The Religious History Association holds a regular conference in association with the meetings of the Australian Historical Association on a selected theme. It also provides small grant funding for workshops.

2019 The European Academy of Religion held it’s second round of accepted panels.

On the website were the list of panels and Author Meets Critique sessions submitted and successfully evaluated by EuARe Executive Board.

Many of the accepted panels were also open to paper proposals.


2019: RHA Stream/Australian Historical Association Annual Conference 2019

The Religious History Association is affiliated to the Australian Historical Association, which held it’s Annual Conference in 2019 on 8-12 July at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba.

The conference theme was ‘Local Communities, Global Networks’.  This is of great relevance to those working in aspects of religious history.

The keynote speaker for the RHA stream will be Professor Sylvester A. Johnson, author of African-American Religions, 1500-2000: Colonialism, Democracy and Freedom (Cambridge, 2015) as well as recent works on religion and the FBI and founding director of the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities.

The conveners of the RHA stream invited paper submissions that explored the theme of ‘Local Communities, Global Networks’ as it related to the history of religion. Very few aspects of human life have shaped local communities and global networks – and especially the relationship between the two – as consistently as religious belief, practice and institutions.

2018 The 30th Anniversary Conference of the Evangelical History Association


Held on Saturday 28 July 2018, at The Lang Walker Business Centre, The Scots College, Bellevue Hill, Sydney

Keynote speaker for the conference was Professor John Haldane, one of the world’s leading Christian public intellectuals, who holds a chair in moral philosophy at the University of St Andrews in Scotland as well as appointments at Baylor University, the University of Notre Dame, and Princeton University.

2018 RHA stream at the Australian Historical Association Annual Conference in Canberra

Sensory Cultures and the Communication of Belief

The Religious History Association invited presentations that explored the material and sensory dimensions of the communication of belief.

Our knowledge of devotional practices and rituals, and of beliefs and attitudes, can be enriched by exploring the material and sensory heritage through which religions are interpreted, expressed and understood. We were especially interested in how the material aspects of religion, such as music, movement, architecture, objects, foodways, and clothing, as well as sensory responses to these material forms, express and translate religious commitment.

2017 Postgraduate advanced training seminar (PATS) and Symposium

‘Devotion, Gender and the Body in the Religious Cultures of Europe 1100-1800’

Held Friday 18 August 2017 at Monash University (Clayton Campus) : 11am-5pm and Saturday 19 August 2017 at Pilgrim Theological College, College Crescent, Parkville : 9am-5pm

The Religious History Association was keen to promote the study of religious history across a wide range of chronological periods and religious traditions. To this end, it hosted a postgraduate advanced training seminar (PATS) and symposium, held on Friday 18 August under the auspices of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Monash University, at its Clayton Campus, and on Saturday 19 August at Pilgrim Theological College (part of the University of Divinity), College Crescent, Parkville.

2015 FOUNDATIONAL RELIGIOUS HISTORIES : Local and Global, Past and Present

Report from John Gascoigne, RHA President:

brisbane-mormon-temple Catholic CathedralThe Religious History Association sponsored a one day stream at the Australian Historical Association at Sydney University in July which was organised by Jack Tsonis. This culminated in a thought-provoking key note address by Shurlee Swain  (ACU Melbourne; a member of the RHA executive) entitled ‘In the Beginning:  The Origins and Impact of the Alliance between Church and State in the Delivery of Welfare Services in Australia’. The other papers given illustrate the range and variety of forms of religious history being undertaken in Australia: Willem Oliver  (Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, UNISA): The Colonisation of South Africa: A unique case; Jack Tsonis (UWS): The Imperial Entanglements of Sociology of Religion:  Then and Now;  Raphael Lataster (Sydney): The Gospel According to Bart: The Folly of Ehrman’s Hypothetical Sources; Elisha McIntyre (Sydney): Transparency in the Face of the Internet: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the “Gospel Topics” Essays;  Meredith Lake  (Sydney): Australian Genesis? The bible & the quest for national foundations; James Franklin (UNSW): Archbishop Mannix’s vision for a Catholic Australia; Mark Jennings  (Murdoch): Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity and Late-Modernity: A Symbiotic Relationship?; Glennys Eddy (Sydney): The Meditation Retreat as a Contemporary Cultural Phenomenon and Bernard Doherty (Macquarie): Spooks and Scientologists: Secrecy, Surveillance and Subversion in Cold War Australia 1954-1983.

As president I was pleased to represent the Association at the Congress of Historical Sciences in Jinan, China in August. These congresses are held every five years, the previous one being in Amsterdam in 2010 and the one before that at UNSW in 2005.  In 2020 it will be held in Poznan, Poland.  One of the affiliated societies is the Commission Internationale d’Histoire et d’Études du Christianisme (CIHEC) to which the Association is affiliated. Its webpage listing forthcoming conferences and national committees (including our association) can be found at: At the Jinan conference CIHEC sponsored three strands over two days on the subjects: indigenisation, science and religion (in which section I gave a paper on Francis Bacon’s religious thought) and the Migration of Religious Ideas.

The Association has also given a grant to support a conference entitled ‘Mining Faith: A workshop on Faith, Spirituality and Religion in Australian Mining History’, which was  held at La Trobe University, Ballarat on 18 February 2016 and it is hoped that it will give rise to a special journal issue. The convenor was Dr Jennifer Jones, Lecturer in Indigenous Studies, Department of History and Archaeology, La Trobe University, Bendigo Campus ([email protected]).

2014 Queensland: Religion and Conflict

The Religious History Association, in conjunction with the Centre for the History of European Discourses at The University of Queensland, has great pleasure in calling for papers for the next annual conference of the Religious History Association to be held at the University of Queensland, St Lucia campus, from 8—10 July 2014. The conference theme is “Religion and Conflict.” Papers addressing all aspects of the theme are invited : The Religious History Association are delighted to be sponsoring: Keynote Speaker: Professor Emeritus Ron Numbers (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

2013 Wollongong: Mobilities and Mobilisations in History

  • Held in conjunction with the 32nd AHA conference in Wollongong, 8-12 July 2012.

2012 Adelaide: Secularism and History

  • Held in conjunction with the AHA conference in Adelaide, 9-13 July 2012
    2010. The keynote speaker was RHA President Prof. Hilary Carey, University of Newcastle NSW. The proceedings of this conference, with leading article by Prof. Barry Kosmin, edited by Christopher Hartney, was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2013. See also the special virtual issue of the Journal of Religious History on the theme of Secularism.

2010 Perth: Colonial Religionasa

  • Held in conjunction with the AHA conference in Perth, July 2010. The keynote speaker was Em. Professor Andrew Porter, formerly Kings College London, UK.

2008 Melbourne: Religion and Globalization

  • Held in conjunction with the AHA conference in Melbourne, July 7-10 2008. The keynote speaker was Professor Alexandra Walsham, University of Exeter, UK whose paper “Sacred Topography and Social Memory: Religious Change and the Landscape in Early Modern Britain and Ireland” appeared in the Journal of Religious History 36.1 (2012): 31-51.

2006 Canberra: Religion and Empire

  • Held in conjunction with the AHA conference held in Canberra. The keynote speaker was Prof. Andrew Walls (Edinburgh). Papers based on this conference were published in the Journal of Religious History 32.2 (2008), edited by John Gascoigne with a lengthy historiographical introduction.

2004 Newcastle: Visions in Religion and History

  • The 2004 meeting of the Society was held in Newcastle from 5 – 9 July 2004. The keynote speaker was Prof. Ronnie Po-chi Hsia, whose paper was entitled: Dreams and Salvation: A Comparison of Dream Narratives in Christian and Buddhist Conversions in Late 16th and Early 17th-century China. Published in the Journal of Religious History 27.2 (June 2003): 143-60.

2002 Brisbane: Crossing Boundaries in Religion and Science

 2000 Adelaide: Religion and National Identity

  • Papers from this conference, including the keynote paper by the late Prof. Adrian Hastings,  have been published in the special issue, Religion and National Identity, ed. John Gascoigne, Journal of Religious History 25.3 (Oct. 2001).

1998 Sydney: Millennium