2019 Regional Meetings

Open Calls for Papers:

Upper Midwest
(CFP Deadline: February 22, 2019)

Open Registration:



New England-Maritimes

Rocky Mountain-Great Plains




Member Notes

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Awards and Accomplishments

Alexander J. B. Hampton, University of Toronto

Alexander J. B. Hampton’s article “Post-secular Nature and the New Nature Writing” has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Lionel Basney Award. The award is given to the most outstanding article of the year published in Christianity & Literature, based on the criteria of scholarly quality, lucidity, readability, and originality. The article was praised for its orderly presentation and its clarity. The essay especially stood out for its admirable balance between breadth and depth. As one committee member wrote, “It´s very difficult to describe trends in literature that are still unfolding, but Hampton seems to do just that.” Open access to the article:

Bryan Lowe, Vanderbilt University

Ritualized Writing: Buddhist Practice and Scriptural Cultures in Ancient Japan (Kuroda Studies in East Asian Buddhism, University of Hawaii Press) won the John Whitney Hall Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies. The full announcement can be found here.

Books and Major Publications

T.M. Allen, Multnomah University/Seminary Reno Tahoe Campus

Heaven and the Popular Imagination, Pickwick Publications, 2018. This book analyzes a number of approaches within the theology of culture conversation to suggest that a hermeneutic of popular imagery can open up new horizons for understanding and challenging the role heaven plays in Christian theology. From ancient literature to popular music and films, heaven is part of the framework of our ecumenical imagining about beginnings and endings. Such a hermeneutic must encompass an interdisciplinary approach to theology.

Amy Balogh, University of Denver

Moses among the Idols: Mediators of the Divine in the Ancient Near EastLexington/Fortress, 2018. In this book, Balogh simultaneously redefines one of the greatest figures in the history of religion and challenges the historically popular understanding of ancient Mesopotamian idols as the idle objects of antiquated religions. Drawing on interdisciplinary research and methods of comparison, Balogh not only offers new insight into the lives of idols as active mediators between humanity and divinity, she also makes the case that Mesopotamian idols are the best analogy that the ancient Near East provides for understanding aspects of the biblical figure of Moses. 

Susan de Gaia, Central Michigan University

Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions: Faith and Culture across History, edited by Susan de Gaia, ABC-CLIO, 2018. Drawing on the expertise of a range of scholars, this reference chronicles the religious experiences of women across time and cultures. The book includes sections on major religions as well as on spirituality, African religions, prehistoric religions, and other broad topics. Each section begins with an introduction, followed by reference entries on specialized subjects along with excerpts from primary source documents. The entries provide numerous suggestions for further reading, and the book closes with a detailed bibliography.

Katherine Dugan, Springfield College

Millennial Missionaries: How a Group of Young Catholics is Trying to Make Catholicism CoolOxford University Press, 2019. This book explores the unexpected presence of "devout" Catholics amid the sharp rise of "nones" among millennials in the U.S. It also reveals the resurgence of devotional Catholicism in postconciliar Catholicism

Oliver Freiberger, The University of Texas at Austin

Considering Comparison: A Method for Religious Studies, Oxford University Press, 2019. Revisiting critical debates and examining reflections in other disciplines, this book proposes a model of comparison for the study of religion that is based on a thorough epistemological analysis and that takes both the scholar's situatedness and agency seriously. Examining numerous examples of comparative studies, Considering Comparison develops a methodological framework for conducting and evaluating such studies. Freiberger suggests a comparative approach - which he calls discourse comparison - that confronts the omnipresent risks of decontextualization, essentialization, and universalization.

Shannon Grimes, Meredith College

Becoming Gold: Zosimos of Panopolis and the Alchemical Arts in Roman Egypt, Panopolis Series vol. 1, Rubedo Press, 2018. Foremost among the Greco-Egyptian alchemists, the "divine" Zosimos practiced a sacred art in which religious and metallurgical realities were fundamentally intertwined. Grimes argues that temple traditions of statue-making are absolutely critical for understanding Zosimos and the origins of Greco-Egyptian alchemy. This cultural biography reveals Zosimos as an Egyptian scribal priest who is in dialogue with Jewish and Christian colleagues. His discussions of Hermetic and Gnostic thought are of particular interest  because they offer a rare glimpse into practioner perspectives.

Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University

World Religions: Western Traditions, Fifth Edition, edited by Amir Hussain, Roy C. Amore, and Willard G. Oxtoby, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. This textbook provides students with a thought-provoking survey of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, ancient, indigenous, and new religious traditions. The expert contributors offer an authoritative examination of the origins, central teachings, divisions and branches, rituals and practices, influences on culture, and responses to modern challenges for each tradition. Ideal for courses in Western religions and comparative religions, World Religions: Western Traditions, Fifth Edition, combines a historically descriptive perspective with a spirit of sympathetic fascination.

Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University

World Religions: Eastern Traditions, Fifth Edition, edited by Roy C. Amore, Amir Hussain, and Willard Oxtoby, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. The textbook gives students an accessible, engaging, and thought-provoking survey of Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Chinese, Korean, and Japanese religions. The expert contributors offer an authoritative examination of the origins, central teachings, divisions and branches, rituals and practices, influences on culture, and responses to modern challenges for each tradition. Ideal for courses in Asian religions and comparative religions, World Religions: Eastern Traditions, Fifth Edition, combines a historically descriptive perspective with a spirit of sympathetic fascination.

Rosemary Kellison, University of West Georgia

Expanding Responsibility for the Just War: A Feminist CritiqueCambridge University Press, 2019. Contemporary just war reasoning denies the violence of war by suggesting that many of the harms caused by war are necessary, though regrettable, injuries for which inflicting agents bear no responsibility. Kellison challenges this narrow understanding of responsibility through a feminist ethical approach that emphasizes human relationality and resulting asymmetries in relative power and vulnerability. She argues that the powerful individual and collective agents who inflict harm during war are responsible for recognizing and responding to the vulnerable persons they harm, and thereby reducing the likelihood of future violence.

Kirk MacGregor, McPherson College

Contemporary Theology: An Introduction, Thomas Nelson, 2018. This book provides a chronological survey of the major thinkers and schools of thought in modern theology in a manner that is both approachable and intriguing.
Unique among introductions to contemporary theology, MacGregor includes:

  • Evangelical perspectives alongside mainline and liberal developments
  • The influence of philosophy and the recent Christian philosophical renaissance on theology
  • Global contributions
  • Recent developments in exegetical theology
  • The implications of theological shifts on ethics and church life

Contemporary Theology: An Introduction is noteworthy for making complex thought understandable.

Levi McLaughlin, North Carolina State University

Soka Gakkai's Human Revolution: The Rise of a Mimetic Nation in Modern JapanUniversity of Hawai`i Press, 2018. Levi McLaughlin’s comprehensive account of Soka Gakkai draws on nearly two decades of archival research and non-member fieldwork to account for its institutional development beyond Buddhism and suggest how we should understand the activities and dispositions of its adherents. McLaughlin explores the group’s Nichiren Buddhist origins and turns to insights from religion, political science, anthropology, and cultural studies to characterize Soka Gakkai as mimetic of the nation-state.

Steven G. Smith, Millsaps College

Scriptures and the Guidance of Language, Cambridge University Press, 2018. This book is a philosophical response to Karl Jaspers’ account of a decisive “axial” shift in human thought and communication embodied in the core ideals of the world’s oldest surviving scriptural traditions and Wilfred Cantwell Smith’s account of scripturalizing as a global religious phenomenon.

Traci West, Drew University Theological School

Solidarity and Defiant Spirituality: Africana Lessons on Religion, Racism, and Ending Gender Violence, NYU Press, 2019. How activists in Ghana, South Africa, and Brazil provide inspiration and strategies for combating the gender violence epidemic in the United States.

Luke Whitmore, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Mountain, Water, Rock, God: Understanding Kedarnath in the Twenty-First Century, University of California Press, 2018. In Mountain, Water, Rock, God, Luke Whitmore situates the disastrous flooding that fell on the Hindu Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath in 2013 within a broader religious and ecological context. Whitmore explores the longer story of this powerful realm of the Hindu god Shiva through a holistic theoretical perspective that integrates phenomenological and systems-based approaches to the study of religion, pilgrimage, place, and ecology.