American Lectures in the History of Religions (ALHR):
Centennial Vision, 2009 and 2010
We are grateful to AAR member Pamela Klassen (Chair of the History of Religion Book Award Jury), and fellow jurists Ebrahim Moosa and Louis Ruprecht, who have been working for some time to revive the Academy’s American Lectures in the History of Religions.
To help celebrate the AAR’s Centennial this group conceived and planned two Centennial Scholars and Artists Panels to be held at the 2009 and 2010 Annual Meetings. Structured as a conversation among distinguished and intellectually exciting scholars and/or artists, the panels treat historical themes of pressing importance for the academy in an innovative and interdisciplinary format. The 2009 panel was entitled "Our Home and Native Land": Colonial Encounters and the History of Religion, Spirituality and the Secular, and it included panelists George Elliott Clarke (University of Toronto), Nelson Maldonado-Torres (University of California at Berkeley), Alanis Obomsawin (National Film Board of Canada), and Inés Talamantez (University of California at Santa Barbara).
This year’s panel, to be held at the Annual Meeting in Atlanta, will be entitled Bondage and Liberation: Questioning Debts to Slavery and Enslavement to Debt. Building on the 2009 AAR/ALHR panel’s interest in “the nexus of religion and colonialism,” this panel explores the themes of bondage and liberation with a particular focus on the connections among religions and economies. The panel will point to new theoretical possibilities opened by renewed attention to economic and class concerns in the study of the history of religions in our “new” age of globalization. The speakers for the 2010 panel are Opal Moore (Spelman College), Ebrahim E.I. Moosa (Duke University), Louis A. Ruprecht (Georgia State University), and Gregory Schopen (University of California, Los Angeles).