Cancellation of IAHR Congress 2020

The IAHR Congress due to take place in New Zealand in August 2020 has been cancelled. See below for the message sent from the IAHR Organizing Committee to partner organizations.

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Kia ora koutou

It is with great regret that we announce the cancellation of the 22nd World Congress of the IAHR which was to have been held in Otago, New Zealand.

Following our previous update on 10 March, we have continued to monitor the situation which (as we are sure you are all aware) has only become worse almost everywhere. Today, New Zealand has entered a period of total lockdown – no-one is permitted to leave their home except to fetch essential items of food and fuel, or for short walks in their neighbourhood. The borders are closed to all but New Zealand citizens, residents and their immediate family members.

The hope, of course, is that such a lockdown will eliminate the virus within New Zealand and allow a return to normal life. But there can be no certainty that this will succeed. Even (or perhaps especially) if New Zealand is successful in eliminating the virus here, there will continue to be tight restrictions on who can travel to New Zealand. It is already clear that we cannot possibly meet in August. We have considered a long postponement, but for many of us (including the local organisers) the first priority in the coming months will be providing teaching to our students in order to minimize the impact on their education. It is not at all clear even when we might begin to be able to plan with any certainty for a large international gathering in the near future. We have also considered also the possibility of holding a virtual Congress online, but New Zealand’s time zone and limited IT infrastructure means that we are not well-placed to do so.

We will contact separately those who have already registered for the Congress, to make arrangements to refund registration, accommodation and excursion fees paid in advance. In the current environment (everyone in New Zealand working from home) this may take a little while and we ask again for your patience.

The Executive Committee of the IAHR will make a further announcement about the consequences of the cancellation for the business meetings of the IAHR that would have been conducted in New Zealand.

We would like to extend our thanks to all those who submitted abstracts. We thank also the academic programme committee who reviewed the abstracts and to the many others who supported the Congress in different way, and in particular the officers of the IAHR Executive Committee. We look forward to meeting again in happier times!

Will Sweetman and Satoko Fujiwara
on behalf of the organising committee

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Joint Societies Conference in South Africa Cancelled

The Joint Societies conference in South Africa this summer has been cancelled. Please look out for further updates sometime after April 2020.

Call for Papers , AASR at the AAR November 2020

Please find below the Call for Papers for African Association for the Study of Religions
at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting Boston, November 2020.



Senegal Conference Update

As previously announced, the 9th AASR conference in Dakar, Senegal was originally scheduled for 29 July – 1 August 2020. However, with respect for the holy festival of Eid al-Adha, we made the decision to move the dates of the conference. We had hoped to reschedule sometime during Summer 2020, or even January 2021, but this has proved too challenging given a variety of scheduling conflicts. The AASR International Council, which is made up of the Executive Committee, as well as national and regional leaders of the AASR, has therefore made the decision to reschedule the conference to be held in the Summer of 2021.

In the first instance, we will attempt to work with CODESRIA on holding the conference in Dakar, Senegal, using the agreed upon theme: ‘Religions, Governance, and Social Transformations in Africa and the African Diaspora’. However, if this cooperation proves to be unworkable for Summer 2021, we would also request your support to explore other partners and locations. We could then take up the cooperation with CODESRIA at a future AASR conference.

It is important to keep two things in mind with this change of plans. First, is that constitutionally, we have a mandate to two hold conferences in Africa every 5 years. Given that we held our last conference in 2018, we are not behind schedule. Secondly, the elections of AASR officers will proceed as scheduled in 2020, and we will announce the results of the votes during the IAHR Congress that will take place in New Zealand. Handing over the Association’s responsibilities to the new executive will take place at that time. The recent revision to the Constitution allows for casting an online ballot, so if there are counter nominations all AASR members will be able to participate regardless of whether or not they are attending the Congress. See below for a detailed description of this procedure.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Elias Kifon Bongmba
President AASR

Join Us! AASR Panels & Events @ AAR/SBL Denver 2018


Friends and Colleagues,

2018 Slim AM AAR-750x150-etouches

It’s almost that time again! As you make plans for the upcoming AAR conference November 17–20, please do plan on joining us for our sponsored/co-sponsored sessions, annual dinner, and business meeting. We look forward to seeing you there!

AASR Annual Dinner: 

Sunday (18th), 6:30PM (restaurant closes by 10:00PM)
The Ethiopian Restaurant
2816 E. Colfax Ave, Denver, CO
Phone: 303-322-5939

AASR Business Meeting:
Monday (19th), 9:00AM–11:30AM, P19–100, Convention Center-Mile High 3B (Lower Level), following the session on Empire, Religion, Health, and Human Capital in Africa.

AASR Sponsored Sessions (AAR): 

  • P18-200

African Association for the Study of Religions
Theme: Power and Subversion African Religious Spaces
Elana Jefferson-Tatum, Tufts University, Presiding
Sunday (18th) – 1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center-Mile High 2C (Lower Level)
African Christianity and the Intersection Between Faith, Traditional And Biomedical Healing
Dying and Rising as the Moon Does”: The Keiskamma Art Project, the Persistence of the Xhosa People, and the Possibility of Impossibility
Individualism, Gender and Spirituality: The Nigerian Experience
Unregistered Participant
Unregistered Participant
African Christianity and the Intersection between Faith, Traditional, and Biomedical Healing
Susie Paulik-Babka, University of San Diego
“Dying and Rising as the Moon Does”: The Keiskamma Art Project, the Persistence of the Xhosa People, and the Possibility of Impossibility
Bolaji Bateye, Obafemi Awolowo University
Unregistered Participant
“The Church as Family, Things Are No Longer What They Used to Be”: Individualism, Genderization, and Scripturalization of Spirituality, the Nigerian Experience

  • P19-100

African Association for the Study of Religions
Theme: Empire, Religion, Health, and Human Capital in Africa
Elias Kifon Bongmba, Rice University, Presiding
Monday (19th) – 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Convention Center-Mile High 3B (Lower Level)
Empire, Religion, Health and Human Capital in Africa
Colonialism, Traditional African Religion, and the Catholic Church in Kenya
Humanizing Rituals in the American Presbyterian Congo Mission
Muhammad, Capitalist Ethics, and Muslim Reform in Burkina Faso
Timothy Carey, Boston College
“Who do the crowds say that I am?”: Colonialism, Traditional African Religion, and the Catholic Church in Kenya
Jesse Miller, Florida State University
Muhammad, Capitalist Ethics, and Muslim Reform in Burkina Faso
Unregistered Participant
Humanizing Rituals in the American Presbyterian Congo Mission
Business Meeting:
Elias Kifon Bongmba, Rice University
Corey Williams, Leiden University

AASR Co-Sponsored Sessions (SBL):

Ecclesiological Investigations Unit and African Association for the Study of Religion
Theme: Ecclesial Experiences in African Contexts
Aaron Hollander, Loyola University Chicago, Presiding
Monday (19th) – 5:30 PM–7:00 PM
Hyatt Regency-Capitol 5 (Fourth Level)

The three papers of this session present ecclesial experiences in three distinct African contexts that have made or ought to make substantial contributions to the wider life of the Christian churches and to their understandings of the church. The first paper starts from twentieth-century liturgical reforms in the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, and analyzes the way in which local, national, and diasporic identity changed in relation to the transition between orality and textuality in these reforms. The second paper begins from the historic experience of the Christian descendants of slaves from the Kongo kingdom, and from that history makes a constructive theological argument for the importance of the “slave template” in undermining ecclesiologies of power and strength. The third paper, drawing on the work of Ghanaian Presbyterian Kwame Bediako and of Cameroonian Catholic Jean-Marc Éla, highlights the incorporation of ancestors in African theology and ecclesiology as a gift to be received by the wider communion of churches.

Andrew Salzmann, Benedictine College
Agency and Identity in Ethiopian Liturgical Reform
Elochukwu Eugene Uzukwu, Duquesne University
Liberation and the Slave-Template: Catholic Church, Religions and Cultures, and the Transformation of Society
Ross Kane, Virginia Theological Seminary
Enlarging the Cloud of Witnesses: Ancestors and the Church in Kwame Bediako and Jean-Marc Éla

  • S19–200

Joint Session With: African Biblical Hermeneutics; African Association for the Study of Religions
Monday (19th) 1:00 PM–3:30 PM
Room: Range Ballroom – Crowne Plaza (CP)
Theme: Scripturalization and Orality in/as African Spirituality

Althea Spencer Miller, Drew University, Presiding
A. Paige Rawson, Drew University
The Archipelogics of Africana Biblical Hermeneutics: Africana, Orality, and Transtextual Biblical Interpretation in the Twenty-First Century (35 min)
Madipoane Masenya (Ngwan’a Mphahlele), University of South Africa
Navigating the Collusions and Contradictions of African Orality and the Digital Age in Understandings of the Bible (35 min)
Knut Holter, VID Specialized University, Norway
Isak—the Son of the Rainmaker—and the Bible: An Example of Resistance Hermeneutics in Zululand in the 1860s and 70s (35 min)
Sara Fretheim, University of Edinburgh
“Kasakyerew ho nimdefo, mo!” (Those gifted in the knowledge of writing of language, congratulations!): Kwame Bediako, Mother-Tongue Theology, and Orality—African Epistemologies and Spirituality (35 min)
Discussion (10 min)


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