Responding to a Crisis With a Seminar

November 2021 will be packed with events. Leading up to SBL/AAR in San Antonio (November 20–23), I will be participating in a panel hosted by the North American Association for the Study of Religion (NAASR).

The panel will take place in San Antonio, just before the SBL/AAR, and will feature some really thoughtful scholars. Here are the details:

Religion and the Study of Religions in Times of "Crisis"

The 2021 Annual Meeting will be in a hybrid format this year, featuring a virtual pre-conference. Saturday, November 13th, NAASR will host an online Keynote Address from Aaron Hughes, followed by a Roundtable Discussion to kickoff this year’s theme of “Crisis” in Religion and Religious Studies. The following weekend, we are scheduled to be in-person in San Antonio, Texas, along with AAR. This is of course subject to change with any updates in health guidelines. We will post the detailed program for the in-person meeting, with times and dates, as soon as we have confirmation. Looking forward to seeing you online and in person soon.

Our theme:

For the past several years, NAASR’s meetings have featured panels that reflect on various dimensions of the study of religion (theory, method, data, key categories, and field). The experience of a global pandemic has further exposed and exacerbated existing crises, from racial justice and economic inequality, the breakdown of so-called democratic norms and institutions, to the crisis in the humanities. Moreover, religion figures prominently in public discourse surrounding these trends. Yet, what happens when we classify something as a “crisis”? And what is at stake in linking these “crises” to “religion”?

Panel 4:
LOCUTION: Upending the Discipline—A Critical Roundtable on Crisis

“There is no crisis to which academics will not respond with a seminar.” – Marvin Bressler (1923-2010)

This year’s AAR Presidential Theme calls for “thinking about the actual human implications of religion in a world upended.” Given NAASR’s work as a critical engagement, this roundtable brings together senior and early-career scholars to assess this stated aim. What does it mean to frame the world which we study as a “world upended”? How can we think critically about not just crisis itself but also about what is constructed as “crisis”? What are the implications to our scholarly endeavors and our profession if responding to “crisis” becomes our modus operandi? How does this framework privilege certain voices or interests over others within the field (or within the objects of study)?


Brad Stoddard (McDaniel College)
Merinda Simmons (University of Alabama)
Emily Clark (Gonzaga University)
Adrian Hermann (University of Bonn)
Robyn Walsh (University of Miami)
Rebekka King (Middle Tennessee State University), Presiding

For more details, please visit NAASR's Annual Meeting page.