The American Academy of Religion estimates that over 10,000 people regularly attend its annual meetings. But at the AAR's gathering in Baltimore last month, I had the good fortune of spending a day with seventy participants who came early to participate in the AAR's first ever THATCamp. Unlike traditional academic gatherings THATCamps, which stands for The Humanities And Technology Camp, have no predetermined proceedings. Rather, participants propose the kinds of sessions they would like to attend in the weeks leading up to the camp so the day's events reflect the needs and interests of those in attendance as much as possible.
The day, I think, was a resounding success. This was in no small part to the people who made THATCampAAR happen. The AAR was unendingly generous in providing us with space, wifi, and audiovisual equipment; DeGruyter Press provided everyone with swag and the most expensive cups of coffee in the world; and the organizing team of Kristian Petersen, Mike Altman, Hussein Rashid, Jeri Wieringa, Kelly Bulkeley, and Dave McConegy were all great to work with in pulling this off. But by far it was the campers that made THATCampAAR such a success. In addition to a number of preplanned workshops, we had sessions on the digital publication of religious studies scholarship, building DH teams on campus, teaching religious history with web-born resources, and a vibrant discussion on what a manifesto for a digital religious studies would look like. By the end of the day I was as invigorated as I was exhausted. Check out the camp's #THATCampAAR hashtag to see just how vibrant the day was.
But at the AAR this year THATCamp was only the beginning of a much larger