The Figuring the Enemy research project—a collaboration of Trinity College and the University of St Andrews—is holding its first conference for 2022. Gathering scholars from psychology, sociology, biblical studies and theology this conference will be a broad interdisciplinary engagement on the origins of, and approaches to, religious enmity.
Plenaries will be from:
- Dr Elizabeth Shively (Divinity, University of St Andrews),
- Dr Ken Mavor (Psychology, University of St Andrews),
- Dr Samuel Perry (Sociology, University of Oklahoma), and
- Dr J. Brian Tucker (Bible and Theology, Moody Theological Seminary)
The conference will incorporate a mix of plenary presentations, paper sessions, and workshop streams to foster further engagement on questions of religious enmity and advancing interdisciplinary socio-scientific research.
Conference attendance is hybrid in nature, with in person participants gathering in the Old Wardens Building at Trinity College Theological School, and hybrid attendance possible. Sessions will be scheduled with considerations given to a variety of time zones.
Registration is required for all participants and will provide access to the conference.
Waged In Person registrations (including light meals) are AU$50
Waged Online registrations are AU$20
Unwaged (e.g. students) registrations are free (but registration required).
Registration here: https://www.trybooking.com/BYXGZ
Full schedule to be released shortly.
The Figuring the Enemy research project is conducting a conference in Socio-Scientific Approaches to Religious Enmity from the 13-15th of June at Trinity College in Melbourne, Australia. This conference will bring together specialists in the social sciences and those studying biblical studies, theology, and religion. Given the high degree of difference between these normally disparate disciplines we are introducing a workshop stream for papers and ideas that scholars and students wish to explore, but may not have the interdisciplinary background to fully develop. It is intended that this stream will allow for wider ranging discussions of topics that can be in earlier stages of development or require methodological expansion.
Expressions of interest for the workshop stream are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org and close on the 31st of March 2022.
Additionally there are some limited travel bursaries available for Australian and Asia-Pacfiic attendees to enable them to come to Melbourne for the conference. If you wish to apply for one of these please contact the above email.
Finally, due to ongoing uncertainty around borders and vaccination requirements, we have made the decision to hybridise the conference. If the distances to Australia or uncertainty with travel were impeding participation then please get in contact and we can talk through the hybrid options.
After a tough year of COVID uncertainty the Figuring the Enemy project has been able to set the date for the Socio-scientific Approaches to Religious Enmity Conference in 2022. The conference will be held at Trinity College Theological School, Melbourne on the 13-15th of June 2022. The conference will include both plenary addresses and breakout sessions for scholars to present their work. Plenary speakers will include Dr Christopher A. Porter (Trinity College), Dr Elizabeth Shively (University of St Andrews, Divinity) and Dr Kenneth Mavor (University of St Andrews, Psychology).
We are interested in 300 word abstract submissions which investigate the socio-scientific means and mechanisms behind the construction and maintenance of religious groups as enemies, broadly defined. Contributions are invited from a range of disciplines and perspectives, including, but not restricted to: psychology, sociology, religious studies, and biblical studies. We actively encourage interdisciplinary engagements and scholarship. Both ancient and modern perspectives and engagement with religious emnity are welcomed.
We ask that participants whose abstracts are accepted submit a paper of 2,000–3,000 words for pre-distribution. The actual presentation should aim to last about 20 minutes and act as a discussion and engagement starter. All participants are encouraged to read the papers before the conference for engagement.
Submissions to email@example.com close on the 28th of February 2022 and enquiries to that address are encouraged.
An edited volume of selected essays will be published after the conference, and will be solicited in due course.
The Figuring the Enemy project will be hosting its first 1-Day workshop on the 2nd of December at Trinity College and hybrid via Zoom. The workshop series will function as exploratory exercises to stimulate thinking and collaboration.
This first workshop will be setting things up broadly for the project, and integrated between the social-psychological and political-theological streams. We will be hearing short précis from each of our presenters about their own area of work, and have allocated reasonable amounts of time for discussion and engagement.
We would love for scholars to come and join us for the first of the workshops, and you can register below. We have attempted to make the timezone somewhat workable (22:00 GMT//17:00 EST//14:00 PT) so we hope you can join us.
Workshop explorations include:
• Christopher Porter – “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer” Social identity and religious enmity.
• Elizabeth Shively – Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7.
• Ken Mavor – Social Identity and Fundamentalism
• Brian Tucker – “Interrogate the Theory”: The (Un)usefulness of Social Identity Theory for Uncovering Paul’s Opponents
• John Dunne – “‘They Do Not Keep The Law’ (Galatians 6.13): Forceful Circumcision and the Fruit of the Spirit”
• Adam White – Staging Incest and Identifying the Enemy: Reading 1 Cor 5 in Light of the Black Sheep Effect and Ancient Theatre
• Lachlan Davis – Is the effectiveness of the reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers in Gen 50:15-21 subverted by redactions that dealt with enmity between social groups in Persian period Israel?
• Amy Isham – Discarding the “Other”: Social ostracism in small communities
• Emily McAvan – The Jew, the Queer: Histories of (non)conversion
• Scott Kirkland – On the Possibility of a Genealogy of the Enemy
Please register here to join us: https://zoom.us/meeting/96184744553
The Figuring the Enemy project is investigating the means and mechanisms behind the construction and maintenance of social groups as enemies and the enactment of enmity within the structures. It is engaging with this research through both socio-cognitive psychological and a political-theological approaches with the aim for productive cross-pollination.
As an initial engagement the project will be holding a 1-day workshop at Trinity College in Melbourne on the 2nd of December 2021. Given the uncertainty inherent within the pandemic, and engagement with international partners, we will be holding this as a hybrid event. However, it is hoped that at least some scholars will be able to gather in person.
For this workshop we are seeking 150-word exploratory briefs to stimulate discussion and research ahead of a multi-day conference in mid-2022. Submissions should detail the research question and approach within the project scope, but do not need to reach any conclusions.
Submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org close on the 5th of November 2021
Trinity College is offering one fully-funded PhD fee remission and stipend for an outstanding candidate to work on the project: Figuring the Enemy: Social-Psychological and Political Theological Approaches to the Question of Enmity.
The figure of the enemy emerges in the New Testament through the command to love neighbour and enemy. Yet, often throughout the history of Christian theology, the precise contours and conditions of enmity fade from view. This project assumes that contemporary political and social enmities can help unearth genealogies of the concept in order to illuminate the structural formations that determine enmity and so interpolate persons into social relations of enmity in the present. Figuring the enemy, then, illuminates the shape of the theological frames in which and methods by which Christianity has positioned the enemy, and so subjects it to productive critique.
The project consists of two streams, one focused upon New Testament and socio-cognitive psychology, the other on contemporary political theology. Candidates from both disciplinary areas are invited to apply, in consultation with the two project Lead Investigators, Dr. Christopher A. Porter, and Dr. Scott A. Kirkland.
To be eligible, students must:
- meet the academic and admission requirements of the University of Divinity PhD program
- be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or international student who can attain a valid student visa prior to commencement.
Value and duration
Total value: $132,000AUD.
- 100% University of Divinity fee remission for three years of a full-time doctorate degree, currently valued at $51,000
- three-year living allowance, valued at around $27,000 per year (total $81,000).
- Scholarships cannot be deferred
- Scholarships cannot be taken up at other colleges of the University of Divinity
- Students must successfully enrol at the University of Divinity following the usual PhD application process after discussing their proposed research topic with Trinity
- Scholarship recipients must meet the University of Divinity’s expectations for academic progress, and the scholarship may be withdrawn if satisfactory progress or full-time enrolment is not maintained.
Closing dates 30 September 2022
We encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to apply.
For more information, including how to apply, you can email the following:
Chris Porter: email@example.com
and/or Scott Kirkland: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently Trinity College was awarded an extraordinary large grant from the University of Divinity to conduct research into questions of religious enmity from both socio-cognitive and political-theological frameworks. Through this page we will seek to collate and distribute information and engagement on the project.