Sociology of Religion Group: AAR Annual Conference, Nov. 21-25, San Diego


Sociology of Religion Group – AAR

November 21-25, 2014 Sessions, San Diego, CA

Statement of Purpose: The Sociology of Religion Group provides a forum for the discussion of empirical and theoretical research on religion and society. “Sociology” is broadly conceived; discussions will include different epistemologies, varying theoretical backgrounds, qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and a wide range of empirical data. By liaising with other program units, we seek to provide a platform for research that empirically and theoretically engages the question of the role of religion or the sacred in societies globally.

SOR is either sponsoring or co-sponsoring six sessions at the San Diego AAR: a workshop on the role of comparison in research and sessions on Secularism and the Non-Religious, the analysis of historical accounts of religious experiences with Joseph Smith as the case study, sociology of religion and the environment, religious identity and political power and French feminisms.

SOR’s Program with abstracts for the Annual Meeting is available for download as a PDF. (recommended for smart phones)


Friday – November 21, 2014

Comparison and the Analytical Study of Religion                 Program PDF

Location disclosed to those registered. To register place “SORAAAD – 2014 – Registration” in the subject line of an email addressed to [email protected].

A22-112 – The Shifting Boundaries of the Secular, Spiritual, and Religious

Saturday – 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Convention Center-30C

Co-Sponsored by the Secularism and Secularity Group, Sociology of Religion Group, Religion and the Social Sciences Section and Religious Conversions Group.

This panel brings together papers that explore the fluid, antagonistic, and overlapping boundaries of the secular, spiritual, and religious. Each paper considers how various actors draw these boundaries differently by relying on multiple understandings of the religious and the secular and by creating hybrid identities that cut across religious traditions or the secular/religious divide. Together they reveal the wide range of unique configurations of the secular, spiritual, and religious and further nuance our understanding of their co-constitution.

Marc Pugliese, Saint Leo University, Presiding

Emily Sigalow, Brandeis University

Switching, Mixing, and Matching: Towards an Understanding of Multireligiousness in Contemporary America

Elaine Howard Ecklund, Rice University and

Brandon Vaidyanathan, University of Notre Dame

How Scientists in India and the United Kingdom Negotiate Boundaries between Science and Religion

Linda A. Mercadante, Methodist Theological School, Ohio

Qualitative Research on Spiritual but Not Religious “Nones”: Heterogeneous yet Conceptually Converging

Kristen Tobey, University of Pittsburgh

“Not Non-Mormons”: Belonging without Believing in the LDS Church

A23-129 – Joseph Smith’s First Vision: New Methods for the Analysis of Experience-Related Texts

Sunday – 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Convention Center-5A

Co-Sponsored by the Mormon Studies Group and Sociology of Religion Group

J. Spencer Fluhman, Brigham Young University, Presiding


Ann Taves, University of California, Santa Barbara

Steven C. Harper, LDS Church History Library, Salt Lake City, UT

Kathleen Flake, University of Virginia, respondent

Gustavo Benavides, Villanova University respondent.

In a fresh approach to the founding story of Mormonism, two scholars (one LDS and one not) who are currently writing on early Mormonism will present the results of their collaborative analysis of each of the known sources of Joseph Smith’s first vision, including newly discovered sources, using a method that teases apart events (what ostensibly happened) and explanations (the subject’s understanding of why it happened). When aligned chronologically by event and explanation, the method provides a more rigorous basis for examining the historical development of the narrative over time, including changes in structure and content, in the context of social interactions and the role of experience narratives in the emergence of new social movements. Using this highly debated event as a case study, the presenters will demonstrate the way in which a clear distinction between the subject’s explanation of events and scholarly meta-explanations allows scholars to work toward agreement on the former and more carefully account for their differences with respect to the latter. Two respondents will then address both the case study and the broader implications of the method for the field of religious studies.

A23-275 – To Green or Not to Green, and Everything in Between: Assessing Trends, Patterns and Gaps in Scholarship on Religion and the Environment

Sunday – 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Convention Center-4

Sociology of Religion Group

This session assesses scholarship related to a key shift that has occurred over the past 40+ years, the so-called “greening of religions.” Briefly stated, the greening of religions refers to religions’ gradual incorporation of environmental concerns into their theologies, rituals and (in some cases) ministries. Sparked by the publication of Lynn White Jr.’s influential article “The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis,” in 1967, a growing body of scholarship in religious studies and beyond has sought to capture the relationship between religions and environmental concern. As the scholarship on the greening of religion matures, it is appropriate to examine and assess its findings, identifying patterns and gaps, strengths and weaknesses, and assessing implications for the sociological study of religion, broadly speaking. The papers in this session aim to map out and critique trends in the scholarship religion and the environment.

Lucas Johnston, Wake Forest University, Presiding

Bron Taylor, University of Florida, Responding

Robin Veldman, University of Florida

Toward A Broader Conceptualization of Religions’ Engagement with the Environmental Crisis

Evan Berry, American University

Do Not Throw Your Pearls Before Swine: What is Valuable In Religion in Ecology?

Bernard Zaleha, University of California Santa Cruz

Was Lynn White Right?: Exploring the Contemporary Anti-Environmentalist

Gretel Van Wieren, Michigan State University

The Greening of Religion Movement: An Overview of the Literature with Special Emphasis on Social Scientific Studies (and the Lack Thereof)

A24-137 – Religious Identity and Political Power

Monday – 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Convention Center-32A

Co-Sponsored by the Sociology of Religion Group and Critical Research on Religion

Sociology of Religion Group Business Meeting, 11:20 am

With each paper pivoting on the relationship between religious identity, its status, and its relationship to the political power the participants in this panel present five different cases that span the globe – from Scandinavia to India to Australia. The first three are qualitative and address the problems of Hindu and Muslim religious minorities in Northern European societies: inter-religious mourning rituals in response to the terrorist attack by a right-wing extremist in Norway in July 2011; Hindu and Roman Catholic Tamil youth in rural Norway; and the question of apostasy among Muslims in secular Sweden. The last two papers are more theoretical and address powerful religious/political alliances: the Hindu nationalist astheticization of politics among tribal communities in India; and the relationship of conservative evangelical Christians to Neoliberal government policy in Australia.

Rebekka King, Middle Tennessee State University, Presiding

Warren Goldstein, Harvard University, Respondent

Hildegunn Valen Kleive, Høgskulen i Volda

Young Tamils and Spirituality in Norway

Ida Marie Høeg, Centre for Church Research

The Terror Attacks on Norway – 22 July 2011: Interreligious Funerals as Response to Terror

Daniel Enstedt, University of Gothenburg

Understanding Islam, Apostasy, and Disaffiliation in Present-day Sweden

Marion Maddox, Macquarie University

Neoliberal Dominance and “Resurgent Religion”: Coincidence, Elective Affinity, or Causation?

Pinky Hota, Smith College

Indigeneity, Piety, and Belonging: The Aesthetic Politics of Hindu Nationalism

Business Meeting

Ipsita Chatterjea, Vanderbilt University

Warren Goldstein, Harvard University

A24-209 – Feminism and Subjectivity in the Study of Religion

Monday – 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Convention Center-9

Co-Sponsored by the Sociology of Religion Group, Critical Theories and Discourses on Religion Group and Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group, or STAR (Social Theory and Religion Cluster)

STAR Business Meeting, 3:20 pm

Morny Joy, University of Calgary, Respondent

2014 marks the thirty- and forty-year anniversaries of key works in French social theory, including Julia Kristeva’s Revolution in Poetic Language (40th anniversary) and Luce Irigaray’s Speculum of the Other Woman (40th ) and An Ethics of Sexual Difference (30th ). In honor of their legacies, the panelists in this session explore related questions of feminism and subjectivity in the study of religion. With reference not only to Irigaray and Kristeva, but also to Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood, they treat critical turns in affect theory and speech act theory, the ethics of alterity, and the discursive formation of subjectivity as a crucial category in the study of religion.

Abigail Kluchin, Ursinus College

An Alternative Lineage for Affect Theory: Returning to Irigaray’s Speculum de l’Autre Femme and Kristeva’s Revolution du Langage Poétique

Wesley Barker, Mercer University

Signifying Flesh: The Ambiguity of Desire and the Possibility of Alterity in Irigaray’s Ethics of Sexual Difference

Samantha Langsdale, University of London

Framing Historical Women’s Agency: A Critical Reading of Speech Act Theories

Constance Furey, Indiana University

Hermeneutics of Intersubjectivity: Foucault, Butler, and Limit Experiences

Business Meeting:

William E. Arnal, University of Regina

Ipsita Chatterjea, Vanderbilt University

Randall Styers, University of North Carolina

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