Conference Theme: Religion and Violence

The 2019 AASR conference will be held from December 5-6 at the city campus of the University of Newcastle, co-hosted by the AASR and the University of Newcastle's Centre for the Study of Violence and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. A series of pre-conference workshops will be held on 4 December.

The conference program schedule and its series of pre-conference activities can be found here.

Conference Theme

Proposal for papers has now closed. If you wish to propose a late submission please email the conference convenor Dr Kathleen McPhillips,

We invite scholarly reflections on the complex and diverse relations between religion and violence, incorporating counter discourses of peace and social justice.

The relationship between religion and violence continues to be contentious and marked by significant changes in global and domestic politics including humanitarian crises, displaced peoples particularly asylum seekers, the rise and fall of extremist religious movements, the status of hate speech, the role of social media and the ongoing threat of religious terrorism.  

These major upheavals, particularly the claims to religious authority and legitimacy through violent means, have led to a growth in collective anxiety threatening global and local security.  Religious violence can be direct and institutional; aimed against individuals or groups; administered by the state or by non-state actors; material and symbolic.

A counterpoint is provided by religiously-motivated peace and social justice movements, including those for welcoming religiously-diverse refugees and migrants, interfaith initiatives and movements for gender and sexuality equality and animal rights. For example, values of religious diversity, social solidarity and pluralism have been notable in responding to recent expressions of violence including the events in Christchurch in March 2019 and provide notable moments of hope in moving towards religious diversity as a global value.

Conference Program

Keynote Speakers

  • Professor Naomi Goldenberg, Ottawa University (visiting scholar at UoN Nov-Dec 2019)

  • Professor Morny Joy, Calgary University, will deliver the 20th Penny Magee Memorial Lecture

  • Professor Norm Habel, Flinders University, will deliver the Charles Strong Lecture

Coming soon:

  • Keynote Panels

  • Public Event

  • Concurrent Sessions

Please Note: All presenters are required to be members of the AASR. NZASR members and keynote speakers are not included in this requirement. On membership details.

Postgraduate Masterclass with Professor Naomi Goldenberg (am, 4 December)

 Postgraduate Honours and Undergraduate students are invited to a Masterclass on ‘Critical Religion’ – How Theory that Deconstructs the Category of ‘Religion’ Can Lead to Better Research with visiting UON Fellow Professor Naomi Goldenberg, University of Ottawa, Canada. More info.

Time and venue: 10am -12.30pm at Room X301 New Space City Campus, University of Newcastle.

This is a free event. Register your attendance by email to

Postgraduate/Early Career Researcher Workshop (pm, 4 December)

The AASR is hosting a free HDR/ECR event on Wednesday the 4th of December "Navigating Academia: An Australian Association for the Studies of Religion". This is an event open to all HDR students and early career academics attending the conference. To find out more please see flyer attached and add this event to your shopping cart during registration.

AASR postgraduate bursary

The AASR will also be offering 4 bursaries of AUD $500 each for postgraduate students. Deadline 30 September 2019. More info.

Conference Venue

The NeWspace campus of the University of Newcastle will host the AASR 2019 conference. The campus is located in the centre of the city close to transport, hotels, restaurants and beaches. More info on parking, transport options, amenities and campus location. 

The NeWspace campus is easily accessible by public transport serviced by several bus routes and light rail. More info on about routes and timetables.

Getting to Newcastle

Newcastle is two hours north of Sydney by car and approximately 3 hours by the Central Coast and Newcastle train line. You can find information on train timetables and Opal the NSW public transport card on the Transport NSW website

Newcastle airport is a 25-minute ride from the city centre and taxi and bus services leave regularly between Newcastle and the city. See more information here.

There are direct flights to Newcastle from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra. There is a direct flight with Virgin three times a week from Auckland.


There are various accommodation options that are close to the NeWspace campus. When booking your accommodation, please cite the University of Newcastle for the discount rate.

See here for list of recommendations.

Conference registration

Standard (from 1 October 2019)

  • Full member registration (NZASR/AASR) - $300.00

  • Full non-member registration - $375.00

  • Unwaged/Student registration - $150.00


  • Conference presenters have to be registered by 4 November 2019 to be included in the conference program.

  • All other participants have to be registered by 27 November 2019.

The Conference dinner will be held on Thursday 5 December at 7pm at Customs House which is a short walk from the conference site and a landmark restaurant in Newcastle on the harbour foreshore. The dinner will cater for vegetarian, vegan, halal, gluten free and dairy free options.

Please proceed to registration (conference and dinner) and payment here. Should you face payment processing issues, please try another browser or these instructions. Thank you.