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NAASR 2019 Graduate Student Workshops CFP

NAASR Graduate Student Workshops CFP

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.

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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. 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 rebekka.king@mtsu.edu 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.

NAASR 2019 Annual Meeting CFP

“The Field”: Assessing and Critiquing the Academic Study of Religion

Call for Proposals

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:

  1. identify the key theme (one of the four immediately above) on which they wish to focus in their reply
  2. 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
  3. 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 rebekka.king@mtsu.edu

#naasr2019 • Nov. 22-24 • San Diego, CA

Call For Papers: Thinking with Jonathan Z. Smith Conference in Trondheim, Norway

NAASR, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, is pleased to announce the call for papers for the upcoming conference in June 2019.

See the full CFP HERE.

“When the Chips are Down,” It’s Time to Pick Them Up:

Thinking with Jonathan Z. Smith

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway

June 4-5, 2019

Confirmed keynote speaker:
Aaron W. Hughes, Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Jewish Studies
in the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester

In his bio-bibliographical essay, J. Z. Smith wrote that he was fond of the expression “when the chips are down” in the sense of all being said and done. With his passing away in December 2017, the phrase has gained an additional layer of sad finality. Now, the chips are really down. And that means, it is time for us to pick them up. With this in mind, we would like to invite interested scholars to submit abstracts considering theoretical and methodological issues central to J. Z. Smith’s oeuvre in the context of their own research.

For example, in “When the Chips are Down” (in Relating Religion, 2004) Smith described his “persistent preoccupations”: the questions of taxonomy, comparison, similarity and difference, translation, defamiliarization, redescription, and generalization. To what extent, if at all, can we implement, reinterpret, and develop these concerns in new directions and in new data domains? What advantages and limitations do the perspectives that J. Z. Smith illuminated present when applied to the various items that we each study? Is thinking with J. Z. Smith still a road worth pursuing and, if so, where can it take us— either in our own work or collectively, as a field? By answering these and similar questions, we want to test the adequacy and applicability of Smith’s concerns for new situations, historic periods, and regions, and thus to provide an indirect assessment of J. Z. Smith’s influence and legacy in the field of Religious Studies.

200-300 words paper proposals should be sent to smithtrd2019@gmail.com
and accompanied by one-paragraph biographical information.

Deadline for proposal submission: December 15, 2018.
Final decisions on conference participation will be sent out by January 21, 2019.

The conference has no registration fee. Meals and hotel accommodations in Trondheim will be covered.

Presenters will be invited to submit full-text articles for a planned publication in the NAASR Working Papers series.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact conference organizers

Barbara Krawcowicz (barbara.krawcowicz@ntnu.no) or
Ann-Kathrin Bretfeld-Wolf (ann.k.bretfeld-wolf@ntnu.no).

NAASR Job Market Workshop Updates

#naasr2018

We are pleased to announce the first facilitators for the NAASR Job Market Workshop at this year’s annual meeting in Denver.

Jason Blum and Laura Levitt will be leading our small group sessions on Sunday, November 18. The workshop is divided into three main sessions over the course of the afternoon.

  1. Workshop/Small Groups 1:00-2:00 pm
  2. Q&A/Discussion 2:00-3:00 pm
  3. Networking and Conversation 3:00-4:30 pm

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.

You can find more info about the workshop, including the CFP, 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

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–1:00-2:00pm

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. Discussion–2:00-3:00pm

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.

III. Continued time for Networking and Conversation–3:00-4:30pm

As our workshop wraps up, we will hold the space for continued group discussion as well as any breakout sessions or small group discussions that emerge.

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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.