Annual Meeting

2017 Annual Meeting in Boston, Nov 18-21

Boston

The American Academy of Religion brings thousands of professors and students, authors and publishers, religious leaders and interested laypersons to its Annual Meeting each year. Co-hosted with the Society of Biblical Literature, the Annual Meetings are the largest events of the year in the fields of religious studies and theology.

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AAR Plenary Sessions at the 2016 Annual Meetings, San Antonio

Atlanta 2016 Annual Meeting Banner

Plenary Panel: Love and Hate in American Religion (A19-144)

Saturday – 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
Convention Center

This panel, comprised of leading theological voices working across traditions and communities, will explore manifestations of "the hatreds of our day," their origins, their relation to religious thought and practice, and varied strategies available to disrupt their power. Drawing out the connections between hatred directed towards Latinos, African Americans, and Muslims will be central.

Cornel West

 

 

 

Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary, Presiding

Panelists:

Eddie S. Glaude

 

 

 

Eddie S. Glaude, Princeton University

Mayra Rivera

 

 

 

Mayra Rivera, Harvard University

Amir Hussain

 

 

 

Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University

Serene Jones, Union Theological Seminary
Presidential Address: Revolutionary Love (A19-400)

Saturday – 7:00 PM–8:00 PM
Convention Center

Serene Jones

Serene Jones is the sixteenth President of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. The first woman to head the 179-year-old interdenominational seminary, Jones occupies the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy and has formed Union’s Institute for Women, Religion, and Globalization as well as the Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice. Jones came to Union after seventeen years at Yale University, where she was the Titus Street Professor of Theology at the Divinity School, and chair of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She holds degrees from the University of Oklahoma, Yale Divinity School, and Yale University. Jones is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. The author of several books including Calvin and the Rhetoric of Piety and Trauma and Grace, Jones is a leading theologian who regularly contributes to scholarly and public discussions on matters of faith, social justice, and public life.

Plenary Address: Michelle Alexander (A20-150)

Sunday – 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
Convention Center

Michelle AlexanderMichelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar. Alexander is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Stanford Law School. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the US Supreme Court and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she coordinated the Project’s media advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and litigation. The Project’s priority areas were educational equity and criminal justice reform, and it was during those years at the ACLU that she began to awaken to the reality that our nation’s criminal justice system functions more like a caste system than a system of crime prevention or control. She became passionate about exposing and challenging racial bias in the criminal justice system, ultimately launching and leading a major campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement known as the “DWB Campaign” or “Driving While Black or Brown Campaign.” In addition to her nonprofit advocacy experience, Alexander has worked as a litigator at private law firms including Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, in Oakland, California, where she specialized in plaintiff-side class-action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination.

In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship, which supported the writing of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2012), and that same year she accepted a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. She currently devotes much of her time to freelance writing; public speaking; consulting with advocacy organizations committed to ending mass incarceration; and, most important, raising her three young children—the most challenging and rewarding job of all.

Plenary Address: Julián Castro (A21-146)

Monday – 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
Convention Center

Julian CastroJulián Castro was born, along with his twin brother, in San Antonio, where his family has lived since the 1920s. Castro received a BA from Stanford University in 1996, and a JD from Harvard Law School in 2000. Upon his graduation from law school, Castro ran for a seat on the San Antonio City Council and won, making history as the youngest councilman in the city’s history. He served for several years and then ran for mayor in 2009, becoming the fifth Hispanic mayor in San Antonio’s history. During his tenure, he became known as a national leader in urban development.

Under Castro’s leadership, in 2010, the city launched the “Decade of Downtown," an initiative to spark investment in San Antonio’s center city and older neighborhoods. It generated a list of goals created by the people of San Antonio based on their collective vision for San Antonio in the year 2020. It then generated a nonprofit organization named SA2020 tasked with turning that vision into a reality. Castro also established Cafe College in 2010, offering college guidance to San Antonio-area students. In 2012 he led a voter referendum to expand pre-kindergarten education.

Castro delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012. Castro was sworn in as the sixteenth Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014. In this role, Castro uses a performance-driven approach to achieve the Department’s mission of expanding opportunity for all Americans.

He and his wife, Erica, have a daughter, Carina, and a son, Cristian.

Plenary Address: William Barber: A Revolution of Love (A21-403)

Monday – 7:00 PM–8:00 PM
Convention Center

William Barber

William J. Barber II is a member of the national board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the chair of their Legislative Political Action Committee. Since 2006 he has been president of the NAACP's North Carolina state chapter, the largest in the Southern United States and the second-largest in the country. Barber has served as pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, in Goldsboro, NC since 1993. Beginning in April 2013, Barber led regular "Moral Mondays" civil-rights protests in Raleigh, North Carolina.