Comparative Perspectives on the Calling

Sincerely or not, many people claim to have heard or felt a strong call to act in a certain way and have changed their ethical attitude towards the world, often becoming charismatic models for other individuals to change their worldviews too. Anthropologists, religious scholars, and political scientists have analysed many of these individuals and their following. In the study of religion, the calling is central in Max Weber’s theories as well as other foundational authors such as Henri Bergson, though it has not been theorized much ever since these founding figures. A comparative approach based on empirical research may allow us not only to better understand recent religious trends, as for instance attempts at ‘purification’ of religion, but also to analyze the anthropological, sociological, and political potential of the concept beyond the study of religion. It may also be a positive contribution to studying the ethics of the self, which is at the core of much of today’s social theory.

The workshop is funded by the Antonian Fund and Research England under the Enhancing Research Culture funding (Social Sciences Division, University of Oxford).

2.00 pm – Welcome by Antonio Montañés and Angelo Vasco, followed by some preliminary thoughts on the calling by Ramon Sarró (St. Antony’s College, Oxford).
SESSION 1 2.15 pm – 3.15 pm
Angelo Vasco (St. Antony’s College, Oxford): ‘Pursuing the Evangelical calling: Brazilian missionaries’ vocation to the Lusophone world’.
Shireen Azam (St. Antony’s College, Oxford): ‘Caste, race or religion: The intersections of “duty” for Muslim Dalits in India’.
Chair-Discussant: Ammara Maqsood (University College London)
Coffee Break 3.15 pm – 3.30 pm
SESSION 2 3.30 pm – 4.45 pm
Leslie Fesenmyer (University of Birmingham): ‘Conversion as calling: Muslim converts in urban Kenya’
Andreas Bjorklund (St. Antony’s College, Oxford): ‘The calling and the uncertainty: ethics and activism among stateless Kuwaiti forced migrants’
Antonio Montañés Jiménez (St. Antony’s College, Oxford): ‘Gitano pastors and the calling: Approaching Pentecostal conversions in the city of Madrid’
Chair-Discussant: Ramon Sarró (St. Antony’s College, Oxford)
Coffee Break 4.45 pm – 5 pm
SESSION 3 5 pm – 6:30 pm
Peter Pels (University of Leiden): ‘A Sacrifice of Future Risks: Dutch Vocations for the Missions during the ‘Great Mission Hour’, 1917-1960’
Peter Ghosh (St Anne’s College, Oxford): ‘A resource for all: what Max Weber “actually” said about the Beruf ‘
Chair: Zuzanna Olszewska (St. John’s College, Oxford)
Discussion of the session, opening to a final debate: David Gellner (All Souls College, Oxford).
6:35 pm – Drinks at the Buttery, followed by Dinner at the College Dining Hall at 7 pm.