Dedicated to historical, critical, and social scientific approaches to the study of religion, as well as a relentlessly reflexive critique of the theories, methods, and categories used in such study.

“…But What Do You Study?”: A NAASR Workshop on Theory & Method in the Job Market

This session, to be held as a part of the NAASR program this November in Atlanta, proposes to explore the employment challenges facing early career scholars who are interested in issues of theory & method in the study of religion, through both a discussion and workshop. This session addresses issues important to junior NAASR members (notably, but not exclusively, ABDs now entering/about to enter the job market) by demonstrating how a professional organization can provide a practical and strategic forum for job-market advice.

The following activities will take place in this 90 min. workshop:

1. Open Discussion

The first half of the session will be devoted to an open discussion, led by Martha G. Newman (University of Texas at Austin) and Merinda Simmons (University of Alabama). Each will begin by providing brief introductory remarks (approx. 5 minutes each) on what they each see as constructive and strategic advice for early career scholars who are navigating the academic job market, aimed initially at how applicants can be strategic not only in trying to ascertain a Department’s needs but also in negotiating potential theoretical and political landmines in the field. A discussion (35 min.) will follow in which participants can discuss these issues in an informal atmosphere and share information. This guided discussion will therefore focus on four central questions, namely, how might early career scholars interested in theory and method:

  • represent themselves strategically on the job market?
  • apply to calls for general positions, fitting themselves to broad departmental needs?
  • shape their cover letters and CVs to appeal to a wide range of departments?
  • respond to critiques that they have no “specialty,” “content,” or “area of study”?

The discussion is designed to reflect different opinions regarding the place of theory & method in the job market, as well as in the study of religion more generally.

2. Workshop

In the second half, participants will break into small groups, each led by a more senior NAASR member. Building on the previous discussion, participants will work within their groups to workshop how they might best represent themselves, their work, and their scholarly interests on the job market. The smaller setting will allow for more “hands on” advice, taking as examples the CV and cover letters participants can bring with them to the session. Simply focusing on what one says in a cover letter’s opening paragraph, for example, or how one orders a C.V., will provide the way into larger questions of representation in these small group discussions. Participants in this section will have an opportunity to work with John E. Llewellyn (Missouri State), Russell McCutcheon (University of Alabama), Martha G. Newman (University of Texas at Austin), Steven Ramey (University of Alabama), and Merinda Simmons (University of Alabama).


Scholars of all concentrations within the field of Religious Studies are welcome to join the workshop—whether a NAASR member or not—though preference will be given to early career scholars, particularly those at the senior ABD stage (i.e., those already on or going onto the job market). Shortly before the workshop, but once the participants have been identified, each participant will be invited to share with the other members, via email or a closed social media group, their academic focus/dissertation topic, level of teaching experience, their level of experience with the job market as well as their own current position (e.g., PhD Student, Postdoc, Instructor, etc.) in order to ensure all participants come to the meeting somewhat familiar with the diversity of experience in the workshop. In addition, each participant will be invited to bring one sample cover letter and one sample CV which may be used in the small group activities. More details will follow after the participant list has been finalized.

Space is limited to 25 participants in this NAASR workshop. To register, please e-mail the organizer, Michael Graziano (mgraziano@fsu.edu) by no later than June 15, 2015. In this request to register please include your current degree or professional career stage.

CFP: Bulletin for the Study of Religion

PicsPlay_1403824843203As one of NAASR’s journals, the editors of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion wish to extend a warm invitation to NAASR members to contribute articles, review essays, interviews, response articles, and announcements.

The Bulletin is the premiere non-refereed journal in the academic study of religion, publishing articles addressing method & theory in the study of religion, history of the discipline, pedagogical reflections, and accessible research arising from various area studies. The Bulletin has a long history of engaging and challenging both theoretical and professional trends in the study of religion.

Articles range in length from 3000 to 7000 words. Both standalone pieces and panels of papers are welcome. Guidelines are available online here. Please address any queries to the editor, Philip L. Tite (philip.tite@mail.mcgill.ca or titep@uw.edu), or the managing editor Arlene Macdonald (almacdon@utmb.edu).

Announcement: The International Society for Historians of Atheism, Secularism, and Humanism

The newly formed International Society for Historians of Atheism, Secularism, and Humanism aims to provide a forum for academics working on any historical aspect of atheism, secularism, or humanism, broadly defined. This society will provide the growing number of scholars in this area the means to communicate and collaborate with others who share their interests. Previously, only a handful of academics have dealt with the history of unbelief in any sustained way, but in recent years this has begun to change. The society will therefore encourage and facilitate the growth of this vibrant new field.

Click here for more information.

Announcement: Two PhD positions in Religious Studies

uito.ny_730There are two open PhD positions in Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø—the Arctic University of Norway—and the program is currently seeking applicants.

The positions are for a fixed term, with the objective of completion of research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to a PhD programme is a prerequisite for appointments, and the programme period starts on commencement in the positions. The PhD candidates shall participate in the faculty´s organized research training, and the PhD projects must be completed during the period of employment. Information about the application process for admission to the PhD  programme, application form and regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) are available at UiT PhD regulations.

Application deadline: 14. May 2015

Click here for more information

Resources of Interest: Fieldwork In Religion

Fieldwork in Religion is an internationally peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journal. The journal publishes articles, review essays and book reviews relevant to the theoretical engagement with and practical undertaking of fieldwork in religion. Submissions are welcome from any disciplinary perspective, theoretical paradigm or methodological approach. Although the journal specialises in contemporary matters, historical treatments with direct relevance to modern-day fieldwork in religion will be considered for publication.

Click here to view the contents of the latest issue.

CFP: Healing Gods, Heroes, and Rituals in the Graeco-Roman World

The connection between belief and healing has featured in almost every human civilization. From its central presence in the narratives of the Abrahamic religions, through to studies of the placebo effect, societies have long been fascinated by the capacity of faith to heal, whether this is treated as a natural phenomenon or a gift from a supernatural or theological realm. This presence is keenly felt in the Ancient realm and particularly in the Graeco-Roman world.

For instance, the significance of a hero’s healing miracle is profoundly affected by any likeness it bears to actions of gods or heroes already known to an audience. In principle, any deity or any divinely empowered hero of the Graeco-Roman world could be claimed to have performed a healing miracle. Deities like Heracles, Isis and Asclepius are among those who were regularly attributed with healings.

In order to contribute to the development of the research on this field we invite paper submissions for online publication in a special collection of articles under the title “Healing gods, heroes and rituals in the Graeco-Roman world”. Topics for consideration include but are not limited to:

  • The enduring appeal of healing myths
  • New approaches to the study of healing in the Graeco-Roman world
  • Approaches to ancient healing through the emergent medical humanities field
  • Histories and genealogies of healing
  • Cultural approaches to gods and heroes who heal
  • Healing miracles across myths, faiths and sciences

The special collection, edited by Athanasios Koutoupas, is to be published in the Open Library of Humanities (ISSN 2056-6700). The OLH is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded open-access journal with a strong emphasis on quality peer review and a prestigious academic steering board. Unlike some open-access publications, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead financially supported by an international consortium of libraries.

Submissions should be made online at: https://submit.openlibhums.org/ in accordance with the author guidelines and clearly marking the entry as [Healing gods, heroes and rituals in the Graeco-Roman world SPECIAL COLLECTION]. Submissions will then undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Authors will be notified of the outcome as soon as reports are received.

For more information, view webpage here.

CFP: God, Religion, and Politics

University of Sheffield, April 8-9 2015

The God, Religion and Politics conference will present a range of speakers talking on discourses relating to religion and the Bible in contemporary politics (broadly defined as post-1945), with a particular (but not exclusive) reference to British politics.

The conference will address questions such as:

  • What assumptions about, and constructions of, ‘religion’ and ‘the Bible’ are made in political discourse?
  • To what extent do politicians engage with discourses relating to religion and the Bible?
  • Do different political parties and political traditions have notably different discourses about religion and the Bible?
  • How do discourses about religion and the Bible relate to discourses about, for instance, nationalism, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and disability?
  • How do pressure groups and think tanks relate to discourses about religion and politics?
  • How are discourses about religion and politics represented in contemporary culture (e.g. literature, film, TV, social media, newspapers)?
  • In what ways are historical understandings of political discourses tied in with historic understandings of the Bible and religion?

Call for papers: If you wish to present a paper, please send an abstract of approximately 150-200 words to godreligionpolitics[at]gmail.com. The closing date for submissions is 2 March 2015. Papers will be around 25-30 mins long, with 10-15 mins for discussion.

For more information, visit the conference webpage here.

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