Call for Applications

Call for Applications
for a seminar with

Megan Adamson Sijapati
Religion and Society
organised in association with
Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies

Time: 9.30 am to 4 pm | Dates: 29-30 June 2018 (Friday and Saturday)
Location: Nepa School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Chabahil, Kathmandu

Applications are invited for this two-day graduate-level seminar to be conducted by Megan Adamson Sijapati, Chairperson and Associate Professor, Religious Studies Department at Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA, and author of Islamic Revival in Nepal: Religion and a New Nation (2011) and co-editor of Religion and Modernity in the Himalaya (2016).

A bachelor’s degree in any discipline is the minimum qualification required of participants. Enrolment is limited to 20 and should the number of applicants exceed that, selection will be based on the strength of the particulars provided in the application available here.

As the seminar will be conducted in English and since all the readings are in English as well, a high level of proficiency in the language is a prerequisite for prospective participants. All the reading material prescribed will be provided at least a week before the seminar and participants will be required to be familiar with the readings before the seminar begins to enable a meaningful engagement with the subject.

A nominal participation fee will be charged to cover logistical costs.

Religion and Society
This seminar will discuss religion as a social and cultural force, and centre on the following two questions: 1) Does religion create social and cultural cohesion, or conflict and division?; and 2) What is–and what is to account for—the significance of religion in society in the era of secularisation, modernity, and globalisation?

We will discuss these questions through the lenses of several critical issues in the study of contemporary religion and society: religious minorities and majorities, religious nationalism, religion and violence, the ‘politics of piety,’ globalisation, conversion, and new religious movements. Through theoretical and case study readings on these topics, we will also discuss prominent methodologies and theories utilized to study religion and society.
Day 1
9.30 – 11 am
Session I: Locating, Defining, and Studying Religion
Durkheim, Emile. 1975. ‘Religion’s Origin in Society’
Berger, Peter. 1967. ‘Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion’
Morgan, David. 2010. ‘Materiality, Social Analysis, and the Study of Religions’
Smart, Ninian. 1996. ‘Seven Dimensions of Religion’
11 am: Break
11.30 am – 1 pm

Session II: The Return or Retreat of Religion?
Dreyfus, Goerges. 2010. ‘Should We Be Afraid? The Return of the Sacred and the Rise of Religious Nationalism’
Letizia, Chiara. 2016. ‘Ideas of Secularism in Contemporary Nepal’
1 – 2 pm: Break
2 – 3.30 pm

Session III: Ritual, Politics, and the Social
Mahmood, Saba. 2005. ‘Positive Ethics and Ritual Conventions’
Sijapati, Megan Adamson and Tina Harris. 2016. ‘From Heavy Beads to Safety Pins: Adornment and Religiosity in Hindu Women’s Pote Practices’

Day 2
9.30 – 11 am
Session I: Religious Minorities, Belonging, and Difference in Nepal
Campbell, Ben. 2016. ‘Tamang Christians & the Resituating of Religious Difference’
Sijapati, Megan Adamson. 2011. Islamic Revival in Nepal Chapters 3 and 4 and ‘Muslim Belonging in Hindu South Asia: Ambivalence and Difference in Nepali Discourses’
11 am: Break
11.30 am – 1 pm

Session II: Globalization, Secularization, and Transformations in Religion
Toffin, Gerard. 2016. ‘Neither Statues nor Ritual: An Analysis of New Religious Movements and Therapists in Nepal’
Zotter, Astrid. 2016.’State Rituals in a Secular State: Replacing the Nepalese King in the Pacali Bhairav Sword Possession and other Rituals ‘
1 – 2 pm: Break
2 – 3.30 pm

Session III:  Conversion and its Contexts: War & Migration
Ahmad, Attiya. 2017. Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait (selected chapters)
Leve, Lauren. 2014. ‘Cruel Optimism, Christianity, and the Post-conflict Optic’