CFP: BSA Study Day – Sacred Space in Secular Institutions

Sacred Space in Secular Institutions

 Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15

 Venue: Humanities Bridgeford Street Building 1.69 (University of Manchester)

Date: Friday 18th January

The role, form and affect of sacred space(s) within ‘secular’ institutions is a theme that is increasingly attractive to scholars within the social sciences. This Socrel study day will consider how different types of organisation – including but not limited to educational establishments, hospitals and hospices, airports, public buildings, shopping centres, etc – ‘make space’ for faith, sacrality and religious practice(s) within their buildings, management structures and public offerings.

The study day will also consider: the key social, cultural and political drivers behind these spaces; precursors and ongoing developments; how such spaces are positioned within contemporary policy debates; and the practical issues practitioners should consider when designing and managing ‘sacred space’ within a secular institution. The day will be centred around three axes:

  • A reflection upon the wide range of institutions that contain set-aside ‘sacred space’.
  • A close sociological reading of what ‘happens’ within these spaces on a day-to-day basis, and how this might be conceptualised methodologically. For instance, how are they ‘shared’? How can effective use be measured?
  • A thoroughgoing assessment of the role and practice(s) of extant religious groups and traditions, within the provision and ongoing usage of these spaces.


We welcome contributions of any length (20 minute papers, 10-15 minute presentations) which address these, and any of the following questions:

  • What are these spaces for, and how are roles and designations contested?
  • What is or can be sacred about these spaces?
  • To what extent are these spaces multi-faith in either description or usage?
  • Do these spaces demonstrate novelty or continuity with existing forms?
  • What are the normative factors governing the development of these spaces (e.g. cohesion, diversity, customer focus, etc). Can these factors always be reconciled?

 Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December:2012-13 Socrel Study Day CFP


CFP: Social relations and Human Security Conference: The role of belief in society/Secularism and Pluralism‏

Social relations and Human Security Conference
Friday 22nd – Saturday  23rd March
Centre for Social Relations (incorporating the Institute
of Community Cohesion), Coventry University

We live in an interconnected world that transports social issues across and between people, sectors, communities and societies. Tackling some of the drivers and misconceptions that underpin the most pressing problems for societies today –ethnicity, the environment, or socio-economics – requires continued multi-disciplinary dialogue between, governments, practitioners and publics.

The context of contemporary people-to-people relationships and the consequences of differences are both an opportunity and challenge for human security agendas. The question of how we interact, whether at work or at home, with people who we perceive as different to us is central to our sense of stability and security, not just for ourselves, but also for our families and communities. How do we challenge polarising narratives and negative representations through new models of engagement or dialogue? How can we develop communities where people interact in a meaningful way and experience true equality of opportunity? How can we help to equip people in the UK and globally to live engaged and peaceful lives in pluralistic societies?

In learning to understand how our social relations play out in communities both locally and globally, we can begin to address how to live together in peaceful relationships in a world of difference.

Keynote speakers include:

Professor Linda Woodhead, Professor in the sociology of religion in the Department of Politics, Philosophy & Religion at Lancaster University,
Prof. Salman Hameed, Director Centre for the study of Science in Muslim Societies, Hampshire College, US.
Abstract submission:
Our conference will explore the importance of work under the broad banner of social relations in policymaking, international inter-cultural dialogue/cross-community dialogue and academic research. Applied research, empirical studies and critical theoretical papers are welcomed on topics including, but not limited to:

• Agendas for social relations at a community level
• The role of belief, class or ethnicity in society, public space, or discourse
• New directions in intercultural dialogue/cross community dialogue
• The impact of top down vs. bottom up approaches on communities and policy
• Individuality vs. Individualism
• Secularism and Pluralism in local, national and international contexts
• Multiculturalism, Identity and Integration
• Inter-generational conflict/relations
• Do we need a new social contract for diversity?

Proposals are welcomed from researchers of all nationalities at all stages of their careers.

Session proposals should normally consist of three or four papers, with or without a commentator/chair. Sessions will be 90 minutes to 2 hours long.   Proposals for alternative types of session (eg. round-table or witness seminar) are strongly encouraged.  Please discuss this with us in advance of the Call for Papers deadline.

Proposals for individual papers should include an abstract of no more than 250 words. Abstracts should not contain footnotes and should be comprehensible to a non-specialist audience.

The deadline for submitting a session or abstract is 14th January 2013 

Abstracts should be submitted to:

Any enquiries should be directed to: Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker 
For further information and updates please go to:




Event: International conference of the Research Training Group “Religious Non-Conformism and Cultural Dynamics”

This event will be held at the University of Leipzig,  01-03 February 2013

Religious Non-Conformism is a powerful element of cultural tension. Whether in Iraq, Tibet or Germany, be it in the past or present – religious deviation can be punished, can be domesticated or it may also inaugurate wild cultural dynamics. The international conference of the DFG-Research Training Group “Religious Non-Conformism and Cultural Dynamics” provides a forum for scholars of different disciplinary backgrounds to present specific case-studies from various temporal, spatial and cultural areas. Theories will be challenged and theorems will be formulated.

Challenging Consensus_Einladung



Britain’s New Religious Landscape

Speaker: Professor Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University)

Chair: Dr Matthew Engelke (LSE)

Date and Time: 7 November 2012, 16.30-18.00

Venue: Seligman Library, Old Building, LSE

Professor Woodhead argues that a profound shift has taken place in the religious landscape of Great Britain since the late 1980s, a shift whose significance has been highlighted by research on the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme. The dominant mode of religion in this country is now one which differs profoundly from the Reformation mode of religion, which was modernised and ‘purified’ in the course of the 20th century. Professor Woodhead identifies key features of the new post-Reformation form of religion – its organisational, magical, and moral aspects – and shows how its co-existence with older Reformation forms of religion explains a great deal about the landscape we now inhabit.

The seminar by Linda Woodhead on 7 November is an opportunity to interact with one of the leading sociologists of religion in the world, and someone who has a unique vantage point on religion and society, via her stewardship of the AHRC/ESRC programme. The seminar room holds about 40 people: don’t miss this chance to hear one of Britain’s foremost sociologists within the context of a seminar setting, and come early to avoid disappointment.


 Salafi Islam, Online Ethics and the Future of the Egyptian Revolution

Speaker: Professor Charles Hirschkind (University of California, Berkeley)

Chair: Dr Mathijs Pelkmans (LSE)

Date and Time: 8 November 2012, 18.30-20.00

Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Anthropology

In this public lecture, Professor Hirschkind, one of the most influential anthropologists of his generation, looks at the politics of the Salafi movement in Egypt in relation to changing practices of religious media use. The movement is the political face of a much broader and diverse current within Egyptian society, one grounded less in a specific tradition within Islam than in a grassroots movement centred on ethical reform. This is a rare visit for Charles to the UK, and his perspective on Salafi Islam is one you’ll not want to miss.

For more information see the website of the Programme for the Study of Religion and Non-Religion


With Good Reason? A Debate on the Foundations of Ethics

Speakers: Dr Julian Baggini, Canon Dr Angus Ritchie, and Dr Mark Vernon

Date and Time: 6 December 2012, 18.30-20.00

Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

This event is co-sponsored with Theos.

Religious and secular philosophers have long debated whether ethics have an objective basis (moral realism) or a relative basis (moral relativism). But in terms of the first, does theism or atheism offer a better basis for ‘moral realism’In this debate, a theist, an atheist and an agnostic debate this question in what promises to be a lively and (perhaps) spirited exchange.


CFP: What place, if any, does religion have in a secular research university?

Organisers of the Religion and the Idea of a University Conference are inviting proposals for twenty minute papers that engage with the broad question of ‘what place, if any, does religion have in a secular research university?’ .

Topics might include:

  • the research university as a secular space;
  • intellectual and religious virtue;
  • the university and the Common Good;
  • the place of religious literacy in university education;
  • the changing place of religion or spirituality in biomedical research.
  • the Christian or Islamic origins of universities, and their after-effects;
  • universities as sites of inter-faith dialogue and exchange;
  • the role of religion in pastoral/tutorial/welfare care of students, including non-religious students; or
  • the effects and implications of faith commitments amongst staff, or amongst students.

The call for papers poster is available to download here.

Submission guidelines

Submissions should be made by January 31st 2013 and sent to Joy Haughton (

Submissions should include:

  1. Completed cover application form (PDF or Word)
  2. Abstract for 20 minute paper (max. 500 words)
  3. Curriculum Vitae of applicant (max. 2 A4 pages)

Graduate students may wish to be aware that graduate student bursaries are available to assist with conference fees and travel and that some of these will be reserved for graduate students accepted to present papers. Further information on bursaries is available here.

Joy Haughton
Religion and the Idea of a Research University Project
Faculty of Divinity
University of Cambridge

+44 (0)1223 742016

Events: IWM Series “Colloquia on Secularism”

Monday, November 12, 4:30pm

Series “Colloquia on Secularism”

Endre Sashalmi

Professor of History and Deputy-Chairman of the Department of Medieval and Early Modern History, University of Pécs, Hungary


The Secularization of the Public Image of the Ruler in Russia under Peter the Great

With the kind support of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

[ more information… ]



Event: Can the World Afford Religion?

As part of the Faith Interviews, organised by the the Religion and Society programme, Professor Sir John Sulston (humanist and Nobel Prize Winner for work on the genome) will be interviewed by Andrew Brown of The Guardian.
WEDS, 7TH NOVEMBER 2012, 5.30 – 7.00 RUSI, 61 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ET

To register for a free place, email