Changing Beliefs and Schisms in New Religious Movements — London School of Economics – December 1, 2012

 In Events, Uncategorized

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building,
London School of Economics, Saturday 1 December 2012

Or post a booking form (attached) and a cheque payable to ‘Inform’ to
Inform, Houghton St., London WC2A 2AE.
(; 020 7955 7677).

Tickets (including buffet lunch, coffee and tea) paid by 12 November
2012 cost £38 each (£18 students/unwaged).
NB. Tickets booked after 12 November 2012 will cost £48 each (£28
A limited number of seats will be made available to A-Level students at
£10 before 12 November 2012 (£20 after 12 November). A party of 5 or
more A-Level students from one school can include one member of staff at
the same price.


The presence of speakers on an Inform programme does not mean that
Inform endorses their position.

The aim of Inform Seminars is to help participants to understand, or at
least recognise, different perspectives.
For Inform’s codes of practice see

9.30-9.50 Registration and coffee

9.50-10.00 Welcome and Introduction

10.00-10.25 Eileen Barker (Professor Emeritus, LSE; Chair & Honorary
Director, Inform)

“Re-vision and Division in New Religions: Some Introductory Remarks”

10.25-10.50 Claire Borowik (Co-Director of the Worldwide Religious
News Service, and member of The Family International)

“The Family International: Rebooting for the Future”

10.50-11.15 J. Gordon Melton (Distinguished Professor of American
Religious History at Baylor University)

“When Science Intervenes—Revising Claims in the New Age”

11.15-11.45 Coffee

11.45-12.10 Pat Ryan and Joe Kelly (International Cultic Studies
Association; ex-members of TM and Society of Divine Love)

“Transcendental Meditation and Swami Prakashananda Saraswati”

12.10-12.35 Susan Palmer (Lecturer in Religious Studies, Dawson
College / Concordia University)

“Dr. Malach Z. York’s Spiritual Divagations”

12.35-13.00 Masoud Banisadr (PhD in chemical engineering and
engineering mathematics, and former member of MEK)

“The Metamorphism of MEK (Mujahedin e Khalgh) and its Schism”

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-14.25 James Tong (Professor of Political Science, University of
California, Los Angeles)

“The Re-Invented Wheel: Revisioning and Diversification in the Falun
Gong, 1992-2012”

14.25-14.50 Mike Mickler (Professor of Church History, Unification
Theological Seminary)

“The Post-Sun Myung Moon Unification Church”

14.50-15.15 Eugene Clay (Associate Professor of Religious Studies,
Arizona State University)

“Mother of God Derjavnaja / The New Cathar Church”

15.15-15.45 Tea

15.45-16.10 Eugene Gallagher (Rosemary Park Professor of Religious
Studies, Connecticut College)

“The Branch Davidians”

16.10-16.35 Massimo Introvigne (Lawyer and Managing Director of CESNUR
(Center for Studies on New Religions), Turin)

“Mormon Origins – 6. Call for Papers
The 2012 Socrel / HEA Teaching and Studying Religion symposium will
explore the theme: Religion and Citizenship: Re-Thinking the Boundaries
of Religion and the Secular.

The symposium is organised by Socrel, the BSA Sociology of Religion
Study Group, with funding from the Higher Education Academy, Philosophy,
and Religious Studies Subject Centre. Last year’s inaugural symposium
was over-subscribed and therefore early submissions are encouraged.

Keynote speaker: Dr Nasar Meer, Northumbria University

Venue: BSA Meeting Room, Imperial Wharf, London
Date: 13 December 2012
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Religions today are implicated in a wide variety of publics. From
contests over the environment and democracy to protests against
capitalism, religions remain important factors in political and public
life across diverse, and interconnected, global contexts. A variety of
diverse responses have been articulated to the so-called ‘return of
religion’ in the public sphere, drawing into question relations between
the religious, the non-religious and the secular. As scholars have
developed new theoretical understandings of the terms of these debates
and questioned how these are bound up with cultural conceptualizations
of citizenship, education – in schools, universities and less formal
educational contexts – has often been a site where contestations of the
religious and the secular have been acutely felt.

The aim of this symposium is to consider the interrelation between
conceptions of the religious, the secular, citizenship and education,
and to explore how these issues affect the study of religion in higher
education. We hope to attract presentations of sufficient quality to
lead to an edited publication.

The day will be highly participative and engaged. The symposium will be
organised as a single stream so that the day is as much about discussion
as it is about presentation, and therefore the number of formal papers
will be limited.

Papers are invited from students, teachers, and researchers in the
disciplines of sociology, anthropology, geography, theology, history,
psychology, political science, religious studies and others where
religion is taught and studied. Empirical, methodological, and
theoretical papers are welcomed.

Presenters will circulate a five-page summary of their paper before the
day so that all participants can come prepared for discussion.
Presentations will last 10 minutes and will be structured into three
sessions, each followed by a discussant drawing out key points. The day
will conclude with a discussant-led, focused panel discussion.

Key questions to be addressed may include, but are not limited to:
What are the relationships between the religious, the secular and the
public sphere, and how do these affect the study of religion, in both
universities and schools?
How do different historical constructions of religion and secularity
shape understandings of the civil sphere and citizenship, and what are
the implications of this for the study of religion?
Does the increased public visibility of religion in national and global
contexts affect how we study it?
What is the role of religious education (school and/or university) in
forming citizens and shaping understandings of citizenship?
Are there distinct regional, national or international conceptions of
the secular?
Are there distinct regional, national or international conceptions of
How do different disciplines approach and study these conceptions, and
what are the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches?

Abstracts of 200 words are invited by September 15 2012. Please send
these to: Dr Paul-François

Costs: £36.00 for BSA/SocRel members; £45.00 for non-members; £20.00 for
SocRel/BSA Postgraduate member; £25.00 for Postgraduate non-members.

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