AAR Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group: November 21-25, 2014, San Diego, CA


AAR Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group 

November 21-25, 2014, San Diego, CA

The Cultural History of the Study of Religion group is devoted to historical inquiry into the social and cultural contexts of the study of religion and into the constructions of ‘religion’ as an object of scholarly inquiry.” This year CHSR is sponsoring or co-sponsoring four sessions at the San Diego AAR, with a workshop on the role of comparison in research on religion and panels on the study of religion in distinctive institutional settings the impacts of this on constructions of difference, French Feminisms and  an author-meets-critics panel on Brent Nongbri’s Before Religion.


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]

A22-121   Local Accents: The Study of Religion in Distinctive Institutional Settings

Saturday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM

Hilton Bayfront- 410A

This session explores how the category of “religion” gets constructed on the ground in specific academic institutions. Each paper explores a detailed case study: the American University in Beirut; Ursula Niebuhr at Barnard College; and the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School. Taken together, the papers form a springboard for a critical discussion of the role of “difference” in the formation of religion as an object and discourse of study in the American academy.

Diane Segroves, Ball State University, Presiding

Caleb McCarthy, University of California, Santa Barbara

Rethinking the Teaching of Religion at the American University of Beirut, 1900-1930

Leslie Ribovich, Princeton University

A Woman’s Religious Work, Protestant Privilege, and Interfaith Ideals: The Story of Ursula Niebuhr and the Barnard and Columbia Religion Departments

Lucia Hulsether, Harvard University

Residual Battle Fatigue: Racial Formations and the Discourse of Religious Pluralism at Harvard Divinity School, 1960-1975

Eugene V. Gallagher, Connecticut College, Responding

Business Meeting:

Ann M. Burlein, Hofstra University

Randall Styers, University of North Carolina


A24-209 Feminism and Subjectivity in the Study of Religion

Monday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM                               

Convention Center-9

Co-sponsored by Sociology of Religion Group,

Critical Theories and Discourses on Religion Group and

Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group,

or STAR (the Social Theory and Religion Cluster).

STAR Business Meeting, 3:20 pm

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.

Morny Joy, University of Calgary, Respondent

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;

Randall Styers, University of North Carolina;

Ipsita Chatterjea, Vanderbilt University


A24-319  Brent Nongbri’s Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept (Yale University Press, 2013): Critical Engagement

Monday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM

Convention Center-25C

Co-sponsored by Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group and SBL Religious World of Late Antiquity Section

This session will include four responses to Brent Nongbri’s Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept. Cosponsored by the AAR’s Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group and the SBL’s Religious World of Late Antiquity Group, the panelists will consider both Nongbri’s account of the pre-history of the concept of “religion” and the implications of Nongbri’s work for future scholarship.

Cynthia M. Baker, Bates College, Presiding

Andrew Durdin, University of Chicago

Religio without Religion: Reflections on Recent Debates in Roman Religion and Religious Studies

James Broucek, Iowa State University

Historicizing the Concept of Religion: A Prerequisite to Critical Research, or an Intrinsically Interesting Subject?

Kathleen M. Sands, University of Hawai’i

The “Religious” and “Secular” Meanings of “Playing Indian”: An Assessment of Brent Nongbri’s Before Religion

Nathan Rein, Ursinus College

Beyond Religion: Directions for Research Following Nongbri’s Before Religion

Brent Nongbri, Macquarie University, Responding

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