Books of Interest: Reading J.Z. Smith

Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon (editors). Reading J. Z. Smith: Interviews & Essay (Oxford University Press, 2018)

9780190879082.jpgOver the course of a career of more than forty years, Jonathan Z. Smith was among the most important voices of critical reflection within the academic study of religion, distinguishing himself as perhaps the most influential theorist of religion of the last half century. Among his significant body of work are essays and lectures on teaching and the essential role of academic scholarship on religion in matters of education and public policy. The interviews and essay published here display something of the dynamic, thinking-on-his feet liveliness that Smith brought to questions about the study of religion, his theoretical preferences, and his methods of teaching. With refreshing candidness and clarity, Reading J.Z. Smith offers an often provocative introduction to discussions on issues that still dominate the complex and continually changing critical conversations in the academic study of religion.

Available here.

Books of Interest: The Category of ‘Religion’ in Contemporary Japan

Mitsutoshi Horii.  The Category of ‘Religion’ in Contemporary Japan: Shūkyō and Temple Buddhism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

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This book critically examines the term ‘religion’ (shūkyō) as a social category within the sociological context of contemporary Japan. Whereas the nineteenth-century construction of shūkyō has been critically studied by many, the same critical approach has not been extended to the contemporary context of the Japanese-language discourse on shūkyō and Temple Buddhism. This work aims to unveil the norms and imperatives which govern the utilization of the term shūkyō in the specific context of modern day Japan, with a particular focus upon Temple Buddhism. The author draws on a number of popular publications in Japanese, many of which have been written by Buddhist priests. In addition, the book offers rich interview material from conversations with Buddhist priests.

Readers will gain insights into the critical deconstruction, the historicization, and the study of social classification system of ‘religion’, in terms of its cross-cultural application to the contemporary Japanese context. The book will be of interest to students and scholars across a range of disciplines including Japanese Studies, Buddhology, Religious Studies, Social Anthropology, and Sociology.

Available here.

Updates to NAASR Bylaws

NAASR members,

Over the past year or so, it became clear that our bylaws have not kept pace with our growth, with our various partnerships, and with broader trends in academia. To rectify that, the Executive Council is proposing two important changes. First, the EC reviewed the bylaws and suggested a series of minor changes that reflect our new partnerships and changes to the voting members of the EC. These changes appear in bolded text in the download below.

 

NAASR Bylaws_Proposed for 2018 Meeting

Second, one of the proposed changes adds a Code of Conduct to the bylaws. Earlier this year, NAASR hired an attorney who specializes in employment and discrimination law. The attorney drafted a Code of Conduct which the EC then modified slightly to reflect our specific organization. After several rounds of revisions, the attorney and the EC approved our final draft, which is also available to download from this page.

 

 

The existing bylaws allow NAASR members to amend the bylaws provided we post the proposed revisions at least 30 days before the annual meeting. We will then vote on the new bylaws during the business meeting in Denver.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Best,
Brad

New Issue of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion

The Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 47.1 (2018) has been published online. NAASR Members have access to Bulletin online resources. To become a member or renew your membership, go to our website. Be sure to fill out the online form in addition to sending your payment (Paypal links are on the site). Then, enjoy your membership benefits by perusing the new issue.

Bulletin for the Studyunnamed.jpg of Religion
Issue 47.1 (2018)

 

Table of contents

Articles
Fleeting Sentiment of the Sacred: Between Public Space and Religious Territories
Lionel Obadia

The Fleeting Emotional Unity of French Protestantism in Ephemeral Spaces
Anne-Laure Zwilling

From Protestant Temple to Ancestral Ox Park: Ostentatious Travels and Practices of the Malagasy Protestant Movement Exorcists
Olivia Legrip-Randriambelo

The Torero during the Franco Regime: A “Soldier-Monk” in the Arena?
Justine Guitard

Visiting the Holy Sepulchre: Is Emotion Permitted?
Philippe Martin

Urban Pareidolia: Fleeting but Hypermodern Signs of the Sacred?
Lionel Obadia 

Books of Interest: Studies in Hellenistic Religions

Luther H. Martin (author), Panayotis Pachis (editor). Studies in Hellenistic Religions (Cascade Books, 2018).

9781498283083This selection of essays by Luther Martin brings together studies from throughout his career—both early as well as more recent—in the various areas of Graeco-Roman religions, including mystery cults, Judaism, Christianity, and Gnosticism. It is hoped that these studies, which represent spatial, communal, and cognitive approaches to the study of ancient religions might be of interest to those concerned with the structures and dynamics of religions past in general, as well as to scholars who might, with more recent historical research, confirm, evaluate, extend, or refute the hypotheses offered here, for that is the way scholars work and by which scholarship proceeds.

Available here.

2018 NAASR Conference Program

Gender and Sexuality – Megan Goodwin (Northeastern University)

Chair: Tenzan Eaghll (Mahidol University)

Respondents:

Tara Baldrick-Morrone (Florida State University)

Emily D. Crews (University of Chicago)

Jennifer A. Selby (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
Tim Langille (Arizona State University)

 

Citizenship and Politics – Michael McVicar (Florida State University) 
Chair: Stacie Swain (University of Victoria)

Respondents:

Tenzan Eaghll (Mahidol University)

Jessica Radin (University of Toronto)

Lauren Horn Griffin (University of Oklahoma)

Daniel Miller (Landmark College)

 

 Race and Ethnicity – Richard Newton (University of Alabama)

Chair: Candace Mixon (University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill)

Respondents:

Craig Prentiss (Rockhurst University)

Robyn Faith Walsh (University of Miami)

Rudy Busto (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Martha Smith Roberts (Denison University)

 

Class and Economy – Suzanne Owen (Leeds Trinity College)

Chair: Rebekka King (Middle Tennessee State University)

Respondents:

Johan Strijdom (University of South Africa)

James Dennis LoRusso (Princeton University)

Thomas J. Carrico, Jr. (Florida State University)

Neil George (York University)

 

Remembering J.Z. Smith

Chair: Russell T. McCutcheon (University of Alabama)

Panelists:

Stephanie Frank (Columbia College Chicago)

Sam Gill (University of Colorado Boulder)

James Tabor (UNC Charlotte)

 

CFP: 2018 NAASR Job Workshop

 

In 2018, NAASR will host its fourth Job Market Workshop alongside the AAR/SBL in Denver. Full information about the event can be found below.

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NAASR Job Market Workshop CFP

This session proposes to explore the employment challenges facing early career scholars through both a discussion and workshop. This session addresses issues important to junior academics (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 during the session:

I. Workshop

In the first half of the session, participants will break into small groups, each led by a more senior scholar. Within their groups, participants will discuss in focused ways 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 the organizers will have pre-distributed among participants. 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 should be ready to share and discuss their CV and sample cover letter with fellow group members (though hopefully all will have some familiarity with the materials in advance to facilitate a more focused workshop).

II. Open Discussion

With the issues and questions from the small-group workshop in mind, the second half of the session will be devoted to an open discussion. The group leaders will begin by providing brief introductory remarks 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 will follow in which participants can talk about these issues in an informal atmosphere and share information. This guided discussion will focus on four central questions related to 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.

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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, as stated above, each participant will be invited to provide a sample cover letter and CV for the organizers to pre-distribute. These materials will then be workshopped within their small groups. More details will follow after the participant list has been finalized.

Space is limited to 25 participants in this NAASR workshop, and participants can stay for as long or as little as they like. To register, please e-mail the organizer, Michael Graziano (grazmike [at] gmail [dot] com) by no later than October 15, 2018. In this request to register please include your current degree or professional career stage.