‘The Future of Africa’, conference of the African Studies Association in Germany, at Bayreuth University, June 11-14, 2014

The Call for papers for this conference lists 46 panels; cf. http://www.vad-ev.de/bayreuth2014/callforpapers/
I select three that are relevant to scholars of the religions of Africa:
Panel 8: Transformations of Islamic Knowledge in Africa: Media, Agents, and Institutions”. Convenors: Britta Frede & Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Seesemann. For the Call for Papers, visit: http://www.vad-ev.de/bayreuth2014/callforpapers/pdf/panel8.pdf
Panel 16: „The “Gospel of Prosperity” and Social Change in Africa”. Convenor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Heuser. For the Call for paper, visit: http://www.vad-ev.de/bayreuth2014/callforpapers/pdf/panel16.pdf
Panel 32: Religious pathways to better futures. Convenors: Dr. Eva Spies & Dr. Kathrin Langewiesche. For the Call for papers, visit: http://www.vad-ev.de/bayreuth2014/callforpapers/pdf/panel32.pdf.
Papers are welcome until the 17th of November 2013. Please send your abstracts to the panel convenors and to the conference organizers. Email: vad.bayreuth2014@gmail.com

1st Central European African Studies Conference (CEASC), Pilzen, Czech Republic, 14-16 May 2014

1st Central European African Studies Conference (CEASC) on ‘Shifting Identities, Changing Relations: Ethnicity, Culture and Society in an Emerging Africa’, 14–16 May, 2014
Venue: Sedláčkova 15, SP319, Plzeň, Czech Republic
The Central European African Studies Network (CEASN) is proud to announce the 1st Central European African Studies Conference (CEASC) which is going to take place at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
Ethnicity, Culture and Society seem to be very much debated issues in contemporary African Studies and have a great impact on politics, international relations, socio-economic issues and internal dynamics of African countries. Since the pre-colonial through colonial times up to nowadays we have seen enormous changes in African societies that have far-reaching impact on all aspects of daily lives of individuals and societies in Africa. Modern and contemporary history of Africa has witnessed dynamic processes of continuous changes that stand in sharp contrast to public image of Africa as static continent lacking any kind of development.
The 1st CEASC welcomes papers from a wide range of disciplines including anthropology, history, political science and international relations, linguistic anthropology, philosophy, ethnography, development studies and sociology.
The Organizers encourage Ph.D. students, scholars and academics from all institutions of higher education and research to send abstracts to: africa.pilsen@gmail.com until February 20th, 2014. On March 1st, 2014, accepted abstracts will be published on conference websites. In December 2014, a collective monograph composed of selected papers will be published. See more at www.africa-pilsen.com or www.ceasn.eu.
Conference fee is 20 EUR (500 CZK) for non-members of CEASN, 10 EUR (250 CZK) for members of CEASN, and 5 EUR (125 CZK) for Ph.D. students and it has to be paid at registration the first day of the conference.
Keynote speakers: Prof. Toyin Falola (University of Austin); Prof. Jon Abbink (African Studies Centre, Leiden)
Organizing committee: Linda Piknerová (Pilsen), Kateřina Rudincová (Pilsen), Judit Bagi (Pécs), Kateřina Werkman (Prague), Joanna Mormul (Krakow), Istvan Tarrosy (Pécs), Maciej Kurcz (Ciesyn), Robert Kłosowicz (Krakow), Monika Baumanová, Jan Záhořík (Pilsen)
Scientific committee: Mamadou Diouf (Columbia University), Marja Tiilikainen (Helsinki), Baz Lecocq (Gent), Itziar Ruiz-Gimenez (Madrid), Geert Castryck (Leipzig), Ahmed Hassen (Addis Ababa)
The 1st CEASC is taking place at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen under the auspices of doc. PhDr. Pavel Vařeka, Ph.D. (Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts)

IAHR XXI World Congress, Ehrfurt, Germany, 23-29 August, 2015

The Call for Panels and Papers for the XXI IAHR World Congress, on Dynamic of Religions Past and Present, 23-29 August 2015, at Ehrfurt, Germany, has been opened at: http://www.iahr2015.org/iahr/index.html. The deadline for submission of proposals is Sunday, September 14, 2014. Panel and Papers Registration is open now at: http://www.iahr2015.org/iahr-registration/panel-registration.php.

Call for Papers: Public Religion and Issues of Homosexuality in Contemporary Africa

 —Call for Papers—

 Public Religion and Issues of Homosexuality in Contemporary Africa

edited by Ezra Chitando (University of Zimbabwe) & Adriaan van Klinken (University of Leeds)

Issues of same-sex relationships and gay and lesbian rights are subject of public and political controversy in many African societies today. Frequently, these controversies receive widespread attention both locally and globally. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently pending in the Ugandan parliament is a well-known example, but many other examples could be given. In the international media, these cases tend to be presented as revealing a deeply-rooted homophobia in Africa fuelled by religious and cultural traditions on the continent. But so far little energy is expended in understanding these controversies in all their complexity and the critical role religion plays in them. This book volume seeks to address this gap and to enhance such an understanding, exploring issues of religion and homosexuality from various disciplinary perspectives, including religious studies, anthropology and theology, informed by critical social and cultural theory such as postcolonial and queer perspectives.

As editors we share, on the one hand, a concern about the apparent rise of anti-homosexual rhetoric and politics in African contexts, and on the other hand about the image of a generally homophobic Africa that is popular in the West (Awondo, Geschiere & Reid 2012). Through this book project we aim to explore how and why issues related to homosexuality recently have become so central in public and political debates in Africa, examining the trajectories of the ‘politicisation’ of the issue (Awondo 2010) in different countries in relation to both global discourses and politics and local social, cultural and political factors and developments. The project particularly examines the role of religion (religious beliefs, worldviews and sensitivities, sacred texts, religious leaders and organisations, faith communities, faith-based activism, etcetera) in these dynamics—a role that most likely is more ambiguous and multifaceted than often is suggested. We propose a focus on the notion of ‘public religion’, as this enables an analysis of the conflation of religion with politics and public life that is characteristic of the configuration of religion—specifically the major religions, Christianity, Islam and traditional or indigenous religions—in contemporary African societies (Ellis & Ter Haar 2007; Englund 2011) and that is clearly reflected in the debates about homosexuality. Not only does the notion of public religion mean that religion in Africa is highly visible in public and political spheres, but also that it relates in dynamic and complex ways to secular regimes of knowledge, power and politics both nationally and globally—something that is particularly relevant to the contemporary debates about issues related to homosexuality in Africa (Van Klinken 2013; Togarasei & Chitando 2011).

We envision this project as contributing, on the one hand, to the critical analysis and deconstruction of the various myths and popular perceptions—both in Africa and in the West—concerning homosexuality and religion in Africa, and of the local and global dynamics of power in which African debates on the issue are entangled, and on the other hand, to the rethinking of issues of homosexuality from African religious perspectives in relation to broader questions of human rights and social justice (Epprecht 2013).

As editors we solicit papers that either present case studies on public religion and controversies about homosexuality in specific African countries, or explore key themes and perspectives relevant to the understanding of dynamics and debates concerning religion and homosexuality in Africa more generally. We consider young African scholars as important contributors to the proposed debate and would like to encourage them to submit a proposal.

The book is likely to be published in the new Ashgate series Religion in Modern Africa edited by Professor James L. Cox (University of Edinburgh) and Professor Gerrie ter Haar (Institute of Social Studies, The Hague).

Submitting a proposal

Proposals for contributions can be submitted to the editors (see email addresses below) until 31 October 2013. Proposals should include the title, an abstract (400-500 words) and a biographic statement indicating the author’s affiliation, research interests and key publications (100 words).

Authors will be informed about acceptance by November 2013. The deadline for full versions of articles will be July 2014, after which they will go through a process of review and revision.

The editors

Ezra Chitando is Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, Classics and Philosophy of the University of Zimbabwe. He also serves as theological consultant for the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA) of the World Council of Churches. He has widely published on religion in Africa, in recent years mostly focusing on issues of religion and HIV/AIDS and religion and masculinities. Email: chitsa21@yahoo.com.

Adriaan van Klinken is Lecturer in African Christianity in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds (UK). His research focuses on Christianity and issues of gender, (homo)sexuality and public life in Africa. He recently published Transforming Masculinities in African Christianity: Gender Controversies in Times of AIDS (Ashgate 2013). Email: a.vanKlinken@leeds.ac.uk.


Awondo, Patrick. 2010, “The Politicisation of Sexuality and Rise of Homosexual Movements in Post-colonial Cameroon”, Review of African Political Economy, vol. 37, no. 125, pp. 315-328.

Awondo, Patrick, Geschiere, Peter & Reid, Graeme. 2012, “Homophobic Africa? Toward A More Nuanced View”, African Studies Review, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 145-168.

Englund, Harri. 2011, Christianity and Public Culture in Africa, Athens: Ohio University Press.

Epprecht, Marc. 2013, Sexuality and Social Justice in Africa: Rethinking Homophobia and Forging Resistance, London: Zed Books.

Togarasei, Lovemore & Chitando, Ezra. 2011, “‘Beyond the Bible’: Critical Reflections on the Contributions of Cultural and Postcolonial Studies on Same-Sex Relationships in Africa”, Journal of Gender and Religion in Africa, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 109-125.

Ellis, Stephen & Ter Haar, Gerrie. 2007, “Religion and Politics: Taking African Epistemologies Seriously”, Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 385-401.

Van Klinken, Adriaan S. 2013, “Gay Rights, the Devil and the End Times: Public Religion and the Enchantment of the Homosexuality Debate in Zambia”,Religion,http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0048721X.2013.765631#

Call for Papers: The Transnationalization of Religion through Music. Montréal, Canada, 16-18 October 2014

The transnationalization of religion refers to the relocalization of beliefs, rituals and religious practices beyond state lines, in real or symbolic spaces, with the help of new imaginaries and narrative identities (Capone 2005). Although the analysis of religious transnationalization has revealed the various ways religion transcends borders, the role of music in this process is rarely addressed. Yet this role is essential in the transnationalization of universal religions like Islam and Christianity. Music also contributes to the migration of local religions, neotraditionalist movements, and cults associated with a particular area, such as Haitian Voodoo, Cuban Santería, or Brazilian Candomble. Such musical phenomena, far from being new, gave birth to early religious globalizations (Irving 2010). For example, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Jesuits used baroque music to establish Roman Catholicism in China (Picard 2002), in Ethiopia (Damon 2009) and in the Andes (Carme 1989).
During the 20th century, the emergence of new means of transportation and communication accelerated musical transfers, which took place on a more global scale. As a result, transnational religious repertoires are today extremely diverse: African American gospel (Williams-Jones 1975), Japanese Christian rock (Stevens 2004), Swedish Muslim hip hop (Ackfeldt 2012), Hindu music in Martinique (Desroches 1996), Tanzanian Christian Choirs (Barz 2003), and Papua New Guinean Pentecostal hymns (Webb 2011).
The transnationalization of religion through music is historically linked to evangelism, slavery, and colonialism; it is also a by-product of the migration of the musicians, the circulation of song books, and the spread of recordings in physical and other forms: records, tapes, CDs, DVDs, radio, television, and the Internet. In all these situations, rhythms, melodies, lyrics, repertoires, dances, and instruments convey meanings that redefine worldviews, religious identities, rituals, prayers, and modes of divine presence.
By studying musical mobility and its reception in local contexts, this conference aims at understanding how music “migrates” along with religions, how it contributes to the construction of plural societies, and the fundamental role it plays in the creation and recreation of ideas, identities, and religious practices in a transnational context. This will make it possible to highlight misunderstandings and ambivalent musical postures, which are the products of transnational processes and which are created through various religious, aesthetic, or political choices. By bringing together musicologists, musical historians, ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, and sociologists of music, this conference will shed new light on a phenomenon mainly studied from a religious point of view.

Four themes will be explored:

    1. Transnationalization from a historical standpoint. Is the concept of transnationalization relevant in describing the early stages of religious spread, or should it be replaced by the concepts of globalization or internationalization? The transnationalization of religion as a process has greatly changed since the beginning of the 20th century and should be examined through a musical lens, paying particular attention to the development of new technologies and the ever increasing migration of musicians. The examination of these driving forces will reveal whether such changes are truly original or recurrences of older phenomena. While we will be primarily concerned with the diachronic dimension of the phenomenon, it will also be possible to model processes that reappeared under similar forms in various contexts and periods of history.
    2. New areas of fieldwork, new areas of study. The transnational nature of the music studied leads researchers to carry out fieldwork in both locally-based and multi-sited fieldworks (Marcus 1995). Although participative observation, interviews, and life story approach are still relevant, researchers sometimes need to corroborate their findings with second-hand sources, written or oral. In some instances, they must combine urban and rural surveys, while “cyber-fieldwork”, now unavoidable, sets various methodological problems. Addressing these issues will renew the way fieldwork is perceived in the social sciences.
    3. Process analysis. The goal of this theme is to clarify the process of religious transnationalization by examining the reception, appropriation, creation and distribution of musical practices and objects. The identification of the various forms and functions affecting music during this process should also be considered, as exemplified by the sacralization of secular music (or vice versa). The migration of musicians and their routes and networks are also of interest, as is the evolution or non-evolution of aesthetic values.
    4. Poles and scales of identification. Research has shown that religious transnationalization involves a double process: the homogenization of local worship practices and, concurrently, the reassertion of local identities (Hervieu-Léger 2001). From specific examples, an area for research might be how the conjunction of music and religion takes part in the standardization or diversification of the world. How the transnationalization of music is responsible for the creation of multiple identities is also a question that should be addressed. Comparing musical parameters with musicians’ discourses will reveal how each musical dimension is associated with the different aspects of identity, such as religion, nationality, ethnicity, and affiliation with imagined communities.

By focusing on phenomena of musical transnationalization in the specific contexts of religion and the diversity of global practices and beliefs, this conference will provide an opportunity to combine a vast array of fields and to compare works that are both historically and geographically distant.

Proposal Submission Guidelines
Each proposal, in French or English, should include:
• Author’s last and first name;
• Author’s institutional affiliation (please specify if you are a student);
• Author’s mailing address, phone number and e-mail;
• Author’s biography (up to 150 words);
• Author’s degrees by field, in reverse chronological order (up to 5);
• Author’s recent positions, if relevant, in reverse chronological order (up to 5);
• Author’s recent publications, in reverse chronological order (up to 5);
• Presentation title;
• Presentation abstract (750–1000 words) divided into three parts: subject (topics addressed), methodology, and conclusions;
• Selected bibliography (mandatory).

Lectures must last 20 minutes. Files should be sent as e-mail attachments (Word format) to info@oicrm.org. The deadline is December 1st, 2013. The abstracts will be evaluated anonymously by a jury of international experts.
The OICRM will award two travel scholarships to the best applications from students living outside Montreal.

Scientific committee
Nathalie Fernando (Université de Montréal)
Hugo Ferran (Université de Montréal, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow)
Deirdre Meintel (Université de Montréal)
François Picard (Université de Paris-Sorbonne)
Kay Kaufman Shelemay (Harvard University)

Université de Montréal
Faculté de musique
Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique
Laboratoire de musicologie comparée et d’anthropologie de la musique
C.P. 6128, succ. Centre-Ville
Montréal (Québec) H3C 3J7
Phone | 514-343-6111, ext. 2801
E-mail | info@oicrm.org
Website | www.oicrm.org

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