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NAASR 2019 Graduate Student Workshops CFP

NAASR Graduate Student Workshops: Call for Participants

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. 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 would like to attend.

All workshops are on Sunday, November 24, 2019

Session One: Job Workshop
10:00 AM-11:00 AM, Hilton Bayfront-Indigo 202B (Second Level)
Russell McCutcheon (University of Alabama) and Matt Sheedy (University of Manitoba)

This workshop will explore the employment challenges facing early career scholars. Led by Russell McCutcheon and Matt Sheedy, 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. Workshop leaders will evaluate the participants’ C.V. and sample cover letter. They 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
11:10 AM-12:10 PM Hilton Bayfront-Indigo 202B (Second Level)
Emily Clark (Gonzaga University) and Andie Alexander (Emory University)

This session will explore academic publishing opportunities for graduate students. Graduate students are not in positions to publish books, but numerous publication opportunities exist for them. Led by Emily Clark and Andie Alexander, this panel will help participants identify academic publishing opportunities and will provide strategies and tips for successfully publishing, with the goal of increasing marketability on the job market.

Graduate Student Luncheon – 12:10 PM-1:10 PM Hilton Bayfront-Indigo 202B (Second Level)

Session Three: Navigating the Politics of Academia
1:10 PM-2:10 PM, Hilton Bayfront-Indigo 202B (Second Level)
Rebekka King (Middle Tennessee State University) and Richard Newton (University of Alabama)

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). Rebekka King, Richard Newton, and Stacie Swain 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
2:20 PM-3:20 PM, Hilton Bayfront-Indigo 202B (Second Level)
Brad Stoddard (McDaniel College) and Emily Crews (University of Alabama)

 With more scholars competing for fewer jobs, PhDs in Religious Studies are increasingly looking for careers outside the academy. This workshop, led by Brad Stoddard and Emily Crews, will identify fields and career paths for PhDs who wish or who otherwise need to pursue alternative careers.

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#naasr2019 San Diego, California, November 22-24, 2019

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.

 

 

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.

Colloquium announcement and call for papers: Religion & Theology Colloquium

“Towards a Different Reformation”
Date: Wednesday 29 – Friday 31 August 2018
Venue: Council Chambers, University of Johannesburg

The Reformation in Europe that started with Martin Luther nailing his “95 theses” to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517, unleashed (arguably) the second big split in Christendom, and fractured the loose confederation of polities that constituted Western Europe and Western Christendom. The celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 coincided with the 150th anniversary of the publication of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, as well as the centenary of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Within political theory and history, Protestantism has often been seen as crucial to the development of capitalism as the dominant economic and political form in the 18th century.

Consequently, the 150th anniversary of Das Kapital and the centenary of the Russian Revolution afford a unique opportunity for scholars of religion and theology to recalibrate the way in which the Reformation and the origins of Protestantism are conceived, understood, and theorized. Whereas the history of Christian theological thinking casts the Reformation often primarily as a religious and theological event, we propose, rather to consider the Reformation as an iconic event, as discourse, as a series of contested social and ideological formations. As embedded in and as an epiphenomenon of shifts in Europe from the High Middle Ages to the Early Modern period, the Reformation is not to be understood as a singular event.

From the vantage point of a materialist framework we consider the reception history of the Reformation as an idea and concept through the long duration of performances of the Reformation, such that the colloquium not only considers it as an event in the past, but also considers the Reformation as a continually imagined cypher in service of various kinds of interests.

To get the question of the social, political, and theological force of contested inheritances of iconic events into greater focus, the colloquium is specifically not taking place in the year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation but in the year following, so as to emphasize that reflection on the celebrations of the anniversary is itself part of our rethinking the Reformation.

In doing so, we draw on theories of religion and the social that are significantly informed by concepts of discourse. Discourse is understood here as the production of (religious) expressions and artefacts as well as the scholarship on such (religious) expressions as operations embedded in the field of discourse, that is, products of and producers of sets of representations (which range from the spoken word, text, gesture, ritual, religious spaces, and the rhythms of life as hidden persuasions), including the social locations that form the originary matrices for the particular inventions of these sets of representations. Thus, discourse includes, as well, the social interests encompassed/encapsulated in and giving rise to these sets of representations, in addition to the logic governing the interrelations between these factors or aspects. Discourse also encompasses the institutionalizations of such “domained” representations in canons of tradition, schools of thought, habitus as habituated action, social formations, cultural and socio-political-economic conventions, that is, as discursive formations.

Papers are invited that investigate the Reformation as historical event (especially addressing the question: what is an event?); and theorizing the Reformation as a discursive event; re-embedding the Reformation (and its reception or effective history) into trajectories of social redefinitions, economic interests, and politico-cultural formations. Papers should particularly consider the imagined Reformation as it continues to inflect contemporary constructions of Christian discourses and identity formations (including reflections on the 500th anniversary celebrations themselves). The emphasis will fall on the human agencies and the various power plays and power effects that underlie the construction of the historical process named the Reformation. In addition, papers should investigate the technologies of discourse production underlying these social redefinitions.

Selected papers from the colloquium will be published in Religion & Theology. A Journal of Contemporary Religious Discourse (Brill).

Conference fee: ZAR 800.00
Due date for proposals, abstracts: Friday 6 April 2018
Contact: Prof. Gerhard van den Heever or Prof. Maria Frahm-Arp
All inquiries and submission of proposals: reformation2018@gmail.com

CFP: Concepts in the Study of Religion

The following new book series—published in association with NAASR—might be of interest to members; see the publisher’s site for more information.

Books in the series Concepts in the Study of Religion: Critical Primers offer brief introductions to an array of concepts—modes of analysis, tools, as well as analytic terms themselves—within the discourse of religious studies. Useful for almost any course, the volumes in the series do not attempt to assert normative understandings but rather they introduce and survey the various modes and contexts for scholarly engagement with the concept at hand. How, for example, has the term ‘myth’ been used, and what can various definitions allow us to do as scholars? Who in the field is working on the category of race and how? What might be the future of scholarship on gender in religious studies? What are the possibilities and limitations of description or comparison as methodological approaches? Thus, these critical primers provide — but are not limited to — concise overviews of the history of an approach or term. They also present the authors’ own critical analyses of the dynamics and stakes present in discourses surrounding these concepts. Featuring lists of further readings to guide additional consideration of their topic, the books in this series are valuable resources for students and advanced scholars alike.

Series Editor

K. Merinda Simmons, University of Alabama