2020 Regional Meetings

Open Calls for Papers:

Deadline: January 17, 2020

New England-Maritimes
Deadline: January 19, 2020

Eastern International
Deadline: February 1, 2020

Open Registration:




Member Notes

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Awards and Accomplishments

Purushottama Bilimoria, University of Melbourne and Sophia

Purushottama Bilimoria received the Fulbright-Nehru Distinguished Professional and Academic Excellenece Award tenable at Ashoka University, New Delhi and India International Centre, Fall-Winter 2019-2020.

Andre E. Johnson, University of Memphis

The Struggle over Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matterwritten by Andre E. Johnson and Amanda Nell Edgar, won the 2019 African American Communication and Culture Division Outstanding Book Award at the recent National Communiation Association Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Michael Strmiska, Orange County Community College, Middletown, New York

In Spring of 2020, Michael Strmiska will be the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to teach Religious Studies courses at Riga Stradins University in Riga, Latvia.

Paul L. Swanson, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture

Paul L. Swanson's book Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight: T'ien-t'ai Chih-i's Mo-ho chih-kuan (University of Hawai'i Press) was awarded the 2019 Toshihide Numata Award for Buddhism by the Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Books and Major Publications

Iskandar Bcheiry, Atla

An Early Christian Reaction to Islam: Išū‘yahb III and the Muslim Arabs, Gorgias Press, 2019. How did Christians of the Middle East interact with and view Muslim Arabs during the seventh century? This is what Iskandar Bcheiry discusses in his latest book, An Early Christian Reaction to Islam: Išū‘yahb III and the Muslim Arabs. Examining Syriac manuscripts of the letters of Išū‘yahb III, a patriarch of the Church, Iskandar explores the changing views of this fascinating historical figure.

Helen A. Berger, Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University

Solitary Pagans: Contemporary Witches, Wiccans, and Others Who Practice Alone, University of South Carolina Press, 2019. Solitary Pagans is the first book to explore the growing phenomenon of contemporary Pagans who practice alone. Although the majority of Pagans in the United States have abandoned the tradition of practicing in groups, little is known about these individuals or their way of practice. Helen A. Berger fills that gap by building on a massive survey of contemporary practitioners. By examining the data, Berger describes solitary practitioners demographically and explores their spiritual practices, level of social engagement, and political activities.

Purushottama Bilimoria, University of Melbourne and Sophia

History of Indian Philosophy, Routledge, 2019. The History of Indian Philosophy is a comprehensive and authoritative examination of the movements and thinkers that have shaped Indian philosophy over the last three thousand years. An outstanding team of international contributors provide fifty-eight accessible chapters, organised into three clear parts: knowledge, context, concepts; philosophical traditions; and engaging encounters: modern and postmodern.

Nestor Da Costa, Universidad Catolica del Uruguay

100 years of secularism in Uruguay, Editorial Planeta, 2019. The book gathers research on the Uruguayan secular model one hundred years after the legal separation between the State and the Catholic Church. Secularism The format and characteristics of the Uruguayan lay arrangement, unique in Latin America, due to the strict displacement of religion from the public to the private sphere, are reviewed sociologically and historically in this research.

Pink Dandelion, University of Birmingham, UK

The Cultivation of Conformity: Towards a General Theory of Internal Secularisation, Routledge, 2019. This book explores the inter-relationship between religious groups and wider society and examines the way religious groups change in relation to societal norms, potentially to the point of undergoing processes of ‘internal secularisation’ within secular and secularist cultures A major contribution to the sociology of religion, The Cultivation of Conformity presents a new theory of internal secularisation as the ultimate stage of the cultivation of conformity, and a model of the way sects and society inter-relate.

Bharat Ranganathan and Derek Alan Woodard-Lehman, University of Otago & Case Western Reserve University

Scripture, Tradition, and Reason in Christian Ethics, co-edited by Bharat Ranganathan and Derek Alan Woodard-Lehman, Palgrave, 2019. How should we understand the relationship between Christian ethics and religious ethics? Focusing on scripture, tradition, and reason, the contributors to this volume argue for a vision of Christian ethics as religious ethics, engaging with scripture, interpretation, and religious practice, examining the putative divide between reason and tradition, autonomy and heteronomy; and offering proposals about the normative characterization of conceptual and practical issues in contemporary religious ethics. 

Gordan Djurdjevic, Independent scholar

Sayings of Gorakhnāth: Annotated Translation of the Gorakh Bānītranslated by Gordan Djurdjevic and Shukdev Singh, Oxford University Press, 2019. Sayings of Gorakhnath presents a translation of texts in Old Hindi, traditionally attributed to one of the founders of the Order of Nath Yogis.The Naths are associated with the development of hatha yoga, with historical and ideological links to Hindu tantra and alchemy.The texts gathered in this collection on the one hand provide a criticism of religious authority based on external knowledge lacking personal experience, while on the other hand they celebrate the path of yoga and its methods of engagement with the subtle body and its centres of occult energy and miraculous powers.

Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Activist Theology Project

Activist Theology, Fortress Press, 2019. In this searing and personal book, intellectual activist and theologian Robyn Henderson-Espinoza bridges the gap between academia and activism, bringing the wisdom of the streets to the work of scholarship, all for the sake of political liberation and social change for marginalized communities. This is an invitation--a powerful and provocative call-to-action--to academic theologians to the work of social activism through movement building. Activist Theology summons all to take up radical acts of labor that uses scholarship and contemplation to build bridges with difference and make connections of solidarity, rooted in collective action.

Daryn Henry, University of Virginia

A.B. Simpson and the Making of Modern EvangelicalismMcGill-Queen's University Press, 2019. Daryn Henry presents Simpson's life and ministry as a vivid, fascinating, and paradigmatic study in evangelical religious culture, during a time when the conservative wing of the movement has often been overlooked. Simpson's ministry, Henry explains, fused the classic evangelical emphasis on revivalist conversion with the intensification of that sensibility in the quest for the deeper Christian life of holiness. Recovering the practice of divine healing, Simpson emphasized a dynamically empowered and supernaturally animated Christianity that would spill over into nascent Pentecostalism. 

Ernst M. Conradie and Hilda P. Koster, University of Western Cape & Concordia College

T&T Clark Handbook of Christian Theology and Climate Change, co-edited by Ernst M. Conradie and Hilda P. Koster, Bloomsbury Press, 2019. Given the far-reaching complicity of "North Atlantic Christianity" in anthropogenic climate change, the question is whether it can still collaborate with and contribute to ongoing mitigation and adaptation efforts. The main essays in this volume are written by scholars from within North Atlantic Christianity and addressed primarily to readers in the same context; these essays are critically engaged by respondents situated in other geographic regions, minority communities, non-Christian traditions, or non-theological disciplines.

Joel Hodge, Australian Catholic University

Violence in the Name of God: The Militant Jihadist Response to Modernity, Bloomsbury, 2019. This book traces the trajectory of militant jihadism to show how violence is more intentionally embraced as the centre of worship, social order and ideology. Undertaking an in-depth analysis of militant jihadist groups and utilising the work of René Girard, Joel Hodge argues that militant jihadists seek to re-sacralise violence as a particular response to modernity. Relevant to anyone interested in Islam, philosophy of religion, theology, and terrorism, Violence in the Name of God imagines new ways of thinking about religious militancy in the twenty-first century.

Susan Tower Hollis, SUNY Empire State College, retired professor

Five Egyptian Goddesses: Their Possibl Beginnings, Actions, and Relationships in the Third Millennium BCE, Bloomsbury Academic, 2019. This volume explores the earliest appearances and functions of the five major Egyptian goddesses Neith, Hathor, Nut, Isis and Nephthys. Although their importance endured throughout more than three millennia of ancient Egyptian history, their origins, earliest roles, and relationships in religion, myth, and cult have never before been studied together in detail. A brief discussion of Bat and the relationship of cattle is included as well.

Wm. Curtis Holtzen, Hope International University

The God Who Trusts: A Relational Theology of Divine Faith, Hope, and Love, InterVarsity Press, 2019. The Bible resounds with affirmations of the faithfulness and trustworthiness of God. But might God also exhibit faith and trust? Holtzen contends that God is not merely trustworthy or faithful, but that God is also one who trusts and has faith. According to Holtzen, because God is a being of relational love and exists in relationship with humans, who can freely choose to follow God, then God is a God who trusts. Such an argument might challenge our notion of who God is, yet Holtzen argues that understanding the relationship between divine trust and human faith can give us a fuller, truer picture of who God is and who we are.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Earlham School of Religion

Keeping Hope Alive: Sermons and Speeches of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., edited by Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Orbis Books, 2019. These speeches and sermons, delivered both to the downtrodden and the powerful, from Senegal and Bangkok to Chicago include the famous speeches he delivered at the Democratic Party conventions of 1984 and 1988 following his historic campaigns for the presidential nomination.

David Kirkpatrick, James Madison University

A Gospel for the Poor: Global Social Christianity and the Latin American Evangelical LeftUniversity of Pennsylvania Press, 2019. In 1974, the International Congress on World Evangelization met in Lausanne, Switzerland. Gathering together nearly 2,500 Protestant evangelical leaders from more than 150 countries and 135 denominations, it rivaled Vatican II in terms of its influence. But as David C. Kirkpatrick argues in A Gospel for the Poor, the Lausanne Congress was most influential because, for the first time, theologians from the Global South gained a place at the table of the world's evangelical leadership—bringing their nascent brand of social Christianity with them.

Jerry Martin, Theology Without Walls

Theology Without Walls: The Transreligious Imperativeedited by Jerry L. Martin, Routledge, 2019. Thinking about ultimate reality is becoming transreligious. Global communications, as well as the growth of the "nones" and those who describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious," create a need for theological thinking not bound by prescribed doctrines and fixed rituals. The chapters in this volume examine the claim that if the aim of theology is to know and articulate all we can about the divine reality, and if revelations, enlightenments, and insights into that reality are not limited to a single tradition, then what is called for is a theology without confessional restrictions.

Ellen Muehlberger, University of Michigan

Moment of Reckoning: Imagined Death and Its Consequences in Late Ancient Christianity, Oxford University Press, 2019. This book provides an untold history of how Christians in late antiquity thought of death. The research for for this book was supported by the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Lluis Oviedo, Antonianum University

The Evolution of Religion, Religiosity and Theology: A Multi-Level and Multi-Disciplinary Approach, co-edited by Lluis Oviedo and Jay Feierman, Routledge, 2019. This book takes a multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary approach to religion, religiosity and theology from their earliest beginnings to the present day. It uniquely brings together the natural sciences and theology to explore how religious practice emerged and developed through the four sections into which the book is organized: Evolutionary biology; Philosophical linguistics, psychology and neuroscience; Theology and Anthropology. The volume features an international panel of contributors who develop an innovative picture of religion. 

Paul J. Palma, Regent University

Italian American Pentecostalism and the Struggle for Religious Identity, Routledge, 2019. While many established forms of Christianity have seen significant decline in recent decades, Pentecostals are currently one of the fastest growing religious groups across the world. This book examines the roots, inception, and expansion of Pentecostalism among Italian Americans to demonstrate how Pentecostalism moves so freely through widely varying cultures.

Anantanand Rambachan, Saint Olaf college

Essays in Hindu Theology, Fortress Press, 2019. Offers a series of theological explorations of  major themes.  Beginning with a general introduction to the Hindu theological tradition, the book examines several key issues in Hindu theology and its engagement with contemporary religious, social, political, and inter-faith questions, including the theological methods employed in the study of Hinduism, the theological grounds for social justice in the Hindu tradition, religion and nationalism,  theological resources for interreligious dialogue (especially among Hindus and Christians), hospitality and openness to the stranger, and spirituality and holiness.

Kathleen Sands, University of Hawaii at Manoa

America's Religious Wars: The Embattled Heart of our Publc Life, Yale University Press, 2019. Built around a set of compelling narratives—George Washington’s battle with Quaker pacifists; the fight of Mormons and Catholics for equality with Protestants; Teddy Roosevelt’s concept of land versus the Lakota’s concept; the creation-evolution controversy; and the struggle over sexuality—this book shows how religion, throughout American history, has symbolized, but never resolved, our deepest political questions.

Robert Shedinger, Luther College

The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms: Darwinian Biology's Grand Narrative of Triumph and the Subversion of ReligionCascade, 2019. This book provides a detailed critical reading of the scientific literature of evolutionary biology to demonstrate the features of an ideological grand narrative embeded in this literature motivated by the desire to police a strict boundary between science and religion. Argues that the mechanisms responsible for evolution are more mysterious than usually portrayed, a point that can free religion scholars and theologians to think more creatively about the positive contributions religious thought might make to an understanding of the evolutionary process.

Brent Smith, Grand Valley State University

Religious Studies and the Goal of Interdisciplinarity, Routledge, 2019. This book offers a survey of the development of interdisciplinarity in religious studies within academia and offers ways for it to continue to progress in contemporary universities. It examines the use of the term ‘interdisciplinary’ in the context of the academic study of religion and how it shapes the way scholarly work in this field has developed.

Jinah Kim and Todd Lewis, Harvard University & College of the Holy Cross

Jinah Kim and Todd Lewis published a catalog to go with their (co-curated) exhibition, "Dharma and Punya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal" that was in the Cantor Gallery of the College of the Holy Cross from September 5 through December 14th, 2019. The catalog contains essays that seek to recenter the understanding of Buddhism in history through its rituals; it does so by assembling exquisite paintings and sculptures, as well as "working art," from the Newar Buddhist traditions of the Kathmandu Valley. The exhibition also lives on through short documentary videos and videos of lectures by leading scholars posted on the website.

Career Transitions

David Luckey, Southern Methodist University

David Luckey began working on his Ph.D. in Religion and Culture in the fall of 2015. He succesfully defended his dissertation with honors in December 2019.

Dr. Ivette Vargas-O'Bryan, Austin College

Dr. Ivette Vargas-O'Brayn will be a a full Professor of Religious Studies at Austin College in spring 2019.

In the News

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Earlham School of Religion

Grace Ji-Sun Kim appeared on PoliticsNation on MSNBC December 16th to discuss her new book, Keeping Hope Alive.