In present and historical populations, research has shown that mortality and morbidity patterns vary between different religious groups. In finding an explanation for these health differentials, researchers have looked into the distinctive aspects of a religious groups. These aspects may be of a social, economic, political or ethnic origin, giving one religious group certain health-affecting advantages or disadvantages over another religious denomination.
For instance, several researchers have shown that the strict Jewish laws on food preparation and hygiene undid the poor living conditions Jewish populations had to deal with, resulting in lower mortality rates among Jews in comparison to Roman Catholic or Protestant people living in the same area. But religion and religious culture do not have to be the true origin of better or worse health within a specific religious group. A certain religious group can be characterised by bad social and economic status, possibly leading to bad housing conditions, an unhealthy or insufficient diet, poor hygiene or an inability to afford decent health care or medicines.
The past decades, an effort has been made to turn the study of the relationship between religion and health into a proper discipline: the epidemiology of religion. The methodological concepts that have originated from research done within this interdisciplinary field can contribute extensively to the analysis of health differentials through time and space. Instead of only looking at religious affiliation as a measure of religion, this discipline advocates looking at religiosity and the network within a religious group to interpret the influence of religion on a believerís health. This broader notion of religion might inject a new view on the interrelationship between religion, health and death.
Preliminary session topics:
Preferably, paper proposals will be on the following topics; both quantitative and qualitative studies are invited. Other topics than those mentioned below may be suggested, naturally.
- Mortality differentials among different religious denominations.
- Morbidity differentials among different religious denominations.
- Religion and the epidemiologic transition(s).
- Religious culture(s) and health.
- Ethnic, social, political, and/or economic aspects of health differentials among different religious denominations.
- Methods in the epidemiology of religion.
Submission of abstracts:
The session is to take place during the European Social Science History Conference in Vienna, April 2014. You are invited to send your paper proposals in the form of a 300 to 500 word abstract, in English. The abstract needs to state clearly what the research questions will be, what data will be used in the analysis and what the (preliminary) eventual argument of the paper will be. Proposals can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I kindly request you to send the abstract before 10 May 2013. The deadline for the final paper has yet to be announced.
For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by email. For general information on the ESSHC, see the following website: http://esshc.socialhistory.org/.
Nynke J.M. van den Boomen, MA
Radboud University Nijmegen
P.O. Box 9103
6500 HD Nijmegen
Tel. 0031 (0) 24 361 61 72
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