religion, Race and Morality in the Age of New Social Movements

We invite analysis of these and other tensions at the intersections of religion, race, class, gender and nationality, especially bearing upon faith sector positioning and responses within Africa and diasporic contexts. Contemporary and historical analysis of these contexts are welcome. Best practices presentations and scholarly papers should be outlined in an abstract of 250 words or fewer and emailed by January 30th, 2019 to Dr. William Ackah  (<>) and Dr. R. Drew Smith (

Further details at:

CFP: “Church-State Relations: Religion in the Public Square”

International Conference in Manilla, July 26-27, 2019

We are pleased to announce the International Conference in Theology and Religious Studies, jointly organized by Liverpool Hope University (LHU) through the Andrew Walls Center for the Study of African and Asian Christianity and the Theology and Religious Education Department of De la Salle University (DLSU), Manila, Philippines. The Conference shall take place on July 26 – 27, 2019 in De La Salle University Manila, Philippines under the theme, “Church-State Relations: Religion in the Public Square”. The Conference shall bring together scholars engaged in the academic study of Theology/ Religion in public life in Asia and other regions. The conference will have paper presentations from notable scholars from Europe, Asia and the Philippines.

The “separation of Church and State” is a modern development that ensures freedom of religious expression. At the same time, it prevents governments from imposing particular religious doctrines on everyone. While modern states have upheld the separation between Church and State, the Church, in particular, has supported particular political interventions, movements, and advocacies pertaining to moral issues (e.g. on dictatorships and other human rights violations, legislations on reproductive health issues, divorce, LGBTQ rights, etc.).

This conference therefore explores the varied ways of living out and interpreting the separation and interaction between Church and State. It seeks to respond to the questions: What have been the various models of relations between Church and State? How has religion informed public advocacy? What were the extra and intra-ecclesial factors that shaped religious intervention? What were the consequences of such relations? What can scholarship learn from the experiences that is useful for facing issues today?

We invite scholars from other regions to join in the interdisciplinary conversations to understand the challenges Church-State relations pose for theological reflection and religious studies.

Follow this link for online registration:

  • Please send your abstracts (250 words) with 5 keywords (and brief author background) to by December 15, 2018
  • Payment Schemes for the Conference Registration (Inclusive of Simple Conference Kit, 2 Lunches, 4 snacks and certificates):

Local Participants Regular Registration – Php 1,500

Foreign Participants – US $ 50.00 – UCPB P. Ocampo Branch Savings Account 01-120-300035-8 Swift Code: UCPBPHMM

For other conference-related inquiries, kindly email:

thank you.

Dr. Rito Baring


Theology and Religious Education Department

De La Salle University


Call for Papers: Methodological Challenges in Studying Digital Religion (Open Session)

EASR 2019: Religion – Continuations and Disruptions

(Chairs: Frederik Elwert and Maren Freudenberg, Ruhr University Bochum)

Changes and disruptions in the religious field challenge the methodological approaches of scholars studying the field, as new phenomena might require modification to traditional methods or require new methods altogether. This holds particularly true for the rapid changes due to the digitization of society and the emergence of digital religious forms. Scholars face difficulties applying traditional qualitative and quantitative methods to the Internet and other digital spaces, which only partly mirror offline phenomena.

For example, when it comes to webpages, traditional methods of visual and textual analysis are of limited help, given the multi-modality and non-linearity of visual, textual, and audio components and the discrepancies between the user paths intended by the web design and the actual paths taken by users. There are, indeed, many aspects of digital spaces that can inform the study of digital religion, including networks of actions and platforms, interconnections between users, and non-traditional forms of expression. Therefore, there are some questions that need to be explored: In which ways can we, as scholars, approach digital venues? What is the impact of the chosen methodology on the object of study?

Thus we invite scholars to discuss the methodological challenges they face when studying digital religion.

These might include but are not limited to

  • * multi-mediality of websites, e.g. text and image and video,
  • * interactivity and usage studies,
  • * non-linearity and network structures of web pages,
  • * availability of large-scale data, e.g. web forums, YouTube comments,
  • * multi-method studies (ex. textual analysis combined with interviews),
  • * social network analysis of social media data, e.g. Twitter.
  • While some of the challenges can be discussed from an abstract methodological perspective, many of them become apparent through concrete experiences in studying digital religion. The panel puts emphasis on the reflection of methodological approaches and challenges rooted in empirical studies that deal with specific cases of digital religion. However, more theoretical contributions are also invited.
  • Case studies can include (but are by no means limited to)
  • * the online self-representation of minority religions,
  • * the appropriation of digital media by majority religions,
  • * digital media beyond the web, e.g. mobile apps,
  • * networks of religious media,
  • * examples of religious contact and material forms of religion on the Internet,
  • * hashtags as a frame for religious communication in the web (for example to foster critical discourses of religion).

We welcome innovative and interdisciplinary contributions that bring together new empirical and methodological perspectives, especially if they focus on under-researched phenomena. A possible outcome of the session is a special journal issue on methods for the study of digital religion.

If you are interested in submitting an abstract to this open session, please do so by December 15, 2018 on the conference website:

We look forward to receiving your proposals!

Dr. Maren Freudenberg

CFP: “Religion – Continuations and Disruptions”

We are happy to inform you that the call for individual papers of the 17th European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) conference conference “Religion – Continuations and Disruptions” is now open! The deadline for individual papers is December 15, 2018. The conference is organized by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions and will take place from from June 25 to June 29, 2019 in Tartu, Estonia. For more information about the call for papers please see:

You can find the full list of all the approved open and closed sessions here: It is of course also possible to submit independent papers that are not intended specifically for any of these sessions.

We look forward to seeing your abstracts!
Best regards,
EASR 2019 Organizing Team

Call for Papers: Religious authority, political participation, and the Internet

SISR/ISSR Conference, Bardelona, July 9-12, 2019: The Politics of Religion and Spirituality

Giulia Evolvi, Ruhr University Bochum
Maren Freudenberg, Ruhr University Bochum

Abstract (English):
The Internet holds an important role in people’s everyday lives because it provides venues to exchange opinions, consume news, and discuss politics and society. The influence of the Internet also extends to religion, as websites and social network accounts dedicated to faith and spirituality increasingly offer spaces to discuss religious practices and beliefs. Additionally, the Internet helps negotiate religious authority and its role in political decisions. New technologies not only allow religious organizations to intervene in public debates, but can also frame religious leaders’ influence on social and political matters. This panel aims at answering the following research questions: how is religious authority negotiated online? Which are the effects of religious authority on politics and society? Contributions that explore Internet-based religious authority are welcome, including but not being limited to: 1) Digital spaces that help believers to negotiate the role of religious leaders as sources of authority 2) Religious groups that employ the Internet to adapt to different socio-political contexts, fostering religious discussions between various religious traditions 3) Religious leaders who use the Internet as a way to establish a voice in political debates and create a religious-based political participation Interdisciplinary presentations that propose innovative theoretical and methodological approaches are welcome.

Abstract (French):
L’internet joue un rôle important dans la vie quotidienne, car il fournit des espaces pour échanger des opinions, consommer des informations et discuter de politique et société. L’influence de l’internet s’étend également à la religion, car les sites Web et les comptes de réseaux sociaux consacrés à la foi et à la spiritualité offrent de plus en plus d’espaces pour discuter des pratiques et des croyances religieuses. De plus, l’internet aide à négocier l’autorité religieuse et son rôle dans les décisions politiques. Les nouvelles technologies permettent non seulement aux organisations religieuses d’intervenir dans les débats publics, mais peuvent aussi influencer le rôle des chefs religieux par rapport aux questions sociales et politiques. Ce panel vise à répondre à deux questions de recherche : comment l’autorité religieuse est-elle négociée en ligne ? Quels sont les effets de l’autorité religieuse sur la politique et la société ? Nous sommes intéressés par des contributions qui explorent l’autorité religieuse sur internet, y compris, mais sans s’y limiter : 1) Des espaces internet qui aident les croyants à négocier le rôle des chefs religieux en tant que sources d’autorité 2) Les groupes religieux qui utilisent l’internet pour s’adapter à différents contextes sociopolitiques, favorisant les discussions religieuses entre diverses traditions religieuses 3) Les chefs religieux qui utilisent l’internet pour se faire entendre dans les débats politiques et créer une participation politique basée sur la religion. Nous sommes intéressés en particulier par des présentations interdisciplinaires proposant des approches théoriques et méthodologiques innovantes.

If you are interested in submitting an abstract to this open session, please do so by December 16, 2018 on the conference website:

We look forward to receiving your proposals!

Dr. Maren Freudenberg