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2010 Annual Meeting International Focus: Australia and Oceania PDF-NOTE: Internet Explorer Users, right click the PDF Icon and choose [save target as] if you are experiencing problems with clicking. Print

In addition to the regular plenary lectures, the AAR is pleased to offer the following sessions highlighting this year's Annual Meeting international focus on Australia and Oceania.

Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group
Saturday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM

Terry Godlove, Hofstra University, Presiding

Theme: Emile Durkheim and Australian Aboriginal Religions

The work of Emile Durkheim has been highly criticized or misrepresented within the fields of religion and the anthropology of religion. This panel’s aim is to clarify the writings on Durkheim in general and the writings on the Aranda of Alice Springs in particular. Taking into account the unique and various practices of the Aboriginal religions of central Australia, the means through which Durkheim was able to assemble information by way of secondary sources and his commitment to scientific discovery, the objective of this panel is to shed new light on the writings of Durkheim in regard to his theories of religion and the ways in which Durkheim contributes to an understanding of religion more than 100 years later. 


Jens Kreinath, Wichita State University
Ethnographic Traces and Visual Devices in the Les Formes Élémentaires de la Vie Religieuse: Emile Durkheim and the Aboriginal Aranda in Alice Springs

Ian Keen, Australian National University
Warner’s Durkheimian Analysis of Yolngu ("Murngin") Religion and Society: A Reassessment

Stephanie Frank, University of Chicago
The Limits of Rationality and Transparency: "Australian Totemism" and Moral Authority in Durkheim's Elementary Forms

Marion Maddox, Macquarie University
Breaking the Great Australian Silence: How Durkheim Makes Room for Indigenous Religious Life


Jonathan Z. Smith, University of Chicago

Religion and Migration Consultation and Buddhism in the West Consultation
Saturday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM

Wakoh Shannon Hickey, Alfred University, Presiding

Theme: Buddhist Women Migrants, Migrating Women’s Buddhism: The Complexities and Challenges for Buddhist Women in Oceania

The story of Oceania’s religious women is often told as a simple dialectic between European colonization and Indigenous resistance. But this presentation ignores the significant presence and influence in the region — both historically and contemporarily — of Asian people and religions. In this regard, Buddhism — which has had a presence in the region for over a thousand years, is now Australia’s second biggest and fastest growing religion, is New Zealand’s third largest religion, and boasts a female majority — cannot be ignored. In their contribution to new, hybrid forms of Buddhism, Oceanic Buddhist women must negotiate a complex of intersecting cultural influences – from Asia, the West, and Indigenous cultures. As Oceania increasingly allies itself with Asia politically and economically, these exchanges will only increase. The papers on this panel represent a beginning for the exploration of women’s experiences in the development of this emerging, Oceanic Buddhism.


Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, University of Alabama
Genealogies of Nonviolent Resistance between Oceania and the Himalayas: Women as Participants and Symbols in the Parihaka Community and the Tibetan Satyagraha Protest Movement

Bante Sujato, Santi Forest Monastery
The Trials of Ordination for Buddhist Nuns in Contemporary Australia and Ancient India

Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia, University of Alabama
Evoking Buddhist Landscape in Aotearoa: Women as Agents of the Adaptation of Buddhism to New Zealand Soil
Ruth Gamble, Australian National University
Laying out the Dead: The Shifting Traditions of Tibetan Women's Role in the Disposal of the Dead, from Tibet, to Exile, to Australia

Business Meeting:
Marie Marquardt, Agnes Scott College

Special Topics Forum
Saturday, 1:00 PM–3:30 PM

Tim Jensen, University of Southern Denmark, Presiding

Theme: Beyond the Rainbow Generation?: Religion and Pluralism in a Globalized World

Sponsored by the International Connections Committee

Religious and cultural diversity has evolved from, at times, parochial efforts to encourage members of the majority culture in the world to move beyond their comfort zone to face new challenges, as we struggle to forge a world community out of disparate individuals connected by globalization and commodification. What are the challenges we face as a world community and how might we meaningfully rethink our new roles and collective responsibilities as global citizens? In what ways have religions helped and/or hindered these idea(l)s of and efforts for a world community? How do people of faith seeking to participate as responsible global citizens evoke their faith traditions as inspiration in this quest and, conversely, how might loyalty of and commitment to respective faith tradition inhibit our quest for global citizenship? In addition to religious pluralism, what about pluralisms that exist within a religious tradition? What might these intrareligious pluralisms signify in terms of possibilities and limitations for community?


Diana L. Eck, Harvard University

Mike Grimshaw, University of Canterbury

Changgang Guo, Shanghai University

Simeon O. Ilesanmi, Wake Forest University

Marion Maddox, Macquarie University

Paul Morris, University of Wellington

Special Topics Forum
Sunday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM

Edward Phillip Antonio, Iliff School of Theology, Presiding

Theme: Rethinking Indigeneity in the Age of Globalization

Sponsored by the International Connections Committee

The construction of the category of “indigeneity” is inextricably connected with colonialism and imperialism. Conquerors, settlers, missionaries, and capitalist entrepreneurs saw “the indigenous” in opposition to their universal and developed civilizations and religions. Whether the indigenous was understood as the decadent or noble savage, “indigeneity” always carried what Johannes Fabian calls “a denial of coevalness;” that is, an othering of the indigenous in time and space. Today, globalization exacerbates the symbolic violence and power asymmetries generated by colonialism. The local knowledge and religions of indigenous peoples are often expropriated to become the raw material for deterritorialized and heavily commodified religious movements that circulate through global electronic media. At the same time, ancestral lands and livelihoods of indigenous peoples are threatened by rapid economic change and ecological degradation. Globalization’s “time-space compression” has also put various peoples in each other’s backyards, challenging the colonial denial of coevalness. Thus, indigenous actors can now have access to global media to build transnational networks of resistance and solidarity on the basis of emerging pan-indigenous identities. Panelists on this forum will explore critically the genealogy of and contradictions within the category of “indigeneity,” as well as religion’s changing role in the articulation and (de)construction of this category.


Frank Brennan, Australian Catholic University

Roger C. A. Maaka, Eastern Institute of Technology

Mary N. MacDonald, Le Moyne College

Anne Pattel-Gray, Tauondi College

Lynda Newland, University of the South Pacific

Jace Weaver, University of Georgia

Bible in Racial, Ethnic, and Indigenous Communities Group
Monday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM

Tat-siong Benny Liew, Pacific School of Religion, Presiding

Theme: Bible and Colonization: Asia/Oceania

This, the first phase of a three-year project, focuses on how the biblical texts have been invoked in the context of imperial-colonial frameworks, whether in support of or in resistance to such frameworks, whether in historical or contemporary perspective. The first phase is devoted to Asia and Oceania.


Eleazar S. Fernandez, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

Nami Kim, Spelman College

Peter C. Phan, Georgetown University

J. Jayakiran Sebastian, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

Jenny Te Paa, College of Saint John the Evangelist, Auckland

Changgang Guo, Shanghai University

Hisako Kinukawa, Tokyo, Japan


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