Call for Papers Leaving religion and institutional belonging behind

Dear colleagues,

Please, find below the description of the session I am organizing at the ISSR 2021 online conference this summer (12-15 July). You are cordially invited to submit your abstracts here. Deadline: 28 February 2021

Call for Papers: Leaving religion and institutional belonging behind

Chair: Julia Martínez-Ariño
(University of Groningen)

This session will investigate the phenomenon of apostasy, understood broadly as the rejection of religion, faith, institutional belonging or a previously held religious identity. While a big part of the contemporary research on the religious “nones” has focused on those who define themselves as “indifferent”, less sociological research has been done on those who actively decide to leave religion and institutional belonging. There are some exceptions, especially in relation to New Religious Movements, but this field of inquiry deserves more attention. How do people narrate their experiences of leaving a religious group, faith or form of identification? How do these people navigate the apostasy process and which meaning do they attach to it? Which implications does apostatizing have for the everyday lives and social environments of these people? Which factors do apostates identify as triggering the process and how do the self‐narratives make sense of them? What are the political underpinnings and implications of apostasy within different socio‐political contexts? The session welcomes papers analyzing these and other questions, focusing on a range of religious traditions and geographical contexts. Papers based on empirical and comparative research are especially welcome. The session also welcomes theoretical reflections on the meaning of apostasy and its implications for the sociological analysis of religion and non‐religion.

Best wishes,


New Book: Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions

Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions
Eileen Barker and James T. Richardson (eds)


Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions  book cover

Much has been written about the law as it affects new and minority religions, but relatively little has been written about how such religions react to the law. This book presents a wide variety of responses by minority religions to the legal environments within which they find themselves.

An international panel of experts offer examples from North America, Europe and Asia, demonstrating how religions with relatively little status may resort to violence or passive acceptance of the law; how they may change their beliefs or practices in order to be in compliance with the law; or how they may resort to the law itself in order to change their legal standing, sometimes by forging alliances with those with more power or authority to achieve their goals. The volume concludes by applying theoretical insights from sociological studies of law, religion and social movements to the variety of responses.

The first systematic collection focussing on how minority religions respond to efforts at social control by various governmental agents, this book provides a vital reference for scholars of religion and the law, new religious movements, minority religions and the sociology of religion.

Table of Contents

  1. Fight, Flight or Freeze? Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions — Eileen Barker
  2. Stand Up For Your Rights: (Minority) Religions’ Reactions to the Law in Estonia — Ringo Ringvee
  3. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Law: “Caesar’s Things to Caesar, but God’s Things to God” — Tony Brace
  4. Scientology Behind the Scenes: The Law Changer — Eric Roux
  5. No Stranger to Litigation: Court Cases Involving the Unification Church/Family Federation in the United States —Michael L. Mickler
  6. Legal Challenges Posed to the Unification Church in Europe: Perspectives from a Unificationist Advocate for Religious Freedom — Peter Zoehrer
  7. The “Doukhobor Problem” in Canada: How a Russian Mystical Sect Responded to Law Enforcement in British Columbia, 1903–2013 — Susan Palmer and Shane Dussault
  8. Making Sense of the Institutional Demarcation: Tenrikyō’s Response to Legal Environments in France — Masato Kato
  9. Strategies in Context: The Essenes in France and Canada — Marie-Ève Melanson and Jennifer Guyver
  10. Reactions to Legal Challenges by Aum Shinrikyō and its Successor Organisations —Rin Ushiyama
  11. Religious Persecution and Refugees: Legal and Communication Strategies of the Church of Almighty God in Asylum Cases — Massimo Introvigne and Rosita Šorytė
  12. Minority Religion Reactions to the European Court Of Human Rights — Effie Fokas
  13. Minority Religions Respond to the Law: A Theoretical Excursus — James T. Richardson

RFP: Religion, Spirituality, & Democratic Renewal Fellowships

The Religion, Spirituality, and Democratic Renewal (RSDR) Fellowship of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), with the support of the Fetzer Institute, aims to bring knowledge of the place of religion and spirituality into scholarly and public conversations about renewing democracy in the United States.

These fellowships offer research support over a period of up to 12 months to doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy and to postdoctoral researchers within five years of their PhD.

We welcome proposals on all aspects and dimensions of religion and spirituality in its relation to democracy from across all fields in the social sciences, humanities, and theology.

Applications are due April 6, 2021. More information on the fellowship, eligibility, and application process is available on the Program’s website.

Job Opening: Science and the Transmission of Islamic Knowledge

Research Fellow, ‘Science and the Transmission of Islamic Knowledge in Britain’, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham

Part time 80% FTE, fixed term for 24 months

This position is for a post-doctoral Research Fellow to work on the new Templeton Religion Trust-funded research project, ‘Science and the Transmission of Islamic Knowledge in Britain’. This project will investigate how the relationship between Islam and science is understood and discussed by those involved in the transmission of Islamic knowledge and the establishment of Islamic authority in Britain. It will examine: if, and how, scientific concepts are used by Muslim religious leaders to legitimise their arguments; if Islamic education centres and religious leaders oppose any scientific theories, and if so what movements influence them; and how Muslim leaders’ answers to questions about science and Islam are affected by UK policy context and Muslims’ position within British society. It will provide one of the first in-depth portraits of whether, when and how Muslim religious leaders interact with scientific concepts and popular narratives about science.

The post holder will work with the Principal Investigator and external Co-investigator to conduct ethnographic observation of women’s and co-educational Islamic educational institutions as well as interview research with current and in-training Muslim religious leaders. They will also assist in research by carrying out literature reviews, conducting data analysis and writing up research findings. The post holder will be expected to engage in, and support, aspects of project dissemination, team meetings and international networking activities, including contributing the project-related websites, workshops and seminars. They will also be expected to effectively contribute to the presentation and dissemination of research outputs, including developing academic and non-academic publications/presentations.

Some of the responsibilities of this role are outlined below.

  • With the PI and Co-I, negotiate access to research sites and interviewees.
  • Conduct ethnographic and interview research at two case study sites, as well as interviews at a variety of settings around the UK.
  • Undertake research administration and support the PI and Co-I in research management.
  • Analyse and interpret data gathered for the project.
  • Co-ordinate the collaborative preparation of findings for dissemination to academic and non-academic audiences both in the UK and internationally.
  • Present research outputs at UK-based and international conferences and contribute to academic publications.
  • Actively contribute to public reports based on the data collected and related public/media engagement activity.
  • Work with Muslim educational and community organisations to set up forums for the discussion and dissemination of the research.
  • Provide guidance to support staff and any students and colleagues who may be assisting with research.

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Stephen Jones (PI) at

As this vacancy has limited funding, the maximum salary that can be offered is Grade 7, salary £30,942.

Closing date: 24th Feb 2021 Reference: 12098

Call for Chapter: “Youths in Contemporary Global Order”

The Youths in Contemporary Global Order: Exclusions, Ramifications and Pathways

Expected Year of Publication: 2022

The remit of this book is examination of existentialities of youths within current global arrangements to practically engage issues around realities of youth’s exclusion, the complex consequences of the exclusion and sustainable pathways out of the trajectories of youth exclusion. This book intends to addresses issues around youths from a global perspective. Issues to be addressed in this book are as tangents of existential exclusion of the youths from the mainframe of the current global order around the world.

Researches, experiences and observations of over two decades have proven how youths, as a category, struggle to survive and be relevant within current global systemic and institutional arrangements. Youths in contemporary world appear trapped, strategically excluded and helplessly frustrated by the main supposedly supportive institutional frameworks of society. This current situation relative to the youths across the world is a major existential and generational problem.

Yet, there are no enough works in Sociology of Youths on this area of youths and social/institutional exclusion around the world. Intellectual works are particularly lacking on relevant and specific existential issues that confront the youths, how the issues affect the youths, their bearing with exclusion and the pathways out of these issues. This book will fill important gaps on youth’s existentialities from global perspectives. The issues engaged in this book are addressed from practical, pragmatic intellectual and policy perspectives.

This book will provide original materials, literature and data that are currently unavailable. This book will be cuing edge and innovative as a major contribution to knowledge.

About The Editor
Ọláyínká Àkànle (PhD),
Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria & Research Associate, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

How To Submit Your Abstract/Chapter
Interested authors/contributors should please send abstracts and full papers as email attachments to (with copies to, Chapter preparation format is Time New Romans 12 single line spacing. Abstract should be about 150 words and full chapter should be 5,000 and 7, 000 words.

The deadline for submission of abstract is 30th April, 2021. It is however noteworthy that review and acceptance will be on rolling and continuous basis. Once sufficient excellent chapters are received on proposed themes/topics (above), no more chapters will be received/accepted on the themes/chapters. Abstracts and chapters should normally include proposed title of chapters, name/s, functional email addresses and institutional affiliations of author/s. Submission of abstracts and full chapters are now open.

Call for Papers: Waikato Islamic Studies Review

On behalf of the University of Waikato Islamic Studies Group, I warmly invite submissions of papers which examine Islam in the widest sense to the Waikato Islamic Studies Review for publication consideration.

Articles can be as short as 2000 words and up to a maximum of 5000. For full details regarding paper guidelines and submissions and the Waikato Islamic Studies Review please see:

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me asap if you think that you might like your work considered; the next edition is due for publication in March 2021. 

Kind regards,
Abdullah Drury
Editor: Waikato Islamic Studies Review

PhD Scholarship Funding

An ESRC funded PhD studentship is now available for a project that researches Muslim women in higher education institutions in Britain. The project is jointly supervised by Dr Khursheed Wadia (Warwick University)  and Line Nyhagen (Loughborough University). The application deadline is Friday, March 5th, 2021.

The announcement for this position can be found at:

Call for Papers: Transformations of Latin American Catholicism

Call for Papers: Transformations of Latin American Catholicism since the mid-20th Century for International Journal of Latin American Religions

Call for Papers: Transformations of Latin American Catholicism since the mid-20th Century

The International Journal of Latin American Religions (JLAR) invites researchers to submit manuscripts to a thematic section focused on considerable relatively recent changes in Latin American Catholicism. The pluralization of the religious field that has marked most Latin American countries and the new social dynamic that has led to new political experiences and ideological spectrums both present themselves as important ingredients of the analytical background in Latin American Catholicism transformations. Under the impact of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and countless socio-economic transformations, Catholicism in the region has also experienced significant mutations, presenting new amalgamations and social expressions. The thematic section will gather articles presenting research results from various disciplines and academic perspectives dealing with many contemporary expressions of Catholicism in the Latin American region since the mid-20th century.

This thematic section will be part of the second issue of volume 5, to be published in December 2021, and will have as guest editors Dr. Renata Siuda-Ambroziak, American Studies Center, University of Warsaw, Poland, and Dr. Rodrigo Coppe Caldeira, Pontifical University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Submissions are due by June 30, 2021.

Call for Sessions & Papers: Association for the Sociology of Religion, August 2021

82nd Annual Meeting of the Association for the Sociology of Religion

Call for Sessions and Papers

Theme: “Communicating Religion’s Relevance”

Location: A specially designed virtual conference platform (see note 1 below)
Dates: 3 days between August 7 – August 10 (see note 2 below)
Program Chair: Brian Starks, Kennesaw State University (

Although scholars of religion are keenly aware of the relevance of religion in today’s world, too many social elites and academics diminish religion’s importance. Even scholars who know better sometimes fail to explain how religion permeates nearly every aspect of contemporary life. As sociologists of religion, we understand religion’s relevance to individuals and its consequences in the social, cultural, political, and economic spheres. This year’s conference invites scholars to reflect on religion’s continuing – and in some areas increasing – relevance to society.

We invite session and paper proposals on several key topics:

  • · What can sociologists of religion do to communicate religion’s relevance to their (our) fellow academics and to the broader public?
  • · Are there ways that various sectors of our society have misunderstood, or failed to fully understand, religion? How can sociologists of religion speak to this problem?
  • · How do social and political elites, as well as ordinary citizens, employ religion when communicating about, or working to address, issues of local, national, or international concern?
  • · How do social actors, including social movement leaders, draw upon religion and religious narratives to frame social problems and/or appeal to human cognition, emotion, and morality?
  • · What are religion’s unique features that distinguish it from other social phenomenon and help explain its distinct capacity to influence human and social life?
  • · How, and under what circumstances, does religion contribute to new forms of identity, community, meaning, expression, moral conviction, and social control? How do we, as sociologists of religion, communicate religion’s relevance in these facets of our lives, to others?

Paper and session proposals may speak to these themes, or they may engage with any topic relevant to the sociology of religion. We especially encourage proposals that pursue and stimulate new avenues of research and/or innovative theoretical and/or methodological approaches. Specialty sessions are also welcome, including book salons, teaching and professional development, and discussions that focus on a particular question of interest.

We are very excited about our upcoming conference and the opportunities it will provide for intellectual interchange. Indeed, if people are interested in developing and structuring sessions in an especially creative manner, we are open to different (but feasible) approaches. Please email Program Chair Brian Starks to discuss any ideas you have and how we might accommodate them.


  • Session proposals: March 31, 2021
  • Paper abstract submissions: April 30, 2021
  • All submissions should be made through the ASR website at

ASR Membership is required for organizing a session, presenting a paper, serving as a panelist, or holding another role in the program. All are expected to register for the meeting by July 1, 2021. For questions, contact Brian Starks (, James Cavendish (, or Rachel Kraus (

Note 1: Because of the pandemic, our meeting this year will be a virtual conference. We have been working hard to design a stimulating experience that allows the intellectual interchange, the networking, and the chance to catch up with old and new friends that make our in-person conferences so enjoyable.

I am happy to report that we will be using a major platform with previous experience running other academic conferences. This platform organizes all sessions into a single attractive, easy-to-access online hall. The platform will also host our major plenary sessions and allow publishers to hold virtual book exhibits. To this, we are excited to be incorporating a virtual café that will remain open throughout the conference. This will allow private conversations and will let people meet and network easily with other participants during the conference at any time.

Our goal is to have each session include not only a traditional facilitator, but also a technological convener who could help individual participants with any technology related issues or questions. This will allow facilitators to focus on time-keeping and substantive conversation, as they usually do. Towards that end, if there are grad students or others interested in earning a little extra money by serving as technological conveners for several sessions, please email me at

Note 2: We do not yet know our exact dates, as we are still waiting for the ASA to confirm the date of the Religion Section’s session. We want to avoid overlapping with them, so people can participate in both conferences. We simply ask you to keep August 7-10 open in your schedules. We will let you know exact dates as soon as we can.

Call for Papers: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2021


Deadline to Submit to the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting is February 3

ASA invites you to submit proposals for its 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, August 6-10, 2021. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 11:59 p.m. (Eastern). We are accepting submissions for:

  • Papers, which have four outlets, including Regular Sessions, Section Sessions, Roundtables, and the Student Forum. You may elect to a submit either a full paper (15-35 pages) or an extended abstract (3-5 pages)—a new feature this year. If you submit an abstract and it is accepted, plan to send the full paper to session participants at least a month before the annual meeting .
  • Courses, which are half- or full-day opportunities for sociologists to gain new skills and knowledge
  • Workshops, including: (1) Departmental Leadership and Management; (2) Professional Development; (3) Research and Policy; and (4) Teaching.
  • Preconferences, which provide an opportunity for disciplinary peers to gather for an extended period to discuss their work related to a particular field of study, theory, perspective, question, controversy, or professional context.
  • Ideas for Future Research, which are primarily networking roundtables valuable to those who are developing a new set of ideas or formulating issues and who would like to have these explored further by colleagues with similar interests.
  • The Sociology in Practice Settings Symposium, where sociologists employed in government, non-profit organizations, commercial industry, research centers, and other practice settings can present abstracts that address the context-specific opportunities and challenges of their work.
  • The Teaching and Learning in Sociology Symposium, which will advance the conference theme of “Emancipatory Sociology: Rising to the Du Boisian Challenge.”

Review the Call for Submissions for details. Contact if you have questions.