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Embodying Radical Democracy: Pauli Murray's Centennial and Resources for a Common Freedom Struggle

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 2024*

The panel explores how embodiment informs Pauli Murray’s theology, legal theory, and her efforts at building political coalitions. Pauli Murray (1910–1985) was a poet, lawyer, and priest, as well as a significant figure in the Civil Rights and women’s movements. Our interdisciplinary session demonstrates Murray’s foundational contributions to critical race theory and black feminist theology, recognizes how her poetry articulates crucial ideas about justice and hope, and analyzes her constructions of intersectional identities, including transgender, sexual, and racial identities. We invite the audience to consider with us how Murray’s legacy provides contemporary scholars and democratic activists with resources to envision a common freedom struggle that takes seriously realities of racism and heterosexism.

Karen Teel, University of San Diego, Presiding

Sarah Azaransky, University of San Diego
Doreen Drury, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Christiana Peppard, Yale University
Traci C. West, Drew University

Anthony B. Pinn, Rice University, Responding

A Conversation with Robert Bellah on Religion in Human Evolution (Harvard University Press, 2011)

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
Marriott Marquis–Yerba Buena 9*

Cosponsored by Harvard University Press. The distinguished sociologist of religion, Robert Bellah, will respond to comments on his massive new book Religion in Human Evolution (Harvard University Press, 2011), which traces the development of human culture from the Paleolithic period to the Axial Age and offers a new theory on the origins of religion.

Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara, Presiding

Jonathan Z. Smith, University of Chicago
Luke Timothy Johnson, Emory University
Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago

Robert N. Bellah, University of California, Responding

Voices of Feminist Liberation: Writings in Celebration of Rosemary Radford Ruether

Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 3008*

Sarah Robinson, Claremont Graduate University, Presiding

Emily Silverman, Graduate Theological Union
Whitney Bauman, Florida International University
Dirk von der Horst, Claremont Graduate University

Rosemary R. Ruether, Claremont Graduate University, Responding

Public Theology and the "Postsecular" Condition: Politics, Plurality, and Public Discourse

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 2005*

Globalized societies on all continents find themselves caught in a series of contradictory sociocultural trends, with continuing (and varying) trajectories of secularization alongside the growing deprivatization of faith and its reemergence as a shaper of cultural, political, and economic processes. This seemingly paradoxical coexistence of the religious and the secular takes us into unprecedented territory, sociologically and theologically, and is giving rise to talk of the emergence of a 'post-secular' society. The aims of this session are to examine the implications of the global emergence of the postsecular condition for public theology as it has emerged within a diversity of cultural and political contexts. The session will aim to draw together a range of perspectives from North America, Europe, Oceania, Africa, and Asia, in order to determine the differential dynamics and trajectories of religious revival as a critical and constructive phenomenon, and its implications for future debate in public theology.

William Storrar, Center of Theological Inquiry, Presiding

J. Jayakiran Sebastian, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
Elaine Graham, University of Chester
Katie Day, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
Andrew Bradstock, University of Otago, New Zealand

Race, Religion, and the Military

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 3006*

This panel explores the various ways that concepts of race and religion have functioned within the confines of the military, an institution dedicated to violence. Presenters will also take seriously the notion that the military is a subculture with its own mores, values, and traditions. This panel also seeks to address questions such as: What is the dominant religious ideology of the certain military branch? Does it matter? Does the military as a state-sanctioned institution ineluctably co-opt dominant or mainstream discourses about race and religion? In honor of our host city presenters have been asked to discuss race, religion, and the military within the context of the Pacific Islands and/or Asia.

Lerone Martin, Eden Theological Seminary, Presiding

Robert Green, College of the Holy Cross
Black United States Army Chaplains in the Pacific: Race and Religion during the Philippine–American War, 1898–1902
Chih-Yin Chen, Saint Louis University
Soldier–Monks: Vincent Lebbe and His Little Brothers of Saint John the Baptist
Niccole L. Coggins, University of California, Santa Barbara
“Onward Christian Soldiers!”: The United States Military's Religious Identity in the Territory of Hawai’i, 1898–1959

Religion/Science/Fiction: Beyond the Final Frontier

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 2014*

Science Fiction (SF) is the genre of limitless possible worlds with a unique ability to pose, examine, and suggest answers to the most profound questions and to envision transcendence beyond realist literature. Along with religion, SF is where large numbers of the American public go to explore the meanings and purposes of human existence. Why this is so has to do with the construction of SF narratives upon scientific facts about the world and spun through the inexhaustible possibilities of the human imagination. SF's technique of “making strange” the world so that we can better see ourselves and our predicaments allows us to reflect on our most basic questions about what it means to be human. This session takes the genre, modes, themes, and techniques of SF as launching points for examining religion through a critical idiom that asks similar questions and suggests alternatives to traditional understandings of religion.

Kimberly Rae Connor, University of San Francisco, Presiding

Rudy V. Busto, University of California, Santa Barbara
Bruce M. Sullivan, Northern Arizona University
Susan L. Schwartz, Muhlenberg College
James McGrath, Butler University
Robert Geraci, Manhattan College

Disembodied Knowledge as Bodily Practice

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Marriott Marquis–Yerba Buena 10*

This session explores — from a multidisciplinary perspective — the bodily disciplines that constitute the epistemic ideal of the disembodied knower in modern North Atlantic epistemic practices. Given the importance of the idealization of this type of knowledge, the panel follows insights from the fields of postcolonial theory and anthropology by asking how this normative and hegemonic subject is construed via body disciplines. After an introductory statement from the perspective of postcolonial and feminist studies, the panelists will analyze different cultural or historical contexts as sites for the construction of this disembodied body. These sites include the nexus between religion and science, with a particular focus on cosmologies; contemporary philosophical theology; and Christian ecclesiology, analyzed from the perspective of performance studies.

Thomas A. Lewis, Brown University, Presiding

Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Wesleyan University
Karmen MacKendrick, Le Moyne College
Shannon Craigo-Snell, Yale University
Ludger Viefhues-Bailey, Le Moyne College

Revisiting the Pure Land: New Research in Pure Land Buddhist Studies

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 2022*

Bringing together an international group of established and younger scholars, this panel presents ongoing research on Pure Land Buddhism, a foundational yet often misunderstood branch of Mahayana Buddhism. Discussion on foundational Pure Land concepts such as neinfo and shinjin complement more historically contextualized doctrinal considerations including the possibility of children’s birth in the Pure Land, and the Buddhist Marxist humanism of pre-World War Two Japanese Buddhist thinkers. The panel seeks to balance doctrinal and textual considerations with the specificity of history and place, thereby demonstrating how Pure Land Buddhist ideas have played a key role in Buddhism’s doctrinal development across Asia. Presentation topics will act as starting points for discussion and conversation regarding the current and future state of Pure Land Buddhist scholarship with the hope of generating new work in this subfield.

Scott Mitchell, Institute of Buddhist Studies, Presiding

Mark L. Blum, State University of New York
Kenneth Tanaka, Musashino University
Eisho Nasu, Ryukoku University
Jessica Main, University of British Columbia

The Blog that Dares Not Speak Its Name: New Media and Collaborative Scholarship

Sunday, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 2024*

This panel will explore engagements with new media as a potential horizon in the academic scholarship of religion both in terms of content (what is studied/written about), form (how it is studied/written), and audience (for whom it is studied/written). In particular, we will examine the interactive, ad hoc, immediate nature of blogging as a new form of collaborative scholarship and a form particularly suited to the analysis of, and engagement with new objects of study. The panelists, all working in academic fields of theology or philosophy, converse about their collaborative work exploring the core questions of their disciplines and experimenting in new forms of transdisciplinary scholarship by writing a blog about popular visual culture together. This practice of commenting on popular culture via blog is not an alteridentity from our scholarly lives, but, in fact, has become constitutive of how we understand ourselves as scholars.

Kathryn Reklis, Yale University, Presiding

Natalie Wigg Stevenson, Emmanuel College
Martin Shuster, Hamilton College
Travis Ables, Eden Theological Seminary

Shelly Rambo, Boston University, Responding

Promise and Perils of Interdisciplinary Research

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 2011*

Some of the most significant contributions to our understanding of religion have come from collaborations with scholars in other disciplines. This session considers the potential of interdisciplinary research programs, together with some of the intellectual, organizational, and incentive problems in making them happen. Our panel includes distinguished scholars with the experience of successfully facilitating collaboration between religion scholars and historians, philosophers, scientists, and economists. Some of the research programs have attracted significant support from funding agencies. The panelists will reflect briefly on the enterprise from their own experience, and there will be plenty of time for discussion.

Paul Oslington, Australian Catholic University, Presiding

Robert Russell, Graduate Theological Union
Science and Theology at CTNS
Thomas Hastings, Center of Theological Inquiry
Facilitating Interdisciplinary Theological Inquiry
Neil Ormerod, Australian Catholic University
Bernard Lonergan’s Economics: A Case Study — Economists and Theologians Working Together in the Shadow of the Financial Crisis
Miroslav Volf, Yale University
Divinity and Business School Cooperation: The Experience of the Yale University Faith and Globalization Program

The Hermeneutics of Tradition

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
InterContinental Hotel–Telegraph Hill*

A religious tradition’s development requires ongoing study as our appreciation for historical context and complexity increases. This session shall address the dynamics of assimilating difference through text and culture as we navigate the shifting boundaries of interpretation that capture the self-understanding of religious groups. Our particular focus is upon Christianity and its varied embodiments in the traditions of Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Methodist, and Lutheran polities. As a diverse ecumenical group of North American, European, and Australian scholars of Christianity, we shall increase understanding of how tradition and self-understanding intertwine in a developmental context. We thus aim to present our work in order to engage in dialogue with a wider scholarly community as we attend together to the shapes, discourse, and practices of religious traditions so that such shared insight can become a part of our collectively published research.

Craig Hovey, Ashland University, and Cyrus Olsen, University of Scranton, Presiding

Teresa Swan Tuite, Oberlin College
Hans Boersma, Regent College
Robert Koerpel, Saint Catherine University
Will Cohen, University of Scranton

Religion and Sport: The State of the Field

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 2007*

While other academic disciplines have well established studies of sport, the field of Religion and Sport is in an earlier developmental stage. Yet engagement with this field has grown substantially over the past few years. This panel brings together leading and emerging scholars who study religion and sport in a dialogue about the state of the field and emergent research directions. The panel will examine religion and sport from the perspectives of its various sub-specializations: the popular culture/civil religion discourse on how sport functions as religion in different societies; how various religions understand and engage with sport and athleticism historically and contemporarily, including intersections with race, gender, nationality, and ethnicity; the confluence between religion and sport in the realm of the mystical and spiritual; and the study of sport and religion as it intersects with the larger emergent emphasis on embodiment and materiality in religious experience.

Rebecca Alpert, Temple University, Presiding

Eric Bain-Selbo, Western Kentucky University
Linda J. Borish, Western Michigan University
Amy Koehlinger, Florida State University
E. Carter Turner, Radford University

Joseph L. Price, Whittier College, Responding

Institutionalizing Interfaith: Emerging Models for Educating Religious Leaders in a Multireligious Context

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
InterContinental Hotel–Union Square*

How do we train the next generation of spiritual leaders, rooted in their own religious tradition with the skills and motivation to work across faith lines? What are the underlying assumptions of the various models for training seminarians for a multireligious context? What are the benefits and challenges of training seminarians alongside students from other traditions? This panel will focus on emerging models for training Jewish, Christian, and Muslim seminarians. We will explore the growing emphasis on interfaith in seminaries and rabbinical schools along with the theological, educational, and institutional implications. Scholars, educators, and practitioners from a variety of institutions will share their insights, reflections, and analysis of the emerging trend toward interfaith at each of these institutions.

Jennifer Howe Peace, Andover Newton Theological School, Presiding

Or Rose, Hebrew College
Judith A. Berling, Graduate Theological Union
Garfield Swaby, Hartford Seminary
Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Najeeba Syeed-Miller, Claremont School of Theology, Responding

Discussion with Abdul Karim Soroush on Revelation, Reform, and Secularism

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Marriott Marquis–Yerba Buena 9*

This session is a conversation with Abdul Karim Soroush, based on his latest book The Expansion of Prophetic Experience: Essays on Historicity, Contingency, and Plurality in Religion (Brill Academic Publishing, 2009). Discussions will revolve around two major themes. First, we will explore Soroush’s thinking on the "historicity and contingency of Revelation" and its implications for Islamic reform. Second, we will discuss what kind of Muslim religiosity may accommodate pluralism and secularism. The session will allow for a question-and-answer period.

Forough Jahanbakhsh, Queen's University, Presiding

Abdul Karim Soroush, Princeton University
Andrew Rippin, University of Victoria

What's Wrong with Hindu Theology?

Monday, 1:00 PM–3:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 2024*

Within the study of religion, specifically the comparative and history of religions disciplines, scholars have increasingly observed theological activity occurring in traditions other than those of Christianity and the Abrahamic faiths — perhaps primarily those of the Hindu tradition. Since the earlier part of the last century, the word "theology" has been applied to traditions outside Christianity by Christian thinkers themselves. As the theologies of other traditions are examined within the AAR, here we too seek to begin a critical/constructive exploration of the structures and content of Hindu theology. This panel seeks to examine how the term theology has been applied by scholars and practitioners; how it should and should not be applied, and the value to the field of religious studies and comparative theology of studying and understanding Hindu theology. This value lies in the new perspectives unlocked by Hindu theology with its very different theological approaches and categories.

Graham M. Schweig, Christopher Newport University, Presiding

Rita Sherma, University of Arizona
Does Hindu Theology Belong in the Religion Academy?
Gerald J. Larson, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Indiana University, Bloomington
Yoga's Atheistic–Theism: A Unique Answer to the Neverending Problem of God in Comparative Theology
Laurie Louise Patton, Duke University
Ritual Theologies of Hospitality: Possibilities for Collaboration in a Hindu Key
Francis X. Clooney, Harvard University
What's Right about "Hindu Theology"?

Gods and Monsters in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Imagination

Monday, 1:00 PM–3:30 PM
Moscone Center West–Room 2022*

Over the course of the last century, Biblical scholars, oral traditionalists, archeologists, and ancient historians increasingly have observed proof of ideological as well as material exchange among Greco-Roman, Anatolian, Mesopotamian, and Levantine cultures. This panel is dedicated to exploring shared religious and mythological themes among these ancient civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea, extending as far east as Mesopotamia, as far west as Greece, and from Egypt in the south to Anatolia in the north. Gods and monsters are a particular focus, but the papers also address various artifacts of ancient Mediterranean religious imagination — art, archeology, poetry, prose, royal annals, law codes, ritual instructions, etc. — stemming from the Bronze Age to late Roman civilizations. For future meetings we plan to include papers addressing comparative topics in later periods, such as the early Islamic period.

Margo Kitts, Hawai'i Pacific University
Hearing the Chaoskampf in Iliad 21
Mary Bachvarova, Willamette University
Further Parallels in Greco-Anatolian Disappearing God Rituals: The Hittite Kurša Hunting Bag and the Dios Koidion (Fleece of Zeus)
Robert Littman, University of Hawai'i
Syncresis and the Cult of Isis in the Greco-Roman World
Brian Doak, Harvard University
The Greek Gigantomachy and the Israelite Gigantomachy: Giants as Chaosmacht in Israel and the Iron Age Aegean
Carolina Lopez-Ruiz, Ohio State University
The God Aion in a Mosaic from Paphos and Helleno-Semitic Cosmogonies in the Roman East

Quakerism beyond Borders: Community and Harmony in the Lives of Friends

Monday, 4:00 PM–6:30 PM
InterContinental Hotel–Union Square*

Diverse in focus and approach, these four papers are unified in their attempt to better understand the lived religion of Quakerism as expressed in the themes of harmony and community. Jon Kershner and Hayley Rose Glaholt discuss the theological concept of harmony as shaped by two limited historical moments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Focusing on John Woolman’s apocalyptic rhetoric (Kershner) and Victorian Friends’ conceptualizations of interspecies pacifism (Glaholt), this first set of papers explores Quaker visions of the "peaceable kingdom." The second set of papers addresses the creation and expansion of Quaker community in Britain and Burundi. Using the work of twentieth century Quaker theologian Maurice Creasey, David Johns analyzes this theologians understanding of ecumenism. Lastly, Elizabeth Todd focuses on the "catechism of Friends" as a means of revealing the process of identity formation among Burundi Quakers during the American Friends’ Mission to Burundi (1934–1949).

Margaret Benefiel, Andover Newton Theological School, Presiding

Jon Kershner, University of Birmingham, UK
"The Lamb's War" or "the Peaceable Government of Christ"?: John Woolman (1720–1772) and Quaker Apocalypses
Hayley Glaholt, Northwestern University
The Intersection of Quakerism and "the Animal": Moral Debates on Virtue, Healing, and the Definition of Violence
David L. Johns, Earlham School of Religion
Beyond Quaker Self-referentiality: Maurice Creasey's Vision of Ecumenism
D. Elizabeth Todd, University of Birmingham, UK
Teachings for a Crowd of Friends: The Catechism of the Burundi Friends Church

Stephen Ward Angell, Earlham School of Religion, Responding

*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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