Dr Alexander Norman

Lecturer

A20 - John Woolley Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 5174

Biographical details

Alex Norman completed his doctorate at the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney in 2010. Since then he has worked at the Department of History and Philosophy at the University of New South Wales, and the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at the University of Western Sydney before returning in 2012. He has taught subjects focussing on religions since 2006, including the units RLST2603 Classical Hinduism, RLST2626 Witchcraft, Paganism, and the New Age, and has lectured for the Centre for Continuing Education on the history of travel. In 2008 he was awarded the Faculty of Arts Teaching Excellence Award, and in 2011 was a finalist for the Rita and John Cornforth Medal for contributions to the University community.

Research interests

Alex’s central research interests revolve around the confluence of travel practices and religious practices. His book Spiritual Tourism (Continuum 2011) examines the intersection of travel and secular spiritual practice by contemporary Westerners. He has published on the Camino de Santiago, World Youth Day (with Mark Johnson) and on the religious dimensions in Olympic tourism (with Carole M. Cusack). His other main research interest is in new religious movements. In 2010 he published the first scholarly article on the group Great Freedom (now known as Balanced View), and in 2012 he co-edited the Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production (Brill 2012) with Carole M. Cusack. From 2010 to 2013 Alex was co-editor of Literature & Aesthetics, culminating in a special issue examining travel and literature published in 2012. His latest research project looks at the various ways in which travel events and traditions have impacted the formation of new religious movements.

Conference Papers Presented

  • ‘Spiritual Tourism and the Multiple Modernities Thesis’, 2012 AASR Conference, University of Western Sydney, Australia, September 28-30, 2012.
  • ‘The Varieties of the Spiritual Tourist Experience’, The Philosophies of Travel: 2011 Sydney Society of Literature and Aesthetics Conference, University of Sydney, Australia, September 29-October 1, 2011.
  • ‘Narratives of Exploration and Discovery: New Religious Movements and the Spiritual Marketplace of Rishikesh’, 2011 CESNUR Conference, Aletheia University, Taipe, Taiwan, June 21-23, 2011.
  • ‘Theosophical Travellers to the East and Their Impact of Modern Spiritual Tourism’, Theosophy and its Legacies: 2010 Sydney Society for Literature and Aesthetics Conference, Sydney, Australia, October 1-2, 2010.
  • ‘The Collaborative Identity Project of Great Freedom’, 2010 CESNUR Conference ‘Changing Gods: Between Religion and Everyday Life’, Turin, Italy, September 9-11, 2010.
  • ‘Aesthetics of Spiritual Tourism in India: A Case Study’, 2010 International Congress of Aesthetics, Beijing, China, August 9-13, 2010.
  • ‘Ontologies Smacking of the Immanent: Spiritual Tourism and the Problem of Religious Diversity in Rishikesh, India’, Religion and Difference, Australian Association for the Study of Religion Conference, November 29-December 1, 2009.
  • ‘The Disappointing Real: Negotiating Fantasy and Reality on the Camino de Santiago’, Creative Fantasy in Religious Imagination, Sydney Society for Literature and Aesthetics and Society for Religion, Literature, and the Arts Conference, Sydney, 26-27 September, 2008.
  • ‘Great Freedom: Disambiguation and the Project of the Self in an Emerging New Religious Movement’, Alternative Expressions of the Numinous Conference, Brisbane, August 15-17, 2008.
  • ‘‘A Holiday is a Holy Day!’: Spiritual Tourism in India’, The End of the World as We Know It? New Directions in Australian Spirituality, Australian Association for the Study of Religions Conference, Melbourne, 6-8 July, 2007.
  • ‘Film Induced Tourism and Religion’, Eternal Sunshine of the Academic Mind: Film, Faith, Culture and the University, Sydney, 22 September, 2006.
  • ‘Tourism: A Subject for the Study of Religion?’ Celebrating the Past, Anticipating the Future, Australian Association for the Study of Religions Conference, Adelaide, 7-9 July, 2006.
  • ‘Spiritual Tourism: Religion and Spirituality in Travel and Tourism’, Journeys of Expressions V - Tourism and the Roots/ Routes of Religious Festivity, Belfast, 13-15 March, 2006.
  • ‘Freedom of Religion in Turkmenistan’, From Culture to Multiculture, Religion, Literature and the Arts, and Affinity Intercultural Foundation Conference 3-5 October, 2003.

Selected publications

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Books

  • Norman, A. (2011). Spiritual Tourism: Travel and Religious Practice in Western Society. London, UK: Continuum.

Edited Books

  • Norman, A. (2013). Journeys and Destinations: Studies in Travel, Identity, and Meaning. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Cusack, C., Norman, A. (2012). Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Leiden: Brill.

Book Chapters

  • Norman, A. (2014). Material Culture. In George D Chryssides, Benjamin E Zeller (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements, (pp. 33-36). London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Academic, imprint of Bloomsbury.
  • Norman, A. (2014). Travel and New Religious Movements. In George D Chryssides, Benjamin E Zeller (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements, (pp. 313-318). London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Academic, imprint of Bloomsbury.
  • Norman, A. (2013). Both Journeys and Destinations. In Alex Norman (Eds.), Journeys and Destinations: Studies in Travel, Identity, and Meaning, (pp. ix-xiv). Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Norman, A. (2013). Cafe Religiosity and Spiritual Tourism in Rishikesh. Religious Travels in India: Motivations and Innovations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Norman, A. (2013). The Turn East: 'New' Religious Consciousness and Travel to India After Blavatsky. In Alex Norman (Eds.), Journeys and Destinations: Studies in Travel, Identity, and Meaning, (pp. 129-157). Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Norman, A. (2012). Cosmic Flavour, Spiritual Nutrition?: The Biodynamic Agriculture Method and the Legacy of Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy in Viticulture. In Carole Cusack & Alex Norman (Eds.), Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production, (pp. 213-234). Leiden: Brill.
  • Norman, A. (2010). Tourism. In Hecht, Richard D. and Biondo, Vincent F. (Eds.), Religion and Everyday Life and Culture, (pp. 945-975). Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers.
  • Norman, A. (2007). On Golden Statues and Spiritual Guidebooks: A Report on Freedom of Religion and the Cult of the President in Turkmenistan. In Victoria Barker and Frances di Lauro (Eds.), On a Panegyrical Note: Studies in Honour of Garry W Trompf, (pp. 19-35). Sydney: Department of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney.

Journals

  • Norman, A., Cusack, C. (2012). The religion in Olympic tourism. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 10(2), 124-136.
  • Norman, A. (2012). The Varieties of the Spiritual Tourist Experience. Aesthetics (was Literature & Aesthetics), 22(1), 20-37.
  • Norman, A. (2011). Celebrity Push, Celebrity Pull: Understanding the Role of the Notable Person in Pilgrimage. Australian Religion Studies Review, 24(3), 317-341. [More Information]
  • Norman, A., Johnson, M. (2011). World Youth Day: The Creation of a Modern Pilgrimage Event for Evangelical Intent. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 26(3), 371-385. [More Information]
  • Norman, A. (2010). Great Freedom and the concept of awareness: Reading an Ambiguous New Religious Movement Through the Lenses of Gergen, Giddens, and Lyon. International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 1(2), 161-181. [More Information]
  • Norman, A. (2009). The unexpected real: negotiating fantasy and reality on the road to Santiago. Aesthetics (was Literature & Aesthetics), 19(2), 50-71.
  • Norman, A. (2005). Where the church bell can be heard, there the parish lies: issues of schism and continuity in the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia. Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand), 13, 123-131.

2014

  • Norman, A. (2014). Material Culture. In George D Chryssides, Benjamin E Zeller (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements, (pp. 33-36). London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Academic, imprint of Bloomsbury.
  • Norman, A. (2014). Travel and New Religious Movements. In George D Chryssides, Benjamin E Zeller (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements, (pp. 313-318). London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Academic, imprint of Bloomsbury.

2013

  • Norman, A. (2013). Both Journeys and Destinations. In Alex Norman (Eds.), Journeys and Destinations: Studies in Travel, Identity, and Meaning, (pp. ix-xiv). Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Norman, A. (2013). Cafe Religiosity and Spiritual Tourism in Rishikesh. Religious Travels in India: Motivations and Innovations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Norman, A. (2013). Journeys and Destinations: Studies in Travel, Identity, and Meaning. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Norman, A. (2013). The Turn East: 'New' Religious Consciousness and Travel to India After Blavatsky. In Alex Norman (Eds.), Journeys and Destinations: Studies in Travel, Identity, and Meaning, (pp. 129-157). Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2012

  • Norman, A. (2012). Cosmic Flavour, Spiritual Nutrition?: The Biodynamic Agriculture Method and the Legacy of Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy in Viticulture. In Carole Cusack & Alex Norman (Eds.), Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production, (pp. 213-234). Leiden: Brill.
  • Cusack, C., Norman, A. (2012). Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Leiden: Brill.
  • Norman, A., Cusack, C. (2012). The religion in Olympic tourism. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 10(2), 124-136.
  • Norman, A. (2012). The Varieties of the Spiritual Tourist Experience. Aesthetics (was Literature & Aesthetics), 22(1), 20-37.

2011

  • Norman, A. (2011). Celebrity Push, Celebrity Pull: Understanding the Role of the Notable Person in Pilgrimage. Australian Religion Studies Review, 24(3), 317-341. [More Information]
  • Norman, A. (2011). Spiritual Tourism: Travel and Religious Practice in Western Society. London, UK: Continuum.
  • Norman, A., Johnson, M. (2011). World Youth Day: The Creation of a Modern Pilgrimage Event for Evangelical Intent. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 26(3), 371-385. [More Information]

2010

  • Norman, A. (2010). Great Freedom and the concept of awareness: Reading an Ambiguous New Religious Movement Through the Lenses of Gergen, Giddens, and Lyon. International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 1(2), 161-181. [More Information]
  • Norman, A. (2010). Tourism. In Hecht, Richard D. and Biondo, Vincent F. (Eds.), Religion and Everyday Life and Culture, (pp. 945-975). Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers.

2009

  • Norman, A. (2009). The unexpected real: negotiating fantasy and reality on the road to Santiago. Aesthetics (was Literature & Aesthetics), 19(2), 50-71.

2007

  • Norman, A. (2007). On Golden Statues and Spiritual Guidebooks: A Report on Freedom of Religion and the Cult of the President in Turkmenistan. In Victoria Barker and Frances di Lauro (Eds.), On a Panegyrical Note: Studies in Honour of Garry W Trompf, (pp. 19-35). Sydney: Department of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney.

2005

  • Norman, A. (2005). Where the church bell can be heard, there the parish lies: issues of schism and continuity in the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia. Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand), 13, 123-131.

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