Keynote speakers

The confirmed keynote speakers of the conference are:

Nancy Ammerman, Boston University
Nancy T. Ammerman is Professor of Sociology of Religion in the Sociology Department of the College of Arts and Sciences and in the School of Theology, and she serves as Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Social Sciences in the College.
Dr. Ammerman’s most recent research has focused on the social structures and practices of everyday lived religion. Her most recent book, Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life, (Oxford University Press, 2013) documents the way religion and spirituality operate across the many domains of daily lived experience, the way “the sacred” is encountered both within and beyond the boundaries of official religious institutions and practices.  This follows Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives (Oxford University Press, 2006), an edited collection of essays exploring “lived religion” in Europe and the U.S.

Jörg Stolz, University of Lausanne

Jörg Stolz  is a professor of sociology of religion at the University of Lausanne. Concerning research, Jörg Stolz combines a strong theoretical interest with both quantitative and qualitative empirical research. Theoretically, Jörg Stolz defends an explanatory and comprehensive sociology of religion based on methodological individualism (a form of “analytical sociology”). Substantively, he focuses on research on evangelicalism, the explanation of religiosity and secularization and comparative research on “congregations” in different religions. Jörg Stolz currently directs three large empirical research projects combining quantitative and qualitative methodology.

Jörg Stolz is president-elect of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR) and – alas ! – member of all kinds of administrative and scientific committees.

Courtney Bender, Columbia University
Courtney Bender is Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion at
Columbia University. She is the author of the award-winning The New
Metaphysicals: Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination and
Heaven’s Kitchen: Living Religion at God’s Love We Deliver, and has co-edited or contributed to volumes focused on the sociological study of religion, critical themes in religious studies, religious pluralism and secularism.

Anne Birgitta Pessi, University of Helsinki
Anne Birgitta Pessi is Professor of Church and Social Studies, in the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology. Currently Pessi directs a vast multidiciplinary project CoPassion, “The Revolutionary Power of Compassion” (, from 2015 to 2017, funded by Tekes and more than 10 companies. She also currently directs an Academy of Finland funded project CoCare (Cooperation in Care – meaning systems, chances, and conflicts, in 2014-2018). Pessi’s research interests cover particularly compassion, altruism, meaningfulness, volunteering, civil society, togetherness, church social work and experiences of good life, as well as individualized religiosity and experiences of the sacred.