Wildcard Sessions

Critical Whiteness Studies and Theology

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
Convention Center – 340*

Eric Weed, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Presiding

This session brings together religion scholars from a variety of backgrounds to discuss the manner in which whiteness/es influence religious scholarship, lived religious practices, and global flows of resources and social power. While scholars of color have worked tirelessly to make inroads into the academy for the past several decades, few white scholars have examined self-consciously how whiteness/es shape, underwrite, and inform what is often considered normative or neutral in fields of religious and theological studies, often even in current political theologies. Participants will discuss these racialized social productions and map out directions for engaging religious scholarship with the burgeoning field of Critical Whiteness Studies. This will be done not for the purpose of reifying and redeeming the notion of race, but in order to destabilize, deconstruct, and resist the nefarious influences of white racist constructs, while pointing toward constructive proposals for further religious scholarship and political engagement.

James W. Perkinson, Ecumenical Theological Seminary
Willie J. Jennings , Duke University
Jennifer Harvey, Drake University
Brian Bantum, Seattle Pacific University
Marc Boswell, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
James McLeod, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Beverly Mitchell, Wesley Theological Seminary

Religion, Theology, and Class

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
Convention Center – 345*

Darby Ray, Bates College, Presiding

While gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity have been studied extensively by scholars of religion and theology, the topic of class has not yet received similar attention. This session is part of a turning of the tide. Because matters of class are just as contested as matters of religion and theology in the contemporary academic climate, the panelists will discuss a deepened and more complex understanding of class, in conjunction with deepened and more complex understandings of religion and theology, as proposed by the authors of Religion, Theology, and Class: Fresh Engagements after Long Silence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). The study of class broadens contemporary approaches to religion, which promote an understanding of religion as a matter of practices rather than disembodied ideas, providing fresh insights into how particular relations of power shape the worlds of religion and its practitioners.

Gary J. Dorrien, Union Theological Seminary
Kwok Pui Lan, Episcopal Divinity School
Stephanie Y. Mitchem, University of South Carolina
Santiago H. Slabodsky, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont Graduate University
Susan B. Thistlethwaite, Chicago Theological Seminary

Joerg Rieger, Southern Methodist University

One Church
Holy, Catholic, and Apocalyptic (Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic)

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Convention Center – 342*

Philip G. Ziegler, University of Aberdeen, Presiding

Continuing the work of the Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic Group which has previously convened as an additional meeting in recent years, this session focuses upon the doctrine of the church as a particularly neuralgic point of contemporary Christian theology and explores various possibilities for drawing upon apocalyptic discourse and modes of thought to advance, reframe and creatively shift current ecclesiological debates. Four invited panelists engage this task by asking, from varied perspectives and with differing concerns, about the ‘difference apocalyptic makes’ to contemporary theological understandings of the church’s witness and mission, its institutional forms, its sacramental life and practice, and the manner and horizon of its political engagements. What light might renewed attention to the apocalyptic character of the Christian gospel shed upon enduring questions of the unity, particularity, catholicity and historic continuity of Christian communities?

Susan Eastman, Duke University
One Church Apostolic and Apocalyptic?

Ry Siggelkow, Princeton Theological Seminary
The Transgression of the Integrity of the Church

Joseph L. Mangina, Toronto School of Theology, Wycliffe College
If It’s a Symbol, to Hell with It: Apocalyptic and Transubstantiation

Chris Huebner, Canadian Mennonite University
The Apocalyptic Body of Christ? Reflections on Yoder and Apocalyptic Theology

Old Debates, New Directions: Conversations with Mona Siddiqui’s Christians, Muslims, and Jesus (Yale University Press, 2013)

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Convention Center – 345*

Bahar Davary, University of San Diego, Presiding

Mona's Siddiqui's Christians, Muslims, and Jesus (Yale Press, 2013) is a welcome constructive intervention in Christian–Muslim Relations. Siddiqui’s book offers both a deeply personal and richly historical engagement with the various ways of understanding the person and work of Jesus. She writes as a Muslim theologian open to learning from Christians, even as she speaks back to them from her tradition. In response to her charitable and critical openness, this roundtable panel brings together Christian and Muslim thinkers to constructively evaluate Siddiqui’s book with the aim of further advancing interfaith dialogue, comparative theology, Christology, and Christian–Muslim relations. Panelists will offer reflections on the following themes both from and beyond Siddiqui’s writings: the methodology of Christian–Muslim dialogue on Jesus; the relationship between transcendence, tawhid, and incarnation; the place of Muhammad, Mary, and Jesus in religious piety; the theology of the cross and sin in Islam and Christianity; and possible future directions for research in Christian–Muslim Relations at AAR.

Jerusha Lamptey, Union Theological Seminary
Daniel A. Madigan, Georgetown University
Joshua Ralston, Union Presbyterian Seminary
Miroslav Volf, Yale University

Mona Siddiqui, Edinburgh University

Phenomenology and Scripture

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Hilton Baltimore – Key 5*

Petra Turner, University of Virginia, Presiding

The "theological turn" in phenomenology holds immense promise for theology and biblical studies, but various thinkers in the phenomenological tradition define the goals and methods of phenomenology differently. So, for instance, Claude Romano's phenomenology of the event diverges widely from Edmund Husserl's transcendental phenomenology. This session seeks to clarify the meaning of "phenomenology" for major thinkers in the phenomenological tradition. What is phenomenology? What are its goals and methods? And how might different "phenomenologies" apply to scripture? Anyone interested is encouraged to attend. Panelists' remarks will be made available ahead of time. Contact Adam Wells (awells@ehc.edu) for more information.

Chris Hackett, Australian Catholic University
Kevin Hart, University of Virginia
Peter Ochs, University of Virginia
Adam Wells, Emory & Henry College

The Emerging Discipline of International Religious Demography

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Convention Center – 303*

J. Gordon Melton, Baylor University, Presiding

The increased prominence religion has assumed in academic fields, including history, sociology, and international relations, is one of the unexpected developments of the early twenty-first century, necessitating an in-depth examination of global religious adherence. This panel will explore the emerging discipline of international religious demography—the quantitative analysis of religious populations worldwide. Panelists will provide a brief history of the discipline, placing it within major trends in the history of sociology. They will address the major findings of Todd M. Johnson and Brian J. Grim’s The World’s Religions in Figures (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), the first comprehensive overview of the discipline of international religious demography, detailing what is known about religious adherents around the world and the methodology undergirding that knowledge. The session will also present detailed case studies and offer suggestions about where the field is headed in the future, including the potential for beneficial interactions with other academic disciplines.

Todd M. Johnson, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Brian Grim, Pew Research Center, Washington, DC
Gina Bellofatto, Boston University

Yours the Power: Faith-based Organizing in the USA (Brill, 2013): Authors' Panel

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Hilton Baltimore – Key 3*

Katie Day, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Presiding

Yours the Power (Brill, 2013) makes a significant contribution to our understanding of faith-based organizing, currently a growing reality in the U.S.A., which has not received much academic attention. The volume is multidisciplinary, bringing together both the academics and practitioners in critical engagement with the field. Contributors will be presenters; the panel will be moderated by the co-editor.

Jeffrey L. Stout, Princeton University
Mary McClintock Fulkerson, Duke University
Luke Bretherton, Duke University
John R. Bowlin, Princeton Theological Seminary

Reimagining with Christian Doctrines; Responding to Global Gender Injustices

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Convention Center – 303*

Serene Jones, Union Theological Seminary, Presiding

In The Oxford Handbook in Feminist Theology (2012), Serene Jones names creative imagining of traditional doctrines as a ‘subfield’. The Handbook makes an exemplary presentation of feminist theology as global praxis; the subfield receives no further attention. Yet the subfield persists. The proposed panel seeks to investigate its effectiveness in the furthering of global gender justice. As contributors to Horizons in Feminist Theology (1997), Jones placed traditional doctrine as enduring ‘rock’ over against the restless poststructuralist ‘hard place’, with its greater responsiveness to women’s diverse lived experiences, while Chopp invited feminist theology to counter Enlightenment resistance to theological doctrine. While First World preoccupations are prominent inHorizonsHandbook’s document of contemporary global gender injustices is in tune with postcolonial critique. Are imaginative reformulations of doctrine consequently the preserve of First World feminist theologians? What is the transnational reach of these ‘enduring’ revisions?

Joy McDougall, Emory University
Re-imagining the Condition of Sin as the Bondage of the Eye/I: A Transnational Wager

Jenny Daggers, Liverpool Hope University
In a Trinitarian Embrace: Reflections from a Local Eucharistic Community in a Global World

Eboni Marshall Turman, Duke University
Black and Blue: A Womanist Assessment of Moral Injury in the Doctrine of the Incarnation

Cynthia Rigby, Austin Theological Seminary
Bodies, Whole

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Moravian Theological Seminary

Religion in Past and Present (RGG/RPP)—Review of a Dictionary

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Convention Center – 338*

Clare Rothschild, Lewis University, Presiding

The dictionary Religion in Past and Present (Leiden, 2007–2012) is a translation from the German Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, fourth edition 1998–2007. This dictionary comes from a German tradition that reaches back to three earlier editions between 1909 and 1965. A review panel of three scholars from different fields of religious studies asks: How does this dictionary reflect current scholarship in religious studies? How does it help students and scholars in the field of Religious studies in the 21st century? How will this reference tool from a predominantly European/German tradition inform and ignite scholarly discourses in the wider English speaking scholarship?

Robert A. Segal, University of Aberdeen
Religious Historical Entries and Religious Historical Scholarship in the RPP

Klaus-Peter Adam, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, and Richard E. DeMaris, Valparaiso University
Entries on the Hebrew Bible in the RPP and Entries on the Christian Bible and the New Testament

Robert Saler, Christian Theological Seminary
Church History, Theology, and Philosophy in the RPP

Hans Dieter Betz, University of Chicago

The Rebirth of Entheogens: New Medical Research on Drug-Related Mystical Experience and its Implications for Religious Studies

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Convention Center – 332*

Ronald S. Cole-Turner, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Presiding

“Entheogens” are psychoactive substances that traditionally have been sacramentally employed in religious settings and sometimes have been found to occasion intense visionary and mystical experiences. Today, entheogens are used in biomedical research at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) and elsewhere. This session reports on this research and compares it with traditional use of entheogens, arguing for sustained and critical attention by religions scholars. Biomedical research involving psilocybin documents the occurrence of mystical states and explores their neuroanatomical correlates. For the public, this research may be interpreted as disproof of the legitimacy or significance of religious experience or, conversely, as a legitimate pathway to such experience. Epistemic claims that accompany entheogen-induced experience constitute challenges for philosophy of religion, especially for analyses of the category of religious experience, and for those who make theological claims for the significance of experience as a pathway to religious awareness or knowledge.

G. William Barnard, Southern Methodist University
Leonard M. Hummel, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg
William Richards, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Toward a Common Vision of the Church: Global and Comparative Perspectives on Faith and Order’s Groundbreaking Convergence Document

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Hilton Baltimore – Key 4*

Gerard Mannion, University of San Diego, Presiding

This session explores the 2012 document, The Church: Towards a Common Vision from World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission. It begins with a presentation of the document from John Gibaut, Director of the WCC’s Faith and Order Commission, and features a range of perspectives from a diverse selection of ecclesiological voices from around the globe and from differing denominational and methodological perspectives. Panellists will include international respected veterans of the ecumenical movement and ecclesiology but also, importantly, feature younger and emerging voices

The Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches produced a draft ecclesiological study, "The Nature and Purpose of the Church" (NPC), in 1998. This generated a great deal of discussion, as well as many scholarly papers and symposia around the world. This all eventually led to a follow-up study process to NPC which resulted in the Faith and Order document The Nature and Mission of the Church (NMC) in 2005. This document led to much further discussion and reflection, as well as many international conferences and studies. Such included a panel session offering a range of perspectives from around the world at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Washington DC in 2006 (the very first session of the then newly formed Ecclesiological Investigations Program Unit Group). The proceedings of that session would eventually be published as a volume entitled Receiving the Nature and Mission of the Church (New York, Continuum, eds. Paul M .Collins and Michael A. Fahey, 2008, published in the Ecclesiological Investigations series directly linked with the AAR Program Unit). Ongoing discussions within and without the World Council of Churches on this document continued.

In the intervening period ecclesiology as a subdiscipline has continued to expand in a very significant fashion, as witnessed by the continued growth and success of the AAR’s Ecclesiological Investigations Program Unit Group and the growth in monographs edited collections, journal articles, conferences and indeed new journals and organizations devoted to the study of ecclesiology in many forms and contexts.

Just recently, the WCC Faith and Order Commission completed the next stage of this long-term collective process of ecclesiological discernment when it approved what will constitute only the second-ever convergence document in Faith and Order’s history. The first was Baptism, Eucharist, Ministry, Faith and Order Paper no. 111, Geneva, World Council of Churches, 1982. This latter document was so groundbreaking it elicited so many responses that they were gathered into six comprehensive volumes. The 2012 document is entitled The Church: Towards a Common Vision (June 2012, received by the WCC Central Committee in August that year). The group which produced the document was comoderated by Viorel Lonita of the Romanian Orthodox Church and Sarah Lancaster of the United Methodist Church in the USA. It awaits ratification by the WCC General Council.

The document concerns many of the most fundamental commonly held beliefs about the church, its foundation, growth, raison d’etre, life and mission. But of course it constitutes an interpretation of such and is already attracting a significant amount of discussion despite the fact that it has yet to be even officially released.

This session will feature a presentation of the document by the Director of the WCC’s Faith and Order Commission, John Gibaut, also a Professor of Theology and St Paul’s University, Ottawa Canada, and feature a range of perspectives from a diverse selection of ecclesiological voices from diverse geographical, denominational and methodological perspectives.

John Gibaut, World Council of Churches
The Story of The Church: Towards a Common Vision

Laura Everett , Massachusetts Council of Churches
Fr K. M. George, Orthodox Seminary, Kottayam
Miriam Haar, Trinity College Dublin
Roger Haight, Union Theological Seminary


*Please note that room locations are subject to change. Be sure to check your Program Book and Annual Meetings At-a-Glance to find the most up to date information.