The ISSR was founded in Leuven, Belgium in 1948 as the "Conférence Internationale de Sociologie Religieuse" (International Conference for Religious Sociology). After several years of meeting as a confessional organization, with members from mostly European countries, it reconstituted itself as a worldwide scientific organization devoted to understanding the relationship between religion and society.
The Society holds bilingual (French & English) conferences every two years. Though we do not publish our own journal, we fill one issue of the international journal Social Compass annually with papers from our conferences.
Our 500+ members come from all continents of the world. They include some of the world's leading authorities on religion as well as some of the field's newest scholars. Though most members are sociologists by discipline, there is an increasing number of members with backgrounds in disciplines such as anthropology, political science, and women's studies. Similarly, though most of our members are based in universities, others work for denominational research centres and independent research institutes.
The ISSR publishes a bulletin in French and English. It also sponsors a New Researcher's Network for postgraduate students and recent PhDs, regardless of age.
Karel Dobbelaere, the ISSR Honorary President, former President, and former General Secretary wrote a paper (in two chapters) about the ISSR history which were published in Newsletters (#37: April 2010 and #41: December 2011):
The following document contains a full list of conferences (venue and themes), and officers (President, General Secretary, Treasurer, and President of the Local Committee)
List of conferences and officers. - Gothic Ceiling, Lisbon. Photo by Jim Spickard.