Events of the SIEF Working Group on Ethnology of Religion


CALL FOR PAPERS: Religious Art and Power – Contestations and Affirmations

Budapest, 17-19 October, 2024

The board of the Working Group Ethnology of Religion is happy to announce our next conference "Religious Art and Power - Contestations and Affirmations" that will take place at the Research Institute of Art Theory and Methodology in Budapest in October 17-19 this year.
Our special thanks go out to our long-standing member László Koppány Csáji who will be the host of our conference and has put a lot of effort into realizing this conference in the first place!

Download the full Call for Papers here


Religious Utopias

16-18 March, 2023

The hope for a better, a utopian world is a powerful force. Utopian promises help to endure and make sense of life, but they also suggest the possibility of social change. Religions can be looked upon as a utopian enterprise – offering imaginations and (ritualized) practices that reach beyond the present into an ideal(ized) future. In the face of the current ecological destruction, intensified social conflicts, and increased uncertainty, not least due to the pandemic, the SIEF Ethnology of Religion working group seeks to explore the utopian potential of the religious. For more details on the conference, click here.

New Approaches to ‘Re-Enchanted’ Central and Eastern Europe

Budapest, April 7-8, 2022

The aim of this conference is to shed light on the various dimensions and aspects of re-enchantment in Central and Eastern Europe. See more details here.

Ethnology of Religion Working Group Conference
"Religion and Nature – Cultural Ecologies of Belief"

The 2020 conference of the SIEF Working Group Ethnology of Religion wants to draw closer to the current as well as historical dynamics of the “religion-nature” interdependence and thus to the cultural ecologies of beliefs. Read more here.

Conference has been cancelled

Salvation Mountain_outsider visionary shrine in the California desert, 2011. Photo by Peter Jan Margry

Panels at SIEF2019 14th Congress, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 14-17 April 2019

Ethnography of Ordinary Worship Routines. Materiality, Spaces and Changes across Europe; convenors Cyril Isnart and Clara Saraiva
Religious in Idiosyncrasy. New Religious Movements in the 21st century; Peter Jan Margry and István Povedák
Tracking the ritual year on the move in different cultural settings and systems of values; convenors Irina Sedakova and Laurent Fournier

Siena 2018Religion and Politics - Conflict and Peace

13th International Conference of the SIEF Ethnology of Religion Working Group
Siena, September 20th-23rd, 2018

The full programme along with details regarding registration for this exciting event in the historic city of Siena is now online. Read more.

Conference image health fraud scams12th International Conference of the SIEF Working Group Ethnology of Religion: Alternative and Religious Healing in the Modern World 22-24 September 2016, Amsterdam

The 2016 conference of SIEF's Ethnology of Religion working group is focused on the contemporary religious, spiritual, complementary and alternative healing practices in the Western world. Read more here.

 Zagreb, Croatia 21-25 June 2015 The heritagization of religious and spiritual practices: the effects of grassroots and top-down policies
Session at SIEF2015 in Zagreb
Convenors: Anna Niedźwiedź and Clara Saraiva

Zagreb, Croatia 21-25 June 2015 Almost Heaven. Vernacular utopias and the culture of belief
Session at SIEF2015 in Zagreb
Convenors: Povedák and Leonard Norman Primiano.

Lisbon, Portugal 22-23 May, 2014 11th conference 'Making Sense of Religion: Performance, Art and Experience' 
Read the abstracts and theme or download the full programme 
Hosts: Clara Saraiva, Eugenia Roussou and Diana Espirito Santo from NAR-Anthropology of Religion Group of the Center for Research in Anthropology (CRIA). The conference had 4 thematic sessions (Gender, healing and the senses; Senses and possession; Music, performance and embodiment; Art, materiality and space) with 21 papers. The conference was successful in attracting new members (some of them remained active members and will participate at the Zagreb congress too) but according to some the call for papers was more connected to anthropology than ethnology thus could be unattractive for others.

Lisbon, Portugal 22-23 May, 2014 Working group meeting at the 11th conference, Lisbon May 22 
During the conference on May 22 a working group meeting was held where 2 of the 4 board members (Clara Saraiva, István Povedák) and all the paper presenters participated. As great part of the presenters (15 from the 21) in Lisbon participated at the WG conference for the first time the meeting had two focuses: the introduction of the WG and the issue about the planned WG series. Clara Saraiva, the chief editor mentioned that the first volume after more than two years of hard work was basically finished by May 2014 and when Peter Jan Margry the former chair of the WG finished his introduction for the volume they could upload it to the LitVerlag Publisher House. According to Povedák although the editorial board (Clara Saraiva, José Mapril, Lionel Obadia and Kinga Povedák) did a great job with editing the papers that would be suggested to organize a new editorial team that would also include the local organizers in order to fasten up the editing process. Later a longer discussion started about the possible publishing solutions if there would be any difficulties with the LitVerlag.

Tartu, Estonia (1 July 2013; combined with the International congress). Theme: 'Fluidity, Mobility and Versatility of the Sacred'. Link to abstracts.

Szeged, Hungary  (12-14 September 2012). Theme: 'Religion on the Move. How Motion and Migration influence Religion'. Download the book of abstracts

Lisbon  (19-20 April 2011; combined with the International congress). Theme: 'Sacred Places'

Warsaw     (1-3 June  2010). Theme: 'Experiencing Religion. New Approaches towards Personal Religiosity'. Download the full programme with abstracts 

Derry (UK)  (19-20 June 2008; combined with the International congress). Theme: 'Rethinking the Sacred'. Publication: Ulrika Wolf-Knuts and Kathleen Grant (eds.), Rethinking the sacred. Proceedings of the ninth SIEF conference in Derry 2008 (Abo: Abo Akademi University,  2009)

Celje, Slovenia (9-11 September 2006). Theme: 'Senses and Religion'. 
Publication: Jurij FikFak and Gábor Barna (eds.), Senses and Religion (Ljubljana: Zalozba ZRC,  2007).

Marseille  (27-28 April 2004; combined with the International congress). Themes: 'Sacrality and Piety' and 'Pilgrimage Today'.
No publication

Edinburgh (4-8 September 2002). Theme: 'Gender and Generation' .
Publication: in preparation

Budapest  (24 April 2001; combined with the International congress). Themes: 'Traditionalization and Local Community' and 'Ritualized Writing'. 
No publication.

Szeged, Hungary (24-26 September 1999). Theme: 'Politics and Folk Religion'. 
Publication: Gábor Barna (ed.), Politics and Folk Religion. Szeged: University of Szeged,  2001).

Chaves, Portugal  (September 1996): Theme: 'Folk Religion: Continuity and Change'.
Publication:  Anders Gustavsson et al. (eds.), Folk religion. Continuity and Change. Lisbon: Instituto de Sociologia e Etnologia das Religioes,  1999).

Stockholm (13-15 September 1993). Theme: 'Religion in Everyday Life'.
Publication: Nils-Arvid Bringéus (ed.), Religion in everyday life. Papers given at a symposium in Stockholm, 13-15 september 1993 (Stockholm: Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, 1994)


Business meetings

Minutes Business Meeting Tartu 2013 
Minutes Business Meeting Lisbon 2011 
Minutes Business Meeting Warsaw 2010