Keynote Speakers


Benjamin E. Zeller is Assistant Professor of Religion at Lake Forest College, in the Chicago metro area (USA). He researches religious currents that are new or alternative, including new religions, the religious engagement with science, and the quasi-religious relationship people have with food.  He is author of Prophets and Protons: New Religious Movements and Science in Late Twentieth-Century America (NYU Press, 2010), and co-editor of the forthcoming Religion, Food, and Eating in North America (Columbia University Press, 2014) and The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements (Bloomsbury, 2014), and co-general editor of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions.

The title of Prof. Zeller’s lecture at the conference is: “Totem and Taboo in the Grocery Store”


Gunnar af Hällström

Dr Theol., Cand.Hum., Professor of Systematic Theology at Åbo Akademi University and senior lecturer of early Christian literature at the University of Turku.

The title of Prof. Hällström’s lecture at the conference is: “Daily bread or heavenly bread? The meals of the early church as reflections of Christian ideology and search for identity.”


Graham Harvey is Reader in Religious Studies at the Open University, UK. He is

President of the British Association for the Study of Religions and an advisor to the Oxford

Centre for Animal Ethics. His research among Jews, Pagans and indigenous peoples has

resulted in numerous publications, including Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding

Religion as Everyday Life and The Handbook of Contemporary Animism (both published

by Acumen in 2013). Both these books seek to advance more academic interest in

relationality both as an empirical matter for theorisation and as a position for conducting

scholarly activities. He is also a vegan.

The title of Dr Harvey’s lecture is “Respectfully eating or not eating horses, pigs, ants or

carrots: defining religion as everyday food rules”