2019 Annual Meeting, Nov 23-26

The 2019 Annual Meeting will be in San Diego, CA, November 23-26. Register Now!

Member Notes

Submit Your Member Note

Awards and Accomplishments

Matthew S. Hedstrom, University of Virginia

Hedstrom has received a 2019 ACLS Fellowship Program award for his project "The Religion of Humanity: Spiritual Cosmopolitanism, Politics, and the United Nations." View the abstract on the ACLS Fellows page.

Jessica Starling, Lewis and Clark College

Starling has recently been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

NEH Program: Summer Stipends
Project Title: Leprosy, Social Work, and Ethical Praxis in Contemporary Japanese Buddhism
Project Description: Research for a scholarly article and book on contemporary Japanese Buddhist care for leprosy patients.

View the press release.

David Warren, University of Edinburgh

Alongside renowned colleagues at the University of Edinburgh and scholars from leading universities around the world, Warren has designed a free online course set to be released on May 6, 2019: "The Sharia and Islamic Law: An Introduction." This groundbreaking, five-week course, developed through the University of Edinburgh and in partnership with FutureLearn, explores some of the diverse roles that the Sharia and Islamic law have played in Muslim life, both historically and today, and encourages students to think critically about the nature of religious law and its many manifestations. Registration is free and open to all. A PDF download of the course flyer is available for sharing with students and colleagues.

Books and Major Publications

F. B. A. Asiedu, Visiting Scholar, Duke University

Josephus, Paul, and the Fate of Early Christianity: History and Silence in the First CenturyLexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2019. Asiedu comments on the state of life in Rome during the reign of the Emperor Domitian and how both Flavius Josephus and the Christians who produced 1 Clement coped with the regime as other contemporaries, among whom he considers Martial, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and others, did. He argues that most of Josephus’s contemporaries practiced different kinds of silences in bearing witness to the world around them.

Christine Helmer, Northwestern University

How Luther Became the Reformer, Westminster John Knox, 2019. No story has been more foundational to triumphalist accounts of Western modernity than that of Martin Luther, the heroic individual, standing before the tribunes of medieval authoritarianism to proclaim his religious and intellectual freedom, “Here I stand!” How Luther Became the Reformer returns to the birthplace of this origin myth, Germany in the late nineteenth century, and traces its development from the end of World War I through the rise of National Socialism.

Wakoh Shannon Hickey, Notre Dame of Maryland University

Mind Cure: How Meditation Became Medicine, Oxford University Press, 2019. Tracing the religious history of mind-body medicine, this book shows that Americans and Europeans promoted meditation and yoga for physical and psychological healing a century earlier than is widely assumed. It explores the important early contributions that women and African Americans made to the development of American psychology and psychosomatic medicine. It traces previously overlooked confluences of Buddhist, Hindu, medical, African American, and women's history in America, and reflects critically on the contemporary mindfulness boom and its ethical, religious, social, and medical implications.

Susan Katz Miller, Independent Scholar

The Interfaith Family Journal, Skinner House Books, 2019. This is the first workbook published to support all families in discerning a way to honor any or all of their religious and secular histories. This five-week process of writing prompts, interactive exercises, and creative activities is designed to work whether you are Buddhist and Pagan, Hindu and Catholic, atheist and Jewish, draw on indigenous and African diaspora cultures, or "same faith" with different beliefs, practices, and formative experiences. A great resource for all therapists, all clergy, and all religious studies professionals teaching about the unaffiliated, disaffiliated, SBNRs, interfaith families, and multifaith identities.

Timothy Miller, University of Kansas

Communes in America, 1975-2000, Syracuse University Press, 2019. This is the third volume in a survey history of intentional communities in twentieth-century America. The first volume, The Quest for Utopia in Twentieth-Century America, covered communities active between 1900 and 1960. Volume two, The 60s Communes:  Hippies and Beyond, surveyed the communal proliferation of the countercultural era, 1960 to 1975. This third volume brings the story forward to the end of the century.  All three volumes have been published by Syracuse University Press, and all cover secular as well as religious communities.

Steven Ogden, Center for Public and Contextual Theology, Charles Sturt University

The Church, Authority, and FoucaultRoutledge, 2017. This book addresses the problem of the Church’s enmeshment with sovereign power, which leads to marginalization. Breaking new ground, Ogden uses Michel Foucault’s approach to power and knowledge to interpret the church leader’s significance as the guardian of knowledge. This can become privileged knowledge, under the spell of sovereign power, and with the complicity of clergy and laity. Inevitably, this culture can lead to a sense of entitlement for leaders and conformity for followers. All in the name of obedience. Instead of a monarchy, what about church as an open space of freedom?

Alexander Rocklin, College of Idaho

The Regulation of Religion and the Making of Hinduism in Colonial Trinidad, University of North Carolina Press, 2019. While Indian indentured workers in Trinidad practiced cherished rituals, “Hinduism” was not a widespread category. People of South Asian descent and African descent came together, engaging in practices that challenged colonial norms for religion/race. Gradually, Indians learned to narrate the similarities and differences among colonized populations and to define separable religions. Their goal was to gain access to the British promise of religious freedom. With the indenture system’s end, the culmination of this politics of recognition was the fabrication of a “world religion” called Hinduism.

Seth Schermerhorn, Hamilton College

Walking to Magdalena: Personhood and Place in Tohono O'odham Songs, Sticks, and Stories, University of Nebraska Press, 2019. In Walking to Magdalena, Seth Schermerhorn explores a question that is central to the interface of religious studies and Native American and indigenous studies: What have Native peoples made of Christianity? By focusing on the annual pilgrimage of the Tohono O’odham to Magdalena in Sonora, Mexico, Schermerhorn examines how these indigenous people of southern Arizona have made Christianity their own. This walk serves as the entry point for larger questions about what the Tohono O’odham have made of Christianity.

Jolyon Thomas, University of Pennsylvania

Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan, University of Chicago Press, 2019. Americans stationed in occupied Japan at the close of WWII claimed to be bringing religious freedom to a country where it did not exist. They described Japan’s existing constitutional guarantee of religious freedom as false, and they claimed to be implanting “real religious freedom” in its stead. Countering this victors’ narrative, Thomas shows that Japanese people were involved in a robust debate about religious liberty for decades before the occupation began. He also demonstrates that the occupiers were far less certain about how to define and protect religious freedom than their triumphalist rhetoric suggested.

Sharon Welch, Meadville Lombard Theological School

After the Protests Are Heard: Enacting Civic Engagement and Social TransformationNYU Press, 2019. After the Protests Are Heard confronts the difficult reality that social change is often followed by spikes in violence and authoritarianism. It offers important insights into how the nation might more fully acknowledge the brutal costs of racism and the historical drivers of racial injustice, and how people of all races can contain such violence in the present and prevent its resurgence in the future. After the Protests Are Heard is a must-read for everyone interested in social justice and activism – from the barricades and campuses to the breakrooms and cubicles.

Taraneh Wilkinson, Fondazione per le scienze religiose, Giovanni XXIII

Dialectical Encounters: Contemporary Turkish Muslim Thought in DialogueEdinburgh University Press, 2019. This book engages recent trends in Turkish Ilahiyat through a close analysis of the creative theological and philosophical contributions of Şaban Ali Düzgün (Ankara University) and Recep Alpyağıl (Istanbul University), highlighting their respective syntheses of Euro-American and Turkish-Muslim conceptual frameworks. Pushing against reductive readings of Turkish Muslim thought, the book addresses themes of authenticity, authority, human agency, along with Turkish Muslim responses to skepticism and religious pluralism.

Pablo Wright, University of Buenos Aires

Periferias sagradas en la modernidad argentina (Sacred peripheries in Argentine modernity), Biblos, 2018. In this book we analyze from an anthropological perspective religious groups and communities that share peripheral places in the Argentine religious field dominated by Catholicism. They propose non-mainstream cosmologies, ontologies, rituals, organization and identities that can be regarded as critical projects of Latin American modernity. Ethnographic cases include Spiritism, AMORC Rosicurcianism and Anthroposophy, the Santo Daime church, Zen Buddhism, and UFO religions.