Workshop on Religious Pluralism, Magic and Gender/Sex Diversity in Southeast Asia — Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, January 2015

 In Call for Papers, Uncategorized

Religious Pluralism, Magic and Gender/Sex Diversity in Southeast Asia
Transgender and Queer Ritual Specialists in Southeast Asian Supernaturalism

Workshop Call for Papers

Institute for Asian and African Studies
Southeast Asian History and Society
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
21-22 January, 2015

This international workshop will investigate the increasingly prominent roles that male-to-female (m-t-f) and female-to-male (f-t-m) transgenders as well as homosexual men and women are playing in spirit cults, magical ritual, and ritual healing across mainland and island Southeast Asia. This increasingly visible phenomenon contrasts with much past research on Southeast Asian religion and queer genders/sexualities, which has often emphasised the role of women as ritual specialists in spirit medium cults and at times has viewed religion as intolerant of gender/sex diversity.

In seeking to understand processes that are leading to increasingly prominent and respected roles for gay, lesbian and transgender ritual specialists in supernatural cults and magical ritual across Southeast Asia, the workshop will bring together researchers specialising in cultural, historical and anthropological approaches to both Asian Queer Studies and Southeast Asian Religious Studies. The workshop will aim to encourage interdisciplinary dialogue to explore the intersection of two cultural processes that previously have only been studied in isolation, namely, the rise of diverse forms of supernatural ritual, both inside and outside of institutional religion, and the increasing prominence of gay, lesbian, and transgender communities across the Southeast Asian region.

Presentations are welcome from researchers working on topics that reflect on changing patterns of gender and sexual diversity in popular religion in all countries of Southeast Asia. Please send draft paper titles and abstracts, and direct all inquiries, to:

Peter A. Jackson (
Benjamin Baumann (

This workshop will be convened immediately before the three-day conference of the Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia (DORISEA) Research Network, which will be held at Humboldt University, Berlin, from 22-25 January, 2015. Information about the conference will soon be available on the DORISEA website at

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