Special Topics Forums

Graduate Student Business Meeting and New Member Welcome

Saturday, 9:00 AM–10:00AM
Sheraton Inner Harbor – Severn II-III*

Elonda Clay, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Presiding

Students comprise one third of the membership of the AAR. Join us for our business meeting, a forum where you can offer your suggestions, hear about new initiatives led by the Graduate Student Committee, and meet national and regional student directors. Topics include how you can serve as a committee member and networking strategies that can maximize the annual meeting's potential for your professional development. New members are invited to drop by for conversation and useful information!

Grants and Application Strategies from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Saturday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Hilton Baltimore – Key 8*

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers a variety of grant programs for scholars in religious studies supporting research, teaching, preservation, and public programs. In this workshop, NEH program officers will describe grant opportunities and offer suggestions about how to write a strong application. The workshop will feature a demonstration of the NEH’s peer review process, which could help applicants understand how their applications will be evaluated. The program officers will also be available for one-on-one meetings with potential applicants; if you want to make an appointment for another time during the AAR and SBL Annual Meetings, write dsack@neh.gov.

Julia Huston Nguyen, National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC
Leah Weinryb Grohsgal, National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC

Imagined Solidarities: Undergraduate Teachers and Students

Saturday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Hilton Baltimore – Holiday 6*

Richard M. Carp, St. Mary's College of California, Presiding

What difference does it make to our conception of the craft of teaching, as well as of learning or of the classroom as space and of academic solidarities when we imagine the modern college or university in strictly economic terms, rather than in ecological terms as well? What if the modern university could be imagined as an ecology of learners rather than simply as a tool, and as a product, of the Late Modern service-and-information economy? What if the modern university should be measured by the contributions it makes to social-ecological resilience?

Wesley Barker, Georgia State University
Brock Bingaman, Wesleyan College
Lucia Hulsether, Harvard University
Lucas Johnston, Wake Forest University
Jennifer Rapp, Deep Springs College

LGBTIQ Mentoring Lunch

Saturday, 11:45AM–12:45PM
Convention Center – 316*

Melissa M. Wilcox, Whitman College, Presiding

All students and junior scholars who identify outside of normative gender histories and/or sexualities are welcome to join us for an informal lunch. No fee or preregistration is required; please bring your own lunch. A cash-and-carry station will be available near the room for those wishing to buy their lunches onsite. The mentors listed were confirmed attendees as of April; other senior scholars in the field may be joining us as well.

Rebecca Alpert, Temple University
Pamela Lightsey, Boston University
Mark Jordan, Washington University
Claudia Schippert, University of Central Florida
Jennifer Harvey, Drake University
Kent Brintnall, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Mary E. Hunt, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, Silver Spring, MD
Rudy V. Busto, University of California, Santa Barbara
W. Scott Haldeman, Chicago Theological Seminary
Randall Miller, Pacific School of Religion
Patrick S. Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School
Horace Griffin, Pacific School of Religion
Kathleen T. Talvacchia, New York University
Richard McCarty, Mercyhurst University
Thelathia Young, Bucknell University

Job Market Realities, Strategies, and Opportunities

Saturday, 1:00 PM–3:30 PM
Convention Center – 321*

Matthew Puffer, University of Virginia, Presiding

What is the status of the job market, within and outside of the academy, for those holding or pursuing graduate degrees in religious studies and theology? In order to encourage graduate students to realistically diagnose and strategically respond to a difficult academic market, the Graduate Student Committee is dedicating this year’s Special Topics Forum to “Job Market Realities, Strategies, and Opportunities.” This event will feature panelists who will present on 1) the true state of the job market, 2) strategies for successfully navigating these realities, and 3) how to pursue opportunities both within and outside academia toward the end of vocationally fulfilling employment. Panelists will include grad students, recently hired professors, active search committee members, and PhD’s enjoying extra-academic vocations. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in conversations with the panelists, addressing particular issues and interests. Please join us for what promises to be an important and informative time!

Kristy Slominski, University of California, Santa Barbara
Charles Mathewes, University of Virginia
Maren Wood, Lilli Research Group, Washington, DC
R. Marie Griffith, Washington University, St. Louis
John R. Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion
Kate Ott, Drew University

How to Get Published

Saturday, 4:00PM–6:30PM
Convention Center – 321*

Kimberly Rae Connor, University of San Francisco, Presiding

Based on notions that scholars have an understanding of the books needed in the fields of religion, religious studies, and theology, the AAR publishing program with Oxford University Press (OUP) produces quality scholarship for religious scholars and their students. OUP is an outstanding international publisher and the AAR has published hundreds of titles, many of which have become critical tools in the development of our fields and in training new scholars. AAR/OUP books include five published series: Academy Series; Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series; Religion, Culture, and History Series; Religion in Translation Series; and Teaching Religious Studies Series. The panel provides an opportunity to hear from experienced OUP and AAR editors and to ask any and all questions you might have regarding the AAR/OUP series. Also, the JAAR Editor will discuss essay publishing. You will have opportunities to speak with individual editors. In addition, come meet an author who has journeyed from start to finish in the publishing process and can answer your most pressing questions.

John A. Knight, Marist College
Anne E. Monius, Harvard University
Robert A. Yelle, University of Memphis
Cynthia Read, Oxford University Press
Aaron W. Hughes, University of Rochester
Karen Jackson-Weaver, Princeton University
Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University
Theodore Vial, Iliff School of Theology

Making (the Study of) Religion Online: New Media and the Study of Religion

Saturday, 4:00PM–6:30PM
Convention Center – 329*

Kathryn Reklis, Fordham University, Presiding

Over the past several years, there has been a proliferation of online journals and collaborative endeavors devoted to reporting and analyzing proliferating religious presences in the public sphere. In addition to discussing “real life” religious engagements (be they political, cultural, domestic or ecclesiastical), these sites themselves become spaces that celebrate a plurality of religious voices and perspectives, that challenge the religious/secular dichotomy, and that engage in the broader mapping and creation of “religion” and “spirituality.” As projects undertaken or engaged in by scholars of religion, these sites offer new modes of scholarship, and new audiences, for the study of religion.

Bringing together editors and curators from some of the most successful of these experiments, this panel will explore engagements with new media as a potential horizon in the academic scholarship of religion in terms of content (what is studied/written about), form (how it is studied/written), and audience (for whom it is studied/written).

Kathryn Lofton, Yale University
Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, The Huffington Post Media Group, New York, NY
Jonathan VanAntwerpen, Social Science Research Council, Brooklyn, NY
Jeffrey Sharlet, New York University

Business Meeting:
Sarah McFarland Taylor, Northwestern University
Jenna Supp-Montgomerie, Quest University Canada

Racial-Ethnic Demographic Shifts and the Future of American Religions and Politics

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

Nargis Virani, The New School, Presiding

This forum highlights the de-Europeanization of what typically counts as “American Christianity” in the academy. Panelists will underscore the important need to hire racial-ethnic minorities in “mainstream” fields normally thought of as requiring the expertise of traditional white American scholars. Invited panel will identify, map out, and track the massive demographic shifts taking place today in American religions and politics and then discuss how these demographic shifts not only contribute to the growth of non-Christian religions, but also to the de-Europeanization of American Christianity.

David Daniels, McCormick Theological Seminary
Gastón Espinosa, Claremont McKenna College
Janelle Wong, University of Maryland

Shifting Sands of the Academy: Examining Trends in Higher Education

Saturday, 4:00 PM–6:30 PM
Convention Center – 317*

Rebecca Todd Peters, Elon University, Presiding

This session will examine the future of the profession in the twenty-first century with an eye toward questions of ethics and justice for colleagues, for higher education, for graduate students, and for the study of religion in higher education more broadly. Emphasis will be placed on assessing what the role of learned and professional societies, like the AAR and SBL, might be in helping to shape the future of the profession and the future of higher education.

Charles Haws, Society of Biblical Literature and Coalition of Academic Workforce

This presentation will offer a brief overview of some of data that illustrates how the professoriate has changed over the last few decades with particular attention to the increasing reliance on contingent faculty.

Katina Rogers, Modern Language Association

Rogers will respond to the demographic data presented by Haws in ways that offer an intellectual framework within which to view/analyze the changes to the professoriate in the twenty-first century. Particular emphasis will be placed on identifying and addressing the cause of these problems rather than only addressing the symptoms.

Small Group Sessions
The purpose of these small group sessions is to allow participants to engage in substantive and informed discussion about various aspects of how the academy is changing in the twenty-first century. As an opening structured conversation, the AAR and SBL hope to allow space and time for members to begin dialogue about the changing nature of the profession and to identify topics of interest they would like the societies to address in more depth in the future. Each group will have a presenter who starts the conversation with 8-10 minute reflection on the issue from their context/experience, a moderator who keeps the conversation moving, and a notetaker. Each small group will be tasked with offering concrete ideas/feedback on how the AAR and SBL might want to address these topics and questions more fully in future years.

Adjuncting with a Ph.D.
This small group will focus on issues associated with the shifting reliance on permanent adjuncts in higher education.
Presenter: Finbarr Curtis, Georgia Southern University
Moderator: David Watt, Temple University

Graduate Students as Contingent Faculty
This small group will consider issues particular to graduate students who are increasingly carrying the burden of teaching both as TAs and as adjuncts.
Presenter: Elonda Clay, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago
Moderator: Kathryn Moles, Graduate Theological Union

Moving beyond the University
This small group will discuss the many different ways that PhDs in our respective areas can contribute to the social good beyond teaching in college and university classrooms.
Presenter: Robert Jones, Public Religion Research Institute
Moderator: Maren Wood, Lilli Research Group, Washington, DC

Implications of Online Learning
This small group will discuss the variety of ways in which online learning is shaping the study of religion with particular attention to impacts on brick and mortar institutions.
Presenter: Christine Gudorf, Florida International University
Moderator: Amy Hale, Golden Gate University

Training Graduate Students for a Twenty-first Century World
This small group will discuss what changes need to happen in graduate training to respond to the shifts in higher education in a neoliberal context.
Presenter: Randall Styers, University of North Carolina
Moderator: Rachel McDermott, Barnard College, Columbia University

Tenured Faculty in the Twenty-first Century
This small group will consider what the changing nature of the professoriate will affect tenured and tenure-track faculty in the academy addressing questions like academic freedom, governance, and peer review.
Presenter: Albert Wuaku, Florida International University
Moderator: Courtney Bender, Columbia University

Feedback from Small Group Discussions
Each group will be asked to offer a two-minute introduction to their small group work, time will be closely monitored in order to allow time for discussion.

Plenary Discussion
Peters will facilitate responses/discussion of the material addressed during the entire session.

Charles Haws, Society of Biblical Literature
Katina Rogers, Modern Language Association
Finbarr Curtis, Georgia Southern University
David Harrington Watt, Temple University
Elonda Clay, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago
Kathryn Moles, Graduate Theological Union
Robert P. Jones, Public Religion Research Institute
Maren Wood, Lilli Research Group, Washington, D.C.
Christine E. Gudorf, Florida International University
Amy Hale, Golden Gate University
Randall Styers, University of North Carolina
Rachel Fell McDermott, Barnard College
Albert Wauku, Floriday International University
Courtney Bender, Columbia University

Cultivating Leadership for the New Academy and Civic Engagement: Interrogating Leadership Skills, Styles, and Contexts

Sunday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Sheraton Inner Harbor – Severn II-III*

Emily Michelle Ledder, Emory University
Public Leadership, Private Religion: Community-Based Advocacy and the Role of Religious and Theological Language

Kristy Slominski, University of California, Santa Barbara
Taking Initiative: Skills for Making Your Own Leadership Opportunities in Academia

Linwood Blizzard, Boston University
Prophetic Leadership in the Wake of Tragedy

Remi Alapo, United Theological Seminary
Understanding Leadership Styles in a Multi-Cultural Society

Kyle Schenkewitz, Saint Louis University
Ignatian Pedagogy and the Cultivation of Graduate Student Leaders

Effective Self-Marketing and Interviewing

Sunday, 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Marriott Inner Harbor – Chesapeake*

How do you promote yourself? How do you identify career opportunities and use them to further your ultimate career goals? For instance, what is the best way to go about publishing books and journal articles, Annual Meeting papers, public speaking engagements, fellowships and grants, etc? What are the dos and don’ts of interviewing at an annual meeting and onsite at an on-campus interview? How are these two settings different? How should you present yourself? How should this self presentation change in different types of institutions (large and small public, large and small public, seminaries and divinity schools)?

Jeffrey L. Stout, Princeton University
Kathryn Lofton, Yale University
Traci C. West, Drew University

Religion and the War on Women

Sunday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Convention Center – 319*

Kecia Ali, Boston University, Presiding

This session will explore how religion reinforces structures of gender oppression and violence, particularly in the United States context. How have religious structures and theologies supported attacks on women’s freedom and autonomy? Particular areas of focus will include: attacks on reproductive justice, gender and militarism, sexual and domestic violence, and the subordination of women in the political process.

Natalia M. Imperatori-Lee, Manhattan College
Shelly Rambo, Boston University
Erin Runions, Pomona College
Gabriella Lettini, Starr King School for the Ministry, Graduate Theological Union
Aishah Shahidah Simmons, AfroLez Productions, Philadelphia

Women’s Mentoring Lunch

Sunday, 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
Convention Center – 314-315*

Michele Saracino, Manhattan College, Presiding

Registration is open now at https://aar.wufoo.com/forms/2013-womens-mentoring-luncheon/.

The Status of Women in the Profession Committee, Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession Committee, and the Women's Caucus invite women who are graduate students and new scholars to a luncheon with over thirty womanist, feminist, and LGBTIQ midcareer and senior scholars. Women will have the opportunity to mentor and be mentored in a context where every question is valued. The lunch costs $10 per person; sorry, no refunds. Registration is limited to 100. Go to https://aar.wufoo.com/forms/2013-womens-mentoring-luncheon/ to register.

Kecia Ali, Boston University
Ellen T. Armour, Vanderbilt University
Socorro Castañeda-Liles, Santa Clara University
Monica A. Coleman, Claremont School of Theology
Mary E. Hunt, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, Silver Spring, MD
Natalia M. Imperatori-Lee, Manhattan College
Jane Naomi Iwamura, University of the West
Zayn Kassam, Pomona College
Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, Shaw University
Elaine Padilla, New York Theological Seminary
Michelene Pesantubbee, University of Iowa
Rebecca Todd Peters, Elon University
Nargis Virani, The New School
Traci C. West, Drew University

Career Opportunities in Two-Year Colleges and/or Community Colleges

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
Marriott Inner Harbor – Chesapeake*

Approximately one-third of the American higher education professoriate teaches at community colleges. What are the particular challenges and rewards of teaching at a community college and how do you go about finding community college jobs?

Steve Young, McHenry County College
Michael Bradley, Georgia Perimeter College
John Cooney, Ivy Tech Community College
Charles Cummings, Front Range Commiunity College

Pew Research Center Resources for Teaching Religion

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
Convention Center – 328*

Besheer Mohamed, Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., Presiding

The Pew Research Center has a wealth of resources for teaching religion. This session’s goal is to introduce faculty members to tools the Pew Research Center offers to help teach undergraduates. The presentation will consist of two parts: First, a scholar from the Pew Research Center will demonstrate some of the resources that can be used both in and outside of the classroom and encourage the audience to test some of the web-based resources. Second, a university professor who teaches religion to undergraduates will discuss ways in which these resources can be integrated into lesson plans.

The resources the Pew Research Center offers for teaching religion can be broken down into two categories: information on lived religion in the United States and information on the global religious landscape. The presentation will offer a few examples of each of these resources. The part of the presentation focused on lived religion will highlight the infographics on the Pew Research Center’s website, which compare how the actual beliefs and practices of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other religious groups compare to the positions espoused by their religious leaders. For example, we have data on what Catholics think about same-sex marriage and the Catholic Church’s official position on the issue. We also have data on the proportion of Jews who keep kosher and the proportion of Muslims who perform the prayer ritual (salah) five times a day. The Pew Research Center has examined lived religion both in the United States and around the world.

The discussion of the global religious landscape will highlight two specific web resources that the Pew Research Center has developed in collaboration with the John Templeton Foundation. The first is the Faith on the Move interactive map, which shows immigration from and emigration to 231 countries, organized by religion. The second resource the presentation will highlight is the Global Religious Futures website, which shows the distribution of members of six major religious traditions across the world. Both websites allow users to examine patterns on a country-by-country basis as well as a religion-by-religion.

During the question-and-answer period, attendees will be given an opportunity to work with the resources themselves.

Lerone Martin, Wake Forest University
Ellen Posman, Baldwin Wallace University
Phillip Connor, Pew Research Center, Washington, DC

The Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession: An Invitation to Conversation

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
Convention Center – 317*

Julia Watts Belser, Georgetown University, Presiding

In 2013, the AAR charged a permanent committee with the task of improving the status of people with disabilities in the profession. During this session, we invite interested AAR members with and without disabilities to share insights and hopes for the new committee. Come meet PWD committee members, learn about our projects in progress, and help shape the work we undertake in years to come.

Judith Plaskow, Manhattan College
Mary Jo Iozzio, Barry University
Sharon V. Betcher, Langley, WA
Kirk VanGilder, Gallaudet University
Darla Schumm, Hollins University
Deborah Creamer, Association of Theological Schools

Survey of the Long Term Impacts of Liberal Education on Religious Studies Majors

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
Sheraton Inner Harbor - Potomac*

Timothy M. Renick, Georgia State University, Presiding

In 2010, the AAR received a grant from the Teagle Foundation to study the long-term impact of liberal education on religious studies majors. With the help of the institutional research team at Georgia State University and the Academic Relations Committee, a survey instrument was developed and piloted in five schools in 2012. Surveys were sent to religious studies majors who had graduated from these schools between 1970 and 2010; 425 surveys were completed and returned for a response rate of 49%. This session will discuss the very promising results from the pilot study with a focus on how this data can help strengthen the case for strong programs of religious studies at our institutions. The session also will discuss how interested schools can participate in the next round of the study by submitting proposals for small seed grants to defray costs related to finding contact information for religious studies graduates.

Joseph A. Favazza, Stonehill College
Rosetta E. Ross, Spelman College
L. DeAne Lagerquist, St. Olaf College
Kathryn McClymond, Georgia State University
Michael S. Berger, Emory University

Conversation with Meredith Monk, Winner of 2013 Religion and the Arts Award

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Convention Center – 332*

S. Brent Plate, Hamilton College, Presiding

Meredith Monk's performance and vocal work has engaged, provoked, settled, and stirred audiences around the world and across the past five decades. Conjuring Joan of Arc and Hildegaard of Bingen, sacred spaces and liturgical performance, the state of the environment and the nature of impermanence, Monk's work resituates our sense of hearing and ultimately our sense of being. She gracefully moves between the realms of "religion and the arts," and has suggested, "Hopefully what you're doing as an artist is bodhisattva practice. It's the same thing; there's no separation at all."

Meredith Monk is recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant, Guggenheim Fellowships, Obies, and several honorary doctor of arts degrees. She was named the "Composer of the Year" by Musical America in 2012. Her latest work, On Behalf of Nature, is a Buddhist-inspired, poetic meditation on nature and the human relation to it.

The award is selected by the Religion and the Arts Award Jury: Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Pamela Winfield, Mia Mochizuki, Christopher Parr, and S. Brent Plate (Chair)

Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Georgetown University
Ann Pellegrini, New York University
Meredith Monk, The House Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY

Conversation with the 2013 AAR Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient Carolyn Medine

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Convention Center – 328*

Tina Pippin, Agnes Scott College, Presiding

The 2013 AAR Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, Carolyn Medine, will begin this session with some comments on her teaching methods and theories, followed by a general discussion.

Carolyn Medine, University of Georgia

Honoring the Legacy and Life of Otto Maduro (1945-2013)

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Renaissance Harborplace – Baltimore Ballroom B*

Jack Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion, Presiding

Otto Maduro was professor of world Christianities and Latin American Christianities at Drew University Theological School (Madison, NJ), and the 2012 president of the AAR. He was born in Venezuela and earned two masters degrees and a PhD from Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium. His publications included over 200 articles published in a dozen languages, five books in five languages, including the influential texts "Marxismo y Religión." Religion and Social Conflicts (Orbis, 1982), and Mapas para la Fiesta, to be published in English in 2014. His teaching, mentoring, and scholarly work emphasized epistemologies, Pentecostalism, LGBT and Latino/a liberation, inequalities, and the sociology of religion through the theories of Marx and Pierre Bourdieu. An internationally renowned public intellectual who lectured widely, the media frequently sought his comments on religious and global events. This session will celebrate Dr. Maduro’s legacy as a scholar, teacher, colleague, public intellectual, and lover of life.

Fernando F. Segovia, Vanderbilt University
Eduardo Mendieta, State University of New York, Stony Brook
Néstor Medina, Regent University
Joanne Rodríguez, Hispanic Theological Initiative
Laurel D. Kearns, Drew University

The Marty Forum: Wendell Berry

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Convention Center – 307-308*

Michael Kessler, Georgetown University, Presiding
Wendell Berry, Port Royal, Kentucky, Presiding

Wendell Berry, recipient of the 2013 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, will be interviewed by Norman Wirzba, professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life at Duke Divinity School. As a novelist, poet, essayist, and public intellectual, Berry has provided a powerful voice in promoting values that extol land, critique the culture of late capitalism, and support human rights. Berry is the author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In 2012, Berry, who has taught at Stanford, Georgetown, and New York Universities, delivered the National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecture, the most prestigious honor that the U.S. federal government confers for intellectual achievement in the humanities. The Marty Award recognizes extraordinary contributions to the public understanding of religion. The award goes to those whose work has a relevance and eloquence that speaks, not just to scholars, but more broadly to the public as well.

Norman Wirzba, Duke University

Out of Many: Integrating the Study of America’s Religious Diversity into Classrooms Across the Humanities

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Convention Center – 340*

Daniel Greene, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, Presiding

America is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world. With residents of every faith from every corner of the globe, the United States affords a remarkable opportunity to integrate the study of religious pluralism into college classrooms across the humanities. This opportunity is often left unexplored, however, due to a lack of curricular resources or classroom materials. This session builds on a two-year project during which community college faculty have worked together to develop curricular resources on topics relating to religious pluralism.

Last year at the AAR’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago, the Newberry Library convened a roundtable of scholars from across the humanities to discuss how they integrated the study of religion into their entry-level courses. This year we will share the fruits of this ongoing conversation by unveiling a new digital resource created by the faculty who participated in the Newberry’s “Out of Many: Religious Pluralism in America” project, which is generously supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges initiative. The project’s directors will exhibit the new resource while participating faculty will highlight two digital collections: one on Islam in the Midwest and one on religious diversity in the urban South. A representative from the National Endowment for the Humanities also will discuss the opportunities available to religious studies scholars through the NEH Bridging Cultures initiative and other grant programs, along with relevant teaching resources from NEH-funded projects.

Michael Bradley, Georgia Perimeter College
John Cooney, Ivy Tech Community College
Christopher Cantwell, University of Missouri, Kansas City
Rebecca Boggs, National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC

The Partnership between the AAR and the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR)—How It Can Benefit You

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Convention Center – 313*

Amy L. Allocco, Elon University, Presiding

Tim Jensen, University of Southern Denmark
Rosalind I. J. Hackett, University of Tennessee

Sexual and Gender Identity at the Intersections, Part 1—Scholarship

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Convention Center – 330*

Kathleen T. Talvacchia, New York University, Presiding

As scholarship on sexual identity, gender identity, and religion continues to expand, a growing number of scholars are paying careful attention to the intersections of these identities with other aspects of identity and social power such as race, class, and even academic perspectives and methods. This panel, the first in a paired set examining sexual and gender identity at the intersections, will address intersectional scholarship on sexual and gender identities. Please stay on for our second panel, which will consider these same intersections from a pedagogical perspective.

Rudy V. Busto, University of California, Santa Barbara
Patrick S. Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School
Kelly Brown Douglas, Goucher College
Mayra Rivera, Harvard University
Melissa M. Wilcox, Whitman College

Alt-Ac Jobs: What It Means and How to Get One

Sunday, 4:00PM–6:30PM
Marriott Inner Harbor – Chesapeake*

This session will focus on finding and securing non-teaching employment within an academic institutions, government, and nongovernmental organizations.

J. Shawn Landres, Jumpstart, Los Angeles, CA
Jason Rhody, National Endowment for the Humanities
Katina Rogers, Modern Language Association
Gregg Taylor, American Theological Library Association

How to Propose a New Program Unit

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Sheraton Inner Harbor – Camden*

Robert Puckett, American Academy of Religion, Presiding
Nelly Van Doorn-Harder, Wake Forest University, Presiding

Join the AAR's director of meetings and the program unit director for an informal chat about upcoming Annual Meeting initiatives as well as the guidelines and policies for proposing a new program unit.

New Paradigms in Evolving Learning Contexts: Navigating Changes in Teaching Religion and Theology

Sunday, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Convention Center – 339*

Paul Myhre, Wabash Center, Presiding
Elonda Clay, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Presiding
Patrick McCullough, University of California, Los Angeles, Presiding

The academic professions of religion and theology are currently facing multiple yet interrelated trends: growth in online education, increased preferences for part-time or adjunct faculty, and increasing student diversity. Instructors will need to acquire flexible teaching skills that are relevant to emerging academic contexts. This session discusses the pertinent need for graduate students to identify and acquire or improve necessary instructor competencies which include but are not limited to: diversifying instructional methods and teaching tactics for online or blended teaching, active learning techniques, and reimagining pedagogical situations to address students’ needs. Panelists will share their classroom experiences and knowledge of emerging instructional strategies, discuss their motivation for becoming adaptive instructors, and reflect on the application of emerging instructional competencies within university, college, and theological school contexts. Participants will be introduced to a variety of instructional strategies and be able to apply insights from the session to address changing teacher expectations.

Lily Vuong, Valdosta State University
David Eastman, Ohio Wesleyan University
Adriana Nieto, Iliff School of Theology, University of Denver
Shauna K. Hannan, Princeton Theological Seminary
George Tsakiridis, South Dakota State University

Remembering Robert N. Bellah (1927–2013)

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Convention Center – 307-308*

Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara, Presiding

Robert Bellah’s work spans the humanities, social sciences, and comparative studies to embrace the global diversity and coherence of religion. It reveals the roots of religion in human evolution and the religious roots of forms of popular nationalism, global markets, and human rights evident in multiple modernities now emerging around the world. By asking what our deep past can tell us about the kind of life human beings have imagined was worth living, Bellah continues to illuminate the underlying moral visions through which we seek common ground on questions of our common good.

Please join students, colleagues and friends of Robert Bellah in sharing memories of his life and work.

Harvey Cox, Harvard University Divinity School
David Little, Harvard University
Albert J. Raboteau, Princeton University
Ann Swidler, University of California, Berkeley
Steven M. Tipton, Emory University
Richard Madsen, University of California, San Diego
Harlan Stelmach, Dominican University of California
Philip Gorski, Yale University
Anna Sun, Kenyon College

Scholar–Activists: Academics Making a Difference in the Public Sphere

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

Barbara A. McGraw, Saint Mary’s College of California, Presiding

Some religion scholars are inspired to lend their expertise to causes involving law, public policy, public education, public administration, or politics. This panel explores the rewards and challenges for such scholar–activists. After briefly describing their interest in the role of the religion scholar as activist, panelists will join in a conversation on questions such as: What distinguishes a scholar–activist from an activist or a scholar? What are the rewards of scholar–activism for the scholar, the scholar's institution, or the public? Have the panelists faced, or are they aware of other scholars who have faced, the charge that they are not being "objective" when pursuing a cause? Has the activism of the panelists or other religion scholars resulted in resistance or conflict at their institutions or in the academy? Have the panelists or other religion scholars they know received institutional or other support for being a scholar–activist? What advice would the panelists give to religion scholars considering scholar–activism? Could the AAR do more to support scholar–activists?

John L. Esposito, Georgetown University
Arvind Sharma, McGill University
Laurie Zoloth, Northwestern University
Rahuldeep Singh Gill, California Lutheran University

Sexual and Gender Identity at the Intersections, Part 2—Pedagogy

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Convention Center – 330*

Horace Griffin, Pacific School of Religion, Presiding

As scholarship on sexual identity, gender identity, and religion continues to expand, a growing number of scholars are paying careful attention to the intersections of these identities with other aspects of identity and social power such as race, class, and even academic perspectives and methods. This panel, the second in a paired set examining sexual and gender identity at the intersections, will address some of the pedagogical issues involved in teaching sexual and gender identities and religion from an intersectional perspective. Please also consider attending our first panel, which will consider some of the same questions from the perspective of research.

Ellen T. Armour, Vanderbilt University
Francisco Lozada, Brite Divinity School
Randall Miller, Pacific School of Religion
Randall Styers, University of North Carolina
Mary Ann Tolbert, Pacific School of Religion

The Ins and Outs of Adjunct, Part-time, and Contingency Employment

Monday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Marriott Inner Harbor – Grand Ballroom West*

Department administrators and long-term adjunct employees will speak about the various matters related to adjunct, part-time, and contingent employment. This session will include discussions of: a) The struggles of managing multiple adjunct jobs in multiple institutions; b) What resources are available for adjunct faculty? and c) Adjunct... and then what?—transitioning from adjunct employment to something else.

John Kelsay, Florida State University
Kurtis Schaeffer, University of Virginia
Finbarr Curtis, Georgia Southern University
Grant H. Potts, Austin Community College

Theology and Environmental Justice

Monday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Hilton Baltimore – Key 9*

Julia Watts Belser, Georgetown University, Presiding

The environmental justice movement calls critical attention to the link between social inequality and environmental harm—how racism, colonialism, poverty, and gender injustice intensify people’s exposure to environmental devastation. Bringing together scholars grounded in Christian, Buddhist, Indigenous, and Jewish perspectives, this panel examines how religious reflection on the problems of environmental injustice can play a role in fashioning a more equitable engagement with environmental risk. How might ecotheology and ecoreligious practice better further grassroots and institutional efforts on behalf of environmental justice?

Willis Jenkins, Yale University
Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Seattle University
Melanie L. Harris, Texas Christian University
Tirso Gonzales, University of British Columbia
Rita M. Gross, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire

From CV to Resum

Monday, 1:00 PM–3:30 PM
Marriott Inner Harbor – Grand Ballroom West

When pursuing an alternative-academic career or a nonacademic career, you will need to submit a resume, not a curriculum vitae. How are these two documents the same and how are they different? What should be emphasized on each? What are the common pitfalls when converting your CV to a resume? How should you best word your cover letter to convey your skills?

Amy Hale, Golden Gate University
Sarah Levine, American Academy of Religion

Memory, Orality and Forgetting: Pedagogy Panel

Monday, 4:00 PM–6:30 PM
Convention Center – 319*

Erin Runions, Pomona College, Presiding

Jione Havea, Southern Methodist University
Lynn Huber, Elon University
Rebecca Raphael, Texas State University

Third Sector Academy: A Special Briefing for Baltimore-Area Nonprofits on the National Study of American Religious Giving

Monday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Hilton Balitmore – Paca*

J. Shawn Landres, Jumpstart, Los Angeles, CA, Presiding

This is an exciting time for philanthropy in America. The shifting landscape is offering ever more creative ways to do social good. When it comes to religious giving, however, our understanding remains limited.

Studies have shown that religious Americans give more money to congregations than non-religious Americans. But does religion affect whether and how much people donate to nonprofit organizations? How does it affect their choices? What motivates people to give, whether religious or non-religious?The National Study of American Religious Giving (NSARG) answers these questions. It offers comprehensive information about religion and charitable giving, including both behaviors and motivations among religious and non-religious Americans:

• Where Americans give
• How and if religion has motivated them to give
• How families make decisions to give
• Whether income levels affect giving patterns
• How giving within each religious tradition compares to that by Americans of other religious traditions

Truly unlike any other study of religion and giving to date, the NSARG is the first ever nationally representative portrait that examines religious giving beyond congregations and missions. The NSARG covers giving toward twelve different types of charitable causes, including helping people in need, medical research, youth and family services, environmental improvement and sustainability, international aid, the arts, and civic and social advocacy. The NSARG is the first study to extend giving and religion studies to include the combination of evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestant, Catholic, and other religious, unaffiliated and nonreligious households. A deeper look specifically at American Jewish giving is also available in the related National Study of American Jewish Giving.

Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
Jim Gerstein, GBA Strategies, Washington, DC


*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.