e-Bulletin February 2008

Message from the Executive Director


Greetings from the Luce Center in Atlanta!  This month’s e-bulletin contains a number of items.  Of particular note are the Annual Meeting Call for Papers, an announcement about changes to EIS and Openings, news about a special issue of JAAR, and a link to an impressive new online magazine called ReligionDispatches.  If you have any questions about these or other AAR matters, please feel free to visit our website (www.aarweb.org) or give our staff a call at 404-727-3049.  With every good wish, I remain

Signature of Jack Fitzmier
Jack Fitzmier
Executive Director

Annual Meeting

Call for Papers

The 2008 Call for Papers is now online.  Proposals may be submitted through the Online Paper/Panel Proposal (OP3) system or by using the participant forms for surface mail or e-mail.  Please note and use the appropriate method of submission each program unit prefers. The deadline for all proposal submissions is February 25


  • Congratulations to the AAR membership and Annual Meeting registration winners! The names were picked in the drawing at the AAR booth at the Annual Meeting in San Diego. PGR de Villiers, University of the Free State, won complimentary 2008 AAR membership. Justin Chay, Duquesne University, won complimentary 2008 Annual Meeting registration. Remember to stop by the AAR booth at the Annual Meeting in Chicago for your chance to win a free membership or Annual Meeting registration!
  • Renewing 2008 AAR membership early pays off for three AAR members!: Congratulations to Charlotte Hansen, Aarhus, Denmark; Yalin Xin, Asbury Theological Seminary; and Kay Richter, Calvary Lutheran Church, winners of free hotel rooms for this year's Annual Meeting in Chicago as part of our membership renewal random drawing.  Members joining or renewing online prior to October 15, 2007, for 2008 were eligible.

JAAR Call for Papers: Sanctified Violence in History

In recent decades, the relationship between “violence” and “religion” in contemporary social and political life has become an increasingly pressing subject of public discourse. These discussions often take for granted contemporary Western categories such as “the religious,” “the political,” “the ethical,” or “the juridical”; in so doing they employ as universal analytical categories what are in fact historically and culturally contingent terms. In particular, the dominant paradigms used to understand the causes and meanings of “religiously-motivated” violence are in large measure products of the specific history of the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world.

This focus issue of JAAR aims to contribute to a better genealogy of the idea of “religious violence” by exploring, within a comparative framework, the diverse discourses and practices of violence that operated across the full range of ethnic, linguistic, and religious communities throughout the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world from 150 BCE to 750 CE–the era that saw the rise and consolidation of the Roman Empire and the emergence of rabbinic Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

JAAR seeks papers that analyze the specific strategies and tactics used by various groups in the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world for distinguishing and legitimating their own discourses and practices of “religious violence” from those of others. Papers that develop comparisons between these groups and others elsewhere in time or space–in medieval Europe, for example, or elsewhere in the world–are also encouraged. Given that the categories through which we understand such violence today have a particular historical genealogy, the focus issue's core interest is in deepening our understanding of this genealogy, by developing a more fine-grained sense of the various ways in which religious violence has been identified and legitimated. Through what modes (charismatic, performative, interpretative, etc.) or sources (prophetic, narrative, textual, etc.) of authority did individuals or communities legitimize their own norms or actions, and/or de-legitimize those of others? Furthermore, what can we know about the actual violence, or the lack thereof, that was associated with such rhetorics–and what else of interest does that tell us about those rhetorics themselves?

Deadline of submission is April 1, 2008. Direct queries to jaar@virginia.edu

Employment Information Services Center

We want to alert you to changes that are soon to take place in Openings, our online job posting service, and in the Employment Information Services that are offered at AAR and SBL Annual Meetings.

The Openings website will be closed on March 31, 2008.  Advertisers may continue to place Openings ads until Monday, March 18, 2008.  Please note that advertisements placed between now and March 18, 2008 can be run only until March 31, 2008.

On Tuesday, April 1, 2008, both the AAR and the SBL will open new independent websites, similar to Openings, on which job listings may be posted and viewed.  Advertisers who plan to place April 2008 ads should contact the AAR or SBL offices for more information about the new services.  Look for announcements from each organization about these new services. 

The AAR and the SBL will provide services similar to the Employment Information Services at their respective Annual Meetings in Chicago and Boston.  Look for announcements from each organization about these new services.

We hope these new services will meet your advertising and job search needs.

New Executive Office Staff

Beginning February 11, Jessica Davenport will join the AAR staff as Associate Director of Professional Programs, with a primary responsibility being the new AAR Career Services Center. The Center houses AAR Job Postings, AAR Annual Meeting Job Center and other items related to careers for our members. Additionally, she will be working on various professional programs with Kyle Cole, Director of Professional Programs. Jessica, a graduate of Spellman College and Candler School of Theology (M.Div.), will be replacing Shelly Roberts, who is leaving March 1 after more than 5 years of excellent service. Shelly directed the Employment Information Services, a joint AAR-SBL Annual Meetings service, during her tenure here, and served as Editor of Religious Studies News for four years. Her contribution to the work of the Academy has left an indelible mark on our work.

March Religious Studies News

This issue includes our interview with Emilie Townes (our new President), the results of our Member Survey regarding the Annual Meeting, details of our receipt of a planning grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, and the second Spotlight on Theological Education.

ReligionDispatches Debuts Online

The January issue of Religious Studies News featured an article about an exciting new project, headed up by Gary Laderman (Emory University) and Linell Cady (Arizona State University), called ReligionDispatches.  Funded by the Ford Foundation, this online magazine seeks to raise the level of national debate about religion and values in relation to domestic and international affairs.  The magazine is now up and running, and may be accessed online.

Especially for Students

The Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) and Feminist Studies in Religion, Inc. (FSR) are pleased to invite graduate students and junior faculty to the first Summer Forum on Feminist Theologies in Washington, DC, June 15-20, 2008. This inaugural year of what is envisioned as an annual gathering will focus on “Making the Connections: Claiming Our Past—Envisioning Our Future Together.” You are cordially invited to apply. The application deadline is April 1, 2008. More information can be found online.

Former AAR Executive Director Honored

Jim Wiggins, AAR’s former Executive Director, will be honored in a celebration of his contribution to academia and community on Sunday, April 13 in Syracuse, New York.  Featured speakers will be Diana Eck (Harvard University) and Chester Gillis (Georgetown University).  For more information on this event contact jcbresnahan@yahoo.com.

New Journal

The University of Colorado has developed a new graduate student journal, NEXT - Emerging Voices in Religious Studies Scholarship.  Further information on this new journal can be found online.

Regional Meetings

Meetings of the AAR regions occur in the spring. Check the Regional Meeting page for details. All AAR members are welcome to participate in any region's activities.


  1. Message from the Executive Director
  2. Annual Meeting
  3. JAAR Call for Papers: Sanctified Violence in History
  4. Employment Information Services Center
  5. New Executive Office Staff
  6. March Religious Studies News
  7. ReligionDispatches Debuts Online
  8. Especially for Students
  9. Former AAR Executive Director Honored
  10. New Journal
  11. Regional Meetings
  12. Your Membership Status

Important Links

2008 Call for Papers


Regional Meeting page

(external link)

Summer Forum on Feminist Theologies
(external link)

NEXT - Emerging Voices in Religious Studies Scholarship
(external link)

Important Dates

  • February 11: Jessica Davenport begins work at AAR
  • February 25: Deadline for OP3 Proposal Submissions
  • March 18: Last submissions under existing Openings system
  • April 1:
    1. New career services systems
    2. JAAR Call for Papers
  • April 13: Jim Wiggins honored in Syracuse, NY
  • June 15-20: Summer Forum on Feminist Theologies in Washington, DC


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