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SocRel Annual Conference: Call for Papers

Material Religion

Venue: Durham University, UK

Date: 9 – 11 April 2013

Dr Marion Bowman (Department of Religious Studies, Open University)

Professor David Morgan (Department of Religion, Duke University)

Professor Veronica Strang (Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University)

This conference will focus on the physical, material dimension of religious life and practice, one of the major themes of religious research over the last decade. Material forms express and sustain the human search for holiness, transcendence and identity, and attention to the physical can lead scholars to unique and valuable insights. Commitment to religious communities is learned and displayed through relationships to clothing, food, ritual and decoration, in the home, workplace, street or place of worship. This event will encourage interdisciplinary discussion of the significance of material culture in contemporary religion, including the images and architecture of sacred places and the objects and practices of everyday life.

Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

– Material religion in everyday life

– The materiality of gender, class, age and ethnicity

– Sacred objects: statues, icons, relics, holy books, architecture

– Sacred objects in museums and galleries

– Religion, landscape and the environment

– Religion and the arts

– Marketing and consuming religion

– Religion and the body: ritual, experience and emotion

– Health, sickness, disability, death and bereavement

– The materiality of religious media and technologies

– Research methods for the study of material religion

We invite proposals for conference papers (300 words), panels (3-4 papers on a shared theme, 750 words) and posters (200 words). Alternative formats will also be considered. Abstracts must be submitted by October 31st 2012 to Tim Hutchings and Joanne McKenzie at

SOCREL is the British Sociological Association’s study group on Religion. For more details about the study group and conference please visit