SORAAAD & Implicit Religion – US Summer Conferences Series

Placement under Workshops OR Analyze Religion

FRANCIS Original Text, with edits

We are delighted to announce that the USA Implicit Religion Conference has partnered with SORAAAD to create a joint event that will become an annual occurrence. With the sponsorship of the Implicit Religion Trust SORAAAD will stage a second workshop annually as the first day of Implicit Religion U.S. conference going forward. The first joint Implicit Religion and SORAAAD 3 day conference will held in Chicago from the 2 -4th June 2020.

Our partnership has been formed because of a shared vision to create a space that platforms, supports and celebrates the work of marginalised scholars (women, men, and nonbinary scholars of colour, women, LGTBQAI scholars, disabled scholars, first generation scholars, scholars with significant caring responsibilities, precariously employed scholars, independent scholars and alt-ac scholars)contending with multiple forms of marginalisation, or intersectionality as noted by scholar Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw. This alliance has also been formed because of a shared ethos of supporting, scaffolding and developing the work of students – both undergraduate and postgraduate – through planned training opportunities.

Our partnership recognizes that beyond a shared goal of furthering qualitative research on religious and implicit religious phenomenon as other modes of human behaviors, affect, and expression: the missions of SORAAAD and Implicit Religion complement one another. SORAAAD focuses on conceptualization, research design, the application of critical and social theories into empirical studies of religion and other human human behaviors. Implicit Religion focuses on a sociological theory of collective human behavior that allows researchers to consider human behaviors in a variety of settings in tandem with what we associate with religion. Therefore, this joint summer conference will allow SORAAAD to more explicitly support the professional development of undergraduate and post graduate students.

Implicit Religion and SORAAAD believe that designing opportunities for on-going qualitative methods training and explicit attention to valences of research for scholars long marginalised by the academy are necessary for the development, sustainability, relevance, and equity of the field of religious studies. We are not prepared to to allow our field to continue to exclude scholars and students because it does not want to address the uncomfortable reality of the racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and ableism within it, while virtue signaling inclusion on these grounds such as name dropping critical theories developed by these very same groups. We are not prepared to allow our field to continue to diminish because a lack of proper, rigorous training and value for qualitative methodologies and practices. Nor are we prepared to allow the Christocentricism of religious studies to remain unchallenged.

Our response to this is to create a conference in which works in progress can be presented and receive rigorous feedback and debate, guidance for developing it further, with additional mentoring for students and to provide peer engagement for more experienced researchers. In addition, and to ensure continued accessiblity and inclusion for the most vulnerable within the field, both organisations have agreed to a continuation of their already existing policies regarding costs. There will be no membership or registration fees. The SORAAAD workshop will remain a free one day event, thanks to the sponsorship of the Implicit Religion Trust, the costs for the IR US conference will only ever be the costs incurred for room hire, AV hire, rooms, meals, subsidies for the attendance of keynote and workshop leaders. We will endeavour to do what we can to keep this under $300 (for those requiring lodging) and would welcome approaches from organisations and departments interested in potential sponsorship including in-kind donations of event space and AV. Conferences will be live streamed where possible and digital presentations will also be welcomed and supported – especially for colleagues in the global south, and those without institutional financial support.

There will be publication opportunities based on the Implicit Religion part of the conference, this will be open to all who participate – including those doing digital presentations. They will always be peer reviewed publications. These will never be on a pay to publish basis, and wherever possible we will ensure they are open access. There is a mentoring system in place for undergraduates, master and early stage PhD students in relation to publication which can also be requested by anyone else.

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