Past Conferences

Symposium on 'Theorising Belief through Monsters and the Supernatural' (PDF, 210.71 KB) (opens in a new window)

6 October 2015
Ghosts, witches, trolls, demons and other monsters exist in most cultural contexts, and local beliefs in these continue to shape social practice in a number of ways. Often these beliefs coexist with more officialised ideologies and engage with spiritualities, organised religions and faith in complex ways. These dynamics represents a number of theoretical challenges about how belief is constructed and performed socially, and provide ample opportunities for re-thinking the role of belief in social life. Indeed, despite its centrality in all discourses about religion and spirituality, the relationship between belief and social practice is rarely theorised from an empirical basis. In its simplest terms belief is often conceptualised as a particular mental process that occurs in reference to meaningful propositions that may be considered either true or false. While such a definition is adequate in epistemological terms, it ignores many of the aspects of belief that are of particular interest to social and cultural theorists. Not only are there a number of possible relationships between belief, knowledge, thought and social action, but these are also culturally and socially specific. Our contention is that such reflections become particularly immediate in the context of local engagements with the hyper-real or the super-natural. In this symposium we gather social and cultural theorists from various disciplines and seek to theorise belief based on ethnographic and theoretical data about monsters and the supernatural.

International Symposium: Shari'a, Culture and Legal Pluralism (PDF, 110.25 KB) (opens in a new window)

14 and 15 September, 2015

International Conference: Organ Transplantation in Islam (PDF, 107.44 KB) (opens in a new window)

22 November 2014
International and local academics and experts offered a critical and comparative discussion on Organ Transplantation in Islam. By investigating how Islam grapples with the question of Organ Transplantation and Donation in the modern world, this conference aimed to enhance our understanding of various issues and debates surrounding these processes and different ways through which Muslims deal with organ transplantation and donation.

Symposium: Researching Gender in Religious Communities: Challenges and solutions (PDF, 87.96 KB) (opens in a new window)

11 November 2014
This symposium looked at recent developments in the field of gender and religion which indicates a growing interest in contemporary debates on (post-) secularism, body and sexuality, family laws and religious authority. While cross-examining the challenges faced by scholars engaged with these debates, this symposium is a platform for different perspectives to analyse those various experiences in both global and local settings.

Symposium:  Religion, Nation(alism) and Transnationalism Symposium (PDF, 89.11 KB) (opens in a new window)

9 July 2014
With the permeability of borders and the greatly increased speed and volume of international communication and transportation, we have entered a new era of transnationalism. In this post-Westphalian world, religions are taking part in a network society that cuts across borders. If world religions have dominated the global sphere for centuries, today we are faced with a plethora of new religious recompositions. This symposium will explore the impact of globalisation on the relationship between religion and nation, religion and nationalism, and the changes that transnationalism has brought on religious groups (and vice versa).

Symposium: Gender Issues in Muslim Communities (PDF, 663.51 KB) (opens in a new window)

10 December, 2013
This symposium examined the impact of widespread notions of gender in various Muslim contexts. The first session, 'Gender and Muslim Women's Movements', explored how secular notions of gender permeate Muslim women's organisations/communities and are transformed by Islamic discourse. The second session, 'Gender, Women and Family', addressed issues within the context of gender equality. 

Symposium: The Sociology of Religion and Law: legal pluralism, anti-discrimination laws and religious diversity in late modernity (PDF, 169.8 KB) (opens in a new window)

5 December, 2013
Organised by the Religion and Society Research Centre and School of Social Sciences and Psychology and The Australian Sociological Association's (opens in a new window) Sociology of Religion Thematic Group. 

Symposium on Pentecostalism and Transnationalism (PDF, 483.64 KB) (opens in a new window)

1 August, 2013
Speakers: Dr Mark HutchinsonProfessor Marion Maddox (opens in a new window) Dr Cristina Rocha.  Screening of the documentary 'Enlarging the Kingdom: African Pentecostals in Italy' followed by a Q&A with one of the directors, Dr Annalisa Butticci. 

Symposium: Religious Change and Indigenous Populations in the Antipodes (PDF, 195.11 KB) (opens in a new window)

13 March 2012
This symposium explored some of the religious and spiritual changes which have been taking place among Indigenous populations in Australia, New Zealand and some Pacific Islands.  It focused on changes in religious affiliation over the last 15 years.  The analytical focus draws on both local social and political debates on these matters, while contextualising the discussion in a wider global discourse on changing religious affiliation, especially the growth of Islam.

Sufism for a New Age: Twenty-first Century Neo-Sufism,  Cosmopolitan Piety and Traditionalist Responses (PDF, 699.69 KB) (opens in a new window)

29-30 September 2011
This conference sought to survey innovation in contemporary cultures drawing on the Sufi heritage, both in its strictly and self-consciously Islamic contexts and among non-Muslims drawn to it as a personal practice and source of ethical inspiration. It was open to both empirical studies of innovation in the Sufi heritage in the Muslim world, and to studies of Sufism among non-Muslims today.  It also provided a forum for the exploration of the potential of the Sufi heritage to inspire new forms of spiritual humanism and cosmopolitanism as a counter to religious and ethnic exclusivism.

Shari' a and Legal Pluralism (PDF, 174.58 KB) (opens in a new window)

7 July 2010
Legal pluralism has often been associated with post-colonial legal developments especially where common law survived alongside tribal and customary laws. Focusing on Sharī'ah, this conference examined the legal policies and experiences of various societies with different traditions of citizenship, secularism and common law. Where large diasporic communities of migrants develop, there will be some demand for the institutionalisation of Sharī'ah at least in the resolution of domestic disputes. This one-day event was aimed at testing the limits of multiculturalism by exploring the issue that any recognition of cultural differences might imply a recognition of legal differences. 

Centre Sponsored Conferences

2012 Australian Association for the Study of Religion & Australasian Association of Buddhist Studies Conference

'Multiple Religious Modernities' (PDF, 1724.55 KB) (opens in a new window)

September 28 - 30, 2012
At the local and global level, religion is changed through social processes, but religion also impacts on societies at the structural and grass roots level. As modernity and (de)secularisation are multilateral processes, the conference explores the multiple types of (de)secularisation, pluralism and voluntarism of religious life.

2011 National Social Cohesion Conference

'Enrichment through a Socially Inclusive Society: Challenges and Solutions' (PDF, 278.76 KB) (opens in a new window)

October 9 - 11, 2011
The Australian community has undergone great changes in the last 25 years, including our emerging Muslim communities. However, this reality has not always been well understood or accepted. As a framework for living with cultural diversity, the idea of multiculturalism has lately come under increasing criticism, both in Australia and overseas. Should Australia narrow its diversity and multiculturalism? Or do we choose to enrich it towards a universal pluralism, building on the challenges presented to us by the multi-faith and multi-cultural nature of our societies?This conference seeks to explore how to work towards a socially cohesive society in the context of contemporary realities and challenges.

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