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NEWS: Call for papers on 'Responsibility & Scripture' for ASA Conference 2020

last modified Feb 12, 2020 01:01 PM
Invitation to submit a paper abstract for our panel ‘Responsibility and Scripture’ at the forthcoming Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth (ASA), taking place at the University of St Andrews from 24-27 August 2020.


Panel title: Responsibility and Scripture

[Panel no. 16 | Stream: ‘Who speaks, and for whom?’]

Convenors: Dr Safet HadziMuhamedovic (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge), Dr Daniel H. Weiss (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge), Dr Julia Snyder (Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Regensburg)

The call for papers is now open and closes on 15 March 2020. 

Short abstract:

How can we rethink the relationship between scriptures and violence in terms of responsibility? Can scriptures be responsible in and of themselves? Or are they taken as an alibi for the interpretative act? What sorts of agency can we distinguish in the social lives of scriptures? Who (or what) is answerable and when?

Long abstract:

Scriptures are variously put into practice, to sanction morality, justify everyday actions, politics and momentous changes. Other people’s scriptures can be employed to impute violence to them, even distribute blame to entire communities of faith. So, how can we think responsibility through sacred texts and their political articulations? Who is entrusted with responsibility and when? What are the limits of responsibility? Does divine agency ever absolve human actions? And, if so, can the divine (text) ever be held responsible? Does responsibility lie with the author, the text or the reader? And, are communities of faith responsible for how the scriptures they hold sacred are employed by their members? Should they defend them? How is authority of interpretation re-appropriated and challenged? These are pressing questions in a world continuously shaped by acts in reference to divine authority, a world ripe with friction regarding the dispensation of responsibility for assumed scriptural stipulations. Contributions should contextualise the relation of responsibility and scripture, whether in terms of violence, community and interfaith relations, gender and sexuality, nonhumans, environmental degradation, text and embodiment, historical imagination, contemplations on the future and politics of identity, or otherwise. Inspired by the ‘Scripture and Violence’ project of the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme at the University of Cambridge's Faculty of Divinity, this panel invites anthropological, historical, theological and critical discourse analyses of responsibility as related to scriptures.

For more information on how to submit an abstract, please visit: