At our annual meeting in 2019, NAASR will sponsor four one-hour workshops for graduate students. One need not be a NAASR member to apply, although NAASR members will receive priority. Each session will explore a specific topic, and students can participate in any or all of the sessions. NAASR will provide a free lunch for participants as well.
Session One: Job Workshop
This session will explore the employment challenges facing early career scholars. 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. A senior scholar in the academic study of religion will evaluate the participants’ C.V. and sample cover letter. The scholar will also discuss the job market, the hiring process, interviews, and other issues related to the job market.
Session Two: Academic Publishing for Graduate Students
This session will explore academic publishing opportunities for graduate students. Grad students aren’t in positions to publish books, but numerous publication opportunities exist for grad students. This panel will help grad students identify academic publishing opportunities and will provide strategies and tips for successfully publishing, with the goal of increasing a student’s marketability on the job market.
Session Three: Navigating the Politics of Academia
Academia is coming to terms with its own #metoo movement. Graduate students and early career scholars are particularly vulnerable to harassment, discrimination, and abuse. This session will provide a forum to discuss the institutional politics and power dynamics that make it difficult to report such experiences in academia (in particular for women and minoritized groups). Discussants will provide input on strategies for making campuses safer, identifying resources for victims, and generating best practices for allies and bystanders.
Session Four: Alternative Careers for Religious Studies Scholars
With more scholars competing for fewer jobs, PhDs in Religious Studies are increasingly looking for careers outside the academy. This workshop will identify fields and career paths for PhDs who wish or who otherwise need to pursue alternative careers.
Scholars of all concentrations within the field of Religious Studies are welcome to join the workshop—whether a NAASR member or not. Space is limited, so application does not guarantee participation, although we intend to accommodate as many people as we can.
To register, please email NAASR VP Rebekka King at email@example.com by no later than October 18, 2019. In this request to register please include your current degree or professional career stage and identify which session or sessions you’d like to attend.
“The Field”: Assessing and Critiquing the Academic Study of Religion
At our 2018 meeting, NAASR sponsored a panel commemorating the work, legacy, and influence of former NAASR President, Jonathan Z. Smith. Much of the discussion addressed his important work Imagining Religion, where Smith famously called scholars to be mindful of the ways they “imagine” religion and so-called religious data. Building off this crucial insight, NAASR 2019 will highlight the field of the academic study of religion and its impact on the ways that scholars and others imagine religion. NAASR 2019 will explore various factors that influence the production of academic discourses on religion and their dissemination in the classroom, in academic literature, in public debates, and in other forms of information dissemination. Specifically, the program for 2019 will focus on four topics: History of the Field, The Role and Influence of Private Funding of the Field, Teaching the Field, and International Perspectives on the Field.
A few of the issues that we intend to address are: How is religion constructed and depicted in the academic study of religion? How do private donors selectively privilege certain descriptions of religion, and to what ends? How do instructors communicate and/or critique these descriptions to students and to broader audiences? Scholars are increasingly called to engage in public scholarship. What is public scholarship, who answers these calls, and how do scholars imagine religion in this scholarship?
Following the model used for the past several annual meetings, four main, substantive papers will be invited and distributed both to respondents and to NAASR members approximately one month prior to the meeting. The authors of the main papers will summarize their papers at the meeting. Each paper will then have four respondents, who will have fifteen minutes each to reply to the main paper. An open discussion will follow for the remainder of the session.
Following the precedent set over the past four years, the aim once again is to publish these sessions as a book (with responses from the main paper presenters) under the NAASR Working Papers series with Equinox Publishing (edited by Martie Smith Roberts).
This is therefore a call for respondents.
The four main papers will be invited, each to examine the implications of framing our research as focusing on one of the following topics:
- History of the Field
- The Role and Influence of Private Funding of the Field
- Teaching the Field
- International Perspectives on the Field
The main presenters will be asked to analyze the construction of religion in academic literature in light of their assigned theme (or articulated theme, given theme, specific theme), to advocate/critique scholarship carried out in that vein, and to explore its implications both for the field and for the broader imagining of religion. Submissions for possible respondents (16 in total are needed) must each:
- identify the key theme (one of the four immediately above) on which they wish to focus in their reply
- provide a brief (max. 500 words) statement on the most pressing issue(s) in need of consideration when addressing scholarship on religion and one of these themes
- as part of (2), discuss how their scholarship and/or field of study explores the theme
We would like to pair scholars from diverse data domains.
NAASR especially invites submissions from early career scholars who have an interest in the topics explored in our sessions.
Please send your proposal as a file attachment by March 1, 2019, to NAASR VP Rebekka King at firstname.lastname@example.org
#naasr2019 • Nov. 22-24 • San Diego, CA