CALL FOR PAPERS – RHA Conference 2015

CALL FOR PAPERS – RHA Conference 2015



FOUNDATIONAL RELIGIOUS HISTORIES – Local and Global, Past and Present

Recent global events make it clear that religious identities remain a powerful motivating force in today’s world. Religious communities are everywhere shaping the dynamics of conflict and cooperation, and the experiential frameworks of religious traditions continue to offer a deep sense of meaning and belonging against the alienating tendencies of modern existence. What role does history play in the formation of these identities, consciously or otherwise? How are existential narratives and community practice changing in a complex and rapidly evolving media environment?

In academia, the once dominant “secularization thesis” lies in tatters. Having recognized the parochial and ethnocentric assumptions of twentieth-century social theory, scholars of religion have begun to generate new ways of producing knowledge that are both more in tune with the reality of global trends and more conscious of the link between geopolitical power and systems of representation. What role does historical analysis play in this new paradigm? What types of historiography exist in the study of religion, and what are they useful for? What intersections exist between historiography and other modes of scholarship? What stories need to be told? What stories need to be told differently?

The RHA invites a broad engagement with these questions in its 2015 call for papers.

Themes and topics may include:

  • Textual and material studies in the history of religion (including comparative studies
  • The significance of history in theological thought
  • Historical trends in religious thought and practice
  • The role of technology in the recent history of religion
  • Historical/ethnographic studies of contemporary religious communities
  • The role of history in the production and maintenance of collective identity
  • The history of religious studies as discourse and discipline
  • Critical perspectives on method and theory in the study of religion
  • Intersection of historiography with other disciplinary approaches

The RHA conference will be held at the University of Sydney on July 7, 2015, as part of the Australian Historical Association (for more information on this event please visit the AHA webpage at, conference (which runs July 6-10). All sessions will be held on a single day, with the RHA keynote address the same evening.


SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA We are please to announce the keynote speaker will be Professor Shurlee Swain (Professor of Humanities – ACU, Melbourne Campus).

Professor Swain’s research has been crucial to the publicity and political attention given to Australia’s history of forced adoptions and abuse of children in care. Her latest of many books, The Market in Babies: Stories of Australian Adoption (co-written with Marian Quartly and Denise Cuthbert) was launched to extensive media attention.


Please submit abstracts of no more than 200 words to [email protected] by February 28, 2015.

Each paper will run for 20 minutes with 10 minutes for question time. Panels are allocated 90 minutes in total.

Any abstracts not selected for the RHA conference will be passed on to organizers of the larger AHA conference.

You are invited to circulate this  call for papers widely.