Category Archives: Events

[NZASR] Cancellation of IAHR 2020 World Congress

Kia ora koutou

It is with great regret that we announce the cancellation of the 22nd World Congress of the IAHR which was to have been held in Otago, New Zealand.

Following our previous update on 10 March, we have continued to monitor the situation which (as we are sure you are all aware) has only become worse almost everywhere. Today, New Zealand has entered a period of total lockdown – no-one is permitted to leave their home except to fetch essential items of food and fuel, or for short walks in their neighbourhood. The borders are closed to all but New Zealand citizens, residents and their immediate family members.

The hope, of course, is that such a lockdown will eliminate the virus within New Zealand and allow a return to normal life. But there can be no certainty that this will succeed. Even (or perhaps especially) if New Zealand is successful in eliminating the virus here, there will continue to be tight restrictions on who can travel to New Zealand. It is already clear that we cannot possibly meet in August. We have considered a long postponement, but for many of us (including the local organisers) the first priority in the coming months will be providing teaching to our students in order to minimize the impact on their education. It is not at all clear even when we might begin to be able to plan with any certainty for a large international gathering in the near future. We have also considered also the possibility of holding a virtual Congress online, but New Zealand’s time zone and limited IT infrastructure means that we are not well-placed to do so.

We will contact separately those who have already registered for the Congress, to make arrangements to refund registration, accommodation and excursion fees paid in advance. In the current environment (everyone in New Zealand working from home) this may take a little while and we ask again for your patience.

The Executive Committee of the IAHR will make a further announcement about the consequences of the cancellation for the business meetings of the IAHR that would have been conducted in New Zealand.

We would like to extend our thanks to all those who submitted abstracts. We thank also the academic programme committee who reviewed the abstracts and to the many others who supported the Congress in different way, and in particular the officers of the IAHR Executive Committee. We look forward to meeting again in happier times!

Will Sweetman and Satoko Fujiwara
on behalf of the organising committee

Call for Papers: Sovereignty, Legitimacy and Authority in Twelver Shia Islam: Clerics and the State, Past and Present

10-11 September 2020

University of Birmingham Conference at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) Berlin

Deadline for abstract submission: 15 March 2020

The question of what constitutes legitimate authority – both religious and secular – has been a core theological concern of Twelver Shia Islam. Emerging with the question of the succession of the Prophet Muhammad, Twelver Shia theological discourse invested sole sovereignty and legitimate authority with the Imams, the male members of the ahl al-bayt, designated to lead the Muslim community. The occultation (ghayba) of the Twelfth Imam led to the emergence of the notion of the collective deputyship (al-niyaba al-‘amma) of the learned class within Twelver Shia Islam, the ‘ulama’, who assume some of the prerogatives of the Imam. From the period, Twelver Shia clerical authorities had to address the question to what extent secular political authority is legitimate and how to relate to it.

With the establishment of the first Twelver Shia state in Iran in the 16th century, clerics had to define their relationship to the Safavid dynasty and the extent of their support for it. During the Qajar period in 19th century Iran, Twelver Shia clerics assumed a more pro-active political role, considering themselves as mediators between the ruler and the people. The rise of the modern nation-state in the Middle East in the early 20th century led to debates around the role of the clergy in the state and the nature of an Islamic state. While Khomeini’s understanding of the “guardianship of the jurisconsult” (wilayat al-faqih) has been the most prominent and influential intervention, other models of clergy-state relations, that have emerged, do not advocate direct clerical involvement in the affairs of the government. Clerical figures nevertheless play a central role in Shia Islamist parties, networks and movements across the Middle East and South Asia, remaining thereby important political actors in the context of weak or failed nation-states, ripped by sectarian divisions, civil conflict and corruption.

This conference invites papers on the topic of clergy-state relations in Twelver Shia Islam, from the post-ghayba period (ca. 941 CE) to the present. Placing clergy-state relations in the context of Twelver Shia discourses on sovereignty, legitimacy and authority, the conference seeks to investigate clerical positions towards secular authority and power in different historical periods. While the focus of the conference will be the Middle East, it intends to adopt a wider geographical perspective with contributions welcome on similar debates in South Asia and other parts of world where Shia clerics were or have become influential political actors.

Papers can address – but are not restricted to – the following issues:

  • definitions of sovereignty in Twelver Shia theological and jurisprudential discourse
  • conceptions of legitimate political authority in Twelver Shia Islam
  • approaches and conceptions of clerical authority and its relation to secular power in Twelver Shia Islam
  • case studies of clergy-state relations from past and present
  • binary between clerical quietism and activism and its validity and relevance
  • clerical responses to the rise of the modern nation-state
  • role and position of Twelver Shia seminaries (hawza) in the context of the modern nation-state
  • conceptions of an Islamic state in modern and contemporary Twelver Shia discourse
  • role of clerical leadership in modern and contemporary Twelver Shia political movements
  • transnational and diasporic reach of clerical movements and networks
  • mediatisation of clerical authority as actors within the state and transnationally

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Prof Andrew J. Newman (University of Edinburgh)
  • Prof Rula Abisaab (McGill University)

The deadline for abstract submission is 15 March 2020. Abstracts of up to 300 words and a short bio of (up to 200 words) should be sent in MS Word format as an email attachment to For enquiries about the conference, contact Prof Oliver Scharbrodt (

The conference is part of the Alterumma project, funded by the European Research Council and hosted at the University of Birmingham. The conference will take place at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin.

A number of travel bursaries are available for conference presenters. Enquiries should be made to Prof Oliver Scharbrodt.


  • Deadline for abstract submission: 15 March 2020
  • Notification of acceptance: 3 April 2020
  • Dates of the conference: 10-11 September 2020

Call for Papers: AAA – “Laboring Hearts: Gender, Religion, and Volunteerism in Uncertain Times”

Please send your abstract to Tatiana Rabinovich ( by March 15

American Anthropological Association Meeting panel organized by Dr. Tatiana Rabinovich (North Carolina State University) & Dr. Alisa Perkins (Western Michigan University)

Please consider submitting an abstract for the proposed panel “Laboring Hearts: Gender, Religion, and Volunteerism in Uncertain Times” at the AAA Meetings in St. Louis, MO, Nov 18-22, 2020. This panel is organized by Dr. Tatiana Rabinovich (North Carolina State University) and Dr. Alisa Perkins (Western Michigan University). Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words.  Please send your abstract to Tatiana Rabinovich by March 15.  We will let you know if your paper has been selected for inclusion in the panel within one week after our deadline. Please see description below. We would be happy to answer any questions about the panel as it develops.

In times when many states are redefining their social responsibilities and embracing austerity, individuals are often called upon to help vulnerable populations by volunteering their time, money, and labor. Some who respond to these calls are driven by faith. This proposed panel studies intersections between religion, volunteerism, and power to understand the kinds of ethical subjectivities that are constituted through faith-driven volunteerism. The goal is to theorize how faith-inspired and gendered volunteer work illuminate the exigencies of late capitalism, as it pertains to citizenship, belonging, justice, and collective life. We will examine how political mobilizations, moral economies, and social imaginaries emerge from hands-on, faith-based giving. We will analyze how volunteers carve out spaces and resources for themselves and precarious others in ways that forge connections between the material and affective; the personal and political; and the intimate and global. We are interested in faith-driven giving practices that are structured by religious institutions or faith traditions, as well as those shaped within secular contexts and agencies. We welcome papers from scholars working across the globe, and particularly those focusing on contexts in which volunteers engage in activities that bring them in direct contact with members of the populations that they wish to serve.

AASR February Newsletter

Call for Papers:


Call for Abstracts for a Thematic Session on Humour and Religion, International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS) in Bologna, Italy, June 29-July 3, 2020. If you are interested, please send an abstract/outline to Lina Molokotos-Liederman: Deadline: 20 Feb 2020

Perception and Reception of Persia research unit (EABS, Wuppertal, August 3rd-6th 2020). Submission deadline: 20 February 2020. More info

12th Annual International Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage (IRTP) Conference, 24th – 27th June 2020, Braga, Portugal (Catholic University of Portugal). Abstract deadline 21 Feb 2020. More info

Worship and the Megachurch: Australasia and Beyond, 18-10 September 2020, Melbourne. Abstract deadline: 31 March 2020. More info

3rd ANU Religion Conference – Religion and Migration: Culture and Policy. Canberra, 8-10 December 2020. Proposal deadline 30 April 2020. More info 

Call for chapters on Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion, Gender and Sexuality. Deadline 31 April 2020. 

Call for papers on Religions special issue: Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia.Deadline 31 May 2020. 

Call for papers on Religion & Ecology for a special issue of Religions. Deadline 31 May 2020.
CISAC Islamic Studies Colloquium for 2020, 28 Feb 2020, 3-5pm, RSVP by 22 Feb. Online participation via Zoom. More info.
Job Opportunities
Postdoctoral Research Associate in Catholic Studies, Durham University

Professorship for Jewish Studies, University of Freiburg

Research Assistant in Jewish-Christian Relations in Past and Present, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin Faculty of Theology

University Lecturer in Old Testament Studies, University of Helsinki

Lecturer in Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies
Australian National University, College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research and Outreach Associate (Fixed Term), Centre of Islamic Studies, Cambridge University

Research Associate. Islamic Art (Fixed Term), Centre of Islamic Studies, Cambridge University

Have you a new event, job opportunity or latest publication to share with AASR? Please get in touch with the AASR’s Communication Officer, Dr Enqi Weng, at with details by mid of 2nd and 4th week of each month to be included in our newsletter. Thank you.  

Goldsmiths BA Religion and Society International Annual Lecture: “‘The Accidental Pilgrim: On Ritual Risk, Lateral Participation, and Other Semiotic Hazards’”

26th March 2020 | 6.00pm – 8.00pm
Richard Hoggart Building (RHB) 137
Goldsmiths, University of London
London SE14 6NW

This event is free to attend but booking is required –

Talk, Q&A and wine reception – refreshments will be provided.

The Accidental Pilgrim: On Ritual Risk, Lateral Participation, and Other Semiotic Hazards

Simon Coleman, University of Toronto

“Within European Christianity, participation in local congregations is generally apathetic, with the exception of some of the newer charismatic churches. Pilgrimage sites, however, have never been more popular. My interest in juxtaposing these two trends has little to do with debates over the reality or otherwise of secularization, or even the benefits of transport infrastructures. I am much more concerned with what we can learn about current forms of ritual from examining what happens when seemingly uncommitted people go to pilgrimage sites—often unwillingly, and possibly dragged there by friends or family. Such scenarios are not peripheral to contemporary religious and ritual participation: they constitute a highly significant dimension of what happens at and around shrines.

My observations are based on long-term fieldwork at the pilgrimage site of Walsingham, North Norfolk, as well as a number of cathedrals around England. In exploring ritual behaviours that are generally ignored by researchers, I tell a story of how ritual becomes entangled with kinship, friendship, memories of childhood, and commemoration of the dead.”

Simon Coleman is Chancellor Jackman Professor at the Department of the Study of Religion, University of Toronto. He is past-president of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion and co-editor of the journal Religion and Society. His research interests include Pentecostalism and pilgrimage and he has worked in Sweden, the UK, and Nigeria. Currently, he is working on the intersections between religious movements and urban infrastructures in Lagos. He is also completing a book on the contemporary study of pilgrimage. His most recent volume is the co-edited Pilgrimage and Political Economy: Translating the Sacred (2018).

Organised by Professor Abby Day (Sociology)

Call for Papers and Call for Panels: 3rd ANU Religion Conference – Religion and Migration: Culture and Policy

Call for Papers and Panels (

Please send paper and panel proposals to Dr David W. Kim at by 30 April 2020

Forms of human movement including global immigration, asylum-seeking, climate migration, and the internal migration accompanying mass urbanization, have radically altered religious cultures around the world, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. The aim of this 3rd ANU Religion Conference is to explore the various phenomena related to religion and migration; the political and social transitions impacting upon the transnational religiosity of contemporary communities. We welcome proposals for individual papers and panels of 3-4 papers that address the conference theme, particularly the themes in the streams below. Papers and panels relevant to the main conference theme but not aligned to these streams are also very welcome.

Proposed streams:

  1. Human movement and religious encounters: Migration and other forms of human movement bring us face-to-face with the other. How does religious identity shape the migrant experience? How is religious coexistence and conflict shaped by human movement?
  2. Religion, migration and cultural change: Migration reconfigures relationships between religion, identity and culture. How do diasporic religious communities negotiate belonging? How are continuity and change reflected in the religious and cultural practices of migrant communities?
  3. Immigration, religion and securitisation: Immigration, especially asylum-seeking, is increasingly approached as a matter of national security. How does religion interact with immigration and national security law? How have religious actors responded to the securitisation of immigration?
  4. Multiculturalism, religion and law: Multiculturalism pluralises public life. How is religion practiced within multicultural societies? How are religious rights balanced against competing rights in secular multicultural societies?
  5. Transnational religions in the Asia-Pacific region: Transnational religions have transformed cultures and regional customs, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. How are local religions mobilised in our transnational era? How have local cultures been altered by the impact of transnational religions?
  6. Theory and Method in the Study of Religion and Migration: Religion and migration have been approached from diverse perspectives in the humanities, social sciences, theology, law and policy. How have established theories aided or hindered the study of religion and migration? How can new theories and methodologies enlighten experiences of religion and migration 


Please send paper and panel proposals to Dr David W. Kim at by 30 April 2020, including the following information: (1) paper title, (2) nominated stream, (3) name and affiliation, (4) contact details, (5) abstract of 150-200 words, (6) biography of 50-80 words highlighting teaching and research interests and publications. Proposals for panels of 3 or 4 papers must include the above information for all papers and a brief description of the panel itself of 100 words.

Confirmed keynote speakers

Professor Sharon Erickson Nepstad (University of New Mexico)

Professor Mike Smith (Australian National University and National Museum of Australia)

Professor Richard Vokes (University of Western Australia)

Registration fees

Full registration: AU$ 275.00

Student/part-time/unwaged/religious leaders: AU$ 175.00

Registration includes participation in all conference sessions, lunch, morning tea and afternoon tea on each day, conference reception on the first evening, registration pack, and conference tour of sites in Canberra relevant to the theme of religion and migration.

The conference dinner must be paid for separately, cost to be determined.

Please note that travel and accommodation are the responsibility of conference participants.

Key dates:

Proposal deadline:  30 April 2020

Notification:  30 June 2020

Registrations open:  14 July 2020

Registrations close:  10 September 2020

Conference:  08-10 December 2020

3rd ANU Religion Conference Committee:     

Dr David W. Kim, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific (Co-chair)

Dr Ibrahim Abraham, ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences (Co-chair)

A/Professor Ven. Alex Bruce, ANU College of Law

Ms Lina Koleilat, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Dr Duncan Wright, ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences


Please address all inquiries to  Dr David W. Kim at

This conference is organised with the support of ANU’s Humanities Research Centre and the Herbert & Valmae Freilich Project. The Conference committee acknowledges the First Australians on whose traditional lands we shall meet, and pays respect to the elders of the Ngunnawal people past and present.

Early Career Researcher Workshop: “STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts”

29-30 June, 2020, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Send expressions of interest to Paula Brikci ( no later than Sunday 1st March, 2020.

Organised by the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society (INSBS) in association with the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

We invite expressions of interest to participate in the fully-funded, STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts Early Career Researcher (ECR) Workshop.

The workshop, which will take place immediately prior to the conference STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy and Pluralism (1-3 July), is aimed at any early career researcher whose work explores any social or cultural aspect of Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths or Medicine (STEMM) in relation to any religious, spiritual or non-religious tradition, position or worldview, including unbelief.

The workshop is open to any researcher who holds a PhD in a relevant subject area, but does not yet have a permanent position in academia, and is no more than 10 years post PhD. The workshop and network is open to researchers from a range of disciplines across the social sciences and humanities, including (but not limited to) sociology of religion, psychology of religion, science and technology studies, sociology of health/medicine, media and cultural studies, social anthropology, politics, the history and philosophy of science/religion and religious studies.

Those interested in participating should send the following information to Paula Brikci ( no later than Sunday 1st March, 2020.

  1. A short biography (max. 200 words)
  2. A short paragraph about how your own research intersects with the research interests of INSBS(max. 200 words)
  3. A short paragraph about why you feel the early career workshop would be beneficial to your career development (max. 200 words)
  4. A short paragraph outlining what kind of sessions, subjects, skills training etc. you would most benefit from at the workshop (max. 200 words)

For those selected to participate, all accommodation and food during the workshop and subsequent conference will be provided, and we will provide participants with an honorarium, which will help to cover the other costs associated with attending the workshop.

Everyone who submits an application will be notified of the decision, and the accompanying honorarium by no later than Thursday 5th March, 2020.

The event is organized by the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, in association with the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and is generously funded by the Templeton Religion Trust.

For more information see:

Appel à contribution: Conférence internationale – “Islam et Pudeur”

Universite Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique, 3-4 décembre 2020

Dans la cadre de la démarche interreligieuse de la Chaire tolérance de l’Université catholique de Louvain, diverses thématiques sont approchées comme autant de lieux sensibles dans les relations entre christianisme et islam et avec une attention particulière aux attitudes de la jeunesse. La présente conférence se centrera sur le thème de la pudeur (hayâ’) dans l’Islam, ses conceptions, ses réceptions et ses perceptions dans le monde musulman et le monde occidental. Comment comprendre les tensions majeures qui surviennent aujourd’hui sans une compréhension plus précise et mieux ancrée de la tradition islamique et de ses contextes, mais aussi dans ses lectures croisées et ses réinterprétations externes ?

Dans l’orthodoxie musulmane, la pudeur constitue une valeur religieuse fondamentale: juridique, mystique, et théologique. Elle est un élément central de la justification éthique et morale de chaque individu, hommes et femmes. Étonnamment, pendant ces dernières décennies, la pudeur n’a apparemment plus visé que les femmes musulmanes. Pourquoi ? Au moment où l’Occident est ébranlé par les mouvements #metoo, comment analyser aussi le statut des hommes en Islam ?

La question de la pudeur féminine en islam s’est progressivement durcie depuis une trentaine d’années. Les controverses, nombreuses et difficiles, sont souvent liées aux significations contradictoires qui sont prêtées aux attitudes de pudeur. Le foulard, le niqab ou le burkini, sont-ils conçus pour protéger ou soumettre les femmes ? Sont-ils un enjeu de piété ou d’islamisation politique, voire tout simplement économique et commercial pour l’industrie du mode ? Comment analyser de nombreuses attitudes liées à la pudeur, comme le refus de serrer la main d’une personne de l’autre sexe, la ségrégation entre hommes et femmes en certains lieux d’intimité, la réprobation des représentations sexuelles au cinéma ou dans les clips vidéo ? La pudeur des musulmans, telle qu’elle est conçue ou perçue, est-elle incompatible avec des valeurs européennes occidentales ?

Dans la multiplicité des facteurs interprétatifs de ces tensions (traditionnelles, culturelles, civilisationnelles, politiques, économiques, genres, etc.), comment analyser l’incidence d’une meilleure compréhension des référents religieux et des espaces discursifs qu’ils ouvrent ? Que signifierait ainsi que la mystique musulmane place la pudeur dans une relation d’intériorité du cœur, comme une purification existentielle? Peut-on dire, et avec quelle portée, que la pudeur devient une catégorie théologique dans la foi musulmane ? Comment l’Islam conçoit-il plus largement le corps des êtres humains et les relations entre les personnes ?

La conférence se saisira somme toute de la question suivante: comment une meilleure connaissance des traditions et de leur sens permettrait-elle de construire un dialogue des raisons plutôt qu’une disqualification mutuelle et abrupte des styles de vie ?

Les chercheurs à toutes les étapes de leur carrière, y compris des chercheurs en début de carrière (les post-doctorants) et les doctorants, en études islamiques (Coranhadithfiqhkalamtasawuf et falsafa) et en sciences humaines et sociales ou autres disciplines connexes sont invités à soumettre des propositions de communications individuelles. Les communications sont souhaitées en français ou en anglais. Les organisateurs prendront en charge l’hébergement et les repas des présentateurs sélectionnés. Les papiers acceptés seront mis en circulation entre les participants afin que la conférence se déroule comme un lieu de débat en vue de préparer la soumission de ces textes pour publication.


Le nom, l’institution/affiliation, une courte biographie, les coordonnées (adresse, courriel, et téléphone portable avec numéro WA) avec une photo récente (format passeport) doivent être soumises avec le résumé en français ou anglais (300 mots). Tous les résumés doivent être envoyés à au plus tard le lundi 1er juin 2020 à 07h00. Veuillez enregistrer les documents comme suit: “votre prénom_votre nom_résumé”, par exemple ayang_yakin_résumé.


L’article complet doit être écrit en français ou anglais, 25 pages maximum (entre 8.000-10.000 mots en 12 Times New Roman, 1,5 espace). Le nom, l’adresse électronique, l’institution, l’adresse, et une courte biographie doivent être joints. Toutes les notes doivent être des notes de bas de page et une bibliographie doit être incluse. Tous les articles complets doivent être envoyés en format Word (ext. doc/docx) à : au plus tard le lundi 26 octobre 2020 à 07h00. Veuillez enregistrer les documents comme suit : “votre prénom_votre nom_titre de l’article”, par exemple ayang_yakin_pudeur-dans-le-Coran.


L’hébergement et les repas seront offerts aux conférenciers pendant la conférence. Les frais de déplacement ne sont pas couverts et aucune autre aide financière ne peut hélas être offerte. Pour vous rendre à Louvain-la-Neuve, veuillez consulter: ou


Les articles sélectionnés seront soumis à un examen par les pairs en double aveugle pour publication par un éditeur réputé afin d’atteindre un plus large public. Nous avons prévu de lancer le livre avant la fin de l’année 2021.


Date limite pour la soumission des résumés : lundi 1er juin 2020, 07h00.

Acceptation de la notification des résumés  : lundi 15 juin 2020, 23h00.

Date limite pour la soumission de l’article complet : lundi 26 octobre 2020, 07h00.

Dates de la conférence : Jeudi-Vendredi, 3-4 décembre 2020.

Les orateurs principaux et les orateurs des communications sélectionnées devront être en Belgique le jeudi 3 décembre 2020 pour participer activement à l’ensemble de la conférence à partir du 14h du 3/12/2020 jusqu’à 18h00 du vendredi 4/12/2020.


Dr. Ayang Utriza Yakin (professeur invité en études arabes et islamiques à l’Université du Gand) et Prof. Dr. Louis-Léon Christians (professeur en droit des religions à l’Université Catholique de Louvain).


Dr. Ayang Utriza Yakin
Research Associate
Chaire de la Tolérance
Chaire des droits et des religions
Institut des Religions, Spiritualités, Cultures, Sociétés (RSCS)
Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain)

Adresse postale et courriels : voir dans l’appel à télécharger


Call for Papers: ‘Regulating religions? Legal and social status in contemporary Europe’

1-2 October 2020, University of Porto.

Deadline to submit your abstracts: 29 February 2020.

The EUREL network and the University of Porto are putting together an international conference to discuss social, political and legal challenges of religion in Europe – so this might be relevant to your research as well as something to help with post-Brexit blues. 

Call for Papers is now open and further information is available on the conference website.