CFP: Teaching & Studying Religion: Choices and Challenges

Call for Papers: Teaching and Studying Religion: choices and challenges

Contributions are invited for a forthcoming symposium organised by Socrel, the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group, with funding from the Higher Education Academy, Philosophy, and Religious Studies Subject Centre.

Keynote speaker: Dr Adam Dinham, Director of Goldsmiths Faith and Civil Society Unit and Programme Director for the ‘Religious Literacy Leadership in Higher Education’ programme.

Venue: BSA Meeting Room, Imperial Wharf, London
Date: 15 December 2011
Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The subject of ‘religion’ as a topic for study is not straightforward. As with other significant constituents of identity, such as sexuality, gender, ethnicity, or class, ‘religion’ is not a neutral subject. And yet, we study it, deconstruct it, analyse, and measure it, recognising as we do that definitions are bound to be contested, fluid, and sometimes slippery.

This focused symposium is designed to share examples of how participants in a variety of disciplines have chosen to approach challenges in teaching and learning about ‘religion’. We hope to attract presentations of sufficient quality to lead to an edited publication.

Our day will be highly participative and engaged. The symposium will be organised as a single stream so that the day is as much about discussion as it is about presentation, and therefore the number of formal papers will be limited.

Papers are invited from students, teachers, and researchers in the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, geography, theology, history, psychology, political science, and others where religion is taught and studied. Empirical, methodological, and theoretical papers are welcomed.

Presenters will circulate a five-page summary of their paper before the session so that all participants can come prepared for discussion. Presentations will last 10 minutes and will be structured into three sessions, each followed by a discussant drawing out key points. The day will conclude with a discussant-led, focused panel discussion.

Key questions to be addressed may include, but are not limited to:

  • How do different disciplines approach religion? What are the advantages and disadvantages of particular disciplinary approaches? How do historical differences in the construction of religion in different disciplines shape our practice today?
  • How is research on religion captured and communicated through the curriculum?
  • What approaches have we adopted that best equip us, as teachers and students, to study and teach religion?
  • Are there hidden codes in teaching and studying religion that should be articulated – perhaps relating to gender, social class, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, or history?
  • Are there ethical and inclusivity considerations specific to teaching religion?
  • How does the teaching of religion in schools affect the HE sector?
  • Does the increased public visibility of religion in national and global contexts affect how we teach and study it?
  • Are there distinct regional, national, or international approaches to studying and teaching religion?

Abstracts of 200 words are invited by September 15 2011: Dr Abby Day: and Dr Anna

Costs: £36.00 for BSA/SocRel members; £45.00 for non-members; £20.00 for SocRel/BSA Postgraduate member; £25.00 for Postgraduate non-members.



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(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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