Student Events at the Annual Meeting PDF-NOTE: Internet Explorer Users, right click the PDF Icon and choose [save target as] if you are experiencing problems with clicking. Print

The Student Lounge

The Student Lounge is a place for students to relax in the midst of the hectic Annual Meeting. We hope that you will take advantage of the free coffee and chance to talk with fellow students. The lounge will be in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Chicago C Room, and the lounge hours are Saturday–Monday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Graduate Student Committee has also organized a series of roundtable discussions on topics related to professionalization and student life. We invite you to join us for coffee and snacks as we discuss the following topics.

What's the Use of Academic Rubrics?
Saturday, October 30, 3:00 PM–4:00 PM
Whitney Bauman, Florida International University, Presiding

Balancing Career and Family in Graduate School: A Discussion on Institutional Policies and Personal Practices
Sunday, October 31, 9:00 AM–10:00 AM
Herbie Miller, University of Dayton, and Meredith Minister, Southern Methodist University, Presiding

Beyond the Classroom: A Holistic Approach to Student Life as Preparation for Departmental Life
Sunday, October 31, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM
William Myatt, Loyola University, Chicago, Presiding

Distant and Communal: Exploring New Forms of Online Pedagogy
Sunday, October 31, 1:00 PM–2:00 PM
Marilyn Matevia, Graduate Theological Union, and James Siburt, Alvernia University, Presiding

The Balancing Act: Teaching and Coursework/Dissertation
Monday, November 1, 1:00 PM–2:00 PM
Emily Bennett, Claremont Graduate University, and Elizabeth Lawson, Temple University, Presiding

Taming the Transitions: Negotiating Challenges in Advanced Graduate Work
Monday, November 1, 3:00 PM–4:00 PM
Amy Michelle DeBaets, Emory University, Kate McEachen, University of California, Sacramento, and Almeda Wright, Pfeiffer University, Presiding

“Especially for Students” Programming

Student Town Hall Meeting: Come, Listen, Learn, Get Involved!
Saturday, October 30, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Marriott Marquis–M304*

Sponsored by the Graduate Student Committee.

Students comprise one third of the membership of the AAR. We bring renewed vitality and fresh perspectives to the study of religion. And, yes, we know how to have a good time. Can we shape the future of the Academy? Yes we can! Join us for our Student Town Hall, a forum where you can offer your suggestions, hear about new initiatives led by the Graduate Student Committee, and get a preview of this year’s student-focused programming. Topics about which we are most concerned include how you can be involved in the AAR; ways you can be a force for positive change in your department; and of course, how you can secure research funding and navigate the career search. Our future is full of promise.

LGBTIQ Mentoring Lunch
Saturday, October 30, 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
Hyatt Regency–Lenox*

Sponsored by the Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Task Force.

All graduate 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.

How to Get Published
Saturday, October 30, 1:00 PM–3:30 PM
Marriott Marquis–A703*

Sponsored by the Publications Committee.

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.

SWP, REM, and LGBTIQ Women’s Mentoring Lunch
Sunday, October 31, 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
Marriott Marquis–Marquis Ballroom C*

Sponsored by the Status of Women in the Profession Committee, the Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession Committee, and the Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Task Force.

We invite women who are graduate students and new scholars to a luncheon with over thirty womanist and feminist midcareer and senior scholars. Women will have the opportunity to mentor and be mentored in a context where every question is valued. The lunch costs $10 per person; sorry, no refunds. Registration is limited to 100. Register at

If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Lessons from Academic Life from Those Who have Gone Before
Sunday, October 31, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Marriott Marquis–L401–402*

Sponsored by the Graduate Student Committee and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.

This panel will feature four scholars from different fields at various stages in their academic careers. They will be sharing their “hindsight” wisdom on issues such as teaching, completing the dissertation, publishing, getting the first job, tenure-process issues, balancing family and academics, and much, much more! The panel will answer a set of questions posed by the moderator, with plenty of time for questions and discussion from the audience. A light reception will be provided by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion!

The Job Market for Academic Positions in Religious Studies: Recession, Depression, or Paradigm Shift?
Sunday, October 31, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Marriott Marquis–M106–107*

Sponsored by the Job Placement Task Force.

The market for academic positions in religious studies has undergone dramatic changes in recent years. In the aftermath of 9/11, there was a shift away from advertised positions in subfields that used to constitute the heart of the discipline (e.g., theology, New Testament) and towards a range of new subfields. With the world economic crisis, the number of positions listed through the AAR online Job Postings and the Annual Meeting’s Job Center declined by as much as fifty percent over a twelve-month period. AAR President Ann Taves has made the shifting academic job market, and the deep challenges it poses to the current generation of graduating doctoral students in the field, one of the signature issues of her presidency. This session will explore the current state of the job market in religious studies by means of the latest data from just-completed surveys of doctoral-granting departments and AAR student members, as well as through data from the AAR’s online Job Postings and its Job Center at the Annual Meeting. A distinguished panel will join Taves and the audience in discussing the current situation, projecting where the field may be headed, and positing some steps that might be taken for the immediate and longer-range future of the field. Are we dealing with a temporary blip or a permanent paradigm shift in the way academic positions in religious studies are conceived and positioned?

“Beyond the Boundaries” Public Lecture Series

The AAR is committed to fostering the public understanding of religion. Inspired by this goal, the Graduate Student Committee has established a series of public talks to be held around the city of Atlanta. Student members will present their cutting edge research in these innovative evening sessions designed to move our discussions of religion out of the traditional academic setting of the Annual Meeting and into the community. This year’s talks center around three themes:

  • Religion and Science
  • Religion in Atlanta 
  • Religion and Pluralism

Plan to join us for these stimulating discussions on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evenings between 6:00 PM–8:00 PM! Consult the student section of the AAR website, the Student Members Facebook group, and “Especially for Students” materials for venue details and updates.

“An Influence among Humanity”: Internal Religious Debate over Narrative Paradigms
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Shannon Montgomery, PhD student, Georgia State University

Montgomery’s project examines a 1911 controversy at Brigham Young University that ended in three professors being fired for teaching evolution. After detailing the basic controversy both nationally and at Brigham Young University specifically, the project hones in on a letter signed by more than 80 percent of the student body in that year. The letter, written in support of the teachers, offered a contrasting narrative to that of the school administration. Lodged between embattled professors and school administration (with church officials), the students had to demonstrate fidelity to the religious institution even as they sought the widest academic vision. Montgomery also considers implications for the Church of Latter Day Saints over the next century. She argues that ultimately, the controversy represents a missed opportunity for the church to be viewed as relevant in secular discourse and opens up a discussion about the potential of religious organization in general to better engage in secular discourse.

From Multiculturalism to Multireligiosity: Shifting Paradigms of African American Religious Studies in a Pluralistic Age with Special Reference to Martin Luther
King Jr.
Sunday, October, 31, 2010
Roy Whitaker, PhD student, Claremont Graduate University

Whitaker’s paper tracks the shifting paradigms of African American religious studies, discovering that the pluralistic age is influencing how scholars do religious studies with a greater sensitivity to religious diversity. In African-American Religious Thought: An Anthology (Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), Cornel West and Eddie Glaude map the intellectual shift among black thinkers/theologians’ singular focus on Christianity beginning to fade in the late 1960s after King’s assassination. James Cone’s Black Theology and Black Power (HarperCollins, 1969) adds additional evidence as Cone clarifies in his 1989 forward how he never considered Christianity the exclusive religion of God. Yet, West and Glaude’s periodization may be pushed back a bit if King and other black pluralists like Howard Thurman are factored into the schematization. Whitaker further emphasizes that, in the end, Black theology is not reducible to Christian studies. Race and religious pluralism both matter and need to be part of the contemporary Black theological discourse. 

The Pursuit of Harmony in Differences between Religion and Science
Monday, November 1, 2010
Dong-Sik Park, PhD student, Claremont Graduate University

Park applies Sri Aurobindo’s marvelous insight, “For all problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony” to the debate of religion and science. Park argues that the debate of religion and science seems to be that of dualisms: creation and evolution, sacred and secular, theism and atheism, or believers and non-believers. For theists, science is unholy. For atheists, religion is absurd. However, instead of following the “either–or” paradigm, Park has pushed for a “both–and.” He explores multiple perspectives in science and religion, like those between Daniel Dennett and Pat Robertson — each representing two extremes. However, Park argues that “we need harmony through contrasts or differences in order to combine this ‘ugly ditch’ between science and religion.”

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


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