e-Bulletin March 2008

Annual Meeting

Krista Tippett To Address Annual Meeting Leadership Workshop

American Public Media's Speaking of Faith host and author Krista Tippett will be the featured speaker at the Leadership Workshop in Chicago on October 31. The workshop, "Taking Religion(s) Seriously: What Students Need to Know," will begin with Tippett's discussion of educating students for public life. Participants will receive a complimentary copy of Tippett's book, Speaking of Faith, and a book signing will follow the workshop. Online and mail-in/fax registration for the workshop opens on April 21. There is a limit of 75 people, so we strongly encourage early registration. See the March Religious Studies News for more details on the workshop.

Sponsor a South Asian Scholar

The 2008 Annual Meeting’s international focus is on South Asia. For information on ways to help bring a scholar to the Annual Meeting, and to your institution, contact Robert Puckett (rpuckett@aarweb.org) for details.

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.

Former AAR President Passes Away

John Dillenberger, AAR’s President in 1987, passed away on February 7, 2008 at the age of 89, at his home in El Cerrito, California.  John, a distinguished scholar of historical theology, was instrumental in the founding of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) at the University of California at Berkeley.  At the GTU he was President and Dean in the late 1960s and continued to be active in its life until 2000.

Religious Conversions Study Group

A group of scholars in the American Academy of Religion is developing a proposal for a Religious Conversions Study Group. The group is open to proposals from scholars who study conversions within and between all religious traditions, in all periods of history, and from a multiplicity of approaches: historical, doctrinal, sociological, psychological, economic, political, etc. Those interested in helping form such a group should contact Alexander Hwang (ahwang@slu.edu), Linda Mercadante (LMercadante@mtso.edu), Marc Pugliese (pugliesem@cookman.edu), or Charles Scalise (cscalise@fuller.edu).

Especially for Students

This year's Regional Meetings offer a number of sessions of interest to students. The Wabash Center will sponsor a pre-conference workshop on "Improving Introductory Courses in Religion and Theology."  The Student Advisory Group of the Upper Midwest region will host a graduate student luncheon and professional development seminar. Visit the AAR website for detailed program and registration information on each Regional Meeting.

Committee Nominations

The following committees and task forces will have openings this year: Academic Relations Committee, Book Award Juries, Career Services Advisory Committee, History of Religions Jury, International Connections Committee, Nominations Committee, Public Understanding of Religion Committee, Publications Committee, Research Grant Jury, Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession Committee, Status of Women in the Profession Committee, Teaching and Learning Committee, and the Theological Education Steering Committee. If you want to nominate a colleague or yourself, please send a letter explaining interest in serving on the particular committee, participation in the AAR, academic and professional interests, and a C.V. to nominations@aarweb.org; or by fax to: 404-727-7959; or mail to: Jack Fitzmier, Executive Director / American Academy of Religion / 825 Houston Mill RD NE STE 300 / Atlanta, GA  30329-4205 / USA. Deadline is May 1.

Regional Meetings

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


  1. Annual Meeting
  2. JAAR Call for Papers: Sanctified Violence in History
  3. Former AAR President Passes Away
  4. Religious Conversions Study Group
  5. Especially for Students
  6. Committee Nominations
  7. Regional Meetings
  8. Your Membership Status

Important Links

Regional Meetings

Important Dates

April 1, 2008: JAAR Call for Papers Deadline

April 21, 2008: Registration for Workshop with Krista Tippett at the Annual Meeting

May 1, 2008: Committee Nominations Deadline


825 Houston Mill RD NE STE 300
Atlanta, GA 30329-4205

Tel: 1-404-727-3049
Fax: 1-404-727-7959