Call for Papers for NSRN 2014 Conference

logoThe call for papers is now live for our 2014 conference on ‘Explaining Nonreligion and Secularity in the US and Beyond’ to be held 19-20 November 2014 at Pitzer College, Claremont,CA.

Full details can be found here:

Please circulate widely. Thanks!

CFP: Religion, Secularity, and the Public Sphere in East and Southeast Asia

Date: 07 Mar 2013 – 08 Mar 2013
Venue: Asia Research Institute Seminar Room
469A Tower Block, Level 10, Bukit Timah Road
National University of Singapore

Co-organised by the Asia Research Institute, NUS and the University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy Contemporary Philosophy in the Age of Globalization, Japan

The ongoing debate about the secular public sphere reaches to the core of the issue of the foundation of modern political power. Scholars upholding liberal democracy insist on a normative, privatized definition of religion in their efforts to sustain the secular, rational public sphere. Critiques of this approach call into question the viability of the distinction between the religious and the secular, and argue the public sphere, far from a free space for rational political discussions, is the very terrain where the public power of the state is deployed to ensure the proper formation of its national-citizens by shaping what they believe as truth. This debate reflects a primary concern with religion and the state as manifested in European and North American context. This conference is an attempt to engage the conversations on religion, secularity and the public sphere from the specific sites of East and Southeast Asia. The goals are to problematize social-political conditions and generate new ways to understand state-society relations in these regions.

Two anchoring points ground the more specific discussions of each paper. First, the “religious” and the “secular” are categories of performativity that have been instrumental in constructing distinctions of the private and public, belief and reason, distinctions central for the operation of the power of modern nation-state. We seek to examine these performativity moves of the categories of the religious and the secular through specific case studies of East and Southeast Asia. Second, the secular public sphere will be rethought. It operates upon the premise of exclusion of what is defined as religion. Questioning the “secular” nature of the public sphere requires interrogations into such notions as public good, citizenship, minority, ethnicity, freedom, and fundamentally the relation of the individual with the public authority of the state. Instead of the liberal democratic public sphere, we propose the possibility of envisioning an alternative one that is unbound, inclusive, and embodied. The conference seeks in the past and present of East and Southeast Asia alternative conceptions and practices of that which can be called a public realm.

We pursue these issues while addressing specific questions of:

  • In what ways are ongoing discussions on religion, secularity and the public sphere relevant to E/SE Asia?
  • How were these ideas shared, borrowed, understood and experienced in this part of the world?
  • How were/are the pre-modern or indigenous conceptions, such as gōnggòng/kōkyō 公共 (public) or maslaha (public good), transformed in modern nation-state building?
  • How did the diverse populations of Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and adherents of other religions in Asia pursue “public good”?
  • How did the definition of religion relate to constructions of nation-states and of modern scientific knowledge in Asia?
  • How did the secular become constitutive of modes of representations of the state in the diverse Asian contexts?
  • How were/are the principles of religion-state separation and religious freedom legally and politically instituted and practiced? What tensions and problems were generated in the process?
  • How and in what sense do the religious revivals in Asia challenge the very ideas of the public sphere and the nation-state, and why?

Papers from any field in the humanities or social sciences are welcome. We are particularly interested in theoretically informed empirical study of cases, issues and events pertaining to the conference themes.
Successful applicants will be notified by January, 2013 and will be required to send a draft paper (5,000-7,000 words) by February 15, 2013. Travel and accommodation support is available from the Asia Research Institute, depending on need and availability of funds.

Workshop Convenors:

Dr. Yijiang Zhong
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Assoc. Prof. Yongjia Liang
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore


Mr Jonathan Lee
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
Contact Person: Mr LEE Ming Yao, Jonathan

NSRN Annual Conference – Schedule announced and early registration deadline extended

Please find attached below the provisional schedule for the forthcoming NSRN conference, to be held at Goldsmiths, University of London, in July.

NSRN Final Schedule

Please kindly circulate widely. 

To register please visit this link  we are pleased to be able to extend the period of ‘early-bird’ registration until 1 June.

CFP: Alternative Salvations conference 18 September 2012

Alternative Salvations

University of Chester, 18 September 2012, 10:30-4:30

CFP DEADLINE 18 May 2012

The Conference
To speak of salvation is, broadly, to speak about transformation from one present reality into a new, transformed and better reality. While the language of salvation itself is not necessarily found in every religious tradition, the hope of, or incentive to work towards, such transformation is a widespread characteristic of many religious traditions. In Christianity, there are a number of dominant perspectives on salvation associated with particular traditions, usually expressed in grand future eschatological narratives. But what of alternative approaches to salvation that have developed outside of established religious orthodoxies? The conference will explore how ‘unorthodox’ readings of sacred texts inform salvation experience; how life transformations outside of religious contexts might be considered spiritual; how  ideas of this-worldly salvation are politicised; how ideas of salvation are simultaneously secularised and infused with new power; what alternative salvations can be discovered within Christianity and how might they be practised. In particular, we are seeking to explore the ways that alternative religious, spiritual and secular understandings of the notion of salvation already shape, and have the potential to shape, how people live and act in Christian and post-Christian contexts.

Call for Papers
This exciting conference breaks new ground in exploring alternative approaches to salvation. Proposals for short papers are invited on any aspect of the theme of ‘alternative salvations’ as outlined here. Papers will normally be 20 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes for discussion. Applications to submit a short paper should include:
·         Proposer’s name and affiliation
·         a title for the paper
·         a 200 word abstract
·         Details of any audio-visual equipment you will need to deliver your paper

Short paper proposals should be submitted to by no later than 4:00pm on 8th May 2012. Applicants should know the outcome of
their proposal by 18th May 2012.

Conference costs: £28 (£18 for unwaged and students) inclusive of lunch and refreshments.

More details about the conference and a booking form can be found at:

Call for Papers – New Forms of Public Religion 5-7 September 2012

Please see below, details of CFP for a conference on New Forms of Public Religion organised as part of the  AHRC/ESRC funded Religion and Society Programme. The conference will take place at the Divinity School, St John’s College, Cambridge, CB2 1TW

Call for Papers

The fact that religion has not privatised, but remains an important aspect of public life, is now well recognised.  But talk of ‘public religion’ can be vague and unfocused. The aim of this conference is to explore – with new findings – the forms which public religion is taking today, not only in the West, but elsewhere in an increasingly connected world.

The conference streams indicate the main arenas in relation to which public religion will be discussed, and on which papers are invited. Additional suggestions are also welcome:

  • The Market and Religion
  • Politics and Religion
  • Law and Religion
  • Religion, Media and Civil Society
  • Violence (State and Non-state) and Religion
  • Religion in Public Places and Spaces
  • Religion, Health and Welfare
  • Religion and Education
  • Religion and Migration

Speakers include:

Lori Beaman

José Casanova

The Rt Hon Charles Clarke

Grace Davie

Pamela Dickey-Young

Stewart Hoover

The Rt Revd Graham James

Meredith McGuire

Nancy Nason-Clark

Jim Spickard

Linda Woodhead

The conference will showcase thirty or so projects funded by the Religion and Society Programme which have new findings in this area. These will be supplemented by the papers received through this open call.

Individual paper proposals (max. 200 words) should be submitted to:  Peta Ainsworth: by 30th April 2012.

The conference is subsidised by the sponsors and costs £100 per delegate, £50 for postgraduates/unwaged (for the entire conference) or £50 per day, £25 for postgraduates/unwaged.  The conference fee excludes accommodation and evening meals.  For further details and registration go to:

A limited number of bursaries are available for postgraduates in the UK who need to travel some distance to Cambridge.  Please send an email with your registration form to Peta Ainsworth stating in one paragraph why you require assistance and how much your travel costs will be.

Registration Now Open for the NSRN Annual Conference

Registration for the NSRN annual conference is now open.

The conference will take 4-6 July 2012, at Goldsmiths, University of London further details and a programme will be published in late May 2012

Full conference (waged) £145
Full conference (unwaged) £110
Day registration, (waged) £65
Day registration, (unwaged) £45

Please download, complete and return the Registration Form, NSRN conference 2012.doc to

Please note, a late registration fee – of £30 for full conference registration and £10 for day rates – will be added after 17 May.

For details of accommodation in the local area, please see the following link

CFP: Radical Secularization? Deadline 1 May 2012

20-22 September  2012, Universiteit Antwerpen will host a conference on secularization theory. Conference organizers are currently accepting abstracts and will do so through May 1

“This three day international conference tries to frame a status quaestionis of secularization theory in the field of contemporary philosophy. It starts off with an assessment of the classic Löwith-Blumenberg debate. This debate centers around the relationship between monotheism and Christianity on one hand, and Modernity on the other. The focus of the conference then shifts to contemporary debates, with Charles Taylor and Marcel Gauchet as exemplary protagonists. The debate will revolve around ‘transcendent’ versus ‘immanent’ readings of Christianity. On its last day, the question of religion in the public sphere comes to the fore.

Though the conference is philosophical in nature, it hopes to explore interdisciplinary crossroads with theology, sociology, and the social sciences in general.”

CFP: Nonreligion and the Secular: New Horizons for Multidisciplinary Research 4-6 July 2012

The call for papers for the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network conference is here! The conference is being held at Goldsmiths University, from 4-6 July 2012

Registration details can be found here

Nonreligion and the Secular: New Horizons for Multidisciplinary Research


Conveners: Lois Lee (, Stacey Gutkowski (, and Stephen Bullivant (

Conference Coordinator: Katie Aston (

Following decades of neglect, the academic study of nonreligion has grown rapidly in the past five years. The primary aim of this conference is to bring together scholars across a range of academic disciplines (sociology, anthropology, theology, political science, psychology, history, international relations, area studies) to begin to untangle the confused and individually contested concepts of nonreligion and the secular. Is nonreligion a subcategory of the secular or vice versa? How do the two terms structure one another? What are the practical and theoretical implications of the concepts, such as they are and/or in alternative formulations? The aim of this international conference is to contribute to addressing this lacuna.  While discussions of nonreligion and the secular have been running largely in parallel, they are potentially mutually enriching topics with significant bearing outside of the academy. This conference will consolidate the achievements already made over the past five years by nonreligion scholars and forge new, multidisciplinary dialogue between these researchers and those primarily working with the concept of the secular. This conference will bring together a range of internationally renowned scholars, including keynote speakers Gracie Davie (Exeter), Callum Brown (Dundee), Monika Wohlrab-Sahr (Leipzig), and Humeira Iqtidar (King’s College London).

The conference engages with a historical moment in which forms of religion and nonreligion have increasingly asserted themselves in the public sphere, in non-Western as well as Western settings. In the case of radical Islamism and New Atheism, such assertions have had powerful, sometimes inflammatory and divisive affect. This urgent wider social and political context demonstrates the urgency of a reasoned, global, scholarly contribution, aimed at further theorising and conceptualising nonreligion and the secular, individually and in relation to each other.

 This conference will interrogate three dimensions and welcomes both empirically- and theoretically-based paper contributions which address the following:

 1) Nonreligion as a concept in its own right

What is meant by the term “nonreligion”? How does it manifest itself in the lives of individuals and in collective social activity and identity? Is it the most appropriate term to encompass a range of phenomena and where may its parameters lie? What is the relationship between nonreligion and modernity? Is nonreligion a resonant category outside of Western contexts? 

 2) The nonreligious in relation to notions of the secular

How do nonreligion and the secular mutually constitute one another? Under what historical social and political conditions did the rise of secularism and secularity facilitate the appearance of the nonreligious? Does the emergence of the nonreligious indicate a new phase of modernity?

 3) The implications of nonreligion research for pressing social and political issues associated with discussions of the secular

What bearing does nonreligiosity have on social, political and legal questions about social cohesion and multiculturalism? To what extent do the “harder” forms on nonreligion breed intolerance and fundamentalism? What are the implications of nonreligion for the possibility of democratic consensus and governance? To what extent do secular political landscapes outside of the West involve or even require the presence of nonreligious phenomena?

Publication Outcome: We are planning to publish a selection of the papers presented at the conference in an edited volume.

 The deadline for abstract submission (250 words max) is 27 April 2012. Please send your abstract together with a short biographical note to Katie Aston at

CFP: Religion on the Move 12-14 September, 2012

Migration is a key concern in secularity studies, regarding the response of non-religious groups to incoming religious practice and the apparent rise of religiosity which appears as religions change and adapt through migration.

Call for Papers: Religion on the Move

How Motion and Migration influence Religion

10th Conference of the SIEF Working Group on Ethnology of Religion

Szeged, Hungary 12-14 September, 2012

In many ways movement is an important aspect of religion and spirituality. Not only has the significance of motion within the practice of religion and rituality increased (Coleman & Eade 2004), but also, through the movement and migration of people all over the world, religions and religious practices are relocating and changing (Jenkins 2007). Movement is significant for the practice of many religions. It seems that motion has been gaining in importance and that the performative expression and execution of religious practice play a stronger part than they used to do. There might be related to the more participative role of believers in religion and rituality and the enhanced relevance of individuals ‘doing’ religion. The popularity of walking the many pilgrim ways through Europe is an example of that trend, while other expressions of movement like dancing, meditations, processions and other rituals also seem to be more in focus.

A second strand of movement is connected to migration for, by moving, people bring faiths and religious practices to other places in the world where they were not previously known or practised. Nowadays, through mass migrations, refugees, displacements because of war and other translocations, religions and beliefs can expand both spatially and quantitatively. These are processes in which the faiths which are moving are being transformed, and the religion(s) of the areas in which people and their religion are newly settled are likewise affected (examples include Islam in Europe and the new Christians from Africa in Europe). Sometimes beliefs are appropriated through tourism or by ‘spiritual seekers’; aspects of Eastern religion and esoterism have been imported to Western society. In that regard the Internet has become a migratative instrument, in its capacity of ‘posting’ religion all over the globe and into people’s homes, regardless of what religion is practised there. The extension of religion through (digital) migration has an impact on social, cultural and political contexts (Woodhead et al. 2002). The movement of religion might lead to an adaptation to new circumstances, to inculturation, but also potentially to a transformation in the religious constituents of the local culture as well. Sometimes there is openness and religion finds new host communities. Evangelical, Pentecostal, neo-Pentecostal churches have spread across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe (Coleman 2007) and so have Afro-American religions, as Candomblé, Umbanda, or Santeria cubana (Capone 2004; Saraiva 2010). Sometimes the members of the host country become involved in such new practices, but movement may also lead to segregation within host communities and contested situations.

Papers connected to these two research strands on movement and religion are welcomed; one could for example think of the following topics:

• The influence of migration on religion

• Movement as constituative element in religion and rituality

• Effects of globalisation and transnationalism on religion

• Changes in religion through digital movement, via the Internet.

• Movement and spatiality related to the practice of religion

Format: the conference takes place over two days, followed by an excursion on the third day. Paper presentations are limited to 20 minutes each, followed by ten minutes of discussion. In total 20 paper presenters will be selected. Colleagues who do not present a paper are welcome to participate in the conference and its discussions. A business meeting of the SIEF Working Group on Ethnology of Religion will be held during the conference. Organizers: the conference is organized by the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Szeged together with the Bálint Sándor Institute for Research on  religion and the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF).

Venue: University of Szeged and Gál Ferenc Theological College of Szeged Fee: the conference fee is 60 €, including conference materials, reception, coffee, brunch, excursion. Participants are responsible for travel and accommodation; there is no funding for expenses available.

Application: submit an abstract of your paper of maximum 300 words, together with your name, position, and institutional affiliation to Dr. István Povedák by March 15, 2012. The selection of the papers will be done in collaboration with the Board of the SIEF Working Group on Ethnology of Religion. The final selection will be communicated by April 1, 2012.


CFP: Exploring the Extraordinary 22-23 September, 2012

The “extraordinary” strikes as an interesting ground between organised non-religion and religion, a ground which cannot be easily claimed by either group. The extraordinary may even be an interesting phenomena for exploring the terrain between these two binary positions, allowing for nuance in the field.


Exploring the Extraordinary 4th Conference
22nd-23rd September, 2012
Holiday Inn, York

Since its inception in 2007, members of Exploring the Extraordinary have organised three successful academic conferences that have brought together researchers from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds. The purpose of these events has been to encourage a wider dissemination of knowledge and research, and an interdisciplinary discussion of extraordinary phenomena and experience. By ‘extraordinary’ we refer to phenomena and experiences that are considered to be beyond the mundane, referring to those that have been called supernatural, paranormal, mystical, transcendent, exceptional, spiritual, magical and/or religious, as well as the relevance of such for human culture.

We are looking for submissions for our fourth conference, and would like to invite presentation proposals on topics related to the above. Please submit a 300-500 word paper abstract to Dr Madeleine Castro and Dr Hannah Gilbert ( by the 6th April 2012. Accepted papers should be on powerpoint, no longer than 20 minutes in length, and intended for an interdisciplinary audience. Please include contact information and a brief biographical note.

For more information, and to see past conference schedules, please visit