Events

2019 Regional Meetings

Open Calls for Papers:

Eastern International Region
(
CFP Deadline: Feb. 1, 2019)

New England-Maritimes Region
(CFP Deadline: Jan. 18, 2019)

Mid-Atlantic Region
(CFP Deadline: Dec. 22, 2018)

Pacific Northwest
(CFP Deadline: Jan. 30th, 2019)

Open Registration:

Registration closed.

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2018 Annual Meeting Presidential Theme

Religious Studies in Public:
The Civic Responsibilities, Opportunities, and Risks Facing Scholars of Religion
 
Most scholars of religion are trained to focus on one primary public—other scholars—or perhaps two publics—scholars and students—or perhaps three publics—scholars, students, and a particular religious community to which the scholar relates.
 
But during the course of their careers, especially today, increasing numbers of religion scholars find themselves relating to a bewildering array of other publics. Besides educational institutions, accrediting bodies, grant-making agencies, lecture audiences, religious groups, students, and fellow scholars of all types, these include: 
 
1)    local and national media and the audiences these media serve
2)    the corporate sector seeking our consultative services
3)    government agencies and leaders at local, state, national, and global levels 
4)    participants in legal cases seeking our expert testimony 
5)    the general public, whom we meet in person and online, some grateful for our work, some seeking our counsel, and some attempting to intimidate and threaten us
 
When looked at in this way, it seems clear that scholars of religion narrowly trained simply to publish and to teach are not prepared for our civic responsibilities, opportunities, and risks, and may unwittingly contribute to the phenomenon of university administrations and others questioning the continued relevance of our work. Especially in an era in which religion constantly emerges at the center of public controversy and dispute all over the world, our work is in fact more important, and freighted, than ever.
 
AAR 2018 will therefore seek to interrogate the civic responsibilities, opportunities, and risks facing us. Plenary sessions will look especially at religion scholars’ intersection with the media and government agencies. The presidential plenary will examine the question broadly, considering the risks to others when we engage the public, as well as the risk to ourselves. Program units are invited to consider how scholars involved in our various disciplines and subdisciplines encounter (or could encounter) various publics. Consideration of how religion scholars are trained or could be better trained for our civic responsibilities, opportunities, and risks is especially welcomed. Differential levels of opportunity and risk might also be considered, such as those facing contingent and untenured scholars, as well as scholars of minoritized status or community.
 
David P. Gushee
AAR President