IAHR 2020

Kia ora koutou

On behalf of the New Zealand Association for the Study of Religions, it is our great pleasure to invite you to the University of Otago for the 22nd Quinquennial World Congress of the IAHR.
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The theme of the congress is Centres and Peripheries. New Zealand is both central and peripheral to the study of religion: further East than Japan, further south than almost anywhere, New Zealand’s small size and geographical isolation have meant the people of New Zealand have always looked outwards, whether to Hawaiki or to the intellectual centres and tradition of Europe.

New Zealand is also a Pacific nation, with deep ties to the Pacific societies which have formed the setting for both classic works in the study of religion and for some of the most innovative contemporary studies on religion and society.

We invite you to join with us and leading scholars of religion from throughout the world to exchange ideas in the wonderful surroundings of New Zealand, to renew old friendships and to forge new connections. The next chapter in the academic study of religion opens in New Zealand in 2020!

Will Sweetman, Ben Schonthal and John Shaver

Call for papers
The Point


The XXII Quinquennial World Congress of the IAHR, hosted by the New Zealand Association for the Study of Religions, will take place in Dunedin, New Zealand August 23-29, 2020.

While welcoming contributions on any topic in the academic study of religion, this year’s Congress will have the theme of Centres and Peripheries.

From its earliest moments, the academic study of religion has consistently placed certain traditions, peoples, geographies, concepts, and institutions at the centre of its analyses, while at the same time relegating others to the periphery. The 2020 Congress invites scholars to reflect on these dynamics, to historicize and critique them, and to reconsider how, why and with what effects scholars of religion have engaged in acts of normalization and marginalization. The setting of New Zealand, distant from the historical centres of religious studies in North America and Europe, provides a fitting location for this examination as well as for considerations of other related dynamics. These include patterns of dominance and subjugation, transformation and repositioning and, especially, migration and indigeneity. While we welcome interdisciplinary, multi-method and comparative research, we ask that scholars submit within one of seven themed areas.

About Us
  • 1 aug 2019
    Submissions open

    Early bird registration opens

    31 DEC 2019

    Submissions close

    15 MAR 2020

    Outcomes notified

  • 1 MAY 2020
    Early bird registration closes

    Speaker registration closes

    30 JUN 2020
    Registration closes

    Final programme announced

    23 – 29 AUG 2020
Key Dates
Advisory Committee

Professor Tim Jensen (IAHR President, co-chair)
Professor Paul Morris (Victoria, co-chair)
Professor Peter Antes (Hannover)
Professor Giovanni Casadio (Salerno)
Professor Gregory Dawes (Otago)
Professor Majella Franzmann (Sydney)
Professor Giulia Gasparro (Messina)
Professor Armin Geertz (Århus)
Professor Ingvild S. Gilhus (Bergen)
Professor Rosalind I. J. Hackett (Tennessee)
Professor Jan G. Platvoet (Bunnik)
Professor Douglas Pratt (Auckland)
Professor Michael Pye (Marburg)
Professor Akio Tsukimoto (Tokyo)
Professor Donald Wiebe (Toronto)
Professor Yolotl Gomzález Torres (Mexico City)

Organising Committee

Professor Satoko Fujiwara (IAHR Secretary General, co-chair)
Associate Professor Will Sweetman (Otago, co-chair)
Dr Philippe Bornet (IAHR Treasurer)
Professor Joseph Bulbulia (Auckland)
Professor Carole Cusack (Sydney)
Dr Elizabeth Guthrie-Higbee (Otago)
Dr Anna Halafoff (Deakin)
Dr Rosemary Hancock (Notre Dame)
Dr Ann Hardy (Waikato)
Dr Christopher Hartney (Sydney)
Professor Tim Jensen (IAHR President)
Dr Eva Nisa (Victoria)
Associate Professor Ben Schonthal (Otago)
Dr John Shaver (Otago)
Dr Geoff Troughton (Victoria)
Dr Christopher van der Krogt (Massey)
  • Congress Update
    10 Mar 2020

    Like many colleagues, we are unsure about the likely impact of the COVID-19 virus (and the efforts being taken by governments to contain it) on plans for travel and conferences this year.  At the time of writing, the New Zealand Government has restricted travel both from and via Iran and mainland China for all who are not … Continue reading "Congress Update"

  • Six Months at the University of Otago
    1 Aug 2019 James Cox

    I am very much looking forward to returning to New Zealand in 2020 to attend the IAHR Congress.

  • What’s in a Mountain? What’s in the Ocean?
    17 Sep 2018 Aaron Hughes

    From the moment I landed to the moment I departed, both the natural beauty of Dunedin and the warmth and hospitality of colleagues at the university astounded me.

  • This is us.
    22 Mar 2019 Will Sweetman

    New Zealanders will never forget these attacks, or those who died.

  • Religion at Otago
    17 Sep 2018 Will Sweetman

    I loved every moment in Otago, even the public lectures.

  • Meet the locals
    1 Nov 2018 Will Sweetman

    Dunedin claims the title of New Zealand's wildlife capital


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