Conference Updates & Calls for Papers
CALLS FOR PAPERS — NOVA RELIGIO SPECIAL ISSUES
John M. Bozeman
Peoples Temple and Jonestown: Special issue of Nova Religio
Nova Religio, the quarterly journal on alternative and emergent religions published by University of California Press (http://nr.ucpress.edu/), has scheduled a special issue devoted to Peoples Temple and Jonestown. Articles are sought that address the significance of the group and its end in a variety of ways: treatment in popular culture; fine arts; theoretical developments post-Jonestown; legacy of Jonestown for NRM studies; Peoples Temple as a communal organization; ideology of the group; feminist perspectives; Jim Jones as prophet; race and racism in the Temple and in society; comparative studies of Jonestown and Peoples Temple; effect on Guyana; and any new issues arising that would be of interest to Nova Religio readers. Deadlines: Abstracts of 150 words are due by 28 February 2017; notification of accepted abstracts will be made by 31 March 2017; completed papers no longer than 10,000 words (including endnotes) are due 15 September 2017. For more information, or to submit an abstract, please write: Rebecca Moore, email@example.com.
New Religious Movements in the Nineteenth Century: Special Issue of Nova Religio
Nova Religio is currently seeking articles examining new and alternative religious movements in the nineteenth century for a special issue of the journal. Contributions may employ any methodology (sociological, comparative, historical, etc.) and may explore any topic, so long as it occurs within and explores the significance of the nineteenth century in the formation, maintenance, and spread of emergent religions. Articles with either a global or United States focus are welcome. Deadlines: Abstracts of 150 words are due by 15 March 2017; notification of acceptance will be sent by 15 April 2017; completed papers must fall between 8,000-10,000 words including endnotes and are due 30 December 2017. See Nova Religio’s Style Sheet for papers at http://nr.ucpress.edu/content/submit. For more information, or to submit an abstract, please contact Lydia Willsky-Ciollo, firstname.lastname@example.org.
CALLS FOR PAPERS
2017: A Clarke Odyssey: A Conference Marking the Centenary of Sir Arthur C. Clarke: 9 December 2017, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke is one of the most important British sf writers of the twentieth century – novelist, short-story writer, scriptwriter, science populariser, fan, presenter of documentaries on the paranormal, proposer of the uses of the geosynchronous orbit and philanthropist. This conference will celebrate his life, work and influence on science fiction, science and beyond. We are looking for a twenty-minute papers on topics such as Clarke’s fiction; religion and the paranormal; alien encounters and first contact; Clarke, science and scientists; A.I. and computers; Big Dumb Objects; the Cold War; Clarke’s influence, influences, and collaborations with other writers; adaptations to film, television, radio, comic books, and young adult fiction; politics, nationality, ethnicity/race, gender, sex and sexuality; Sri Lanka/Ceylon; and the Arthur C. Clarke awards for science fiction, achievements in space, and foundation awards. Please submit four-hundred-word abstracts and a hundred-word biography to AndrewMButler42@gmail.com P.A.March-Russell@kent.ac.uk by 30 July 2017. The conference will be co-organised by Dr Andrew M. Butler (Canterbury Christ Church University) and Dr Paul March-Russell (University of Kent), with keynote addresses by Stephen Baxter and Sarah Dillon. Further details will be available from https://2017aclarkeodyssey.wordpress.com/.
American Academy of Religion/Society for Biblical Literature (AAR/SBL) joint meeting: 18-21 November 2017, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
The AAR is one of the largest organizations in the world dedicated to the academic study of religion. The group’s annual meeting brings together over 7500 scholars from some two hundred program areas, including new religious movements, Buddhism in the West, contemporary pagan studies, Mormon studies, and religion and science fiction. This year the new religions section particularly invites papers on the subjects of atheisms and blasphemies, political religions, violence and extremism, metaphysical religions (particularly but not exclusively those of New England origin), Futures and Frontiers of Religion (for a possible co-sponsored session with Religion in the American West Unit: what role do violence, exclusion, and/or extremism play in the building of—or failure to build—utopia?), and papers that forefront concerns of race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability within these topics. Submissions are due by 1 March 2017 at 5pm EST. Further information can be found at https://papers.aarweb.org/content/welcome. The AAR will meet concurrently with the Society of Biblical Literature. General questions can be sent to the Annual Meeting Program Director, at email@example.com (phone: 1-404-727-3049). More information, including information about regional meetings, can also be found at the AAR website at http://www.aarweb.org. Looking ahead, the 2018 annual meeting will be held in Denver, Colorado, 17-20 November 2018.
Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR): 13-14 August 2017, InterContinental Montreal Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Religion regularly makes news across the globe. From long-term conflicts, to terrorist acts, to racial segregation, to conflict with other social institutions, to intra-religious battles, we witness the dividing power of religion. But though perhaps reported less, religion also daily counters division. From movements to create diverse congregations, to peace movements, to non-violence, to demonstrations of forgiveness, to massive movements for justice, we witness the uniting power of religion. What is the impact of religion on division and unity? Why and when does one or the other occur? The very same religion can be used for divergent purposes. As social scientists of religion, our responsibility is to understand the role of religion in the social world. We must understand when it tends toward division and conflict, why, and the implications. And we must understand when religion tends toward unity, peace, and justice, why this occurs, and the implications. This year’s annual meeting is open to all topics within the sociology of religion, but especially welcomes sessions and papers focusing on any aspects of religion and division, conflict, or violence; religion and unity, peace, justice, and other social movements. In so doing we can move to greater knowledge on these central issues, issues impacting humanity around the globe. Session Proposals are due by March 31, 2017 (submit to firstname.lastname@example.org). Paper proposals and abstracts are due by April 30, 2017. Meeting registration is due by July 1, 2017, and hotel reservations are due by July 11, 2017. For further information see the ASR website at http:// www.sociologyofreligion.com.
Communal Studies Association (CSA): 5 - 7 October 2017, Zoar Village State Memorial, Zoar, Ohio, USA.
The 2017 conference theme will be “To succeed, grow and survive, all successful communal groups have had to adapt to changing situations, be they internal or external: internal changes in their leadership, in their environment, and in their membership, as well as those changes taking place in the outside world.” For this conference, which helps celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Society of Separatists of Zoar in 1817, a communal group that successfully adapted to change for 79 years, we invite submissions of papers showing how communal societies, past and present, have adapted, or not adapted, to changing situations, both those they could control and those they could not. We also, as usual, invite paper submissions or panel discussions on other subjects relevant to the study of intentional communities. Please use the online submission process the CSA website provided below. The CSA seeks a wide range of participation and welcomes proposals from graduate and undergraduate students, first-time presenters, and professional and amateur scholars alike. For questions about the program, contact the conference chair, Denise Seachrist, email@example.com . For other questions, contact CSA Director and local arrangements chair Kathy Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Paper and panel proposals are due by May 15, 2017. For further information see http://www.communalstudies.org/annualconference.
The Life and Legacy of Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Movements in Scholarly Perspective: 29-30 May 2017, Antwerp, Belgium.
Organized By The European Observatory of Religion and Secularism (Laïcité) in partnership with Faculty of Comparative Study of Religion and Humanism (FVG), CESNUR and CLIMAS (Bordeaux). 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Exposition of the Divine Principle, written by Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012), founder of the Unification Church that has its roots in South Korea (1954). Since that time, the Unification Church—or Unificationism/Unification Movement(s), among other names and affiliated organizational entities—has spread worldwide and expressed itself in a variety of international contexts. The original Unification Church is a case study of a new religious movement that claims Christian roots but contains a unique and evolving theology, set of practices, and community life that set is apart from the majority Christendom (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox traditions). In this way it may be comparable to say Mormonism or Christian Science, though of course the Unification Movement has its origins outside the United States, and not surprisingly most of its members reside in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and throughout East Asia. With the death of Rev. Moon in 2012, the Unification Church has fractured and a number of rival groups—in addition to dozens of smaller schismatic groups—now claim to be the rightful heirs of the founder’s theological mission and institutional legacies. Thirty-three years after the publication of Eileen Barker’s groundbreaking book The Making of a Moonie (Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, 1984), we invite religious studies scholars to join us in Antwerp to focus on the Unification Church and Movement(s)—their evolution and possible transformations— over the course of 60+ years of existence. Proposal Deadline: February 28, 2017. For further information, see http://www.cesnur.org/2016/moon-cfp.htm.
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion/Religious Research Association (SSSR/RRA) joint meeting: 13 - 15 October 2017, Marriot Wardman Park, Washington, DC, USA.
The theme for the 2017 SSSR conference will be “Going Public: The Social Impact of Scientific Research on Religion.” Increasingly, funding agencies require researchers to include in their proposals knowledge transfer strategies or plans for ensuring that the research results have an impact on a broader public audience. A subcommittee of the American Sociological Association recently tabled a report on including the evaluation of public communication by university scholars as part of their assessment for tenure and promotion. How does thinking about public impact influence the way that we do research? Where do knowledge transfer strategies fit into the research process? How do we know if our research on religion makes a difference? And does it matter? We invite proposals for individual papers or sessions that focus on various aspects of the process of translating the results of scientific research on religion to a variety of audiences beyond, and within, academia including religious individuals, groups and organizations; government and politicians; public service providers; educators; medical professionals and health care workers; therapeutic professionals; members of community agencies; non-governmental organizations; and the media, to name just a few. Potential topics may include the use of diverse media including newspapers, magazines, trade journals, newsletters, television, radio, social media, web sites, and blogs; the opportunities and challenges of new technologies; issues related to the process of knowledge translation; evaluating the impact of knowledge transfer strategies; collaboration with non-academic partners and stakeholders; the promises and pitfalls of public engagement in shaping the research process; the democratization of scholarly research; the role of scholarly research in public debates about religion; the development of policy guidelines; blurring of the lines between the scholarly and the public; the rise of religious nones; diverse methods: visual, action-oriented, community-based, qualitative, and quantitative; how diverse contexts of religious establishment influence knowledge transfer strategies; the impact that the research of graduate students and emerging scholars is making; and the challenges involved in going public with scientific research on religion. Of course, proposals for panels and papers on any topic in the scientific study of religion are welcome. Submissions open 1 February 2017 and close 31 March 2017. Please direct any questions to Catherine Holtmann, Program Chair, Department of Sociology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada, E3B 5A3 (email: email@example.com). See http://www.sssrweb.org for more details.
As is customary, the Religious Research Association will be meeting concurrently with the SSSR. The 2017 RRA theme will be "Applying Our Research.” Scholars from a variety of academic disciplines have studied many topics of interest to religious congregations, denominations, and organizations, as well as to leaders and practitioners. Such topics include social dynamics of congregations, the growth and decline of denominations, clergy health and wellbeing, religion among millennials, the growth of the “nones,” changing views around gender and sexuality, volunteering in local communities, and many others. Despite many scholars’ desire to conduct research that impacts applied religious settings, religious leaders and practitioners are often unaware of our research and how it could inform the challenges they face. The 2017 RRA annual meeting will explore how we can bridge the divide between the academic study of religion and the practical concerns of religious leaders, practitioners, and organizations. Presentations, panels and round table sessions are welcome at this meeting on all topics related to the social dimensions of religion and particularly on topics related to applied and organizational aspects of religion, which reflect the traditional focus of the RRA. In addition to sharing research findings, this call also encourages presenters to share experiences, strategies, and best practices in disseminating research to applied audiences. Key topics for this meeting include, but are not limited to, the following: what are the relevant questions that religious leaders and practitioners are asking? Can existing research answer these questions, or are new research avenues needed? How have you reached out to religious leaders, congregations, or organizations to share findings from your academic research? How have you worked with religious leaders, congregations, or organizations to apply your own academic research? How have you used applied research (case studies, small surveys, etc.) to help religious congregations, organizations, leaders, or practitioners address specific challenges and to what success? How have you seen your research (scholarly or applied) contribute to change in religious congregations or organizations? How do religious leaders and practitioners look for research that addresses the challenges they face? What venues work best for disseminating research to them? Please submit paper and session proposals through the online portal at http://www.sssr.org, choosing the RRA option on the submission form. (Opening and closing dates are the same as for SSSR submissions.)
Society for Utopian Studies (SUS): 9 – 12 November 2017, Doubletree by Hilton Memphis Downtown, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. The Society for Utopian Studies is pleased to be meeting once again in Memphis, Tennessee, and invites submissions and proposals on the theme, “Utopian Gracelands, Dystopian Blues, and the City on the Bluff.”
The city of Memphis is famous for many things: its role in “King Cotton” and the slave trade; its role in the Civil Rights Movement; its music of blues, soul, and jazz; its barbecue and catfish; and, of course, its river. Within walking distance of the Doubletree Downtown are iconic sites representing each of these: the National Civil Rights Museum; Beale Street, Sun Studios, and (a short drive from downtown) Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland; the Rendezvous for barbecue; and the “mighty” Mississippi River. Less well known is the history of indigenous peoples from the Quapaw and Chickasaw Nations, who inhabited the area now known as Memphis on the Mississippi River bluffs, and forced to leave during the Indian Removals of the 1800s. Burial mounds are still visible within the city limits. (Other Tennessee tribes include the Shawnee, Yuchi, Cherokee, and Koasati).
Memphis also claims its fame as the home of FedEx, and of America’s first supermarket chain, Piggly Wiggly. Memphis history thus provides a wide variety of possible approaches and topics related to utopian and dystopian thought and practice. We particularly invite papers related to any aspect of the following:
- Civil Rights and Utopian Political Movements: the history of utopian politics and political movement in Memphis and the South; “the Promised Land”
- Indigenous Communities: Utopia and Dystopia, Before and After the European Arrival
- Global Memphis: from riverboats to vapor trails; transnational exchanges (of cotton, slaves, culture, and packages)
- The Mississippi River in Song and Literature
- The Memphis Sound and the History of Contemporary Music
- African American Literatures and Histories
- Southern Intentional Communities
- Indigenous Literatures and Histories
- Graceland: Elvis Presley and/or his famous home; but also the concept of grace, and its relation to utopian thinking or thematics. Another possible related topic: Celebrity
- Supermarkets and Consumer Utopias
As noted above, non-theme related papers are also welcome. Recent themes of interest at our meetings have included:
- Science/Speculative Fictions from around the world
- Digital Humanities—given the longevity of Utopia and its many imitators, what forms of technology showcase this texts or other imagined or real-world utopias?
- Teaching—pedagogical issues in teaching Utopia and similar works of utopian fiction, teaching dystopian works, theories of teaching speculative fiction
- Artwork—presentations or displays of art and/or analyses of utopian themes in the works of Memphis or Southern artists
As an interdisciplinary society from its founding, we encourage scholars and practitioners from any academic field to join and participate, as well as architects, city planners, artists, musicians—anyone whose work relates to utopian thought and possibility, and dystopian realities and visions. Members of intentional communities are also welcome to attend and/or to present. Abstracts and proposals of up to 250 words are due by 15 July 2017 for the following: a 15-20 minute individual paper; a full panel of up to four speakers, or an informal roundtable of 3-6 presenters (encouraged!); a performance of a creative work or presentation of an artwork or artifact; or a visual/audio presentation in the form of a poster and/or demo. As we do every year, the Society invites papers on any topic related to the literature, history and theory of utopia in literature and practice. This broad umbrella covers dystopia, science fiction, speculative fiction, communal experiments and failures, film representations of any of the above. The deadline for 250-word abstracts and proposals is 15 July 2017, and may be submitted online by clicking on Submit A Proposal on the conference website, http://utopian-studies.org/conference2017. For information about registration, travel or accommodations, please contact Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about panel topics, assistance finding co-panelists, and other questions about the conference program, please contact Andrew Byers or Elizabeth Schreiber-Byers at email@example.com. Those looking for co-panelists are reminded that H-Utopia (https://networks.h-net.org/h-utopia) offers a platform for sending out panel CFPs. Further information can be found at http://utopian-studies.org/conference2017/2017/01/01/call-for-papers-and-proposals/ .
Utopian Studies Society (Europe): 5 - 8 July 2017, European Solidarity Centre
University of Gdansk, Poland. The 18th International Conference of the Utopian Studies Society will be held at the University of Gdansk in Poland. The topic for this year’s conference will be “Solidarity in Utopia.” Solidarity, being an important element of contemporary social and political thought, constitutes an indispensable part of every utopian project as well as the basic condition for successful opposition against all kinds of dystopia and totalitarianism. Postmodern concepts of utopian solidarity do not envisage radical marginalisation of controversial minority discourses for “the common good“, as was often the case in the earlier periods. On the contrary, at present the utopian projects of a better world readily incorporate differences and differentiations into their framework. Aiming to reduce antagonisms through appreciation rather than obliteration of diversities, the utopian projects collide, however, with the yearning for cultural homogeneity and traditional group solidarity, recurrently restored even in most advanced societies. The rise of the mass social movement of “Solidarity” in Gdańsk in August 1980, with its legendary leader and future Polish President Lech Wałęsa, initiated a series of events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the restructuring of the social, political and economic landscape of the world with both utopian and dystopian implications. As the 18th International Conference of the Utopian Studies Society/Europe will be held literally on the site where “Solidarity” – the first free workers’ union in communist Eastern Europe – was born, we hope that it will provide an occasion for lively exchanges of ideas on: the definition and function of solidarity in contemporary socio-political thought; the role of solidarity in intentional communities and utopianism in general; the theme of solidarity in utopian literature, visual media (cinema, television, comics, graphic novels), interactive media (computer & video games), etc.; and the historic role of Polish “Solidarity” as part of the (e)utopian project of restoring European unity in the post-Cold War world and its representations in literature, cinema, and mass media. Papers on any other aspects of utopias and utopianism are also welcome, including representations of utopia and dystopia in all of the aforementioned contexts (literature, art, television, new media, etc.). he main language of the conference is English, though panels in other languages will also be accepted. Proposals are invited in the following formats: (1) 20-minute papers (abstracts of circ. 300 words) or (2) panels of 3-4 papers (please provide the topic and description of the panel, the names of the corresponding author and other participants, and abstracts of all contributions). All submissions should also include e-mail address and contact phone number. Please send all proposals and correspondence to conference secretary Dr Justyna Galant at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for the proposals is 31st March 2017. Confirmations of acceptance will be sent by 9th April 2017. For more information see http://www.utopianstudieseurope.org/ and https://solidarityandutopia2017.wordpress.com/ .
Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR): 2 - 7 July 2017, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Jerusalem, Israel. In 2017, the CESNUR conference will take place, for the first time, in the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, a sacred site to the three monotheistic religions, is a thriving hub of contemporary religious activity. The conference will explore the ways New Religious Movements perceive, create, and reinterpret holy places and sacred histories. We welcome papers on this year's theme: "Holy Lands and Sacred Histories in New Religious Movements." More specifically we welcome lectures that examine perceptions and practices related to holy lands and sacred histories and the (re)creation and invention of new holy spaces and sacred histories in new religious movements. In addition we welcome specific examinations of the Holy Land and its sacred history in Jewish, Muslim and Christian new religious movements. The conference will begin on Sunday evening, 2 July 2017, with a reception and plenary session. Conference sessions will run from Monday and Tuesday (3-4 July), through Wednesday Morning. Wednesday (July 5th) afternoon will be dedicated to a complementary tour of Jerusalem, which will focus on contemporary Jewish, Muslim and Christian encounters. An additional tour of sites related to new and old religions in Northern Israel will be offered on Thursday and Friday (6-7 July). For more information see http://www.cesnur.org.
International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA): 29 June – 1 July 2017, Bordeaux, France.
The ICSA will conduct its 2017 Annual International Conference jointly with Info-Secte/Info-Cult of Montreal and the Société Française de Recherche et d’Analyse de l’Emprise Mentale (SFRAEM) in Bordeaux. The conference theme will be "Cultic Dynamics and Radicalization,” and will address the needs and interests of ICSA’s four main constituencies: former group members, families, helping professionals, and researchers. Attendees and speakers at past conferences have been diverse, including academicians, researchers, helping professionals, former and current group members, families, clergy, educators, and others. Individual presenters at the conference will have 30 minutes for paper delivery and discussion, depending on how many speakers are scheduled for a specific time block. ICSA is firmly committed to freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion. The Conference Committee may be contacted at email@example.com or ICSA, P.O. Box 2265, Bonita Springs, FL 34133, USA. Phone: 1-239-514-3081. Fax: 1-305-393-8193. See http://www.icsahome.com/events/callforpapers for further information.
Swedenborg and the Arts International Conference: 6 June - 9 June, Bryn Athyn College, Pennsylvania (USA).
This international conference will explore Emanuel Swedenborg’s (1688-1772) substantial impact on the arts. A Scandinavian scientist, mystic, and theologian, Swedenborg’s ideas subsequently affected the aesthetics of a broad variety of artists and writers, from Charles Baudelaire, Jorge Luis Borges, and William Blake, to the painters George Inness and Arthur B. Davies (to name but a representative few). This conference is the first of its kind to explicitly focus on Swedenborg’s relation to aesthetics and artistic production. We are seeking paper proposals that do more than simply trace the historical dimensions of such influence, but also examine the dynamics of exchange, the movement between the religious and the aesthetic. Some of our concerns include:
• What can the case of Swedenborg in the arts tell us about broader constitutive relationships between esotericism, spirituality, and culture?
• How do Swedenborg’s ideas figure within larger projects of nineteenth and twentieth century (re)enchantment, and trouble the academy’s assumptions about modernity and the secular?
• What might the recent attention to religion, sensation, and materiality within literary studies and art history have to say about Swedenborg’s concepts of spiritual-and-material correspondence—ideas that turned the world “into a living poem,” in Emerson’s phrasing?
• Where have Swedenborg’s ideas fruitfully encountered other forms of esotericism with strong artistic analogues, such as Theosophy or Mazdaznan? For more information see https://tinyurl.com/swedarts