e-Bulletin June 2008

Message from the Executive Director


Greetings from the American Academy of Religion!  This month’s e-bulletin contains a number of items: news about the Annual Meeting in Chicago; announcements about this year’s Marty Award winner; a request for applications from students to serve as editor of our From the Student Desk column; and other important items. 

This month I also want to alert the AAR membership of several opportunities to serve our Academy.  Each spring we solicit nominations for open positions on our Juries, Committees, and Task Forces.  There are a number of openings this year (appointments take place in the summer and fall for the following calendar year) and I encourage you to nominate colleagues who wish to serve, or to volunteer to serve yourself.  If you are interested in making a nomination, please drop a note to our staff at nominations@aarweb.org.  Please do this soon, as the nominations period will close on June 20, 2008.

Allow me to say a word about the selection process.  The task of making appointments to Juries, Committees, and Task Forces falls to the AAR’s President, Dr. Emilie Townes.  Happily and unhappily, we often receive more nominations than we have vacant positions, and this means that our President has to make difficult choices among candidates.  Nomination materials that are received in the Executive Office are forwarded to the President for her consideration.  In addition, the President solicits recommendations from Jury, Committee, and Task Force chairs regarding vacancies and needs.  Because a member may serve two consecutive three-year terms, some current members are eligible for reappointment to an AAR group, though such reappointments are not automatic.  It is our hope that we can have a good mix of veterans and newcomers on our Juries, Committees, and Task Forces.  I encourage you to volunteer.

With every good wish in this summer season, I offer you my thanks for your participation in the work of our Academy.

Signature of Jack Fitzmier
Jack Fitzmier
Executive Director

Annual Meeting News

Registration and housing for the 2008 AAR Annual Meeting, November 1-3, in Chicago, IL is now open! Register today for housing, tours, workshops, and the Annual Meeting Job Center. Online registration is fast and easy. You need to be a current 2008 AAR member to receive the discounted member registration rate. If you are not a current member, renew your membership online today. You can login to the registration system with your temporary ID immediately after renewing. You will be able to register for the Annual Meeting Job Center, tours, and workshops as well as arrange your housing online. Online registration also allows you to re-enter the system to make changes to your selections, such as adding a workshop or tour to your registration. Registration and housing forms for fax and surface mail are also available. Please send them to the contacts listed on the forms.

Child Care registration for the Annual Meeting is now open! KiddieCorp child care is a service subsidized by the AAR for members with families attending the Annual Meeting. 

Need a roommate? See who else is looking to share on the AAR Roommate Finder. Or you can Look Who’s Coming to the Meeting to see if your friends and colleagues are attending.

Check the AAR Annual Meeting pages frequently to see news about AAR programming, Additional Meetings, things to do in Chicago, and much more!

Additional Meetings

Institutions, departments, organizations, or persons who wish to hold a meeting during the Annual Meeting are invited to make an Additional Meeting request. The Additional Meeting information will be listed in the online Program Book and the printed Annual Meeting Program Book available onsite in Chicago.

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 is open. Register for this workshop with your Annual Meeting Registration. There is a limit of 75 people, so we strongly encourage early registration. See the May 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.

Oxford University Press Book Series Name Change

The name of the Oxford University Press/AAR book series formerly entitled Texts and Translations has now been changed to Religion in Translation. Religion in Translation seeks to make available to research scholars and classroom teachers alike significant primary texts in English translation, significant new secondary scholarship on religious texts, and reprints of major theoretical works in the field of religious studies. Given this broad mandate, we seek proposals from all areas of the discipline that will bring to an English-speaking audience texts of major importance to the world’s religious traditions; monographs that open up specific texts to wider audiences; and new translations of classic works of secondary scholarship that are perennially relevant to the understanding of religious phenomena, values, ideas, and practices.

For further information on the series, or to reach one of the two editors for this series, please contact either Kevin Madigan, Harvard Divinity School, kevin_madigan@harvard.edu  or Anne E. Monius, Harvard Divinity School, anne_monius@harvard.edu.

2008 Martin E. Marty Award

The Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion is pleased to announce Wendy Doniger is the recipient of the 2008 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion. Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, will be featured at the Marty Forum held Sunday, November 2, at this year’s Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion encourages and solicits nominations for future Marty Award recipients. Nominations can be made online. Nominees need not be AAR members or academics.

Seeking Applications for the From the Student Desk Editor Position

The AAR student director, Nichole R. Phillips, seeks an editor for the From the Student Desk feature column published three times a year in Religious Studies News. The From the Student Desk editor will solicit articles for the March, May and October issues of RSN based on established submission guidelines. The editor will work closely with the student director and the AAR staff liaison to the Graduate Student Committee. The editor will also submit an annual status report to the student director.

The term of service is November 2008–November 2010. The qualifications include: 1) Current student membership in the AAR for at least one calendar year prior to applying; 2) Previous editing experience; and 3) Current enrollment in a PhD program.

To apply for this position, please send a brief statement of interest with biographical sketch and current CV to student director, Nichole R. Phillips, via e-mail (phillipsnr@gmail.com). As part of the selection process, finalist candidates will be asked to copy edit a sample column. All applications must be received by Monday, June 30, 2008.

AAR Research Grant Program

Did you know that you could receive up to $5,000 in research assistance from the AAR? Since 1992, the Academy has awarded over $500,000 to members for individual and collaborative research projects. We are now accepting applications. The application deadline is August 1, 2008. For application information and eligibility requirements, see the Grants page online.

In Memoriam

Krister O. Stendahl

The Rev. Krister O. Stendahl, New Testament scholar, teacher, former dean of Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA, and Lutheran bishop of the Diocese of Stockholm (Sweden), died April 15. At the time of his death, Stendahl, 86, was Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Divinity Emeritus at Harvard Divinity School.

A funeral service for Stendahl was held April 18 at University Lutheran Church, Cambridge, MA. A memorial service of celebration took place on May 16 at 2 pm at Harvard University’s Memorial Church, according to a message on the Harvard Divinity School Web site. Further information can be found at:  http://www.wfn.org/2008/04/msg00130.html.

Catherine M. Bell

Longtime AAR member Catherine M. Bell, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University, and an internationally renowned expert on ritual and Chinese religions, died on May 23, 2008, after a long illness.  Professor Bell joined the Santa Clara faculty in 1985, and was named the Bernard Hanley Professor of Religious Studies in 1998.  After serving as Chair of the Religious Studies Department from 2000 through 2005, she retired last year due to the burdens of illness. 

Professor Bell’s major work, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, changed the framework for understanding the nature and function of ritual within religious and ethnographic structures.  The book, which has become a classic in the field, won the 1994 American Academy of Religion Book Award in the History of Religions.  She was Editor of History of Religions, published by the University of Chicago Divinity School.  She served on the editorial boards of major academic journals: Religion, Journal of Ritual Studies; Journal of Chinese Religions; and Journal of the American Academy of Religion.  Professor Bell served the AAR as a book award juror, a member of the Critical Theory and Discourses Steering Committee, and a member of the Long Range Planning and Development Committee.  In 2005, she was named Alumna of the Year by the University of Chicago Divinity School.  Professor Bell is survived by her husband, Steven Gelber, Professor of History at Santa Clara.

Memorials may be made to one of the following:  National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Northern California Chapter, 150 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612; National Breast Cancer Coalition, 1101 17th Street, NW, Suite 1300, Washington, DC 20036; or the Catherine Bell Award Fund, Department of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053.

In the Field

Are you interested in the latest happenings in the field of religion? Would you like to post an announcement of an event, award competition, or other news of importance in the field? If so, please visit In the Field for news of events and opportunities for scholars of religion, published online by the American Academy of Religion. See the In the Field Submission page for more information.

Especially for Students: Summer Opportunities for Students

Gallilee College in Nahalal, Israel is sponsoring a 2008 "Joint Jewish–Christian–Muslim Religious Studies Programme: A Religious Mosaic in the Holy Land." Participants will spend five weeks in Israel studying Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (as well as other traditions which are present in Israel), the history of these traditions, and their connections to the Land of Israel and Palestine for their importance to Modern Israel and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. This program is open to undergraduates and graduate students, as well as religious leaders, educators, and other professionals. Please visit http://www.galilcol.ac.il/page.asp?id=3 for more information.

Dig Meggido! Meggido is a renowned biblical archaeological site identified as Armageddon in the New Testament and is the only site in Israel mentioned by the great powers of the Ancient Near East. The Meggido Expedition is under the guidance of Tel Aviv University, in connection with Senior Consortium Member, George Washington University, and consortium members, Loyola Marymount University and Vanderbilt University.  Applications for the Meggido Excavation are still being accepted for the 2008, June 15th–July 31st season, and is open to students in all disciplines. For more information, visit http://megiddo.tau.ac.il/.

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  1. Message from the Executive Director
  2. Annual Meeting News
  3. Additional Meetings
  4. Krista Tippett To Address Annual Meeting Leadership Workshop
  5. Sponsor a South Asian Scholar
  6. Oxford University Press Book Series Name Change
  7. 2008 Martin E. Marty Award
  8. Seeking Applications for the From the Student Desk Editor Position
  9. AAR Research Grant Program
  10. In Memoriam
  11. In the Field
  12. Especially for Students: Summer Opportunities for Students

Important Links

Annual Meeting Pages

Annual Meeting Registration and Housing

Roommate Finder

Look Who’s Coming to the Meeting

Additional Meeting Request

Martin E. Marty Award Nominations


In the Field Submission

Important Dates

June 20, 2008
Deadline for Jury, Committee, and Task Force Nominations

June 30, 2008
Deadline for From the Student Desk Applications

August 1, 2008
Deadline for AAR Research Grants

November 1-3, 2008
Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois


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