Dedicated to historical, critical, and social scientific approaches to the study of religion, as well as a relentlessly reflexive critique of the theories, methods, and categories used in such study.

NAASR Note: Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion

JCSRAlong with Pascal Boyer and Armin W. Geertz, NAASR co-founder Luther H. Martin is one of the editors of a new journal, the Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion. 

Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion is the official journal of the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion (IACSR). The Association was founded in 2006 and since then has sponsored a number of international collaborative projects and biennial conferences. A subscription to the journal is included in membership.

The cognitive science of religion is a burgeoning field that finds itself in the center of cross-disciplinary research. Cognition is understood in a variety of ways from bottom-up to top-down models and theories. New insights into cognition, culture and religion are being discovered, new ways of doing research are being established and new methodologies and technologies are being used in the cognitive science of religion. The number of scholars and scientists working in this exciting field are expanding exponentially, and the journal provides a cutting-edge publication channel for this field.

You can find more information at the publisher’s website here.

2015 IAHR CFP Deadlines Approaching

IAHR-2015The deadline for panel proposals for the 2015 IAHR World Congress—to be held in Erfurt, Germany—is 14 September 2014! (The deadline for individual paper proposals is a little further off: 15 December 2014). You can find out more about the IAHR Quinquennial meeting by checking out the IAHR website or the conference website.

Here’s are the details for the call for panels:

We invite contributions from all disciplines of religious studies and related fields of research to allow for broad, interdisciplinary discussion of the Congress topic to register their panels for the XXI World Congress of the IAHR. Panels should address one of the four thematic Congress areas: Religious Communities in Society: Adaption and Transformation – Practices and Discourses: Innovation and Tradition – The Individual: Religiosity, Spiritualities and individualization – Methodology: Representations and Interpretations.

Each panel lasts two hours. Panel papers should be limited to 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of panel participants. Panel conveners are asked to approach possible participants from different nations to reflect the scope and internationality of the IAHR Congress.

To propose a panel, please submit a general proposal of the panel as well as individual proposals of all papers included in the panel. Both panel and papers of a proposed panel will be evaluated by the Academic Program Committee to ensure a high academic standard of the Congress program. We therefore ask panel conveners to submit the proposals of all prospective panel participants of a proposed panel as indicated by the submission form. Proposals of panels and of papers should not exceed 150 words.

The deadline for submission of proposals is Sunday, September 14, 2014. All proposals must be submitted electronically via the IAHR 2015 website (www.iahr2015.org). As part of the submission process, you will be asked to indicate the area in which you would like your proposal considered. Your proposal will then be forwarded to the appropriate member of the Academic Program Committee.

You will receive notice concerning the status of your proposal as soon as possible and certainly before March 1, 2015. If your panel or paper has been accepted by the Academic Program Committee, please note that you will have to register as Congress participant before May 15, 2015 to be included in the Congress program.

 

Books of Interest: Harnessing Chaos

harnessing chaosJames G. Crossley, Harnessing Chaos: The Bible in English Political Discourse Since 1968 (Bloomsbury, 2014).

Harnessing Chaos is an explanation of changes in dominant politicalized assumptions about what the Bible ‘really means’ in English culture since the 1960s. James G. Crossley looks at how the social upheavals of the 1960s, and the economic shift from the post-war dominance of Keynesianism to the post-1970s dominance of neoliberalism, brought about certain emphases and nuances in the ways in which the Bible is popularly understood, particularly in relation to dominant political ideas. This book examines the decline of politically radical biblical interpretation in parliamentary politics and the victory of (a modified form of) Margaret Thatcher’s re-reading of the liberal Bible tradition, following the normalisation of (a modified form of) Thatcherism more generally.

Part I looks at the potential options for politicized readings of the Bible at the end of the the1960s, focussing on the examples of Christopher Hill and Enoch Powell. Part II analyses the role of Thatcher’s specific contribution to political interpretation of the Bible and assumptions about ‘religion’. Part III highlights the importance of (often unintended) ideological changes towards forms of Thatcherite interpretation in popular culture and with particular reference to Monty Python’s Life of Brian and the Manchester music scene between 1976 and 1994. Part IV concerns the modification of Thatcher’s Bible, particularly with reference to the embrace of socially liberal values, by looking at the electoral decline of the Conservative Party through the work of Jeffrey Archer on Judas and the final victory of Thatcherism through Tony Blair’s exegesis. Some consideration is then given to the Bible in an Age of Coalition and how politically radical biblical interpretations retain a presence outside parliamentary politics. Harnessing Chaos concludes with reflections on why politicians in English politicians bother using the Bible at all.

NAASR Note: The Problem of the Mystic East

The Bulletin for the Study of Religion blog has a post on “The Problem of the Mystic Eastmystic-east” that might be of interest to NAASR members.

JAAR Editor Search

JAARThe Journal of the American Academy of Religion is looking for a new editor, as Amir Hussein will be stepping down at the end of 2015. You can find more information and learn how to apply at the AAR website here.

Resources of Interest: New Books in Religion

new books religionFor those of you who aren’t already familiar with this resource, be sure to check out New Books in Religion. According to their description,

New Books in Religion features discussions with scholars of religion about their work, and particularly their new books. We explore the world’s great traditions, local manifestations of religion, theory and method in the study of religion, and the role of religion in public life, among many other things.

The typically hour-long podcast Interviews are ably conducted by Kristian Petersen, and you’ll find a lot of interviews with NAASR members and officers, including Steven Engler, Brent Nongbri, Robert Yelle, Russell McCutcheon, William Arnal, Aaron Hughes, Monica Miller, and several more.

Books of Interest: Race and Displacement

race displacementMaha Marouan and Merinda Simmons (eds.), Race and Displacement: Nation, Migration, and Identity in the Twenty-First Century (University of Alabama Press, 2013).

Race and Displacement captures a timely set of discussions about the roles of race in displacement, forced migrations, nation and nationhood, and the way continuous movements of people challenge fixed racial definitions.
The multifaceted approach of the essays in Race and Displacement allows for nuanced discussions of race and displacement in expansive ways, exploring those issues in transnational and global terms. The contributors not only raise questions about race and displacement as signifying tropes and lived experiences; they also offer compelling approaches to conversations about race, displacement, and migration both inside and outside the academy. Taken together, these essays become a case study in dialogues across disciplines, providing insight from scholars in diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, literary theory, race theory, gender studies, and migration studies.
The contributors to this volume use a variety of analytical and disciplinary methodologies to track multiple articulations of how race is encountered and defined. The book is divided by editors Maha Marouan and Merinda Simmons into four sections: “Race and Nation” considers the relationships between race and corporality in transnational histories of migration using literary and oral narratives. Essays in “Race and Place” explore the ways spatial mobility in the twentieth century influences and transforms notions of racial and cultural identity.  Essays in “Race and Nationality” address race and its configuration in national policy, such as racial labeling, federal regulations, and immigration law. In the last section, “Race and the Imagination” contributors explore the role imaginative projections play in shaping understandings of race.
Together, these essays tackle the question of how we might productively engage race and place in new sociopolitical contexts.  Tracing the roles of “race” from the corporeal and material to the imaginative, the essays chart new ways that concepts of origin, region, migration, displacement, and diasporic memory create understandings of race in literature, social performance, and national policy.
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