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Job Description

Religious Studies News (RSN) is the newspaper of record for the field especially designed to serve the professional needs of persons involved in teaching and scholarship in religion (broadly construed to include religious studies, theology, and sacred texts). Published quarterly by the American Academy of Religion, RSN is received by some 10,000 scholars. Religious Studies News communicates the important events of the field and related areas and examines critical issues in education, pedagogy (especially through the bi-annual Spotlight on Teaching), research, publishing, and the public understanding of religion. It also publishes news about the services and programs of the AAR and other organizations, including employment services and registration information for the Annual Meeting and related activities.

From the Student Desk is the feature student column of the RSN and is published three times per year in the March, May, and October issues. The From the Student Desk Editor will:

  • Solicit and deliver to the AAR staff liaison to students articles for the March, May, and October issues of RSN. The deadlines for submission are:
    • March Issue: January 8
    • May Issue: March 8
    • October Issue: July 8
  • Submit articles (not to exceed 800 words), a photo of the writer, and a 50-word current institutional affiliation statement.
  • Abide by the attached RSN writing guidelines and distribute to all authors for compliance.
  • Submit a short yearly report to the Student Director.
  • Maintain regular contact with the AAR staff liaison to students, the Student Director, the Graduate Student Committee, and RSN staff.

Tenure and Selection

The From the Student Desk Editor is selected by the current AAR Student Director. All current AAR student members who have been members for at least one calendar year are eligible to serve in this capacity. Previous editing experience is desired. As part of the selection process, candidates will be asked to copyedit a sample column. The term of service is two years to begin and end in November at the Annual Meeting.

If you are interested in this opportunity to serve the AAR, please contact Elizabeth Hardcastle, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , for further information as well as the sample column. Please be prepared to return the sample column, as well as a resume or CV to Slominski no later than October 31, 2013.

Writing Guidelines

RSN is not a scholarly journal. It is the newspaper of record for the field. Features should demonstrate an understanding of the field but have a more informal, narrative feel.

Articles are not scholarly treatises and therefore should avoid footnotes, specialized research language, or knowledge of “canonical works” in a subfield. Vignettes are good.

Readers want to know something about the author as a person, with a story worth sharing. We encourage authors to include such information in the piece where appropriate. Also, use sidebars to present related materials or a lot of facts. Authors will be given a total word count, and the count includes words used in such sidebars.

As RSN is not a journal, but a newspaper, and considering the incredible number of contributing authors, it is impossible to show each edit as you would expect during a book or journal publishing process. RSN reserves the right to edit the piece for content, length, and format; however, after you have submitted the article, you will not see any further edits. The RSN editor will contact the author if there is major editing, rewriting, clarification, and/or amplification involved. We will not contact authors for grammar, style, or length edits. The word limit provided is essential for avoiding length edits.

Authors will need to include a 50-word, current institutional affiliation statement. Please attach a headshot (in jpeg or png format) with the piece when submitting the article.


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.