Mary Jo Neitz

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Mary Jo Neitz is Professor Emerita in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, Missouri. She received her Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Chicago.

She was one of the first sociologists to study the intersections of gender and religion, and a pioneer in bringing cultural approaches to the sociology of religion. She has explored how religion as an institution and as a cultural form has been both constraining for subordinate peoples as well as sometimes offering places where they can exercise agency.

Highlighted publications include Charisma and Community:  A Study of Religious Commitment within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (Routledge, 1987); Culture: Sociological Perspective (Prentice Hall, 1993, with John R Hall, translated into Chinese by the Commercial Press of Beijing); and Sociology on Culture (Routledge, 2003, with John R Hall and Marshall Battani).

Neitz has served as President of the Association of The Sociology of Religion, and Chair of the Section of the Sociology of Religion in the American Sociological Association.  She has served on council for numerous scholarly organizations, including currently the International Society for the Sociology of Religion. She edited a series on Qualitative Studies in the Sociology of Religion for New York University Press and has served on editorial boards for Contexts, Sociology of Religion and The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.  

She has co-edited a number of volumes including, Feminist Narratives in the Sociology of Religion (AltaMira, 2001, with Nancy Nason Clark), Sex, Lies and Sanctity: Religion and Deviance in North America (JAI, 1995, with Marion S Goldman), and Feminist Scholarship  in Sociology (with James McCartney and Edward Brent).  Her work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Association for the Sociology of Religion, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and the Louisville Institute.

She has contributed to the development of feminist theories and methodologies. She is currently writing, with Karen Bradley, a multi-site ethnographic study of women in small town and rural congregations.  Tentatively titled Gender and Lived Religion:  How Women Make Church Work, this book brings the discussion of the relationship between feminism and religion down to the day to day practices of women in small town congregations in Missouri.  The book analyzes the various kinds of work that women perform toward the on-going functioning of their congregation, and also the work they do to make their congregations places where they receive sufficient benefits to enable them to stay.

Margit Warburg

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Margit Warburg is a Professor in Sociology of Religion, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. Her research interests are the relationship between religion, migration and globalisation, religion and demography; religion and state; religious minorities, civil religion; religion among Danes in and outside Denmark.

In Memoriam – James A. Beckford

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It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that Jim Beckford died on May 10, 2022. Jim was an advisor on the Nonreligion in a Complex Future project and a co-investigator on the Religion and Diversity Project. His contributions to these projects and to sociology of religion more broadly cannot be overstated. Jim was a valued mentor and friend to many members of our team, and he will be deeply missed. 

James A. Beckford, PhD, DLitt, was a Fellow of the British Academy and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK.

The focus of his research interests was on religious diversity; chaplaincies; and theoretical ideas about religion.

Highlighted publications include Social Theory and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Muslims in Prison: Challenge and Change in Britain and France (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, with D. Joly & F. Khosrokhavar).

In addition to editing Current Sociology (1980-87) and serving on the editorial boards of numerous journals and book series, James was elected to the following offices in scholarly and professional associations: President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (1989-90), Vice-President of the International Sociological Association (1994-98), President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (1999-2003), and President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (2010-11). He held an honorary doctorate from the University of Lausanne.

He was the author of numerous books about sociological aspects of religion. They include The Trumpet of Prophecy: A Sociological Study of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Blackwell, 1975); Cult Controversies: The Societal Response to New Religious Movements (Tavistock, 1985); Religion and Advanced Industrial Society (Unwin-Hyman, 1989); and Religion in Prison: Equal Rites in a Multi-Faith Society (Cambridge University Press, 1998, with S. Gilliat).

His edited books include: New Religious Movements and Rapid Social Change (Sage, 1986); The Changing Face of Religion (Sage, 1989, with T. Luckmann); Theorising Religion: Classical and Contemporary Debates (Ashgate, 2006, with J. Walliss); The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion (Sage, 2007, with N.J. Demerath III); Migration and Religion, 2 vols (Elgar, 2015); and New Religious Movements and Counselling: Academic, Professional and Personal Perspectives (Routledge, 2018, with S. Harvey and S. Steidinger).

His recent articles and chapters include: “Public religions and the post-secular: critical reflections,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51(1)2012:1-19; “Muslim prison chaplains in Canada and Britain,” The Sociological Review, 63(1)2015: 36-56, with I.C.M. Cairns; and “Hope and creativity: The shifting nexus between religion and development,” in M. Guest & M. Middlemiss Lé Mon (eds.), Death, Life and Laughter: Essays on Religion in Honour of Douglas Davies (Routledge, 2017: 141-160).

He was a co-applicant and member of the Executive Committee of the 7-year SSHRC funded Religion and Diversity Project.

In Memoriam - Gary Bouma

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We were deeply saddened to learn of Professor Gary Bouma’s death on 19 August, 2021. Gary made an immense contribution to both the RDP (Religion & Diversity Project) and NCF projects and was a valued collaborator, mentor, and friend to many members of our team. He will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.

Gary D Bouma, AM, was the UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Interreligious Relations – Asia Pacific, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Monash University, Director of the Global Terrorism Research Centre, and Associate Priest in the Anglican Parish of St John’s East Malvern. He was Past-President of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions. He also served as Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Development at Monash University.

He served on the Multifaith Advisory Group to the Premier of Victoria, The Multifaith Council and the Multicultural Reference Group to Victoria Police and the Social Cohesion Institute of the State of Victoria. In 2013 Bouma was invested as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Sociology, to interreligious relations and to the Anglican Church of Australia.

Bouma’s research in the sociology of religion examined the management of religious diversity in plural multicultural societies, education about religions, postmodernity as a context for doing theology, religion and terror, religion and public policy.

He was Chair, Board of Directors for The Parliament of the World’s Religions 2009, the Director of the Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash University, and the Australian Node of the Religion and Diversity Project, University of Ottawa.

He was the author or co-author of over 25 books and 390 articles. Books include: Australian Soul: Religion and Spirituality in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge University Press); Democracy in Islam (Routledge); Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands: National Case Studies (Springer); Freedom of Religion and Belief in 21st Century Australia (Australian Human Rights Commission); Being Faithful in Diversity: Religions and Social Policy in Multifaith Societies (ATF) and The Research Process (Oxford).

Recent articles include: 2019: ‘Worldviews education: cosmopolitan peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism’ Journal of Beliefs and Values 40: 381-395 with Anna Halafoff, Kim Lam; ‘Religion, religiosity and patriarchal gender beliefs: Understanding the Australian Experience’, Journal of Sociology 55:323-341 with Francisco Perales; ‘Religion, Support of Equal Rights for Same-Sex Couples and the Australian National Vote on Marriage Equality’ Sociology of Religion, 80:107-129 with Francisco Perales and Alice Campbell. 2018 ‘Implications of Lived and Packaged Religions for Intercultural Dialogue to Reduce Conflict and Terror’ Journal of Citizenship and Globalisation Studies 2:1-10, 2017 ‘Australia’s Changing Religious Profile—Rising Nones and Pentecostals, Declining British Protestants in Superdiversity: Views from the 2016 Census’ Journal for the Academic Study of Religion 30: 129-143 with Anna Halafoff.