CFP: "Place as Sacred" (Journal Religions; deadline May 11)

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Call for Papers
April 30, 2018 to November 5, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Geography, Islamic History / Studies, Native American History / Studies, World History / Studies



"Place-as-Sacred" is the theme for a special issue of Religions to be published in early 2019.  This issue will focus on entire regions of socio-religious activities--or those of more limited scale-- where individuals and groups interact with a range of places deemed "sacred" (by whatever terms or norms are accepted in the region).  The regions are East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Europe North/South, Africa, South America, Mesoamerica, North America, Australia/New Zealand.  A 5500-7500 word article will of course note the histories, politics, economies, religious philosophies and common practices that have informed the logos­­ of the area.  It will also integrate and orient readers to present day issues of personal empowerment through actual or imagined sites noted for features related to gender, healing, transitional states, or other dimensions.


This special issue will attempt to be inclusive of the diversity of people and their varied interactions with these sites, honouring the multiplicity of ways we interpret the terms “place” and “sacred.” For example, a city like Paris is known, observed, and monitored worldwide but is also full of sites that are "sacred" to widely diverse populations.  That is why the theme of "place as sacred" provides agency to whoever is designating the uniquely ordained, set aside, and sometimes extraordinary features of particular locations.  We also want to acknowledge how these influences can be rejected, reformed, and repurposed, such as we have seen in the example of Buddhism in Burma from 2014 to the present day.  Our goal is to convey the heritage of diverse religious pasts in shaping "place as sacred" for today's participants. 


The proposal deadline is Friday, May 11th for a review of your paragraph(s) of description.  If you are unable to participate, please suggest someone appropriate.  Please send a brief description of your project and how it...


• gives an overview of topics relative to regional and global uses of sites deemed sacred

• designates its particulars and generalities, with special attention given to issues of inclusion  

• is accessed and used for historical and contemporary peoples (stories are essential!)

• connects with websites or Facebook to render itself present online


John Nelson (University of San Francisco), invited by the journal to be the guest editor for this volume, will review, comment, and then let you know about the status of your submission by May 1st.  Once a preliminary list of participants is determined, the deadline for receipt of the papers will be November 5th, 2018.  


For any questions about the CFP, please contact   





John Nelson is Professor of East Asian Religions and Academic Director of the M.A. Program in Asia Pacific Studies, University of San Francisco.  As a cultural anthropologist, his research and publications explore the interaction between religion, society, and politics in contemporary East Asia and the world.  His most recent book, Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan, was co-winner of the 2014 Numata Prize for "outstanding book in Buddhist studies".  He is also the author of two other book-length ethnographies (A Year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine, 1996 and Engaging Identities: the Guise of Shinto in Contemporary Japan, 2000), two documentary films, and numerous academic articles on Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. 


Contact Info: 

John Nelson,

University of San Francisco

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