Religious Studies faculty members present research at major conference

Members of the Religious Studies Department presented their research and participated in the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature held Nov. 23-26 in San Diego, California.

Faculty in the Department of Religious Studies presented research and participated in a number of leadership roles at the joint annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), held Nov. 23-26 in San Diego, California. The conference regularly attracts more than 10,000 scholars of religion and theology from around the world.

Associate Professor Pamela Winfield presented her paper on “No Needles Required: Teaching Daoist Healing Techniques” as part of a Daoist pedagogy panel entitled “Authenticity, Wellness, and the Daoist Curriculum.” She also responded to a panel on “Buddhism, Religious Knowledge, and Public Space in Edo and Meiji Japan,” sponsored by AAR’s Japanese Religions Unit. In addition, she moderated a panel on “The Nanzan Guide to Japanese Religions Vol. II” as President of the Society for the Study of Japanese Religions, and she co-led the Business Meeting as co-chair of the Arts, Literature and Religion Unit.

Instructor Seth Ligo presented a paper titled “Cries of Terror, Shrieks of Laughter: Marginal Yogīs and the Complementary Modalities of Humor and Fear“ on a Comparative Studies in Religion panel featuring discussions of Humor and Religion in South Asia, as well as a paper titled “Mapping Maṇḍalas: Tantric Constructs in a Purāṇic City” on a Tantric Studies panel featuring research related to Digital Tantra.

Associate Professor Amy Allocco served as respondent to a panel titled “Power, Gender, Place,” that was co-sponsored by AAR’s Space, Place, and Religion Unit and Women and Religion Unit.  She also participated in a meeting with the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) Women Scholars Network, for which she has served as a Steering Committee Member since 2014.

Professor Brian Pennington serves as a member of the AAR task force that has written recently released national guidelines promoting religious literacy for all college graduates in the United States. The “College-Wide Guidelines Project” members met at this meeting to plan for circulation of the guidelines among higher education leaders. At the meeting Pennington was also named Chair of the AAR’s national committee on Teaching and Learning, and he delivered the response to a panel of four scholars on the topic, “Economies of Modern Hinduism: Markets of Discipline and Critique.”

Assistant Professor Ariela Marcus-Sells presented as part of a panel on “Science, Religion, and the Construction of Meaning” sponsored by AAR’s Science, Technology, and Religion Unit.  Her paper was titled “Controlling the Unseen: The Scientific Imaginaries of the Kunta Scholars.”

Assistant Professor Helen Orr presented a paper titled “Contesting Sacred Travel from a Contact Zone: Bosnian Counter-Memory and Legacies of Humanitarian Intervention” as a part of the Anthropology of Religion Unit’s panel on “Contact Zones: Commemorative, Diasporic, and Interreligious Interactions.”

Assistant Professor Sarah Bloesch responded to a panel hosted by the Women’s Caucus called, “Redefining Fields: Considering New Resources,” where emerging scholars engaged her co-edited textbook, “Cultural Approaches to Studying Religion: An Introduction to Theories and Methods.”

Professor Toddie Peters made three presentations, including responding to the book “The Bible as Political Artifact: On the Feminist Study of the Hebrew Bible;” participating in a panel on “Creating Successful Religion Programs in an Anti-Humanities Age”; and participating in a panel in AAR Religion and Sexuality Unit focused on “Reproductive Justice: Expanding the Discourse.”

Professor Lynn Huber responded to an SBL panel on “Pasifika Pedagogies,” on teaching biblical studies in Pacific Islander contexts; presided over a panel that she helped organize on the theme of “What’s the ‘Matter’ with Gender and Sexuality in the Roman World?”; presented a paper titled “Reading Revelation with Gail O’Day”; and presented a paper on the topic of “Cultivating Womanist, Feminist, and Queer Relationships in this Neoliberal-Authoritarian Age.” As a member of SBL’s LGBTQ+ Task Force, she also attended listening sessions focused on concerns and issues raised by LGBTQ+ scholars and those researching LGBTQ+ topics in biblical texts and contexts.