Special Issue "Religion and Refugee: Interdisciplinary Discussions on Transformative Humane-Divine Interactions"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Jin-Heon Jung

Research Professor, Institute of Korean Studies, Freie Universtaet Berlin, Fabeckstrasse 7, 14195 Berlin, Germany
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Interests: Christianity/religions; nationalism; refugee; human rights; multiculturalism; global capitalism; public anthropology
Guest Editor
Dr. Alexander Horstmann

Associate Professor, School for Humanities, Tallinn University, Estonia
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Interests: the study of religious and ethnic diversity in Southeast Asia and in a comparative perspective, Theravada Buddhism, Christianity (especially Pentecostalism and Charismatic Movements), autochthonous religion (spirit beliefs), modernity, violence, and border régimes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue invites scholars and practitioners for interdisciplinary discussions about the multilayered roles and efficacies of religion over the course and in the context of refugee-migrants’ life trajectories. Intellectually innovative essays on either the relatively recent refugee crisis or rather long-term phenomena among refugee-diaspora communities in any continents are all welcome. Selected papers should demonstrate interdisciplinary approaches and comparative perspectives primarily based on empirical research on the transformative interactions with the divine in refugee camps, among refugee-migrant individuals and social movements, religious institutions and networks, and (inter)national organizations. In particular, contributors are encouraged to shed light on the ways religious mobilizations and religious strategies of place-making help refugees recover and reconstruct their lives in exile during periods of loss. Papers should provide critical reflections on the ongoing tensions between the secular and the sacred, the national and the transnational, security and humanity, and etc. Further, this special issue wants to examine the moral, imaginative, and utopian forces in the flows of the displaced through the lens of religion that exhibits a transformative power for people interacting with each other in terms of hospitality, self-help and healing. As such, our contributions should encompass the secular and sacred obstacles and aspirations that the refugee individuals’ experience and envision through their life trajectories. We believe that this open-ended proposal will inspire promising and established scholars, field practitioners, and refugee actors to raise their voices for long-term mutual goals to negotiate in religious terms. Ultimately, this special issue aims to cumulatively effect a paradigm shift in the approaches, perspectives, and practices on the potentials and limits of divine and humane interactions in the studies of refugee and religion.

Dr. Jin-Heon Jung
Dr. Alexander Horstmann
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access journal published by MDPI.

Keywords

  • refugee
  • religion
  • Interdisciplinary approaches
  • transformative humane-divine interactions
  • paradigm shift

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Politics of Christian Love: Shaping Everyday Social Interaction and Political Sensibilities among Coptic Egyptians
Religions 2019, 10(2), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020105
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 7 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Abstract
Christian love has historically been subject of extensive theological study but has rarely been studied within anthropology. Contemporary Coptic society receives growing attention over the last two decades as a minority in Egyptian Muslim majority society. An important bulk of this scholarship involves [...] Read more.
Christian love has historically been subject of extensive theological study but has rarely been studied within anthropology. Contemporary Coptic society receives growing attention over the last two decades as a minority in Egyptian Muslim majority society. An important bulk of this scholarship involves a discussion of the community’s sometimes self-defined and sometimes ascribed characterization as a persecuted minority. Particular attention has gone to how social and political dimensions of minority life lead to changes in Christian theological understandings. This paper builds on these insights and examines how Christian love is experienced, and shapes feelings of belonging, everyday morality and political sensibilities vis-à-vis Muslim majority society. It draws from ethnographic observations and meetings with Copts living in Egypt between 2014–2017. It focuses on three personal narratives that reveal the complex ways in which a theology of love affects social and political stances. An anthropological focus reveals the fluid boundaries between secular and religious expressions of Christian love. Love for God and for humans are seen as partaking in one divine love. Practicing this love, however, shapes very different responses and can lead to what has been described as Coptic ‘passive victim behaviour’, but also to political activity against the status-quo. Full article
Open AccessArticle Holy Mothers in the Vietnamese Diaspora: Refugees, Community, and Nation
Religions 2018, 9(8), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080233
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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Abstract
Holy mothers, specifically the Vietnamese-looking Our Lady of Lavang and Caodai Mother Goddess, are the crucibles of faith for many Vietnamese Catholics and Caodaists. Based on ethnographic data collected in California, which has the largest overseas Vietnamese population, I argue that Vietnamese refugees [...] Read more.
Holy mothers, specifically the Vietnamese-looking Our Lady of Lavang and Caodai Mother Goddess, are the crucibles of faith for many Vietnamese Catholics and Caodaists. Based on ethnographic data collected in California, which has the largest overseas Vietnamese population, I argue that Vietnamese refugees and their US-reared descendants have been able to re-centralize their fragmented communities through the innovative adaptation of holy mother worship. In particular, Vietnamese Catholics in the US have transformed the European image of Our Lady of Lavang into a Vietnamese woman and exported it to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Vietnamese American Caodaists have revived traditional religious rituals for the Caodai Mother Goddess which were repressed and prohibited for many years under communism in Vietnam. Through their shared devotion to holy mothers, these Vietnamese American faithful have also rebuilt relations with co-ethnic co-religionists living throughout the world. For both the Vietnamese Catholic and Caodai groups, holy mothers have emerged as emblems of their deterritorialized nation in the diaspora. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Vernacular Politics, Sectarianism, and National Identity among Syrian Refugees in Jordan
Religions 2018, 9(7), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9070225
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
In Jordan—home to some one million Syrian refugees—the vital roles played by vernacular politics, discourses of inclusion and exclusion, and sectarian social histories for Syrians are often considered unimportant when examining possibilities for integration or coexistence. Based on ethnographic research and participation in [...] Read more.
In Jordan—home to some one million Syrian refugees—the vital roles played by vernacular politics, discourses of inclusion and exclusion, and sectarian social histories for Syrians are often considered unimportant when examining possibilities for integration or coexistence. Based on ethnographic research and participation in women’s religion classes in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan in 2014, I argue that while sectarian identities may not in and of themselves appear to divide the majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan from the majority of Jordanian residents (as Sunni Muslims), through utilizing a vernacular politics theoretical perspective I reveal that the sectarian orientations and localized histories of Syrian refugees have an understudied potential to create new forms of divisiveness in Jordanian society. To dismiss any concerns raised, Jordanians reinforce the idea that sectarian discourses, in an objectified sense, are not welcome in Jordan, and that they are even—as a few asserted—“against Islam”. These differing national experiences with vernacular politics expressed in sectarian terms prompt Jordanians to reinforce the narrative that Jordan is free of such divisions, and will continue to remain so. This paper concludes by discussing the implications for national–transnational tensions. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Quaker Sanctuary Tradition
Religions 2018, 9(5), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9050155
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 23 April 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
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Abstract
In the beginning of the Religious Society of Friends, in the seventeenth century, Quakers sought sanctuary from persecution in England and its American colonies. Later they provided sanctuary to people fleeing persecution, slavery, and war in many countries. They base their humanitarian efforts [...] Read more.
In the beginning of the Religious Society of Friends, in the seventeenth century, Quakers sought sanctuary from persecution in England and its American colonies. Later they provided sanctuary to people fleeing persecution, slavery, and war in many countries. They base their humanitarian efforts on five Testimonies and their core beliefs in the inner light of God in every person and the primacy of individual conscience. Often their sanctuary activities have led them into conflict with repressive governments and religious authorities. Their relief work with refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants, sometimes under dangerous conditions, earned them the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947. Despite their small numbers, Quakers have continued to play leadership roles in humanitarian initiatives up to the present day. Their sanctuary tradition has now flourished for more than 350 years. Full article
Open AccessArticle Multi-Layered Roles of Religion among Refugees Arriving in Austria around 2015
Religions 2018, 9(5), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9050154
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
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Abstract
Violent conflicts and social unrest in the Middle East, in Central Asia, and in Africa have led to growing numbers of persons seeking refuge in Europe since 2011. The phenomenon culminated in 2015. In that year, with 88,300 new asylum applications, Austria was [...] Read more.
Violent conflicts and social unrest in the Middle East, in Central Asia, and in Africa have led to growing numbers of persons seeking refuge in Europe since 2011. The phenomenon culminated in 2015. In that year, with 88,300 new asylum applications, Austria was the 4th largest receiver of asylum seekers in the EU, thereby increasing visibly religious diversity in the country. Using two social surveys carried out in 2015 and in 2017 among asylum seekers and refugees, we study religious affiliation, religiosity, and attitudes as well as participation in religious groups. By focusing on the time span shortly after arriving in Austria, we aim to shed light on first steps in the host society and the multi-layered roles of religion for participation and integration. We provide a comparison with the host society in terms of religious affiliation and religiosity, and discuss recent qualitative research on refugees and religiosity. Insights into the engagement of refugees in several activities related to religion or not are valuable to shed light on the multi-layered characteristics of the recent inflow of forced migrants in Austria. Full article
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