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ISHS Fourth Biennial Conference, Call for Papers: “Heresy: Between Choice and Compulsion”

Please note that we have extended this Call For Papers to February 20, 2020.

International Society for Heresy Studies

Fourth Biennial Conference 2020
Call for Papers

Heresy: Between Choice and Compulsion

Our word “heresy” comes from the Greek verb hairein, “to choose.” While the term in Greek was originally value-neutral, one method of maligning heretics as ancient as the Christian invention of heresiology itself is to depict ideological enemies as making intentionally deviant choices. Of course, individuals and groups derided as heretics might construe the origins of their belief, thought, practices, or perspectives more positively, whether as resulting from the fruits of reason, a preponderance of the evidence, or even from an innate evolutionary and biological compulsion, as has been recently argued by social scientists such as Jonathan Haidt and John Hibbing. At the same time, these lines of argumentation are equally available to those propagandizing or policing such differences as “heresy.”

For its Fourth Biennial Conference, the International Society for Heresy Studies seeks proposals navigating this gulf between choice and compulsion. Successful submissions will grapple with the degree to which their subjects have chosen dissenting views or whether their views have been compelled by different means, whether through reason, environment, culture, receptivity to new thinking, genetic predisposition, or some other force. Proposals are encouraged to approach the topic of choice from a perspective relevant to their chosen era and culture and to the sources supplying evidence for their subject, without ignoring modern research or theory on choice, freedom, coercion, etc. Submissions are sought from all disciplines intersecting with heresy, from religious studies in late antiquity to literatures, philosophy, and politics in any century of the common era. Papers using methods from neuroscience, political science, and social psychology are also encouraged.

Please submit a proposal of no more than 300 words to Robert Royalty, Jr., by February 20, 2020 to be considered for the conference, to take place June 11-12, 2020, at New York University. Submitters will be notified by March 1, 2020.

[Download a PDF of this CFP]

Permanent link to this article: /2019/11/13/ishs-fourth-biennial-conference-call-for-papers-heresy-between-choice-and-compulsion/

exCommunicated Vol. 3, No. 2 is out, with the CFP for our June 2018 London conference

Our latest issue of exCommunicated is out, and it’s a true milestone. The theme of the issue, “Women and Heresy,” drew several new contributors to our publication. All of the essays are posted individually in blog format on the Society website, making it easy for readers to share them via social media (and even easier if you use the Twitter share button at the bottom of each post). This issue also contains the publication’s first peer-reviewed article, an excellent essay on heresy and mathematics by Gauri Viswanathan, which you can either read blog-style or in PDF format. You can read more about the changes to exCommunicated in the Note from the Editors.

This issue also contains our initial call for papers for the 2018 ISHS conference. The conference will be held June 15-16 in London at the Senate House of the University of London. Please read and share widely!

Permanent link to this article: /2017/06/16/excommunicated-vol-3-no-2-is-out-with-the-cfp-for-our-june-2018-london-conference/

Third Conference of the International Society for Heresy Studies
London, June 15-16, 2018

Heresy and Borders
CFP Deadline: March 1, 2018

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: /2017/06/16/cfp-third-conference/

Registration for the 2016 ISHS Conference is open

Registration for the 2016 ISHS Conference is open. Attendees may register here. Registration rates, like membership dues fees (required of all presenters), are tiered. A lower rate is also available for non-presenters who wish to audit the conference.

Lodging is available at a cheap (for New York) rate in dorm rooms on New York University’s campus. If you would like to stay in one of these dorm rooms, you must register by April 15.

Permanent link to this article: /2016/04/11/registration-for-the-2016-ishs-conference-is-open/

Rebecca N. Goldstein Awarded National Humanities Medal

The officers of the International Society for Heresy Studies wish to share some exciting news with our colleagues. ISHS Founding Member and current Board Member, Rebecca N. Goldstein, was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in September. Per , Goldstein received the award for


bringing philosophy into conversation with culture. In scholarship, Dr. Goldstein has elucidated the ideas of Spinoza and Gödel, while in fiction, she deploys wit and drama to help us understand the great human conflict between thought and feeling.

Humanities Medal_cropped

We ask the ISHS community to join us in congratulating Goldstein on this well-deserved honor.

Permanent link to this article: /2015/10/28/rebecca-n-goldstein-awarded-national-humanities-medal/

The Internal Revenue Service moves slowly…

…eppur si muove. After over a year of waiting, the International Society for Heresy Studies has been officially accepted by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization. Among other little perks, this status allows the Society to accept tax-deductible donations. But tax questions aside, it provides us with another milestone to celebrate in the young life of our Society. We will keep working to make certain this organization continues to grow and foster excellent scholarship.

Permanent link to this article: /2014/08/25/irs/

Results of first ISHS election

The first ISHS conference took place last weekend, and many of the stimulating conversations begun there are continuing in other forums. We are already looking forward to our next conference, likely in 2016. A number of announcements related to the conference will likely follow in the coming days, but right now I’d like to congratulate the society’s newly elected officers and board members.


  • President: Gregory Erickson
  • Vice-president: Bernard Schweizer
  • Secretary-treasurer: John Holloway
  • Webmaster: Geremy Carnes


  • Artist representative: James Morrow
  • Creative writing program representative: Lorna Gibb
  • Faith representative: David Dickinson
  • Secularism representative: Rebecca N. Goldstein
  • Literary criticism representative: James Wood
  • Theology representative: Valentine Cunningham
  • Religion and politics representative: Jordan Miller
  • History representative: Robert Royalty
  • Graduate student representative: Ethan Quillen

Permanent link to this article: /2014/06/07/results-of-first-ishs-election/

Announcement: 2014 ISHS Conference program now online

The inaugural conference of the International Society for Heresy Studies, to be held at New York University on May 30th and 31st, is fast approaching. The conference program is now available, as are abstracts of papers. We encourage attendees to view them prior to the conference. Conference registrations for auditors are still being accepted.

Permanent link to this article: /2014/05/10/2014-ishs-conference-program-now-online/

Announcement: The Journal of Heresy Studies is accepting submissions

The International Society of Heresy Studies is pleased to announce that its newly founded journal, , is . Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: /2014/05/10/announcement-the-journal-of-heresy-studies-is-accepting-submissions/

Announcement: Best talks at 2014 ISHS Conference to be published in collection

ISHS has an exciting announcement: the organizers of the Society’s 2014 Conference will solicit the best conference talks as developed chapters to be published as a collection by DeGruyter. More details will appear here as they become available.

Permanent link to this article: /2014/02/03/announcement-best-talks-to-at-2014-ishs-conference-to-be-published-in-collection/

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