Welcome to the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR) website.

ISASR conference 4 logo

4th annual ISASR conference
Monday, 11th May 2015, 2 – 7.30 pm

Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin

After the inspiring ISASR conference last year in Belfast, and due to the XXI IAHR World Congress 2015 in Erfurt, this year ISASR will hold a small but powerful one-day workshop-style conference at the Long Room Hub, TCD, on Monday 11 May 2015. To mark the four-year anniversary of the ISASR’s foundation, and to show support for the development of the academic study of religions in Ireland, we decided to use this opportunity to look back as well as forward, and to present to each other, and to the wider public, a selection of the innovative work that is being done in different places and also to consider the role that the academic study of religions has begun to play in Ireland in recent years.

The call and programme for the conference are available here. We are looking for 7-minute contributions to a “research slam” that will give a lively impression of a project, a programme or a collaboration, and for poster proposals.

The deadline for research slam submissions is Friday 27 March 2015 and for poster proposals Friday 17 April 2015. Full details here.

Programme outline:

11.30 – 12.30 pm ISASR AGM (members only)

1.30 – 2.00 Arrival

2.00 – 2.15 Opening
Welcome: Linda Hogan (Vice-Provost TCD)
Introduction: Patrick Claffey (President ISASR)

2.15 – 4.10  “Research Slam”

4.10 – 4.15       Announcement of the latest issue of JISASR, the society’s journal.

4.15 – 4.45      Coffee (and opportunity for poster discussions)

4.45 – 5.30      Keynote address: Prof. Brian Bocking
“The Study of Religions in Ireland – Topics for the Future”

5.30 – 6.15    Book Launch Muslims in Ireland: Past and Present. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2015. Oliver Scharbrodt (University of Chester, UK, formerly UCC); Tuula Sakaranaho (University of Helsinki); Adil Hussain Khan (Loyola Univ, New Orleans); Vivian Ibrahim (University of Mississippi); Yafa Shanneik (Univ of Chester). The authors will be present.

Response: Roja Fazaeli
Comment: Alexandra Grieser “About a pluralist History of Religion”

18.15 – 19.30 Reception

Attendance is FREE. Conference enquiries to Dr Alexandra Grieser GRIESERA@tcd.ie

“Muslims in Ireland: past and present” just out, discount available

Oliver Scharbrodt, Tuula Sakaranaho, Adil Hussain Khan, Yafa Shanneik and Vivian Ibrahim

Since 9/11, the interest in Muslims in Europe has increased significantly. There has
been much public debate and academic research focused on Muslims living in
larger Western European countries like Britain, France or Germany, but little is known
of Muslims in Ireland. This book fills this gap, providing a complete study of this
unexplored Muslim presence, from the arrival of the first Muslim resident in Cork, in
the southwest of Ireland, in 1784 until mass immigration to the Republic of Ireland
during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period from the mid-1990s onwards. Muslim immigration
and settlement in Ireland is very recent, and poses new challenges to a society that
has perceived itself as religiously and culturally homogeneous. Ireland is also one
of the least secular societies in Europe, providing a different context for Muslims
seeking recognition by state and society. This book is essential for anyone who wants
to understand the diversity of Muslim presences across Europe.

Available at a discount from Edinburgh Press until 31 May 2015 using the order form here.

Muslims in Ireland book cover

“A Buddhist Crossroads” just out from Routledge

The proceedings of the September 2012 UCC conference “SE Asia as Buddhist Crossroads“, published as a 2013 special issue of the journal Contemporary Buddhism, are now being made available in book form by Routledge as “A Buddhist Crossroads: pioneer western Buddhists and Asian networks 1860 – 1960“. Items of Irish interest include Brian Bocking’s chapter on Charles Pfoundes, Alicia Turner’s chapter on U Dhammaloka, and Laurence Cox’s chapter on Irish and other “poor whites” going native in Buddhist Asia. The book is currently only available in hardback but a paperback should follow if sufficient library copies are sold.

ISASR 2014 conference UPDATE

“Religion and remembering” cross-disciplinary conference

Queen’s University Belfast (Fri – Sat 23 – 24 May 2014)

Keynote address: Prof James L Cox (Edinburgh)
“Religious memory as a conveyor of authoritative tradition:
the necessary and essential component in a definition of religion”.

A full timetable, list of panels and abstracts and registration information are now available via the conference page here.

ISASR 2013 Student Essay Prize

We are very pleased to announce the winners of this year’s ISASR Student Essay Prize.

The 1st Prize of a €75 book token goes to Malcolm Kelly (Study of Religions Department, UCC)  for his essay “Discuss the challenges Sufism has faced in the modern Muslim world.”

The two runners up – each with a €25 book token – were Eimear O’Sullivan (Early and Medieval Irish, UCC) for her essay “The Irish Monks in Europe: An Analysis of their Influence on Christianity and Learning, 6th – 12th Century” and Chris Heinhold (Study of Religions Department, UCC) for his  essay “Why might the figure of U Dhammaloka ‘The Irish Buddhist’ be of interest to Buddhist Studies?”

The standard of essays was very high so well done indeed to all those who entered essays to the competition.

The ISASR Committee

ISASR 2013 conference:
Ireland, America and transnationalism: studying religions in a globalised world

Clinton Institute, University College Dublin (10 – 12 May 2013)

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Crawford Gribben (Queen’s University Belfast)
“Ireland, America and the End of the World”

Prof. Alicia Turner (York University, Toronto)
“Religion, the Study of Religions and other Products of Trans-locative and Trans-colonial Imaginations”

Public lecture:

Prof. Brian Victoria (Antioch University)
“Reflections in a Catholic Mirror: The Struggle to Create a Buddhist Chaplaincy in the US Military”

Full details including timetable, programme and practical information here.

ISASR 2012 conference “Emerging perspectives: religions and Ireland”

The keynote lecture by Prof. Tadhg Foley (NUI Galway),
“Max Arthur Macauliffe: Irishman, Sikh scholar, reformer, and evangelist” can now be viewed online here.

Prof Tariq Ramadan (Oxford) launched the Zaki Badawi collection of Arabic books on Islam and the Middle East at the Boole Library, UCC: more details on the events page.

A report on the conference is available here. The full conference programme, with abstracts, is available here.


The Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions was founded on Feb 19th 2011 with an action committee comprising scholars from a wide range of disciplines, specialities and institutions. The Society held its first general meeting and elected its first regular committee on May 26th 2012.

To find out more about ISASR’s purpose look here; the committee’s membership is here and the constitution here. Details on how to apply for membership are here. Contact details are here.

Announcements of events related to the academic study of religions can be found here; resources for the study of religions are here; links to sister societies etc. are here and some basic information on jobs and courses in the area is here.

Discussion of what the academic study of religion means can be found here.

The blogroll to the right contains some study of religions-related blogs.

The ISASR is a member association of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) and the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR.)

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