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UniSA hosts national conference on religion

by Michael O’Donoghue and Heather Foster

bibleThe Australian Association for the Study of Religion will hold its 30th annual conference at UniSA in July. The conference entitled Celebrating the Past, Anticipating the Future, is to be held at the City West Campus from July 7-9. It celebrates the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the professional association for scholars of religion which is returning to its place of origin.

Thirty years ago the inaugural conference and the foundation of the Association took place at the Adelaide College of Advanced Education, an antecedent institution of UniSA. It was due to the leadership of local scholars such as Professor Norman Habel, Basil Moore, Vic Hayes, Penny Magee and Emeritus Professor Robert Crotty, all of whom had a national influence in the field of Religion Studies.

The significance of religion in international affairs has been highlighted in recent years by the resurgence of Islam. Locally, the growth of enthusiastic Christian churches such as Hillsong in Sydney and Paradise in Adelaide, as well as the influence of religion on national policy making, has refocused attention on religion. The conference will explore religion in all its manifestations from an academic perspective.

Scholars from Australia and across the world will attend the conference. Some of these include Mitri Raheb from Israel on Land, peoples and identities: a Palestinian Christian Perspective and John May from Ireland on Political Religion: studying the world’s religions in global civil society, both sponsored by the Charles Strong Trust. Majella Franzmann from the University of New England will deliver the Penny Magee Lecture on Manichaean Women in 4th Century Roman Kellis. Graham Harvey from England will speak on Contesting personhood in the study of indigenous religions and Jamie Scott from Canada on Christian Missions in contemporary Antipodean Fiction.

Participation in the conference is welcomed. Registration for non members is $180 or $120 concession and includes lunch and refreshments. Further information email heather.foster@ unisa.edu.au.

UniSA lecturers Michael O’Donoghue and Dr Heather Foster are respectively president and vice president of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions.