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Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Tours fill up fast, so sign up today! To sign up for a tour, log back into the online Annual Meeting registration system and add the tour(s) of your choice; e-mail the AAR and SBL Registration Bureau at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; or complete this form and fax it with payment to +1-404-727-7959. Please note that no refunds will be given on tours, except in case of cancellation of the tour. AAR reserves the right to cancel tours at its discretion.

Bay Area Cemeteries Tour
Sunday, November 20, 8:00 AM–12:00 PM

The history of San Francisco’s cemeteries is one of relocation. After 1900, the expanding city evicted most of the cemeteries, citing health issues. The cemeteries remaining in San Francisco are Mission Dolores Cemetery and the San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio, which is also home to a famous pet cemetery. Many of San Francisco’s graves were relocated to Colma, south of San Francisco. This tour will visit a few of the major cemeteries and may include San Francisco National Cemetery (San Francisco); Presidio Pet Cemetery (San Francisco); Mission Dolores Cemetery (San Francisco); Mountain View Cemetery (Oakland); Cypress Lawn Memorial (Colma); Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery (Colma); and Hills of Eternity Memorial Park (Colma).

Cathedral Architecture and Stained Glass Tour
Saturday, November 19, 8:00 AM–12:00 PM

No other American city can claim to have such a diverse religious life as San Francisco. Fortune-seekers from all over the world turned this once-sleepy village into a thriving metropolis and the gateway to 49er gold country. These new arrivals brought with them a wide array of cultural and spiritual traditions, and they built places to enshrine their beliefs. A bus tour of religious sites will reveal such architectural styles as Richardson Romanesque, Gothic, Hispanic-Mexican, Baroque, Neoclassical, and American Gothic Revival. With more than seventy sacred places scattered throughout San Francisco, it’s not hard to find a specific church, temple, or synagogue of any faith with architecture to rival that of Europe and Asia. Sites visited on this tour may include Calvary Presbyterian Church, Grace Cathedral, Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Glide Memorial Methodist Church, Holy Virgin Cathedral, and Swedenborgian Church of the New Jerusalem.

Edible Cityscapes — Religion, Justice, and the Bay Area Sustainable Food Culture
Monday, November 21, 9:00 AM–1:00 PM

This bus tour features leaders and community organizations working to bring fresh food to urban food deserts, to address global hunger and ecological degradation, and to educate children about gardening, cooking, and health. During site visits in Oakland and Berkeley, we will learn how committed community activists nourish a progressive, sustainable food culture in the East Bay Area, as well as contribute to international NGOs dealing with food security. The tour will include talks from and visits with local religious and secular leaders within these movements, who will share the specific religious and/or spiritual values and ethics that drive their sustainable food and policy activism. Check back soon for further details and a complete list of speakers and site visits! As the bus returns to the conference, participants will have the option to stop for a sustainable lunch (fitting both student budgets and professorial incomes), with instructions on transit options for an easy return trip.

Girls in Trouble and Contemporary Jewish Museum Tour
Sunday, November 20, 1:00 PM–3:30 PM

Leave the confines of the conference scene and take a short stroll over to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for an invigorating Sunday afternoon break of music, discussion, and contemporary Jewish culture. A concert by indie-folk-rock band Girls in Trouble blazes the way with their poetic interpretations of the inner worlds of biblical women. Lead singer, songwriter, poet, and fiddler Alicia Jo Rabins gives plangent voice to the stories of Judith, Tamar, Sotah, Chana, Bat Yiftach, and Miriam. Afterwards, SBL members Carol Bakhos (UCLA) and Alan Cooper (JTS) engage the artist in a discussion on midrash, biblical women, poetry, and music. Audience questions and comments are encouraged. After the discussion, registrants may tour the museum for free.

Historic Castro Neighborhood
Saturday, November 19, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM

Explore a diverse neighborhood that you only thought you knew. You will walk through the area taking in the sights and sounds of the lively and ever-changing Castro/Eureka Valley neighborhood. What were once dairy farms and dirt roads is now one of the city’s most vibrant and cohesive communities, saturated with popular and stylish shops, restaurants, and bars. Some of the highlights of the Castro/Eureka Valley tour will include Harvey Milk Plaza, Pink Triangle Memorial Park, and the famous Castro Theatre. Those who wish may also tour the GLBT History Museum for an additional $5 admission fee. You will ride public transportation as a group to the Castro neighborhood.

Muir Woods
Saturday, November 19, 8:00 AM–11:00 AM

After a short ride from San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge, you will be awed by one of the most magnificent Redwood forests in the world — Muir Woods. Early winter is one of the best times to visit Muir Woods — the weather is cool and rainy; and Redwood Creek is full and melodious. You will travel by bus and have an opportunity to walk through the forest and explore this magnificent National Monument. Bring rain gear!

Sacred and Religious Sites of San Francisco
Monday, November 21, 1:00 PM–5:00 PM

The tour will visit a number of sites that reflect the religious diversity of San Francisco. We will travel by bus to First Chinese Baptist Church — organized in 1880 — a multigenerational bilingual bicultural church. We will then walk through Chinatown, stopping at two temples dedicated to the Empress of Heaven, Goddess of the Sea: 1) Tin Hou Temple, established in 1852, which is popular among Buddho-Daoist Chinese/Chinese Americans; and 2) Ma-tsu Temple, founded in 1986, which is based on a Taiwanese/Taiwanese American representation of the goddess that informs different ritual traditions. We will then reboard the bus for Misión San Francisco de Asís (better known as Mission Dolores), constructed in 1791 as a Franciscan mission intended to convert the native communities in the Bay Area. Today this Roman Catholic parish complex also includes a cemetery and basilica — completed in 1918. If time permits, we may explore one or two more sites in the Mission Dolores area.

San Francisco City Tour
Friday, November 18, 1:00 PM–5:00 PM

The perfect introduction to the city of San Francisco…a fun-filled bus journey through the vibrant neighborhoods, such as North Beach, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Union Square, the Embarcadero, and historic areas of the City by the Bay. Some of the famous sights you will see on the tour may include Coit Tower, Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill, the Chinatown Gate, Transamerica Tower, Alamo Square — home to the famed Painted Ladies — the Ferry Building, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, where the tour will stop for a photo op. You will travel to Twin Peaks for panoramic views of the City and a chance to take group photos (weather dependent). Finally, if time permits, you will have a chance to explore Ghirardelli Square or Pier 39/Fisherman’s Wharf on your own.

Vedanta Society of Northern California
Monday, November 21, 8:00 AM–11:00 AM

The Vedanta Society of Northern California was founded in 1900 by Swami Vivekananda. It is spiritually affiliated with the Ramakrishna Order, which today is considered to be one of the foremost important religious institutions in India. The New Temple, located at the corner of Fillmore and Vallejo Streets in San Francisco, is the Society’s headquarters. Dedicated in 1959, the New Temple houses a variety of activities. The Altar of the New Temple has been designed to represent, as fully as possible, the Vedantic concept of God. On the upper part is the Sanskrit word OM, which is looked upon as the word symbol of Divinity in all its aspects. Beneath OM are enshrined Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Sri Ramakrishna. Also enshrined on the altar are Sri Sarada Devi, Ramakrishna’s first disciple, and Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna’s foremost apostle.


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.