BASR Annual Conference 2017

Theme: Narratives of religion

Conference dates: 4-6 September 2017

Keynote (Tuesday 5th September)
‘Narratives of Pagan Religion’
Professor Ronald Hutton

Call for Papers 

‘Narrative’ has emerged as valuable category of analysis in the study of religions. This conference takes narrative as its theme with a view to testing its efficacy and resilience for elucidating constructions of religion.

The BASR invites colleagues to the University of Chester to contribute papers or panels on the above theme. Papers will be 20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions/discussion. Panels will be 90 minute sessions, to normally include 3 papers. Abstracts for roundtables, poster presentations, and alternative formats are also encouraged – please contact the below email for details. Ideas for papers and panels may include, but are not limited to:

  • Competing narratives
  • Orality and textualisation
  • Ritual and archetypal narratives
  • Representation and reproduction
  • Story, story-telling and communities of story-telling
  • Life-writing, spiritual biography, self-narratives, auto-ethnography
  • Narrative identity
  • Narratives of race, class, age, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, culture, subculture
  • Narratives of religion in fiction, film, media
  • Narratives at the intersection of religion and science (CAM, ayurveda, alchemy etc.)
  • Apocalyptic narratives
  • Official versus popular or subversive narratives
  • Narrative methods and methodologies in the study of religions
  • Curating narratives
  • Narratives of religion in education
  • Grand-, hidden- and meta- narratives
  • Constructing narratives of religion in history, archaeology and other fields

Abstracts (200 words plus paper title, author name and institutional affiliation in Microsoft Word format) should be submitted to before 30th May 2017. Panels should be submitted in the same way, with details for each paper along with the panel title and the name of the convener/chair.

If you are an PGT/Taught Masters or early PGR student and wish to present your project for 5-10 minutes there will be a ‘Lightning Talks’ seminar. Please send a proposal of 50 words including a label: ‘Lightning talk’ along with your institutional affiliation, programme, mode of study and year.

Deadline for paper/panel submissions: 30th May 2017

Notification of acceptance of papers/panels: No later than 15th June 2017

Online registration for conference open from: 1st June 2017

Deadline for registration: 31st July 2017

A limited number of student bursaries will be made available to support PG students and EC academics to attend the conference. Please see the separate Call for Bursary Applications, which will appear here on the BASR website and mailing list.

Further updates and announcements, including registration details, will appear here and across social media in due course. For any general enquiries, please contact the Conference Organisers Drs Wendy Dossett, Dawn Llewellyn, Alana Vincent & Steve Knowles on




Chester and clock

BASR Annual Conference 2016

British Association for the Study of Religions Annual Conference

Theme: ‘Religion Beyond the Textbook’
Keynote Speaker: Prof. Martin Stringer (Swansea University)

University of Wolverhampton, 5-7 September 2016

People enact, perform and live religion in a multitude of specific contexts, which are studied through a wide range of methods and approaches; and yet mainstream discourse on religion – public, media and textbook – too often reverts to generic, out-dated essentialisms concerning the lives of religious actors and the classification of ‘religion’ itself. However, new methodological approaches are emerging which ensure diverse forms of religion – often contradictory and complicated, offering counter-narratives to the textbook accounts – are understood, which allow different voices to be heard, texts to be re-read, phenomena to be re-interpreted and identity boundaries to be challenged.

The deadline for paper/panel submissions for the conference has now passed, and registration has closed.

**Final version of the Programme and Delegate Information, updated 4/9/2016 with last minute amendments** (PDF)

For any general enquiries, please contact the Conference Organisers, Dr. Stephen E. Gregg & Dr. Opinderjit Takhar on

Information for publishers

As ever, BASR welcomes our publishing partners to contribute to our annual conference. This year we will be hosted by the University of Wolverhampton and will be situated in the picturesque nineteenth century part of campus. Please complete and return the BASR 2016 Publishers Booking Form to reserve your place. The form includes options for booking, including full stands, and leaflets in the conference registration pack. Please note that whilst simple tables and chairs can be provided, publishers will need to bring display stands or other specialist presentation equipment. A safe and lockable room will be provided for overnight storage on conference days. If you wish your representative to register for the conference (which includes meals and simple campus accommodation), we will waive the cost of your stand.

BASR Teaching and Learning Wiki: Innovative Pedagogy and Legacy Resources

By Dominic Corrywright, Oxford Brookes University

This is an invitation to visit and contribute to the new wiki developed for the Teaching and Learning section of the BASR website.

What’s a wiki? Neither a wookie nor a bear (see Four Lions, Chris Morris, 2010 – a prescient and a splendid resource for teaching courses on terrorism, fanaticism and representations of Islam and the West). That’s to say, it is not a usual web site, especially as are commonly designed for professional associations, where the model is for passive receivers. Wikis are collaborative, and promote active engagement. But they are not a sandbox for all players on the web –there is some editorial oversight, in their initial schemata, objectives and continuing editorial selection and deletion.

‘A wiki (wɪki/wik-ee) is a website which allows collaborative modification of its content and structure directly from the web browser’. A Wiki, according to Ward Cunningham, inventor of the first wiki software:

‘… promotes meaningful topic associations between different pages by making page link creation almost intuitively easy and showing whether an intended target page exists or not.

A wiki is not a carefully crafted site for casual visitors. Instead, it seeks to involve the visitor in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the Web site landscape.’

The wiki has initially been designed with four distinct areas:

This invitation is for colleagues to add material, links or ideas for both innovative and legacy approaches and resources for teaching and learning in the study of religions. Indeed it is informative to see in such resources as this Wiki, how the new becomes legacy, becomes new again. An example of this process occurred in the selection of useful legacy resources for the Wiki from the now defunct, though erstwhile innovative, publication Discourse. This journal was established by Higher Education Academy subject centre, Philosophy and Religious Studies Learning and Teaching Support Network in 2001 under the networks’ name and became Discourse from 2003 until its closure (due to the end of government funding) in 2011. In the first edition a report on a workshop for teaching South Asian religions identifies a preliminary question ‘How serious a problem is the ‘world religions’ paradigm?’ (Jackie Suthren Hirst, Mary Searle-Chatterjee, Eleanor Nesbitt ‘Report on a Workshop on Teaching South Asian Religious Traditions, Centre for Applied South Asian Studies’ (PRS-LTSN Journal Vol 1, No. 1, Summer 2001, p. 77). The paradigm of world religions resonates loudly in current discussions about the terminology and curricula of religious studies. Thus the hermeneutics of religious studies has questioned concepts, terms and methods reflexively and repeatedly throughout its brief academic history.

I have filing cabinets and box files of teaching resources, seminar ingenuities, assessment tools, and curricula that are no longer current, or of much use (though some parts are multi-valent and segue neatly into new modules). Equally, I have a whole undergraduate course for distance learners on Moodle which is soon to be archived as the course has closed. ‘All that is solid melts into air’ and we are left grasping fading legacies while reaching for new forms to coalesce. Just as the intellectual capital of research is stored and accessed in hard and electronic reusable objects (vide: Alison Le Cornu and Angie Pears ‘Reusable Electronic Learning Objects for Theology and Religious Studies’ Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring 2007, pp. 143 – 158) so the resources of pedagogy in specific subject areas need locations for re-use and reconsideration. The Wiki can be a home for such resources, as they are deemed valid and of utility to the wider academic network.

New currencies of pedagogy equally have a place in the new Wiki. Globally, academic institutions have a growing interest in higher education pedagogy. In the UK context a new Teaching Excellence Framework will promote further research and evidence of academic engagement with pedagogical theory and practice (see consultation). The wiki will be both a resource and an outlet for Religious Studies colleagues.

Scholars are like magpies, scanning for bright objects with which they populate papers or add interesting/ amusing/ illustrative vignettes to classroom discourse. Wikis welcome such approaches to their content.

Teaching and Learning section

Religious Diversity and Cultural Change in Scotland: Modern Perspectives

Tue, 19 Apr 2016 at 09:45 – Edinburgh. Free, but needs to be booked:

A one day conference organised by the Scottish Religious Cultures Network with support by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, School of Divinity (University of Edinburgh), Centre for Theology and Public Issues, Edinburgh.



9.45-10.00: Introduction: Dr Leah Robinson and Dr Steven Sutcliffe

10-10.45 Keynote

Professor Callum Brown (Glasgow): ‘The Humanist Condition: How the West was Re-moralised for Atheism’

10.45-11 Coffee

11-12.30 Panel One: Expressions of Popular and New Religion

Dr Leah Robinson (Edinburgh): ‘God on our Side? Theological Understandings of Scottish Soldiers at War’

Dr Steven Sutcliffe (Edinburgh): ‘ “I think he is a Tolstoyan”: Dugald Semple, Food Reform and Conscientious Objection in World War I and after’

Dr George Chryssides (York St John): ‘A New Religion in an Old Country: How Scotland shaped the Jehovah’s Witnesses’

12.30-1.30 Lunch (bring your own)

1.30-3 Panel Two: Cultural Change and Established Traditions

Dr Marion Bowman (Open University):‘“Walking Back to Happiness?” Renegotiating Protestant Pilgrimage’

Dr Khadijah Elshayyal (Edinburgh): ‘Muslims in Scotland: new findings from the 2011 Census’

Dr Hannah Holtschneider (Edinburgh): ‘Interpreting Jewish migration to Scotland’

3-3.15: Tea

3.15-4.45: Panel Three: New Discourses

Christopher Cotter (Lancaster): ‘Discourse, (Non-)Religion, and Locality: Religion-Related Discourses in Edinburgh’s Southside’

Krittika Bhattacharjee (Edinburgh): ‘The everyday life of a visitor spot: the place of the ‘special’ on the island of Iona’

Liam Sutherland (Edinburgh): ‘ “One Nation, Many Faiths”: Banal Nationalism, Religious Pluralism and Public Space in Scottish Interfaith Literature’

4.45/5 closing comments

Dr Scott Spurlock (Glasgow/SRCN)