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Call for Papers: International Society for the Sociology of Religion – Biannual Conference

The 33rd ISSR conference will be held in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), from 2-5 July 2015.

We now invite submissions for paper proposals. Acceptance of proposals is conditional on being a member in good standing (for 2014-2015) of the ISSR.

The online facility for submitting paper proposals for the 2015 Conference is now open. The deadline is 15 December 2014. To submit paper proposals, please go to and follow the instructions. Also, please note the Call for ISSR workshop proposals on the web site, by which the ISSR invites proposals for international workshops on innovative research topics in the field to be held in 2015.

For more information, please contact the Program Chair for the 2015 conference is Dr. Jasjit Singh (

The theme of the conference will be Sensing Religion

Religions are not just a matter of belief, of practice, and of social organization. They more broadly also involve experience, perception, and the expression and representation of such ‘sensing of the religious’. Experiences may be sensory, as with the sights, sounds, and smells of religious rituals; and they may be communal and emotional, as various scholars have theorized through concepts such as ‘collective effervescence’, ‘communitas’, and ‘collective emotional regimes’. The sensible and the senses in religion has been a recurring theme in sociology and anthropology since the beginning of these disciplines. It unfolds in multiple directions and poses a whole host of interconnected questions.

  • What are the locations for sensing religion and how do the individual body and the communal temple interrelate as such locations? How are deities and spiritual entities represented and how does that representation articulate with bodily and communal religious practice? How is religious experience involved and how does that manifest and articulate with sensory perception and representation?
  • How do contemporary religious groups use sensory and other experiences to gather and serve their adherents – from mega-church audio-visuals to congregational art, music, and dance?  What is the role of images, music, and dance as producers of the religious and not just religious productions?
  • The audio-visual dimension is involved in various ways with media, including through television, radio, religious art, the Internet and the world of gaming – how do religious people understand the experiences that they increasingly claim are central to their religious lives?  How do such matters vary across the world’s different religious traditions, and what can we learn from this variety?
  • How are experiences – sensory, emotional, or inward – expressed in varying religious discourses? What is the role of religious language in this sensory and emotional context? What are the emotional characteristics of religious language? How do we understand, in this context, the success of various charismatic movements?
  • How do people sense religion in daily life? To what extent and how do people feel religion as, for instance, a source of meaning, identity, guilt, health or obligation in their day to day existence?
  • And from a reflexive perspective, what do we as sociologists and anthropologists ‘sense’ as the religious? Why and how? Does the importance in our discipline of the questions just outlined signal transformations in this observation of the religious?

These questions, and others like them, will be the focus of our 2015 conference.  We welcome papers on these and other topics of interest to the social sciences of religion.