Legal Cases, New Religious Movements, and Minority Faiths

Legal Cases, New Religious Movements, and Minority Faiths

Edited by James T. Richardson, University of Nevada, Reno, USA and François Bellanger, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Ashgate Inform Series on Minority Religions and Spiritual Movements

New religious movements (NRMs) and other minority faiths have regularly been the focus of legal cases around the world in

recent decades. This is the first book to focus on important aspects of the relationship of smaller faiths to the societies in

which they function by using specific legal cases to examine social control efforts. The legal cases involve group leaders, a

groups’ practices or alleged abuses against members and children in the group, legal actions brought by former members or

third parties, attacks against such groups by outsiders including even governments, and libel and slander actions brought by

religious groups as they seek to defend themselves. These cases are sometimes milestones in the relation between state

authorities and religious groups.

Exploring cases in different parts of the world, and assessing the events causing such cases and their consequences, this

book offers a practical insight for understanding the relations of NRMs and other minority religions and the law from the

perspective of legal cases. Chapters focus on legal, political, and social implications. Including contributions from scholars,

legal practitioners, actual or former members, and authorities involved in such cases from various jurisdictions, this book

presents an objective approach to understanding why so many legal actions have involved NRMs and other minority faiths in

recent years in western societies, and the consequences of those actions for the society and the religious group as well.


Preface, Eileen Barker. Part I Controversial Religious Groups and the Legal System: Courts, crusaders, and the media: the

Family International, Claire Borowik; Scientology in Italy: Plagio and the twenty year legal saga, Massimo Introvigne; The

Order of the Solar Temple: from apocalypse to court, Jean-François Mayer. Part II Specific Legal Cases Involving Minority

Religious Groups: The Mohan Singh case: what is the price confidentiality?, Philip Katz QC; The resurrection of religion in the

US? ‘Sacred tea’ cases, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the war on drugs, James T. Richardson and Jennifer

Shoemaker; Religion or sedition? The domestic terrorism trial of the Hutaree, a Michigan-based Christian militia, Susan J.

Palmer; The Dang case: when chakras opening leads to a Belgian criminal court, Henri de Cordes. Part III Legal Issues

Raised by Cases Involving Minority Faiths: How to know the truth: accommodating religious beliefs in the law of libel, Alistair

Mullis and Andrew Scott; Religious libel: are the courts the right place for faith disputes?, Hardeep Singh; The European Court

of Human Rights, minority religions, and new versus original member states, Valerie A. Lykes and James T. Richardson. Part

IV Minority Religious Groups in Court: Experimental Evidence: Cults in court: jury decision-making and new religious

movements, Jeffrey E. Pfeiffer; Parents’ use of faith healing for their children: implications for the legal system and measuring

community sentiment, Monica K. Miller; Muslims and the courtroom, Evelyn M. Maeder and Jeffrey E. Pfeiffer. Index.

About the Editor

James Richardson, JD, PhD, is Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies at the University of Nevada in Reno, where he

directs the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies, as well as the Judicial Studies graduate degree program for trial judges.

His latest books include Regulating Religion: Case Studies from around the Globe (2004) and Saints under Siege: The Texas

Raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (with Stuart Wright, 2011). He has published over 250 articles and book

chapters, and worked on 10 books, mostly on new and minority faiths. In recent years his focus has been on legal aspects of

social control of religions. He is the incoming president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

François Bellanger, PhD, Professor of Law (University of Geneva), Attorney at Law, has been a legal expert on cults for the

Department of Justice of the Canton of Geneva (Switzerland) and is one of the authors of the official report on illegal sectarian

practices published in Geneva in 1997 ("Audit sur les dérives sectaires"). He has published several articles on cults and

religious freedom. He is the President of the Information Center on Beliefs in Geneva.

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NEW BOOK: Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past by Sally Howell

Old Islam in Detroit Rediscovering the Muslim American Past

OLD ISLAM IN DETROIT documents the rich history of Islam in Detroit, a city that is home to several of America’s oldest and most diverse Muslim communities. By looking closely at this history, Sally Howell provides a new interpretation of the possibilities and limits of Muslim incorporation in American life. Showing how Islam has become American in the past, Howell argues that the anxieties many new Muslim Americans and non-Muslims feel about the place of Islam in American society today are part of a dynamic process of political and religious change that is still unfolding.

August 2014 | 368 pp. | 38 illus. | Hardcover $35.00 | 978-0-19-937200-3

Available now at

"The early twentieth century witnessed the institutionalization of mainstream Islam in America. Its history, however, has been overlooked until recently. I can think of no place more central than Detroit to understanding the complex racial, sectarian, civic, and political relations of American Muslims in this era. And no scholar is more familiar with Detroit’s Muslims than Howell. Her book is a major step forward in the study of American Islam." –Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Associate Professor of Religion and Humanities, Reed College

"Only in the twenty-first century have scholars begun to provide full and accurate histories of Muslim communities. Sifting through previously unexplored archives and interviewing elders to complete this saga, Howell’s well-written, richly illustrated text provides students of Islam in America with a story of multiple communities, their interactions and their formation of American Muslim identities. It will become a classroom staple for teaching about Islam in America." –Aminah Beverly McCloud, Professor, Islamic Studies, DePaul University

"Howell recovers a lost chapter of U.S. religious history. This highly-readable analysis explains why Muslims and non-Muslims alike have forgotten about the first American mosques. Old Islam in Detroit is a major contribution to the study of Muslim America." –Edward E. Curtis, IV, author of Muslims in America: A Short History

"This book challenges almost everything we thought we knew about the early history of Muslims in Detroit and beyond, transforming our understanding of the American Muslim past and present. Howell’s thorough research, including priceless interviews with early settlers, shows that those first mosques were mosques, that they were both translocal and transcommunal, and that women played key roles in building them. Howell provides particularly significant material relating to gender issues, African American Sunnis, and the recurring criticism of, and then accommodation to, Muslim American institutions by successive cohorts of Muslim immigrants." –Karen Leonard, author of Muslim Identities in North America: the State of Research

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Call for Papers – Religion and Environment

Social Compass

International Journal on the Sociology of Religion

Call for Papers

Special Issue on

“Climate Change and Energy Transitions:

Religious Environmental Concern".

(Scheduled for publication in Volume 62, Nº3, September 2015)

The journal is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for its special issue on “Climate Change and Energy Transitions: Religious Environmental Concern”. The journal invites high-quality manuscripts that explore empirical or practical issues from a sociological point of view relating to religious concerns toward climate change and environmental policies, especially those implemented to advance in the energy transition toward a low carbon economy.

Guest Editor: Dr Cristian Parker G. Senior Professor, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Santiago de Chile, Román Diaz 89, Providencia, Santiago de Chile, Email: cristian.parker

Purpose and scope

Alliance of religion and ecology along with a new global ethics around the planet have been studied. This is especially true regarding churches and theological movements and ecology. But sociological approaches have just begun to explore the relationship between the religious conscience of the faithful and environmental issues.

There is a growing attention in climate change and environmental degradation. It is a major concern of the international agenda and local governments have established environmental policies toward mitigation and adaptation to climate change including energy efficiency and transition to renewable sources. How are popular religions interacting with this agenda? How are religious worldviews, beliefs and practices integrating the ‘environmental fact’ and interacting with socio-environmental changes?

How are religions acting within environmental governance? Do religions of the faithful favor changes toward an eco-development?

We invite submissions on research into this subject involving bottom up perspectives, including living religion, environmental concern, lifestyles, everyday living practices with nature, energy policies and socio-environmental and political changes toward a more sustainable society.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Religion and environmental crisis in poll & recent research.

• World religions and the everyday life: do they promote environmental friendly lifestyles?

• Religious concern about energy transitions to more efficient and renewable energies.

• Environmental challenges in various continental experiences and their relationship with religions?

• Social change theory and religious environmental concerns

• Popular religious practices and beliefs, climate change impacts and policies.

• Religions at grassroots levels and socio-environmental conflicts focused on Third World countries.

• Religion as a driver of change towards a real sustainable society.

International studies involving collaborative approaches and especially studies in Latin America, Africa and Asia are particularly welcomed.

Submission guidelines:

Please submit your electronic abstract (max 3 pages) of the proposed paper by September 1th, 2014 to the guest editor (cristian.parker; cparkerg ) who will advise on the suitability of the paper for the Special Issue. Abstracts must clearly state the paper objectives, issues, methods, findings, application of results, and conclusions. They must clearly state in which language, English or French the paper will be submited. A short list of references is required. Authors whose submissions are accepted will be requested to submit a full paper to the guest editor by October 15th , 2014 for peer-review. Papers must be no longer than 43.000 characters (all characters and parts of the article included), about 6600 words. Only four full articles will be published in this Special Issue.

Copyright: The articles must not have been published. They cannot be submitted to another journal at the same time that they are submitted to Social Compass.

The articles have to be written either in English or in French. If a translation is needed, it is imperative that the translator is a native speaker (in French if the article is published in French or in English if the article is published in English). You must count that there will be a linguistic balance of the issue.

Electronic submissions should be sent as email attachments in .doc or .docx and RTF format. Work submitted for potential inclusion in this Special Issue must be a complete manuscript that adheres to Social Compass’ submission requirements, which are found on the journal’s website: Papers that don’t follow these requirements will not be accepted.

Deadline for the submission of abstracts is September 1st, 2014.

Deadline for submission of full papers is October 15th, 2014.


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Applying Ibn Khaldun The Recovery of a Lost Tradition in Sociology By Syed Farid Alatas

Applying Ibn Khaldun The Recovery of a Lost Tradition in Sociology

By Syed Farid Alatas

The writings of Ibn Khaldun, particularly the Muqaddimah (Prolegomenon) have rightly been regarded as being sociological in nature. For this reason, Ibn Khaldun has been widely regarded as the founder of sociology, or at least a precursor of modern sociology. While he was given this recognition, however, few works went beyond proclaiming him as a founder or precursor to the systematic application of his theoretical perspective to specific historical and contemporary aspects of Muslim societies in North Africa and the Middle East. The continuing presence of Eurocentrism in the social sciences has not helped in this regard: it often stands in the way of the consideration of non-Western sources of theories and concepts.

This book provides an overview of Ibn Khaldun and his sociology, discusses reasons for his marginality, and suggests ways to bring Ibn Khaldun into the mainstream through the systematic application of his theory. It moves beyond works that simply state that Ibn Khaldun was a founder of sociology or provide descriptive accounts of his works. Instead it systematically applies Khaldun’s theoretical perspective to specific historical aspects of Muslim societies in North Africa and the Middle East, successfully integrating concepts and frameworks from Khaldunian sociology into modern social science theories. Applying Ibn Khaldun will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology and social theory.


1. The Errors of History and the New Science: Introduction to the Muqaddimah

2. Ibn Khald?n’s Theory of State Formation

3. Ibn Khald?n and Modern Sociology: An Aborted Tradition

4. Pre-modern Readings andApplications of Ibn Khald?n

5. A Khald?nian Theory of Muslim Reform

6. Ibn Khald?n and the Ottoman Modes of Production

7. The Rise and Fall of the Safavid State in a Khald?nian Framework

8. A Khald?nian Perspective on Modern Arab States: Saudi Arabia and Syria

9. Towards a Khald?nian Sociology of the State

10. Bibliographic Remarks and Further Reading. Bibliography

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Religion and Non-Religion among Australian Aboriginal Peoples, Roundtable Discussion

The Religion and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney invites you to attend the:

Religion and Non-Religion among Australian Aboriginal Peoples, Roundtable Discussion


Jim Cox, University of Edinburgh

Steve Bevis, University of Sydney

Kevin Dunn, University of Western Sydney

Helen Onnudottir, University of Western Sydney

Awais Piracha, University of Western Sydney

Alan Nixon, University of Western Sydney

David Moore, University of Western Australia

Hart Cohen, University of Western Sydney

Date: Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Time: 10:00 AM – 13:00 PM

Venue: UWS Bankstown Campus, Building 23, Room G.41

RSVP: j.fishman by Friday, 22 August 2014 – for catering purposes

Roundtable Discussion Introduction

In the 2011 census, approximately 24% of the total Indigenous population claimed to have no religion. Between the 2006 and 2011 census, this represented close to a 41% increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people who selected the No Religion category. When compared to the 29.41% increase in this same category among the Australian population as a whole, the difference was enough to prompt scholars to ask why. This roundtable discussion explores the significance of and possible explanations for these statistics. Is it that the Indigenous population, along with the wider Australian society, is in fact becoming increasingly secularised? Eight presenters from across a number of disciplines provide insights based on their research into the issue.

Please refer to the attached flyer for further information.

Kind Regards

Judy Fishman

School Administrative Officer

School of Social Sciences & Psychology

University of Western Sydney

Locked Bag 1797 Penrith NSW 2751 Australia

Email: j.fishman

Tel: +61 2 9772 6440 Fax: +61 2 9772 6584

Religion and Non-Religion among Australian Aboriginal Peoples, Roundtable Discussion.pdf

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New Book: Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization

Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization
Edited by Luca Ozzano, Francesco Cavatorta


Routledge – 2014 – 174 pages

Series: Democratization Special Issues

To the surprise of both academics and policy-makers, religion has not been relegated entirely to the private sphere; quite the contrary. Over the last few decades, religion has begun to play a significant role in public affairs and, in many cases, directly in political systems. This edited volume analyses in detail how religion and religious precepts inform the ideology, strategies and electoral behaviour of political parties. Working with an original and innovative typology of religiously oriented political parties, the book examines cases from different regions of the world and different religious traditions to highlight the significance of religion for party politics. This interest for religiously oriented parties is combined with an interest in processes of democratic change and democratic consolidation. Political parties are central to the success of processes of democratization while religion is seen in many circles as an element that prevents such success because it is perceived to be a polarising factor detrimental to the consensus necessary to build a liberal-democratic system. Through the different case-studies presented here, a much more complex picture emerges, where religiously oriented political parties perform very different and often contradicting roles with respect to democratic change.

This book was published as a special issue of Democratization.


1. Introduction: religiously oriented parties and democratization (Luca Ozzano and Francesco Cavatorta) 2. The many faces of the political god: a typology of religiously oriented parties (Luca Ozzano) 3. The perils of polarization and religious parties: the democratic challenges of political fragmentation in Israel and Turkey (Sultan Tepe) 4. Moderation through exclusion? The journey of the Tunisian Ennahda from fundamentalist to conservative party (Francesco Cavatorta and Fabio Merone) 5. Refining the moderation thesis. Two religious parties and Indian democracy: the Jana Sangh and the BJP between Hindutva radicalism and coalition politics (Christophe Jaffrelot) 6. Ahab and the white whale: the contemporary debate around the forms of Catholic political commitment in Italy (Alberta Giorgi) 7. Religious parties in Chile: the Christian Democratic Party and the Independent Democratic Union (Juan Pablo Luna, Felipe Monestier and Fernando Rosenblatt) 8. Religion and democratization in Northern Ireland: is religion actually ethnicity in disguise? (Eoin O’Malley and Dawn Walsh) 9. Conclusion: reassessing the relation between religion, political actors, and democratization (Luca Ozzano and Francesco Cavatorta)

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Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences – Nanyang Technological University

Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences

As a young and dynamic institution, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) at Nanyang Technological University is pleased to announce that Postdoctoral Fellowships are to be awarded in July/August 2014. The fellowships are to be hosted by the School-level research clusters.

For more information about the positions and application process, please visit:

• Outstanding and promising candidates who have received his/her PhD in the humanities and social sciences from a reputable University
• Candidates’ research interests should lie within the broad themes of the chosen clusters

The successful candidates are expected to undertake cutting-edge research in one of the chosen fields either jointly with the NTU counterparts or independently as well as to assist research clusters’ research activities such as organizing workshops

Subject to mutual agreement, postdoctoral fellows may undertake some light teaching, no more than one course per academic year, in a relevant disciplinary department at HSS.

Duration: One year (renewable for up to another year, subject to funding availability and performance appraisal)

Salary: Competitive remuneration plus research expense support

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

For more information about HSS research clusters, visit:

For more details about NCPA, please visit NCPA’s website:

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2 Post-Doctoral Researchers and 1 PhD Studentship in Islamic Studies, University of Chester

2 Post-Doctoral Researchers and 1 PhD Studentship in Islamic Studies, University of Chester

Applications are invited for two post-doctoral researchers and one PhD studentship in Islamic Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester. The Department is currently expanding in the area of Islamic Studies and has appointed Oliver Scharbrodt as its first Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Chester with the strategic aim to turn the Department into one of the prime centres for the academic study of Islam in the UK. The posts and the studentship provide an exciting opportunity to develop Islamic Studies at the University by contributing to both research and teaching.

The two post-doctoral researchers and the PhD student will be part of a research project that examines transnational religio-political networks in contemporary Twelver Shiism operating between Iraq, Iran and Britain. Professor Oliver Scharbrodt is the principal investigator of the project which is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, a private foundation that supports research across the Humanities and Social Sciences. The post-doctoral researchers will also contribute to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the Department.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Professor Oliver Scharbrodt, email <o.scharbrodt>.

For further information see the following links:

Post-Doctoral Researcher in Islamic Studies

PhD Research Studentship in Islamic Studies

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RC22 Newsletter #13!

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings from Yokohama where the ISA Congress is currently taking place. We have been enjoying very rich RC22 sessions as many participants can attest, in spite of the humidity! For members in attendance, we look forward to your warm participation at the business meeting on Friday but also to the remaining RC22 sessions. For those of you not in attendance, i do hope you are having a restive summer season.

Please find attached the latest RC22 newsletter for your reading delight. I had hoped to get this out before Yokohama, no thanks to logistics. Nonetheless, I hope you will enjoy reading it!

With best wishes

Afe Adogame
RC22 Secretary/Treasurer

ISA Newsletter 16- July 2014.pdf

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Hope Optimism Initiative

Hope and Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations

Request for Proposals: “The Science of Hope and Optimism”

Award Announcement

The University of Notre Dame and Cornell University, with generous support from The John Templeton Foundation, invite proposals for “The Science of Hope and Optimism” funding initiative. We seek to encourage empirical research from new and established scientists and scholars on hope and optimism. A primary goal of this initiative is to clarify which definitions, concepts and measures of hope and optimism are the most theoretically and practically fruitful. We welcome applications from researchers in cognitive, developmental, personality, and social psychology, as well as sociology. Interdisciplinary teams that include members from cognate areas – e.g. cognitive science, anthropology, and philosophy – are encouraged though not required.

Award Description

Hope and Optimism Directors: Samuel Newlands, University of Notre Dame; Andrew Chignell, Cornell University.

This $1.4 million dollar RFP is intended to support empirical work in psychology and sociology on the nature, measurement, benefits, and costs of hope and/or optimism. Requests are invited for between $50,000 and $250,000 for projects not to exceed two years in duration. We intend to make up to 10 awards.

The Concepts of Hope and Optimism

Social scientists have defined the terms “hope” and “optimism” in many different ways. Researchers often begin with the commonsense notion of dispositional optimism, which is the relatively stable expectation that good things rather than bad things will generally happen. They then go on to use or make reference to concepts such as the optimism of everyday life, big optimism, little optimism, private optimism, public optimism, explanatory style optimism, here-and-now optimism, and end-of-the-story optimism, among others. One goal of the present project is to clarify which definitions, constructs, and measures related to these and other terms are the most theoretically and practically fruitful.

Optimism has received more attention in scientific studies than has hope, and therefore a wider range of measures and characterizations have been proposed, validated, and applied for optimism than for hope. As a result of this imbalance, different evaluative procedures will be used for proposals addressing optimism as opposed to those addressing hope. For proposals addressing optimism, preference will be given to those that clarify and utilize one of the many existing optimism constructs or measures to make progress in the areas outlined in the Key Questions below. With respect to hope, preference will be given to those that utilize characterizations and measures that go beyond the extant psychological literature to address some of the Key Questions.


1. Psychology

For most of the 20th century, psychology emphasized what might be called “negative” disorders and their treatment. Researchers and clinicians seemed to assume that positive inaccuracies, such as optimistically-biased assessments of one’s chances, were undesirable. The neutral and accurate perception of reality was a hallmark of mental health.

Interest in optimism increased in the 1980s when various measures were developed by Michael Scheier, Charles Carver, Neil Weinstein, Shelley Taylor, Martin Seligman, and others. There is now a substantial and growing body of evidence on the correlations between biased optimism and well-being, evidence that challenges the assumption that unbiased accuracy in one’s predictions and assessments is most strongly correlated with health and well-being.

Despite these advances, numerous questions for the psychological study of optimism remain unanswered. For example, it remains unclear whether the correlations between optimism and physical health are due primarily to the benefits of optimism, the harms of pessimism, or both. Prospective and longitudinal studies, together with new meta-analyses of the existing data are needed to clarify the causal and explanatory relations underlying optimism-related phenomena.

Second, comparatively little attention has been paid to the social-psychological dimension of optimism. Similarly, there have been only a few investigations into the genetic, neuropsychological, and environmental roots of optimism. Some studies, such as those on the genetic determinants of optimism, would require substantial resources and large samples; these obstacles have proven difficult to overcome.

The positive effects of hope have received even less attention by psychological researchers. With a few notable exceptions, the extant empirical literature on hope focuses primarily on coping strategies for patients who are in danger of losing hope. Relatively little is known about how hope functions in ordinary contexts and in well-adjusted subjects. In addition, insufficient attention has been given to the psychological and neurological mechanisms underlying hope and hopefulness. Part of the problem is that, unlike in optimism studies, there is not a widely accepted definition and measure for hope. Though C. R. Snyder’s Hope Scales do provide a measure that emphasizes goal-related factors, it is unclear whether these factors are as central to the psychology of hope as his theory predicts. Developmental and social-psychological aspects of hope are also underexplored.

2. Sociology

Strikingly little research on hope and optimism has been done in sociology. Two broad areas have received attention in sociology: optimism and culture; and optimism and religion. Over the last decade, sociologists have explored a number of issues at the intersection of optimism and culture, including apparent cultural differences in levels of optimism, the importance of optimism to the existence of cohesive, flourishing cultures, and the means by which cultural structures and institutions cultivate optimism. Further work needs to be done, however, on the underlying neurological, biological, psychological, religious, and socio-cultural mechanisms that account for the small variations in levels of optimism across cultures. In addition, more studies are needed in order to discover the role of optimism in sustaining cultures, and the precise features of the implicit cultural policies that promote and mediate optimism in a culture.

Over the past few decades, most research on the connection between religion and optimism has been on individual religiosity and how one’s level of religiosity relates to and promotes psychological well-being and life satisfaction. Much less work has been done on religion as a social institution and how it relates to optimism. Further research is needed on how religion—as a complex, multidimensional domain consisting of organizational practices, social relationships, support mechanisms, non-organizational practices, identities, beliefs and experiences, and more—promotes (or deters) optimism. Finally, since the few empirical studies on religion and optimism have been conducted in the U.S. or other western societies that are, for the most part, Judeo-Christian (or post-Christian), further research is needed in non-Judeo-Christian, non-Western contexts.

Key Questions

With the above considerations in mind, we invite proposals for research addressing at least one of the following Key Questions:

A. Psychology

1. What are the correlations, causal relations, and/or explanatory relationships that hold between optimism, pessimism, and their correlates? For example, is optimism beneficial, or is pessimism toxic, or both? What aspects of optimism and pessimism account for their beneficial or toxic effects?

2. What is hope? To what other traits or states is it importantly related? How might hope be reliably measured in individuals?

3. How central are hope and optimism to human physical and mental health? Can individuals flourish without them?

4. Is optimism bias irrational? If so, in what sense?

5. Which psychological mechanisms underlie hope and optimism? For example, how do affective, motivational, and cognitive processes differentially contribute to optimism and influence one another? Does hope have positive or negative affective components, both, or neither? Are dual- (or multi-) process models of hope and optimism empirically plausible, and, if so, what is handled by System-1, System-2, etc.?

6. How do hope and optimism develop? What are their genetic and environmental influences?

7. Can hope and optimism be taught? What pedagogical methods are most effective for instilling hope and optimism among those who might benefit from them?

B. Sociology

1. What is hope? How might hope be reliably measured across cultures and social institutions?

2. What are the social dynamics related to hope and/or optimism? Is hope contagious; if so, what facilitates its transmission? Does optimism have social functions; if so, what are they?

3. What are the underlying societal, cultural, institutional, familial, and environmental mechanisms that promote optimism?

4. What accounts for the small yet significant differences in levels of optimism across cultures? How do the causes, effects, mechanisms, and expressions of hope and optimism differ across circumstances, cultures, and other domains?

5. Is the hope offered by religious doctrine and praxis different in kind or in degree from non-religious sources? How do levels of hope and/or optimism compare in non-Judeo-Christian, non-Western religious contexts? What feature(s) of such religious contexts contribute to higher or lower levels of hope and/or optimism?

Application Instructions

Letters of Intent are due by November 1st, 2014. Invitations for full proposals will be made by December 1st, 2014. Full proposals will be due by February 1st, 2015, with final award decisions issued by March 15th, 2015 for research to begin between July 1st, 2015 and September 1st, 2015.

Letter of Intent (LOI) Stage – all materials must be received by November 1st, 2014

Applicants are required to submit:

1. A letter of intent that includes the central questions of the project, the background and significance of the questions, the way in which the project addresses the goals and at least one of the Key Questions of this RFP, and a summary of the methodology. The letter cannot exceed 1,000 words (excluding references).

2. The amount of funding requested (one sentence is fine for this). No budget narrative or justification is needed at this stage. The amount can be revised at the full proposal stage.

3. A complete curriculum vitae for the PI and for all major team members (if applicable).

Application materials should be submitted by e-mail attachment as a single document to: hope-optimism[at]nd[dot]edu, with the words “Social Science letter of intent” in the subject line. The required documents should be compiled in a single PDF file in the order listed above. The only acceptable file format is PDF. An acknowledgment email will be sent within seven days of receiving your proposal.

Full Proposal Stage – all materials must be received by February 1st, 2015

Full Proposals are due by February 1st, 2015, with award decisions issued by March 15th, 2015, for research to begin between July 1st, 2015 and September 1st, 2015.

Those applicants who are invited to submit full proposals must include:

1. A cover letter of no more than 1 page with the title, amount requested, duration of the project (not to exceed two years), and team members (if applicable).

2. A complete curriculum vitae for the PI and for all major team members (if applicable).

3. A brief abstract of the proposed work of no more than 150 words.

4. A narrative description of the work to be carried out, not to exceed 5,000 words (excluding references). The description should explain the central questions of the project, the background and significance of the questions, the way in which the project addresses the goals and at least one of the Key Questions of this RFP, the methodology, the researchers’ qualifications to conduct the research, and plans for the dissemination of research outputs. If the proposed work requires access to particular equipment or populations (e.g., school children), the researcher(s) should indicate how they will access these resources during the proposed funding period.

5. A project summary of up to 500 words which explains the project and its significance to non-academics, and which would be published on the Hope and Optimism website and possibly in Templeton materials, and included in publicity materials if the proposal is funded.

6. A timeline for the proposed work.

7. A detailed budget with accompanying narrative explaining line items, totaling between $50,000 and $250,000 in direct + indirect costs. Overhead is limited to 15%, and funds cannot be used for major equipment purchases.

8. Written approval of the department chair and university signing officials.

Proposals should be submitted by e-mail attachment as a single document to: hope-optimism[at]nd[dot]edu. The words “Social Science Full Proposal” should appear in the subject line. The required documents should be compiled in a single PDF file in the order listed above. The only acceptable file format is PDF. Full proposals will be accepted only from applicants who have been invited to submit by the Project Directors, on the basis of the LOI phase. An acknowledgment email will be sent within seven days of receiving your proposal.

All questions about the application process should be directed to: hope-optimism[at]nd[dot]edu.

Review and Selection Process

Letters of Intent and Full Proposals will be reviewed by the Project Directors, in consultation with a panel of external expert referee. If an LOI or full proposal involves content or methods that require further expertise, additional ad hoc reviewers may be sought.

Selection criteria will include: (1) feasibility of the project within the specified timeframe, (2) prior research accomplishments of the applicant (and other team members, if any), (3) relevance of the project to the key topics and themes, (4) originality and chance of success of the intended project, (5) quality of the budget justification, and (6) coherence of the intended research plan. Strong preference will be given to proposals that are especially innovative and novel relative to current scientific work in these areas.

Grant Eligibility and Requirements

The PI must have a Ph.D. and be in or contracted to a faculty position at an accredited college or university before the Letter of Intent deadline (November 1st, 2014). For projects involving human subjects or non-human animals, appropriate approval for the proposed research must be obtained from an Internal Review Board before the start date of the research.

All applications must be submitted in English and all payments will be made in US dollars.

PIs of funded projects must commit to the following:

1. Submit interim and final progress reports, as well as interim and final expenditure reports. The interim and final progress reports should not exceed 5 pages, and should detail the outcomes of the funded project. Reports must be submitted at the end of Year 1 and at the conclusion of the project if the project is for more than one year. For projects of one year, reports should be submitted at the end of six months and at the conclusion of the project.

2. Attend and present findings (initial or final) at the 5-day midpoint interdisciplinary workshop in July 2016 (expenses covered).

3. Consent to have presentation at the midpoint workshop videotaped for the Hope and Optimism Project website.

4. Notify the project at: hope-optimism[at]nd[dot]edu of all conference presentations, papers, and books that arise from the funded research, including presentations and publications occurring after the conclusion of the grant.

5. Follow stipulations of grant award as communicated by Templeton either to the University of Notre Dame or to the recipients directly, and as determined by Notre Dame. This includes complying with all relevant regulations and procedures for human subjects research.

Direct all questions to:



Hope and Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations

Center for Philosophy of Religion

223 Malloy Hall

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN 46556

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A Special Issue on the Gülen Movement: Sociology of Islam Journal (Edited by Joshua Hendr ick) Volume 1, Issue 3-4, 2014 (Brill)

Sociology of Islam explores modern social, political and economic transformations in Muslim Societies through the lens of sociological analysis, social theory, industrialization, modernity, social movements, secularism and political economy. It provides a unique sociological approach in addition to a multi-disciplinary approach.

Sociology of Islam Journal

A Special Issue on the Gülen Movement

Volume 1, Issue 3-4, 2014

Perspectives on the Gülen Movement
Approaching a Sociology of Fethullah Gülen
“Is Hizmet Liberal?” Mediations and Disciplines of Islam and Liberalism among Gülen Organizations in Istanbul
The Netherlands and the Gülen movement
The Sohbet: Talking Islam in Turkey
Said Nursi’s Notion of ‘Sacred Science’: Its Function and Application in Hizmet High School Education
Translocal Ethics: Hizmet Teachers and the Formation of Gülen-inspired Schools in Urban Tanzania
What is the Hizmet Movement? Contending Approaches to the Analysis of Religious Activists In World Politics
  • Author: Sabine Dreher
  • Source: Volume 1, Issue 3-4, pp 257 –275
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Post-doc position at the University of Tuebingen

*** Thanks for distributing / Sorry for cross-posting ***

The Department of Sociology at the University of Tuebingen welcomes applications for a full-time

Junior faculty position (Sociology / Empirical social research)

to be filled as of 01 October 2014.

The position entails responsibilities in teaching and research. A completed Ph.D. in sociology or related fields is required. We expect advanced competencies in research methods and data analysis as well as cooperation with ongoing research activities in the Department’s working group on social stratification, education and the life course (Professor Steffen Hillmert).

Recruitment will be for an initial period of three years and can be extended for another three years. The University of Tuebingen is an equal opportunity employer.

The deadline for applications is 15 July 2014

Please submit applications to

Karin Schlotterer

University of Tuebingen

Department of Sociology

Wilhelmstr. 36

72074 Tuebingen


or via email to: karin.schlotterer

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Ph.d. and post-doc fellowships at the University of Oslo, Norway

Ph.d. and post-doc fellowships at the University of Oslo, Norway:

1. Two Doctoral research fellowships in Politics and Society in the Middle East

2. Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship – Ideological and cultural development in the Middle East after ca 1850

3. Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the study of central aspects of the development of Islam as a religious tradition

4. Doctoral research fellowship in Semitic Studies with emphasis on language, religion and societal changes

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New Voices in Greek Orthodox Thought: Untying the Bond between Nation and Religion

New Voices in Greek Orthodox Thought:
Untying the Bond between Nation and Religion Trine Stauning Willert, University of Copenhagen, Denmark Ashgate, 2014

New Voices in Greek Orthodox Thought brings to the light and discusses a strand in contemporary Greek public debate that is often overlooked, namely progressive religious actors of a western orientation.
International – and Greek – media tend to focus on the extreme views and to categorise positions in the public debate along well known dichotomies such as traditionalists vs. modernsers.

Demonstrating that in late modernity, parallel to rising nationalisms, there is a shift towards religious communities becoming the central axis for cultural organization and progressive thinking, the book presents Greece as a case study based on empirical field data from contemporary theology and religious education, and makes a unique contribution to ongoing debates about the public role of religion in contemporary Europe.

New Voices in Greek Orthodoc Thought June 2014.pdf

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CALL FOR PAPERS: 4th International Buddhism & Australia Conference

The International Conference Buddhism & Australia 2015 will be held on 26-28 February, 2015 in Perth, Western Australia. This conference investigates the history, current and future directions for Buddhism in Australasian region; theme for Buddhism & Australia 2015 will be Buddhist Symbols and Symbolism

The organizers are open to proposals for contributions on Buddhism history, philosophy, texts as well for proposals on any related theme All Buddhists, scholars and members of the general public interested in Buddhism are invited to present their papers in this coming conference. Researchers across a broad range of disciplines are welcomed as well the submission of pre-formed panel proposals.

What to Send
Proposals may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information:

  • author(s);
  • affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme
  • email address,
  • title of proposal,
  • body of proposal; no more than 300 words,
  • up to 10 keywords.
  • CV max 2 pages

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline).

Proposals should be submitted by November 25, 2014 by the following email: If a proposal is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by January 20, 2015. We acknowledge receipt and answer to all proposals submitted For further details of the conference, please visit:

Organizing Chair
Marju Broder:

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