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“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
The Conference is also on Facebook where you can “like” the group HERE to follow, comment, ask questions, and get more information. During the conference, you can follow the hashtag #JZSatNTNU for live tweet updates.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
#naasr2019 • Nov. 22-24 • San Diego, CA
We are pleased to post the four main papers for our conference panels this November in Denver. As a reminder, each panel has a theme taken up by a main paper writer and posted below. At the conference, these papers will be summarized by their authors, responses from four other panelists will follow, and then there will be an open discussion. You can see the entire schedule HERE.
The four topics and main presenters are:
Gender and Sexuality, Megan Goodwin (10:00-11:50am Friday)
This Field Which Is Not One / The Body Is Smart: Rethinking Theory in the Study of Religion
Class and Economy, Suzanne Owen (1:00-2:50pm Friday)
Regulating Religion to Maintain the Status Quo
Citizenship and Politics, Michael McVicar (3:00-4:45pm Friday)
Paper Terrorism: Religion, Paperwork, and the Contestation of State Power in the “Sovereign Citizen” Movement
Race and Ethnicity, Richard Newton (9:00-10:50am Saturday)
Signifying “Der Rassist” in Religious Studies and the Axes of Social Difference
Full papers available here for review prior to the conference (these are not for publication or redistribution):
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.
Table of contents
Fleeting Sentiment of the Sacred: Between Public Space and Religious Territories
The Fleeting Emotional Unity of French Protestantism in Ephemeral Spaces
Visiting the Holy Sepulchre: Is Emotion Permitted?
“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: firstname.lastname@example.org