Deadline extended to Friday, February 5

The African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association (ADRSA) presents its fourth day-long conference on the theme The Divine and the Digital: African and Diasporic Ritual Technologies. Though it has contracted considerably in recent years, “technology” is an expansive and multifaceted term referring to “the science of the crafts of the hand,” and denotes any created item or process that is employed toward a useful end. African and Diasporic religions (ADR) are rife with technologies both ancient and modern from divination tools, to ceremonial dress, to processes for healing, invoking and communicating with spirit, and much more. As well, newer technological processes and items such as social media, smart phones, voice over internet protocol (VOIP) and the Internet itself have become actors in the practice of ADR and have affected the practice in both expected and unanticipated ways. This conference will explore these intersections of technologies and ADR and we invite proposals on topics including but not limited to:

  • Creation and uses of religious technologies or handcrafts including instruments, wearables, divination tools, and other sacred and ritual items
  • Theories and meanings of technology, broadly construed, as relates to ADR
  • African and Diasporic divination tools, methods, and processes as technologies
  • Comparative studies juxtaposing uses of particular items or processes
  • The impacts of digital technology on ADR 

Submissions should center on one or more African Indigenous (Ndebele, Yoruba, Kongo, Dagara, Eedyi, Igbo, Shona, etc.) or African Diasporic (Vodou, Lukumi, Umbanda, Shango Baptist, Palo, Revival Zion, etc.) spiritual/religious traditions. Scholar-practitioner perspectives are welcomed. Graduate students are particularly encouraged to apply.


For consideration, please submit a 500-word abstract, a 100-250-word bio, and Curriculum Vitae by February 5, 2016. Panel proposals should include a 300-500-word description of the panel and all of the above information for each participant.

 Previous Conferences

Conference Venue
Harvard University
CGIS South Building
1730 Cambridge Street
Lower Level
Travel to Boston

The nearest airport is Boston Logan International (BOS) and Boston is easily accessible via ground transportation from many nearby cities including New York, Newark, NJ and Hartford, CT  via:

Bolt Bus
Peter Pan

Lodging in Boston

Connect with local people renting rooms or entire apartments. The most economical way to stay close to campus

Best Western Hotel Tria
Approximately 10 minutes from the venue by free shuttle

40 Berkley Street Hostel
Approximately 20 minutes from venue by public transportation, 10 minutes by car/taxi

Hostelling International Boston Approximately 30 minutes from venue by public transportation, 15 minutes by car/taxi

Super 8 Motel - Watertown
Approximately 25 minutes from venue by public transportation, 10 minutes by car/taxi

La Quinta Inn & Suites Boston & Somerville
Approximately 15 minutes from venue by car/taxi

Buckminster Hotel
Approximately 30 minutes from venue by public transportation, 15 minutes by car/taxi