Wijsen, Frans, 2013, Religious Discourse, Social Cohesion and Conflict: Studying Muslim-Christian Relations. Oxford, etc. Peter Lang Academic Publishing, 231 pp., ISBN 978-3-0343-0944-8 (pbk.), €52, BP42, US$67.95; ISBN 978-3-0353-0484-8 (eBook), €52, BP42, US$67.95 (= Religions and Discourse, 55)
This book analyses religious identity transformations through inter-religious relations. It aims to highlight the link between religious discourse and social cohesion, or the lack of such a link, and ultimately seeks to contribute to the dominant discourse on Muslim–Christian relations. The book is based on fieldwork in Indonesia and Tanzania, and is timely because of the growing tensions between Muslims and Christians in both countries. Its relevance lies in its fresh look at theories of religion and science.
From its establishment as an academic discipline, the phenomenology of religion has dominated religious studies. Its theory of religion is ‘realist’ (religion is a reality ‘in itself’) and its view of science is objectivist (scientific knowledge is true if its representation of reality corresponds with reality itself). Based on Discourse Theory, the author argues that religion does not exist ‘in itself’. Human practices and artifacts become religious because they are placed in a narrative context by the believers. By using discourse analysis as a research method, the author shows how religious identities in Tanzania and Indonesia are constructed, negotiated and manipulated in order to gain material or symbolic profit.
IMPORTANT UPDATE REGARDING BASR/ EASR/IAHR 2013 LIVERPOOL CONFERENCE 3-6 SEPTEMBER
The 2013 BASR / EASR / IAHR Conference to be held in Liverpool Hope University is announcing a re-launch for the conference. Prof. Ron Geaves, the conference organiser to date, has had to step aside due to health issues, so there is now a new conference team structure in place, and we are using this as an opportunity to re-launch the conference and provide key information updates:
1) Secure online registration is NOW LIVE – please go to www.hope.ac.uk/religionmigrationmutation for details of full residential conference packages, day rates (for those not requiring on-campus accommodation) and useful travel information.
2) The deadline for submission of panels and papers has been EXTENDED TO JUNE 15TH. We are delighted with the quality of panels and papers submitted so far, and welcome further submissions.
3) Please use the dedicated email address for any queries – email@example.com
4) A detailed timetable will be released after the deadline for panel/paper submissions, but for those making travel plans, the conference will start with registration 10am-4pm on Tues 3rd and end after lunch on Friday 6th.
5) In addition to panels, papers and meetings, the full conference package will include a Gala Dinner with accompanying live band playing 1960s Beatles/’Merseybeat’ music for which the city is so famous, and there will be a cultural tour of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site Docks and Museums quarter.
Liverpool – the European Capital of Culture in 2008 – is a very exciting city with UNESCO World Heritage Status for its iconic Docks area. With more Georgian buildings than any other city in Britain, other than Bath, Liverpool boasts a world-renowned Philharmonic Orchestra, the Walker Art Gallery, the new multi-million pound waterside Museum of Liverpool, one of only two Tate Art Galleries outside of London, two of the most famous football teams in Europe, and the largest Cathedral in Britain. Home to the Beatles, and many other successful ‘Merseybeat’ bands of the 1960s, the city retains a proud tradition of music and the performing arts and is home to Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts.
We look forward to welcoming you to Liverpool Hope University, and the city of Liverpool, for what will be a stimulating and enjoyable conference for all BASR/EASR/IAHR friends and colleagues.
Stephen Gregg, Conference Organiser & BASR Hon. Treasurer
Conference Website: http://www.hope.ac.uk/religionmigrationmutation/
The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary has just released a new report: Christianity in its Global Context, 1970–2020: Society, Religion, and Mission. The report covers major demographic trends in global Christianity, world religions, and mission over the past 40 years, while tracking potential trends for the next 10 years.
The statistics for Africa indicate a growth of the total Christian population on the continent from 38.7% (1970) to 49.3% (2020) – a growth parallel to a decrease of ‘ethnoreligionists’ from 20.5% to 8.7% over the same period, and a slight increase of Muslims (from 40.0 to 41.7%).
I am not sure whether the statistics are really helpful to further understand the growth of Christianity on the continent. The report is based on the World Christian Database, which divides Christianity in six traditions (Anglicans, Independents, Marginals, Orthodox, Protestants, and Roman Catholics) but does not look at Pentecostal Christianity as a separate category. Thus, even though the report states that ‘renewalist Christians’ in Africa will grow from 18.8 million (1970) to 226.2 million by 2020, in the report’s section on Africa itself these Christians and their dramatic growth are not mentioned at all. Instead we read that Catholics remain the largest block and that Anglicans have seen the fastest growth – this may partly be explained from the renewalist movements within these denominations, but what about Pentecostal Christians outside the categories of the WCD?
You can look at the report here
Its time to start thinking about our next AASR Conference and we’re excited to announce that we’ll be turning our attention back to the environment as we meet at University of Cape Town in South Africa, July 30-August 3, 2014. Now is a great time to be thinking about the paper you want to submit. The theme for this year’s conference is: Religion, Ecology, and the Environment in Africa and the African Diaspora. Papers can be submitted online through our online submission system. Read the full conference announcement here.