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Out of Many: Teaching Religion in Entry-Level Courses Across the Humanities

Saturday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
McCormick Place South – 401D*

Sponsored by the Academic Relations Committee and the Teaching and Learning Committee of the AAR and by the Newberry Library of Chicago.

Daniel Greene, Newberry Library, Presiding

Scholars who study religion can be found in nearly every department of the academy. Historians, philosophers, literary critics, and others are often positioned in departments where the primary focus of their teaching are entry-level courses that, on their surface, are not about religion. This roundtable proposes to inaugurate a conversation about the ways in which to integrate religion as a major theme in entry-level courses across the humanities. Scholars from various disciplines both inside and outside religious studies departments will share their experiences and perspectives on best practices, and the audience will be encourage to solicit the roundtable's comment by offering their own practices, stories, and questions.

Mark Norbeck, El Paso Community College
Sheldon Liebman, City Colleges of Chicago
Judi Cameron, McHenry County College
Steve Young, McHenry County College

Christopher Cantwell, Newberry Library

LGBTIQ Mentoring Lunch

Saturday, 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
McCormick Place West – 175A*

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 nearby the room for those wishing to buy their lunches onsite.

Claudia Schippert, University of Central Florida
Cameron Partridge, Harvard University
Mary E. Hunt, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual
Rudy V. Busto, University of California, Santa Barbara
Kent Brintnall, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Patrick Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School
Horace Griffin, Pacific School of Religion
W. Scott Haldeman, Chicago Theological Seminary
Rebecca Alpert, Temple University
Mark Jordan, Harvard University
Laurel Schneider, Chicago Theological Seminary
Jennifer Harvey, Drake University
Heather White, New College of Florida

The Human Side of the Job Search

Saturday, 1:00 PM–3:30 PM
McCormick Place North – 230A*

Steven Barrie-Anthony, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Almeda Wright, Pfeiffer University, Presiding

Several AAR panels in recent years have addressed the disheartening state of the job market in religious studies, especially the statistical and logistical aspects. This panel will build off of those previous discussions by wrestling with the complex and difficult human issues that arise from looking for work in this atmosphere — what many of us experience but rarely discuss in open forums. The Graduate Student Committee is therefore dedicating this year's Special Topics Forum to "The Human Side of the Job Search." The event consists of three parts. First, a former president of the AAR will offer her thoughts on the state of the job market. Next, a panel of graduate students looking for work, those who have recently found work in both academic and nonacademic settings, and professors who have overseen hiring will discuss this process through the lens of their personal experience. Panelists will touch upon the implications of the job search for relationships with colleagues and with mentors, the politics of the process from top-down and bottom-up, and so forth — in short, what does it mean to be human in this process? Finally, the group will break off into smaller, separate, roundtable discussions led by the panelists so we can all discuss the human complexity that this job market entails and chart constructive pathways forward. Please join us for what promises to be an important and informative time!

Andrea Dickens, Ohio State University
Monique Moultrie, Georgia State University
Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Michigan State University
Sharon Welch, Meadville Lombard Theological School
Ann Taves, University of California, Santa Barbara
Nathan Schneider, Religion Dispatches

How To Get Published

Saturday, 4:00 PM–6:30 PM
McCormick Place West – 184A*

Kimberly 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.

Ted Vial, Iliff School of Theology
Cynthia Read, Oxford University Press
Anne Monius, Harvard University
Michael Murphy, Loyola University, Chicago
Jacob Kinnard, Iliff School of Theology
Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University
Karen Jackson-Weaver, Princeton University
Aaron Hughes, State University of New York, Buffalo

Innovative Job Hunting Strategies in the Academy and Beyond

Sunday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
McCormick Place West – 184D*

Nargis Virani, New School, Presiding

Today’s economic crisis has adversely impacted the academic sector, posing numerous challenges for religious studies departments and schools of theological education. Scholars of color who are already underrepresented in academia are especially vulnerable. What are some of the innovative ways in which academics can market themselves to fit the field requirements of religious studies departments and schools of theological education? Are there job opportunities "beyond academia" that can be considered good options? In this forum, the Status on Racial and Ethnic Minorities Committee intends to explore some possibilities and strategies in the pursuit of employment and career advancement within and beyond academia.

Jacob Olupona, Harvard University
Michele Gonzalez Maldonado, University of Miami
Lester Ruiz, Association of Theological Schools
Anthea Butler, University of Pennsylvania
Rita Nakashima Brock, Faith Voices for the Common Good

Committees on the Status of Women in the Profession and the Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession Women's Mentoring Lunch

Sunday, 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
McCormick Place West – 375B*

Judith Plaskow, Hebrew Union College, and Melanie Harris, Texas Christian University, Presiding

Female graduate students and women in the early stages of their careers are invited to come and engage in informal conversation with mid-career and senior scholars. The setting allows participants to ask questions that they might not feel comfortable raising in job interviews or in their home institutions.

Imagined Solidarities: Common Cause or Conflicting Interests among Undergraduate Students and Their Faculties?

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
McCormick Place East – 263*

Louis Ruprecht, Georgia State University, and Richard M. Carp, Saint Mary's College, California, Presiding

The professional lives of most members of the AAR depend on undergraduate students. Many of us spend the majority of our time working with undergraduates, and those undergraduates — either directly through tuition or indirectly through taxpayer support — pay most of our salaries as well. Yet it seems that students and faculties at American colleges and universities find little practical solidarity with one another during the current, extended financial and moral crises within the Academy. What is the actual character of our relationships as they take place in our classrooms, offices, and elsewhere, and how do these relationships affect our sense of solidarity and/or mutual care? This special session queries several possible ways of imagining this complex relationship, only some of which create the possibility of genuine solidarity. All of these imaginative relations are probably present for each of us in some degree, though different faculty's comfort with one or more forms of such imagining may vary greatly. How do these relationships, real and imagined, play out in our actual contexts? To what extent do they (or should they) manifest mutual caring and/or result in solidarities potent enough to affect our institutions? How have the new economic challenges (rising tuition and student fees, pay cuts and furloughs for faculty, growing class size, and general malaise) and the moral complexities they generate make such solidarities easier or more difficult to imagine and sustain?

Timothy Peoples, Adrian College
Brock Bingaman, Wesleyan College
Lucia Hulsether, Harvard University
Wes Barker, Georgia State University
Lucas Johnston, Wake Forest University
Kate Daley-Bailey, University of Georgia

Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Survey on Religion in Prisons

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
McCormick Place West – 181B*

Barbara McGraw, Saint Mary's College, California, Presiding

In March 2012, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released its ground-breaking "Religion in Prisons: 50-State Survey of Prison Chaplains," the first survey to explore prison inmate religious accommodation from the perspective of prison chaplains. Among other things, the prison chaplains reported that America's prisons are "a bustle of religious activity"; religion-based rehabilitation programming is available and important to inmate re-entry into society; there are a significant number of extremists among Muslim, Pagan, and Protestant inmates; and 85 percent of prison chaplains are Christian. The panelists will introduce the Pew survey, address some of the significant issues the survey raises, and discuss the implications of the survey for further research.

Stephanie Boddie, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
Cary Funk, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
Patrick McCollum, American Correctional Chaplains Association
Aminah McCloud, DePaul University

Beyond the Academy: Exploring How the AAR Can Engage and Serve Professionals Outside Higher Education

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
McCormick Place North – 132*

Shawn Landres, Jumpstart, Presiding

Increasing numbers of AAR members are pursuing careers in media/journalism, the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, social enterprise, international development, and other fields beyond higher and secondary education. As more people look for opportunities beyond the tenure track, the AAR wants to keep pace in meeting their needs. Join members of the Program Committee to discuss potential ways — from new program units to professional development workshops, from working groups to special panels, and beyond — that the AAR might expand its horizons.

Conversation with Martha Reineke, 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award Winner

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
McCormick Place West – 183A*

Tina Pippin, Agnes Scott College, Presiding

The Teaching and Learning Committee is pleased to announce Martha Reineke is the recipient of the 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award. Reineke, professor of religion in the department of philosophy and religion at the University of Northern Iowa, will make remarks and engage questions and conversation from the audience.

Martha Reineke, University of Northern Iowa

The Marty Forum: Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
McCormick Place West – 375B*

Shaun Allen Casey, Wesley Theological Seminary, Presiding

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Krister Stendahl Professor of Divinity, has done pioneering work in biblical interpretation and feminist theology. Her teaching and research focus on questions of biblical and theological epistemology, hermeneutics, rhetoric, and the politics of interpretation, as well as on issues of theological education, radical equality, and democracy.

Schüssler Fiorenza is a cofounder and co-editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and has been a founding co-editor of the feminist issues of Concilium. She was elected the first woman president of the Society of Biblical Literature and has served on the boards of major biblical journals and societies. In 2001, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In recognition of her work, she has received honorary doctorates from Saint Joseph's College in Connecticut, Denison University in Ohio, Saint Bernard's Institute in Rochester, New York, University of Uppsala in Sweden, University of Würzburg, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Augustana Theologische Hochschule in Bayern, and, most recently, has received the Jerome Award of the Catholic Library Association.

Her published work includes In Memory of Her (translated into thirteen languages, originally pubilshed by Crossroad Publishing, 1983); Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation (Beacon Press, 1984); But She Said: Feminist Practices of Biblical Interpretation (Beacon Press, 1992); Discipleship of Equals: A Critical Feminist Ekklēsia-Logy of Liberation (Crossroad Publishing, 1993); Revelation: Vision of a Just World (Fortress Press, 1998); Searching the Scriptures: A Feminist Introduction and Commentary (2 vols., Crossroad, 1993 and 1997); The Power of Naming: A Concilium Reader in Feminist Liberation Theology (Orbis Books, 1996); Jesus: Miriam's Child, Sophia’s Prophet: Critical Issues in Feminist Christology (Continuum, 1994); Sharing Her Word: Feminist Biblical Interpretation in Context (Beacon Press, 1998); Rhetoric and Ethic: The Politics of Biblical Studies (Fortress Press, 1999); Jesus and the Politics of Interpretation (Continuum, 2000); Wisdom Ways: Introducing Feminist Biblical Interpretation (Orbis Books, 2001); Grenzen überschreiten: Der theoretische Anspruch feministischer Theologie (2007); The Power of the Word: Scripture and the Rhetoric of Empire (Fortress Press, 2007); and Democratizing Biblical Studies Toward an Emancipatory Educational Space (Westminster John Knox Press, 2009). She recently co-edited, with Laura Nasrallah, Prejudice and Christian Beginnings: Investigating Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies (Fortress Press, 2009); and, with Kent Richards, Transforming Graduate Biblical Education: Ethos and Discipline (Society of Biblical Literature, 2010). Her most recent book is Transforming Vision: Explorations in Feminist Theology (Fortress Press, 2011).

Judith Plaskow, Manhattan College
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Harvard University

Conversation with Religion and the Arts Award Winner: Holland Cotter

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
McCormick Place West – 194A*

Sally Promey, Yale University, Presiding

Holland Cotter is the 2012 winner of the AAR award for Religion and the Arts. Cotter is one of the most prominent art critics in the United States, and has been a staff art critic for the New York Times since 1998. His work has consistently called attention to religion and its roles in artistic production across time, space, and multiple religious traditions. This forum will feature Cotter and his work. He will present on his work briefly, followed by a question-and-answer session with a panel, and then discussion will commence with the audience.

Marko Geslani, Yale University
Holland Cotter, New York Times
Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University

How to Propose a New Program Unit

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
McCormick Place North – 135*

Sponsored by the Program Committee.

Robert Puckett, American Academy of Religion, Presiding

Join the Director of Meetings for an informal chat about upcoming Annual Meeting initiatives as well as the guidelines and policies for proposing a new program unit.

Nelly Van Doorn-Harder, Wake Forest University

Into the Open: Exploring the Open Access Alternative

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
McCormick Place West – 185A*

David Stewart, Bethel University, Presiding

Academic publishing is in a period of great turmoil. Escalating costs force many libraries to reduce their subscription lists; faculty are distressed by issues related to intellectual property; scholarly conversations in religion and theology have become more global; and technology makes traditional print-publication models appear fussy and antiquated. Open Access, the means by which publications are provided free of charge to the general public, is becoming a viable option for many publishers. The presenters, who have first-hand experience in launching a successful academic journal under an Open Access model, will first talk about how to analyze a community's ability to support a new journal through writing, editing, and peer-review, as well as possible business models for an Open Access journal. Second, they will spend some time talking about developing good infrastructure and support to add efficiency to the core publishing processes. Finally, they will consider ways of promoting the journal in order to increase its impact and reach.

Dan Kolb, Saint Meinrad School of Theology
Melody McMahon, Catholic Theological Union
Andy Keck, Luther Seminary
Ron Crown, Saint Louis University

Nurturing Sustainability in Higher Education

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
McCormick Place North – 130*

John O'Keefe, Creighton University, Presiding

The past decade has witnessed a dramatic rise in universities embracing sustainability and the establishment of a national organization, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Much of the focus in universities has been on greening campus operations, such as water conservation and the use of renewable energy. Sustainability in the curriculum has been more of a challenge. The panelists will discuss strategies for infusing sustainability into the curriculum, including faculty workshops on sustainability in course design, the development of teaching materials, outdoor activities that cultivate a sense of place, and community-based exercises. Also discussed will be initiatives to make sustainability a required part of general education, as well as the role of social justice and spirituality in sustainability pedagogy. There will be extensive time for discussion with the audience.

Bobbi Patterson, Emory University
David Barnhill, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

Program Reviews: What to Do, When to Do It, and With Whom

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
McCormick Place North – 131*

Sponsored by the Academic Relations Committee.

Joseph Favazza, Stonehill College, Presiding

More and more institutions require program reviews for all graduate and undergraduate programs. Some institutions integrate program reviews into their overall learning assessment plan; others see it as a moment in time for faculty to advocate for more resources and administrators to advocate for more attention to program quality. This session is designed to address practical questions about the program review process with panelists who have experience with conducting reviews on their own campus and serving as external reviewers. Key questions include: How often should programs undertake a review? What should be addressed in the self-study? How do programs find suitable external reviewers? With whom should the external reviewer meet on campus? Once the external reviewer submits a report, what should happen to ensure that recommendations are acted upon? Finally, what resources should the AAR provide to assist departments with the program review process?

Luis Pedraja, Antioch University
Pamela Klassen, University of Toronto
Edwin David Aponte, New York Theological Seminary
John Corrigan, Florida State University

Teaching Religion and Literature

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
McCormick Place West – 471B*

Kimberly Connor, University of San Francisco, Presiding

The Publications Committee of the AAR oversees the AAR/Oxford University Press "Teaching Religious Studies Series," which locates itself at the intersection of pedagogical concerns and the substantive content of religious studies.The Teaching Religious Studies series seeks creative ideas that represent the best of our work as teachers and scholars and to this end is collaborating with the Arts, Literature, and Religion program session to discuss building a volume on Teaching Religion and Literature. Experts in the field will briefly share their visions of the field of religion and literature and will invite discussions on how the field should be represented in a volume for the Teaching Religious Studies Series.

Richard Rosengarten, University of Chicago
Carolyn Medine, University of Georgia
Mark Bosco, Loyola University, Chicago
Eric Ziolkowski, Lafayette College
John D. Barbour, Saint Olaf College
Daniel Boscaljon, University of Iowa

Beyond Identity Politics

Monday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
McCormick Place East – 259*

Elaine Padilla, New York Theological Seminary, Presiding

The need to move beyond identity politics has become a topic of discussion for many program units within the AAR. At the same time, the AAR Committees on the Status of Women in the Profession, of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession, and of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession are working more closely together on the institutional level. We hope to increase our effectiveness in fighting for a more inclusive and democratic AAR and in opening space in the academy for scholarship on underrepresented groups and for the people who engage in it. This STF provides an opportunity to share and reflect on our joint work and solicit feedback from members as well as to make the case for the importance of establishing a fourth committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the Profession.

Melanie Harris, Texas Christian University
Julia Watts Belser, Missouri State University
Judith Plaskow, Hebrew Union College
Melissa Wilcox, Whitman College
Andrea Smith, University of California, Irvine

Theological Education and Religious Studies: Renewing the Conversation

Monday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
McCormick Place West – 182*

Jeffrey Williams, Texas Christian University, Presiding

In the AAR, periodic tensions arise about the relationship between the normative and the descriptive, between theology and religious studies. Where does that conversation now stand? New factors include the presence of constructive thinkers from many traditions, a younger generation of scholars who work comfortably on both sides of the divide, and a postcolonial awareness that theories of religion are not innocent. This panel will seek to assess and renew the conversation between theologians and religionists.

Tyler Roberts, Grinnell College
Anant Rambachan, Saint Olaf College
Charles Mathewes, University of Virginia
Ann Taves, University of California, Santa Barbara
John Thatamanil, Union Theological Seminary

Mentoring Across Sexualities and Genders

Monday, 4:00 PM–6:30 PM
McCormick Place South – 505B*

Horace Griffin, Pacific School of Religion, Presiding

Mentoring is critical to scholars' success at all levels, from undergraduate students through mid-career and even late-career professionals. Rarely, though, do we talk about the special mentoring needs of LGBTIQ scholars. Please join the Committee on the Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession in our discussion of mentoring across sexualities and genders. Our panelists represent LGBTIQ and ally scholars from many career levels and trajectories; we hope to see those demographics reflected in those who attend to hear the panelists and to share their own ideas about mentoring.

Cameron Partridge, Harvard University
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology
Thelathia Young, Bucknell University
Patrick Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School
Mary Hunt, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual
Alice Hunt, Chicago Theological Seminary
Laurel Schneider, Chicago Theological Seminary

*Room locations are subject to change. Please check your Program Book onsite to confirm the location when you arrive at the Annual Meetings.


This website contains archived issues of Religious Studies News published online from March 2010 to May 2013, and PDF versions of print editions published from Winter 2001 to October 2009.

This site also contains archived issues of Spotlight on Teaching (May 1999 to May 2013) and Spotlight on Theological Education (March 2007 to March 2013).

For current issues of RSN, beginning with the October 2013 issue, please see here.