Bochum Online Companion to Eurasian Religions in Contact
The Bochum Online Companion aims to create a comprehensive, easy-to-use companion to Eurasian Religions in Contact (ERiC) that informs readers about occasions, themes, modes, conditions and consequences of contacts between religious groups and the way religious thought and practice developed in and through such contact phenomena, eventually creating both the larger and smaller religious traditions of today and the religious field as a social entity distinct from other fields such as politics, economics, and art.
The companion will be comprised of case studies with each case study focusing on a particular geographical region, a particular moment in or period of time and a particular constellation of two or more religions encountering each other. Each case study will extrapolate the occasions as well as the historical and social contexts of such encounters and, most importantly, shed light on the issues, notions, themes and practices addressed in the particular contact situation.
Based on a Common Conceptual Framework
Case studies will make use of theoretical concepts and approaches developed at the KHK over the past years. This includes specific understandings of the role of concepts such as “purity”, “secret”, “tradition”, “media”, “the senses”, “the immanence/transcendence-distinction” and “dynamics/ stability”. Authors of case studies will familiarize themselves with these concepts and present their material in light of at least one of such concepts. For example, an author can choose to present his or her material with a special emphasis on what it says about (possibly competing) notions of “purity” that religious groups involved in a particular encounter are revealing. Making use of a common theoretical framework allows for a rich comparative perspective, while at the same time providing insights into the particularities of the presented material.
An Enhanced Reading Experience
The companion will not be sequentially structured by region, time or religion as a printed book necessarily would, effectively limiting insights into common trends and perspectives transcending such divisions. Instead, users of the online companion can make use of filters, allowing them to display not only complete articles, but also paragraphs from within articles that deal with a specific region, period, religion or topic. This functionality will be accomplished by a newly developed method based on automated “topic modelling” and enhanced by thorough manual tagging of paragraphs by our own experts. In addition to the possibility of reading whole articles from the companion, this allows users to create individualized compilations of paragraphs which can be read online or customized to download as a pdf or eBook. We believe that these possibilities will open up new comparative perspectives and bear a great potential to inspire new research. Of course, authorship of individual paragraphs and articles will at all times be indicated so that copyrights will be strictly preserved.
Contributing to ERiC
All researchers working on religious encounters in Eurasia are welcome to contribute to ERiC. Individual articles need to pay regard to the basic ideas outlined above, specifically, they need to take into account the theoretical framework of the KHK (for more information: check the concept papers on this website (link). Authors are asked to submit abstracts of 250-300 words indicating the geographic region, time period and religions in contact they would like to cover and the theoretical perspective they would like to employ. Abstracts can be submitted at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed twice a year with notes of acceptance sent out in December and June. Full articles should contain at least 8,000 words and not exceed 15,000 words. They must be submitted six months after acceptance of the abstract, at the latest. All articles are subject to peer-reviewing. After peer-review, your article will be published without delay, thus enabling you to share your results and perspectives much faster than in a printed handbook.
Open Access & Sustainability
As ERiC is planned to be hosted by Ruhr-Universität Bochum, there is no risk that the companion will be short-lived for technical reasons, as other online publications have been. Your article will continue to be ready to read and download from the ERiC website on an open-access-basis (Golden Open Access), and it will continue to be found through search engines. As there is no limit to topics covered in ERiC, contributions will be added continuously making the companion even richer for years on end.
ERiC & Entangled Religions
ERiC will form part of our existing online journal Entangled Religions. This means that readers will have the choice to read articles either in the traditional volume/issue-format or use the enhanced reading experience that ERiC provides. This is convenient for contributors as well, as their articles will be easily quotable in the volume/issue-format, but at the same benefit from the extended ERiC functionality.
ERiC is currently being developed by our team at CERES. Scholars specializing in a wide array of religious traditions are working together with experts in the fields of digital humanities and online publishing to create the best experience for both contributors and readers.