REL Faculty Stay Class in San Diego

2014AMBannerDon’t be surprised if a few offices are empty next week. Many of our wonderful REL faculty will be spending November 22-25 in sunny San Diego for the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature or AAR/SBL for short or #SBLAAR14 for hashtag.

What will our faculty be doing in San Diego?

Glad you asked.

Some will be giving papers or talks to other scholars and sharing the research they’ve been doing.

giphy-9Others will be listening to other scholars’ talks and deciding what they think.

giphy-10Some might even ask a question to find out more about their colleagues’ research.

BMWqYY6CEAAuz9t.jpg-largeSome will check out the giant book exhibit and load up on new titles.

giphy-12Some will just be excited to see old friends.

giphy-11But what exactly will they be doing? Here’s a run down:

Dr. Russell McCutcheon is attending the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Religion and will be responding to an AAR panel of papers around the theme: “Dialogue among Three Strands of Dialogue Researchers” on Monday at 1pm. Should be an interesting dialogue.

Dr. Eleanor Finnegan is part of a panel on the theme of “Islam and the Anthropocene: Biosphere and Climate” that meets at 1pm on Saturday. She’ll be presenting a paper titled “Internet and Intentional Communities: Muslims’ Online and Farm-based Environmental Activism.

Dr. Ted Trost is a member of the Academic Relations Committee, a leadership group of the national organization. Their responsibility is to develop resources that enhance the professional development of the members and to serve the institutional forms (primarily departments) in which the study of religion is advanced. His primary concern this year has been to help develop a policy on contingent or non-tenure track work done by members of the AAR in religious studies departments.  What are the “best practices” that might guide departments and protect individuals in the increasing and increasingly uncertain environment of contingency?  H will be participating in a workshop devoted to this topic during a pre-conference meeting on Friday in San Diego that will also include the Department’s Day Lecturer Kelly Baker . There will also be a series of other meetings of the Academic Relations Committee during the conference that he will attend.

In addition, Dr. Trost is co-chair of the Music and Religion Group.  In that capacity, he is chairing a panel presentation called “Religious Dimensions of the Performing Voice” that features papers on the Psalms, John Coltrane’s composition “A Love Supreme,” and music as an agent of reconciliation.  He is also excited about the second panel the group will be sponsoring which will feature several papers in conversation with live performances by the Boston University Marsh Chapel Choir and the Bach Collegium of San Diego.

Dr. Mike Altman will be busy at the conference. On Friday he’ll be part of THATCamp, a digital humanities unconference. Then he is also presenting a paper as part of a panel on the 15th anniversary of Richard King’s book Orientalism and Religion on Monday at 1pm, commenting on a screening of the film Kumaré Sunday night at 8pm, and chairing a panel on “Visual, Digital, and Material Representations of Hindu Traditions in North America” on Saturday morning at 9. We can bet he’ll tweet about all of this.

Dr. Merinda Simmons will be busy making contacts. Along with Ramey and McCutcheon, she’s meeting with the Culture on the Edge research group as well as meeting with her co-author for a book on academic discourse in gender theory and religion and her co-editor for another book project (on code-switching). She’s also going to hang out at the book exhibit and talk with an editor from a press about an anthology for religious studies students and instructors.

Dr. Steven Ramey will also be at THATCamp and is planning to spend the conference meeting with colleagues from other institutions and talking with the publisher and potential contributors for a book series he edits.

Dr. Sarah Rollens is giving two papers at the meeting. One titled “Reflections on Q and Scribalism” that is part of a panel on “Q’s Difference: Social Context and Rhetorical Function” on Sunday at 9am and another for a panel on “Conceptual Issues in New Testament Scholarship” titled “Inventing Tradition in Thessalonica.”

Don’t you wish you could be there for all of that? Well, through the power of Twitter you can! Follow our faculty members and the hashtag #sblaar14 to experience the all the excitement of the conference.

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About Michael Altman

Michael J. Altman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies. Dr. Altman's areas of interest are American religious history, theory and method in the study of religion, the history of comparative religion, and Asian religions in American culture. Overall, his research sits at the crossroads of American religious history and religious studies, using the theoretical insights of religious studies to dig deeper into what we mean by "religion" in religious history. His current research examines cultural constructions of Hinduism in 19th-century America.

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