SORAAAD Workshop: A PDF of "Les approaches comparatives en histoire des religions antiques" is now available.

posted Oct 30, 2014, 7:47 PM by I Chatterjea   [ updated Oct 30, 2014, 7:47 PM ]

CTDR's 2014 AAR and SBL Annual Meeting Sessions in San Diego

posted Oct 16, 2014, 11:17 AM by I Chatterjea   [ updated Oct 16, 2014, 11:26 AM ]

The full list of the Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group's sessions from November 21-25, are now posted on the Bulletin for the Study of Religion's Blog.

CTDR's full program with abstracts are available for download as a PDF (recommended for Smart Phones.)

The SORAAAD Workshop Ethos for Speakers and Participants

posted May 17, 2014, 12:36 PM by I Chatterjea

The SORAAAD Workshop Ethos for Speakers and Participants clarifying what we do and how we do it is now posted.

SORAAAD 2013 Line Up Change: Bron Taylor will speak on Ethnography

posted Nov 12, 2013, 11:54 AM by I Chatterjea   [ updated Nov 12, 2013, 11:55 AM ]

Bron Taylor (University of Florida Gainesville) will substitute for Jens Kreinath on the topic of Ethnography

The revised program, with a description of Bron's talk and his additional suggestion for further reading is attached in the PDF below.

Ethnography is, in the final analysis, and encounter between a collectivity identified by a researcher who then enters into a relationship with those perceived to be within it. As with any human relationship is fraught with difficulty but also the possibility of new understandings and even intimacy across the fluid researcher/interlocutor boundary, as well as between those directly involved in the encounter and those who read the researcher’s perceptions about it (and in rare cases, sometimes talk back from the subjects of the research themselves). The encounter is often complicated by the ways actors outside of the community view it and visa versa and how all of these actors come to understand the researcher. Bron will focus on the relational aspects of fieldwork based on decades of study of actors within the global environmental milieu, especially those involved in grassroots and radical environmental movements.

CTDR, SOR, CHSR and Social Theory and Religion Cluster Submission Policy 2013-2015

posted Feb 26, 2013, 12:13 PM by I Chatterjea

Dear Member of the AAR or SBL.

To announce formally and otherwise clarify the submissions policy for the Social Theory and Religion Cluster from 2013-2015, we ask that for each individual submission (paper or panel)  that the person submitting pick either Critical Theories and Discourses on Religion   (CTDR), Sociology of Religion Group(SOR) or Cultural History of the Study of Religion (CHSR). 

This leaves you free to jointly submit to a unit outside of the cluster if you so choose. 

There is no need to submit jointly to two units within the cluster. Where the proposal is responsive to a joint line in the call for papers it will be clear to the designated program unit. 

Please note from this single submission to a single unit (CTDR, SOR, or CHSR) that these program units will collaborate to review proposals.  The designated program unit will have and retain primary consideration but this will leave open the capacity for the paper or panel to be accepted by either of the other two units if its a better fit with panels in development for the meeting. 

To find a panel berth for all strong work submitted to CHSR, CTDR and SOR was an independently shared objective among CHSR, CTDR and SOR prior to the cluster and will remain so even after 2015.

This policy leaves the units the greatest flexibility to accommodate as many  submissions through the PAPERS system as possible.


 Randall Styers (CHSR),  Ipsita Chatterjea (SOR) and William Arnal (CTDR)

FieldNotes - SIgnatures needed by Nov 29 - New AAR Program Unit Proposal – Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence.

posted Nov 27, 2012, 9:38 PM by I Chatterjea   [ updated Nov 27, 2012, 9:41 PM ]

From the Bulletin for the Study of Religion

To foster interdisciplinary approaches to and comparative religion analyses in the study of religion and violence we are seeking AAR member signatures to support the creation of a new Program Unit:  “Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence.”

At the 2012 Chicago AAR meeting, “Theorizing Religion and Violence: Interdisciplinary Approaches, the Future of a Subfield,” served as the exploratory panel which was co-sponsored by the Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group and Sociology of Religion Group.

The panel papers provide an example of the direction we seek to promote in our new program unit with rich discussions on the relationship between religion and violence– from sociological, anthropological, psychological, linguistic and literary analyses on conflicts around the world.

As a new program unit, one of the requirements for entry into the American Academy of Religion conference is evidence of member interest. If you could, we would greatly appreciate an email of support from you.

The AAR program committee explicitly would like to hear how (1) this new program unit would facilitate your research; (2) if you would submit proposals to this unit, and; (3) whether you would attend sessions for this new unit.

To register your interest with the program committee, please address the points above, or state your general support for the creation of this unit to the AAR Program Committee at ( by November 29, 2012.

For more information on our proposal, please find below the details on our current committee members and a brief outline of our view of the field and need for the program unit at the AAR.

Thank you for your interest. We hope to confirm the unit’s approval early in the new year.


Michael and Margo


 Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Group

 Co-chairs: Michael Jerryson (Eckerd College) and Margo Kitts (Hawai’i Pacific University)

Steering committee members: Mark Juergensmeyer (University of California, Santa Barbara), Hans Kippenberg (Jacobs University Bremen), Philip Tite (University of Washington), Julie Ingersoll (University of North Florida) and Jamel Velji (Haverford College).

One rising interest in the field of religious studies is the interdisciplinary analysis of religion and violence. Among the first reverberations was J. Z. Smith’s article, “The Devil in Mr. Jones,” written in response to the deaths of 918 people near and in Jonestown, Guyana on November 18, 1978. After this, historians of religion moved toward handling events of violence and religion as data to be studied rather than as acts of those without “genuine” religion. Since the end of the Cold War, acts of religiously motivated violence have become prominent worldwide. Academics from various disciplines have attempted to account for these incidents, citing a resurgence of anti-colonialism, poverty and economic injustice, the failures of secular nationalism, uprootedness and the loss of a homeland, and the pervasive features of globalization in its economic, political, social and cultural forms. Scholars no longer debate whether religion has a role in violence; rather, the discussion has turned to what kind of role it plays, and how this role effects social change in both the conflict and religious communities.

We contend that the theories, methodologies and scales for studying the expanding field of religion and violence remain under-explored, require interdisciplinary work and collaboration to provide greater insights into the thorny issues involved. The most fertile fields in the study of religion over the last century have been interdisciplinary; sociology of religion, anthropology of religion, psychology of religion, philosophy of religion, and more recently economics of religion and political science of religion, all of these are arguably interdisciplinary by nature. Exciting work has been done on the relationship between religion and violence also from perspectives such as evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy.  However, there is no venue devoted specifically to interdisciplinary discussions of the subject.  A larger frame for the study of religion and violence would channel and enhance the growing contributions from the historically delineated (albeit constructed) humanities, social sciences and physical sciences.

New SBL Unit - Metacriticism in Biblical Scholarship - Bulletin for the Study of Religion Field Notes

posted Oct 8, 2012, 6:41 AM by I Chatterjea

Field Notes: New Unit in the Society of Bibical Literature to Debut in Chicago – “Metacriticism in Biblical Scholarship”

Metacriticism of Biblical Scholarship, a new unit in the Society of Biblical Literature, will debut at the 2012 annual meeting in Chicago. The unit critically evaluates suppositions in and underlying biblical scholarship, including how an explicitly non-religious approach differs from what is even now represented as historical-critical scholarship, especially when compared to other secular disciplines within the humanities (history, classical studies) and the social sciences (e.g., anthropology, sociology).

The idea for the new unit crystallized out of concerns for the pervasive theological orientation of many units in the Society of Biblical Literature. A meeting was held in New Orleans in 2009, which included Hector Avalos, Jim Linville, and Zeba Crook, who are part of the current steering committee. Other committee members are William Arnal, Randall Reed, and Rebecca Raphael. Hector Avalos of Iowa State University is the chair of the steering committee for this unit.

The unit made a formal proposal to the SBL in 2010 with the title of “Secular Biblical Criticism Consultation.” But it was not until this year that it was approved and given its current name.

The new unit will offer the following two sessions in Chicago:

Frauds, Pious Frauds and Biblical Origins

11/17/2012, 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM, Room: N129 – McCormick Place

Presiding, Stephanie Louise Fisher, University of Nottingham

Jim Linville, University of Lethbridge, “The Royal Scam: Josiah, Joseph Smith and Believing one’s own Pious Fraud”

K. L. Noll, Brandon University, “A Portrait of the Deuteronomistic Historian at Work? How Theology Invents the History of the Bible”

Robert Price, Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, “Pious Fraud and Imposture in the New Testament”

Rene Salm, University of Oregon, “The Archaeology of Nazareth: A History of Pious Fraud?”

Respondent: Diana Edelman, University of Sheffield

Histories of the Religion of Israel (Joint Session With Metacriticism of Biblical Scholarship, Ideological Criticism)

11/18/2012, 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM, Room: S104a – McCormick Place

Presiding, Willi Braun, University of Alberta

K. L. Noll, Brandon University, “Inventing Yahwism: The History of Israelite Religions and the Religion of a Historical Israel”

Jim Linville, University of Lethbridge, “On the Religion of Bronze Age Goat-Herders. Ancient Israel as a secularist’s foil”

T.L. Thompson, University of Copenhagen, “A Biblical Critique of Religion and the Figure of Yahweh in the Pentateuch”

Respondent: Mark Smith, New York University


For more information, please contact Hector Avalos ( chair of the Metacriticism and Biblical Scholarship Consultation.

SORAAAD 2012 Program Update.

posted Sep 17, 2012, 3:20 PM by I Chatterjea

The update to the program is available, and posted below and on the discussion page. 

SORAAAD Facebook page.

posted Sep 17, 2012, 3:15 PM by I Chatterjea

For those of you on Facebook, we have a Facebook page. 

2012 SORAAAD Pre Conference Workshop Readings

posted Sep 1, 2012, 8:06 PM by I Chatterjea

The background readings for the workshop are now available from the discussion page. The Panelists for each segment will reference the materials listed. We encourage all who have registered to review the materials listed to enable a vibrant discussion of each segment's theme. 

1-10 of 11