Upcoming Events

Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity and Migration Symposium

Date of Symposium: Friday 2 August 2019

Where: Level 9, Parramatta City campus, WSU, 169 Macquarie St, Parramatta

Time: 8:30am-5:30pm

Queries and Submissions: Dr Kathleen Openshaw - K.openshaw@westernsydney.edu.au

Keynote Speaker: Associate Professor Richard Vokes (Department of Anthropology, University of Western Australia)

Convenors: Prof Cristina Rocha (RSRC), Prof Mark Hutchinson (Alphacrucis College), Dr Kathleen Openshaw (RSRC), Mrs Ingrid Ryan (Alphacrucis College)

Sponsored Annually by: Western Sydney University and Alphacrucis College

Over the past few decades, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity (PCC) has exploded in the Global South and grown considerably in the Global North. Much of this  growth is fuelled by networks of megachurches, the mobility of community leaders across diasporic networks, migration, and (mass and digital) media.

While (traditionally) missionaries would travel in a North-to-South direction, more recently megachurches from the Global South have moved horizontally, across to other developing countries, and also made inroads into the Global North in efforts of  reverse missionisation.

Such attempts to missionise to locals in the Global North have been largely (though not wholly) unsuccessful and churches have turned their focus to migrants from the Global South. Many studies have shown that migrants, who were not attached to PCCs before migration, join churches in the diaspora as they offer them a home away from home. Meanwhile, diasporic churches also face difficulties keeping these (as well as second generation) migrants, since they may prefer local churches in an effort to integrate.

This symposium will probe these themes, discussing the many connections between PCCs and migration.

Please Register for the event at Eventbrite

Please find the Conference website here

Please find the Conference flyer hereOpens in a new window

Minors in Minority Religions: The Delicate Balance between Religious Freedom and the Well-being of the Child

Location: Western Sydney University, Liverpool City Campus, 03.8.01

Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Time: 13:00-15:00

Speaker: Dr Susan J. Palmer (School of Religious Studies, McGill University)

RSVP: By Friday, September 13, 2019 to Alan Nixon (a.nixon@westernsydney.edu.au)

Queries: Alan Nixon (a.nixon@westernsydney.edu.au)

What is happening to children born into the so-called “cults”? Are they captive, abused or free? And what should be done about this situation?

Ever since the spiritual seekers of the 1960s and '70s settled down in new religious communities to raise alternative families, these concerns have been expressed by journalists, social workers and government deputies. While “hippy” parents voluntarily embraced radical social experiments, their children today are gazing with curiosity at the surrounding world they never chose to reject. Many leave, a few write their memoirs.

The presence of children in these religions challenges basic assumptions about religious freedom. For some, “religious freedom” means “freedom from religion. For others, children have the right to practice their parents' faith. Palmer shares the preliminary findings of her Children in Sectarian Religions project and addresses these issues:

  • the conflicting evidence concerning children's secret lives in sectarian religions.
  • the complex role of the “objective” researcher in the emotionally-charged micro-sociology of NRMs.
  • cases of state intervention in the family life of minority religions.
  • obstacles to research posed by ethics boards, “anticultism” - and the unpredictability of NRMs.

Susan J. Palmer is a researcher and writer in the field of new religious studies. She is an Affiliate Professor at Concordia University in Montreal and  is currently working at McGill University as Principal Investigator on a four-year research project supported by the Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council:  Children in Sectarian Religions and State Control.  She is a Lecturer at McGill's School of Religious Studies where she also teaches the course on New Religious Movements. Palmer has published eleven books, sociological studies of new religions, notably: Moon Sisters, Krishna Mothers, Rajneesh Lovers: Women's Roles in New Religions (Syracuse, 1994); Aliens Adored: Rael’s UFO Religion (Rutgers, 2004); The New Heretics of France (Oxford University Press, 2011); The Nuwaubian Nation: Black Spirituality and State Control (Ashgate 2010), and (co-authored with Stuart Wright) Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religions (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Please find the Guest Lecture flyer hereOpens in a new window

Religion and Ideas Roundtable - Modern Thinking in Islam Series 2019

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta South Campus, The Female Orphan School, PS-EZ.1.57 (Geoffrey Roberson Boardroom)

Day and Time: Fridays, 10.00am – 12.00pm

Sponsored by: The School of Humanities and Communications Arts (HCA)

It is a common assumption that since the so-called closing of ‘the gates of ijtihad,’ there has been no genuine intellectual activity on the part of Islam. Such a view is undoubtedly fiction but the bias nevertheless persists, especially under the guise of the Muslim world’s alleged inferiority to the West. The ongoing intellectual engagement of Islam with modernity is well documented, yet what remains unaddressed is the extent and scope of the originality and creativity of the Muslim thinkers involved therein. Thus, the present roundtable aspires to answer the following question: How has Islam contributed to the prime production of ideas in the modern period?

Certainly, to answer adequately such a question one must consider the specifics of time and place, context and circumstance, as well as individual idiosyncrasies. Moreover, no answer can just assume that originality and creativity are given; what has to be explored and delineated is where, why, and how Muslim thinkers have been original and creative. Islamic modernism in all its forms – liberal, reformist or moderate – is the most promising field of reference with regards to the exploration of the alternatives that Islam may present to standard Western versions of modern theory and critical thinking.

The discussion series will delve into a wide range of areas of thought, such as political theory, philosophy, sociology, art and literature, theology, education and historiography, and at the same time consider a diverse number of Muslim thinkers, including Shariati, Taha, Nurbakhsh, Ahmed, Nasr, an-Naim, Soroush, and Kermani. These figures are not cases of passive and/or benign modernisation or even westernisation, but on the contrary represent instances of a robust and sustained encounter with the challenges of the West; this encounter becomes especially intriguing as it is about ideas that remain controversial for dominant Muslim perspectives throughout the world today.

The 2019 series will run every month on a Friday from March–June and August–November. It will host invited speakers leading discussion on suggested topics.The roundtables aim to foster inter-institutional collaboration on cutting edge scholarship in relevant fields of the study of religion. The objective of the seminars is to provide a platform for discussion of key issues in relation to religion in the modern world. Proceedings will be submitted for publication in a special series/edited volume.

See the flyer for the series here and individual talk flyers below

List of Presenters:

Friday 22 March - Professor Bryan Turner (ACU) - Orientalism: From Edward Said to Wael B. Hallaq (Flyer)
Friday 5 April - Emeritus Professor Garry W. Trompf (USYD) - Questions of Gnostic Islam (Flyer)
Friday 3 May - Dr Aydogan Kars (Monash) Soroush Between Tradition and Innovation (Flyer)
Friday 7 June - Dr Vassilis Adrahtas (Macquarie) - From Tradition to Modernity and Vice Versa: The Progressive Islam of Mahmud Muhammad Taha (Flyer)
Friday 2 August - Dr Maria Bhatti (WSU, Law) - The interaction between Islamic law and secular law (Flyer)
Friday 6 September - Dr Lucia Sorbera (USYD) - Beyond the Modernity–Tradition Binary: For a Women’s Intellectual History of Islam
Friday 4 October - Associate Professor William Shepard, retired (UC, Christchurch) - The Islamist Paradox
Friday 1 November - Dr Milad Milani (WSU) - Shahab Ahmed and the Hermeneutics of Islam

Call for Papers: Islam and Society: Challenges and Prospects. AAIMS Second Conference on the Study of Islam and Muslim Societies.

Submissions Due: Monday 6 May, 2019

Submissions: Mehrnosh Lajevardi Fatemi (M.lajevardifatemi@westernsydney.edu.au) - Abstracts (100-200 words) and Brief bio (50-100 words)

Queries: Directed to Professor Linda Briskman (l.briskman@westernsydney.edu.au) or Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh (shahram.akbarzadeh@deakin.edu.au).

Conference Dates: 30 September and 1 October 2019

Where: Western Sydney University Parramatta South Campus (venue details to be advised)

The two leading nodes in Australian scholarship of race and ethnic studies are combining to offer the second Australian Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies (AAIMS) Conference. After the successful inaugural conference, the second conference will further represent the depth and breadth of scholarship in Australia and internationally. It will showcase and reflect upon the range of Muslim experiences across many countries from multi-disciplinary perspectives. The conference will bring together scholars from such disciplines as law, politics, sociology, religious studies, geography, philosophy and theology. The conference will feature international and local keynotes who are leading scholars in their fields.

In addition to papers, we are calling for convenors and participants for conference panels on cutting edge topics that fit within the broad theme of the conference.

We strongly encourage Higher Degree by Research students to attend and the conference program will include networking, feedback and mentoring sessions. HDR students are eligible for a discounted fee.

Topics for presentation might include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Geopolitics of Islam
  • Islam in an era of populism
  • Countering Violent Extremism
  • Islam and women
  • Muslim organisations, politics and volunteering
  • Islamophobic ideologies, manifestation, impact and response
  • Refugees and Islamophobia
  • Youth and Islam
  • Islam in the spaces of education
  • Law and religion
  • Muslim popular cultures and new media
  • Islam in Indonesia
  • Converts, reverts and apostates

Participants are expected to organise and financially cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Advice will be later provided on registration options and suitable accommodation.

Please find the conference flyer here Opens in a new window

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