Elon Religious Studies faculty members present at major conference

Department of Religious Studies faculty presented research and participated in leadership roles at the joint annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), which took place in San Antonio, Texas.

Faculty in the Department of Religious Studies at Elon University presented research and participated in several leadership roles at the joint annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), held Nov. 20 through Nov. 23 in San Antonio, Texas.

Associate Professor Amy L. Allocco delivered a paper in response to the New Directions in South Asian Religions panel, sponsored by the Religion in South Asia Unit. Allocco also presented in a session titled “International Collaboration in the Time of COVID-19 and Post-Pandemic Future” sponsored by the International Connections Committee.

She discussed the outcomes of her ongoing research collaboration with Xenia Zeiler from the University of Helsinki, which received support from an AAR research grant in 2019 to examine the currents of “sweetening” and “intensification” associated with Hindu deities and ritual practices in contemporary South Asia.

Associate Professor Geoffrey Claussen served as the respondent in a session sponsored by the Study of Judaism Unit on the theme of “Feminist Virtue Ethics and Jewish Thought: Possibilities and Challenges.”

Adjunct Assistant Professor Christopher Howell presented in a session sponsored by the Science, Technology and Religion Unit. His paper was titled “‘Everyone is After Them’: Intelligent Design, Expertise, and Mainstream Science Skepticism.”

Lynn R. Huber, Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of Religious Studies, presented as part of an invited roundtable on the forthcoming revision to the New Revised Version of the Bible. The roundtable discussed the ways this new translation might engage specific interpretive publics, including Black, Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities.

Professor Brian Pennington serves on the Board of Directors for the AAR as its Regions Director, helping to guide and oversee the work of the AAR’s 10 regional organizations across the US and Canada. At the annual meeting, he participated in the board’s historic decision to shift 40% of the AAR’s investments to Black-owned management firms, making the AAR the first member organization of the American Council of Learned Societies to undertake such a move. Pennington also presided at sessions related to the widespread use of contingent faculty labor at U.S. institutions and matters pertaining to the AAR regions.

Senior Lecturer LD Russell participated in the annual meeting of the Theta Alpha Kappa Religious Studies Honor Society. During the meeting, he was elected to serve a three-year term on the TAK Board of Directors.

Professor Pamela Winfield continued her service on the Steering Committee of the Japanese Religions Unit (JRU). She participated in the annual Business Meeting of the JRU, and she helped to assess the impact of this year’s JRU panels and to craft the Call For Papers for next year’s sessions.