FSU Graduate Student Symposium Call for Papers Deadline Extended



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Call for Papers: The Florida State University Department of Religion
11th Annual Graduate Student Symposium
February 17-19, 2012 • Tallahassee, Florida

The Florida State University Department of Religion is pleased to announce its 11th Annual Graduate Student Symposium to be held February 17-19, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida. This year we are pleased that Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at FSU will be co-sponsoring the Symposium.

Last year’s symposium was a huge success, allowing over forty presenters from over twenty universities and departments as varied as Religion, Geography, Psychology, and Philosophy to share their research, learn from one another, and meet many of their peers and future colleagues.

This year’s symposium will be centered on the theme “Beyond Borders: Constructing, Deconstructing and Transgressing Boundaries.”

Dr. Manuel A. Vásquez, of the University of Florida, will deliver this year’s keynote address. His lecture is tentatively titled “Beyond the Fetishism of Commodities? Hyper-Animism and Materiality in the Present Age.” Also, we are pleased to host Dr. Kathryn Lofton of Yale University as a guest respondent.

Due to our commitment to collaborative scholarship, students from all fields with interdisciplinary interests in the study of religion and at all levels of graduate study are encouraged to submit paper proposals.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to: Building and Maintaining Identities; Communities, both Local and Global; Scholars Manufacturing Subjects; Strategies of Empowerment and Subjugation; Limits of Embodiment; Political, Ethical and/or Gender Conflicts; Discourses of (In)Justice.

Presentations should be approximately 15 to 20 minutes in length and will receive faculty responses. In addition, every year respondents select the best graduate paper to receive the Leo F. Sandon Award, an endowed award named for the Religion Department's former chair.

The due date for proposals has been extended. Proposals including an abstract of approximately 300 words, a list of key terms, and a one-page CV should be submitted by December 10, 2011 for review. Final papers must be submitted by January 15, 2012. Please send proposals to Michael Graziano at fsureligionsymposium@gmail.com.

Thank you for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you or your students and seeing you at the 2012 Graduate Student Symposium at Florida State University.

Sarah Ruth Hammond, 1977-2011



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Note: The following sad news came to me today via Linn Tonstad, Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Methodist University, concerning the passing of her friend Sarah Ruth Hammond, a recent PhD. from Yale University who was teaching most recently at William & Mary.

Update: the New York Times religion writer Mark Oppenheimer has posted his memorial tribute on his blog, here. At Religion Dispatches, Sarah Morice-Brubaker reflects on her meeting Sarah as a freshman in college and knowing her as recently as rooming together just a week and a half ago at the AAR.
An official announcement and memorial from the Provost at William & Mary is here.

Sarah Ruth Hammond
by Linn Tonstad

Sarah Ruth Hammond, a brilliant young scholar of American religious history, died this weekend. At the time, she was working as a visiting assistant professor at the College of William & Mary. Sarah received her PhD from Yale’s Religious Studies department in 2010, for a dissertation entitled, “‘God’s Business Men’: Entrepreneurial Evangelicals in Depression and War.” Sarah received numerous fellowships during graduate study, including a Mellon fellowship, a Franke fellowship, and a Lake Fellowship from the Center for the Study of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Sarah received her BA from Yale University in 1999. Her first book was under contract with the University of Chicago Press, and her article, “‘God Is My Partner’: An Evangelical Business Man Confronts Depression and War,” had recently been published in Church History (September 2011). Sarah was 34 years old when she died.

Others will be better qualified than I to assess the loss her death represents for the future of American religious history. I do know that Sarah was one of the smartest and most vivacious people I’ve ever known, and that there is little question that, had she lived, she would have been a central figure in the next generation of American religious historians. I first met Sarah at the orientation for incoming PhD students in religious studies at Yale in the fall of 2003. We quickly became close, and accompanied one another through many of the vagaries of graduate study, romantic entanglements and disentanglements, and other various challenges of spending significant portions of your twenties and thirties training to read and interpret texts rather than people. Sarah loved music, and (remember, we met in 2003) she would bring stacks of CDs over to my apartment and we would spend hours talking while exchanging albums from Steve Earle and Warren Zevon, and obsessing over the excellence of the band Pulp. (We heard Jarvis Cocker play a concert in New York once, at which he did not indulge us with a single song from Pulp days, yet all was wonderful anyway.) Sarah was a passionate runner and an activist for many Democratic and progressive causes, overcoming her natural shyness to canvass door to door and work in phone banks when issues were particularly exigent. Her devotion to excellence at Scrabble was legendary, extending to the point of photographically recording the board after games. Her cats, Gandalf and Thea, assisted greatly in the writing of her dissertation by destroying staplers, knocking over stacks of research, and disappearing at the whisper of a stranger’s entrance.

Colonial Job



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Better late than never, this may be of interest to some of you reading the blog.

Colonial North America. The Department of History at Washington State University in Pullman seeks to fill a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Colonial North American history beginning August 2012. The department welcomes applications from historians with a strong potential for excellence in research relevant to any specialization in Colonial North American history, but is especially interested in a scholar whose work focuses on trans-Atlantic colonial or North American borderlands history. The teaching assignment of the successful candidate will include courses on Colonial North America and the American Revolution. Duties include maintaining an active research program, participating in service, and teaching (the normal teaching load is currently two courses per semester). Ph.D. in history is required by time of appointment. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated teaching ability and an established record of scholarship.

Here is the link: https://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=43870

Eating as Spiritual Practice: Locavangelism and the Evangelical Tradition in America



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Today I'm posting Part II of Rachel Wheeler's "Eating as Spiritual Practice: Locavangelism in America Today," presented originally as a paper at a conference and shortened slightly here for blog format. Part I introduced some of Rachel's basic ideas; Part II below draws out the parallels she sees between evangelical thought and locavore practice; Part III, posted on Sunday December 4th, concludes the series. Thanks for Rachel for these provocative explorations!

Part II of Locavangelism in America
by Rachel Wheeler

History and Definitions

I would like to suggest that aspects of the contemporary environmental movement draw heavily – and largely unconsciously—from the deeply rooted American tradition of evangelicalism. Evangelicalism has been a powerful force in American culture from the revivals of the First Great Awakening in the 1740s to today when upwards of 40% of Americans identify themselves as “born again.” So just what is evangelicalism? Scholars generally agree on three basic elements of evangelicalism (or four depending on how you divide them up): the importance of the “born again” experience and a personal relationship with Jesus; Biblicism; and the importance of spreading the word. I’ll tackle these one by one, giving a brief explanation of each before considering how various environmentalists and locavores embody these qualities.

The Born Again Experience

The hallmark of evangelical piety – the born again experience – was the defining feature of the First Great Awakening in the colonies, itself part of a larger transatlantic Protestant evangelical awakening. The born again experience essentially speeded up the conversion process that 17th century New England Puritans had made the basis of church membership. Early Puritan leaders faced the challenge of establishing ecclesiastical structures in a radically different religious and physical environment from what they had known in England. If church membership was not to be a matter of birth to Christian parents, but conferred upon the visible saints of God, then the church needed a means of establishing who was among the elect. Full church membership was thus granted to those who were able to deliver in front of their minister and other church members a compelling account of spiritual journey toward Christ. A pattern soon emerged, termed by Edmund Morgan the “morphology of conversion” marked by the stages of “knowledge, conviction, faith, combat, and true, imperfect assurance. . . .

A number of prominent environmentalists were raised in evangelical and fundamentalist traditions: John Muir, often credited as being the grandfather of the American environmental movement in the 19th century, was raised in a strict Calvinist household; Dave Foreman, who founded the radical environmentalist movement EarthFirst! in 1979, was raised in a fundamentalist church and had once considered becoming a preacher. (Although, I won’t go into it much here, Foreman’s philosophy is fascinating as a sort of Calvinist environmentalist apocalyptic millennialism – Foreman is deeply convinced of human depravity and that our environmental sins are leading us quickly toward an apocalypse in which Mother Nature will meet out justice). . . .

All of these environmentalists, as different as they are, have in common that they renounced the Christian gospel of their upbringing and became ministers of the green gospel. But it is not only those who have evangelicalism in their family tree that become environmental evangelists. Below, I’d like to look at various shades of environmental evangelism, from current and former evangelical Christians and to those with no direct link to evangelicalism.

The lecture by the Mad Vegetarian Cowboy I mentioned at the beginning conforms perfectly to the form, if not the substance, of the evangelical conversion narrative: the Christian content has been vacated and an alternate model of righteous living substituted in its place. I have not been able to find out about Lyman’s religious background, but odds are good that someone raised in ranching country in the 1950s belonged to an evangelical church. Like Lyman, Julia Hill was set on the path toward environmental by a medical disaster. When she was 22, the car she was driving was struck by a drunk driver and she was nearly killed. During her recovery, which took nearly a year, she came to realize, “that my whole life had been out of balance…The crash woke me up to the importance of the moment, and doing whatever I could to make a positive impact on the future.”

Like Lyman, the trauma didn’t prompt an immediate conversion, but set her on the path toward a new life. It would be some years before she found her “Jesus,” but writing in retrospect, she felt she was being called by the one true power, the power of Creation. On a whim Hill headed west, scarcely recovered from the accident, and when she first sets foot in a redwood forest, she feels: “these majestic ancient places.. are the holiest of temples, [and] hous[e] more spirituality than any church…”

She stumbles upon a disorganized activist camp trying to save the ancient forests from the chainsaws. In her depiction, the would-be activists are too caught up in petty bickering to do the work of activism. Hill volunteers and one night becomes more than two years. During that time, Hill is transformed by the tree she comes to call Luna.

Hill’s description of her transformative moment sounds for all the world like a born-again experience, the moment of justification by grace that only comes after being laid low in one’s own sinfulness and helplessness: “I had to be broken until I saw no hope, until I went crazy, until I finally let go. Only then could I be rebuilt; only then could I be filled back up with who I am meant to be. Only then could I become my higher self.” In his Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, Dave Foreman sounds like a modern day Gilbert Tennant when he argues for the importance of grace: “breaking free from the gilded chains of civilized banality is not easy. One cannot achieve a state of wilderness grace through books, through intellectualization, through rational argument. Our passion comes from our connection to the Earth and it is only through direct interaction with the wilderness that we can unite our minds and our bodies with the land, realizing that there is no separation.”. . .

Political conservative and Christian author Rod Dreher admits that he used to mock lefty eating habits until a friend offered his family their week’s share from a CSA (explain Community Supported Agriculture) and he was converted by the cauliflower. Presbyterian pastor Craig Goodwin’s conversion was prompted by his purchase of a “Spa Factory Color Sparkle Custom Nail Mix Studio” as a present for his 7 y.o. daughter to bring to a friend’s birthday. It was the height of meaningless consumption, and came in the aftermath of the Christmas season, and in the midst of the 2008 financial meltdown. After the crisis, he and his wife resolved to spend a year living by four rules: local, used, and homemade (the fourth rules was Thailand – they would buy goods from Thailand, which enabled them to keep their coffee).

Colin Beavan, the child of a-religious, hippy, liberals has no direct connections with evangelical Christianity, yet his memoir of a year of living lightly on the earth has all the hallmarks of the classic conversion narrative. Beavan announces in the introduction to No Impact Man: “I’m going to tell a story that is more confession, a pre-changing of my ways stocktaking, a prodigal son, mea culpa sort of thing.” He then recounts his sinful ways, in his case, his prideful tendency to see the faults in others but not himself: “It’s true, that I had occasionally tried to make a difference in the world, but I was coming to think my political views had too often been about changing other people and too seldom about changing myself.” On an unnaturally warm January day in New York City, Beavan finds himself aghast at the impact of global warming, the complacency he sees all around him and his sense of helplessness. “Back on that summery day in the middle of winter,” he writes, “I seemed to be hitting bottom.” His epiphany was that he must change himself: “I wasn’t sick of the world, I was sick of myself.”

Beavan came to speak at my university in Indiana last year, and in a lecture hall packed with about 500 students, I had the same feeling I’d had hearing Lyman years earlier: here is a modern day itinerant minister of the environmental gospel. In his chatty, self deprecating hipster way, Beavan exhorted his listeners to change their lives. While Beavan did not invoke a higher power directly, his message implied a faith that individual actions do matter, and that individuals can find the power to do the seemingly impossible. He also implied that the way to righteous living is a matter of common sense apprehension of “truth,” and this raises a second feature of evangelicalism: the belief that there is a source of truth and that it is available to all.

Biblicism/common sense

Famed American religious historians George Marsden and Mark Noll have both explored the fusion of evangelical Christianity with a popularized form of Enlightenment philosophy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, resulting in a common sense reading of the bible among evangelicals, and later, fundamentalists: the bible means what it says, and says what it means, and its eternal, enduring truth can be perceived by anyone, not just seminary trained clergy.

This approach to the Bible is readily apparent in the writings of Christian environmentalists, even though conservative Christianity and environmentalism have long been seen as antithetical. For example, Joel Salatin grounds his farming philosophy in his religion: he finds in the Bible a clear account of God’s order of creation, and the charge to humans to steward His creation. In an interview, Salatin explained:I am a Christian, and I think that the Judeo-Christian ethic calls us to realize that we are stewards of creation – that we are not to just rape it, pillage it, whatever, we are to steward it – and lays down certain principles of growth.” He continued to explain, “When God made [the earth] in Genesis, the plants were to reproduce after their own kind. And genetic modification doesn’t make plants produce after their own kind. So, you know, even to that point, [there is a] template there to live by.” Salatin’s farming philosophy is rooted in his reading of the Bible: farming practices must enhance, not hinder, animals’ and plants’ ability to express their God-given nature. In this view, corn fed beef is heretical, and even sinful.

Don Colbert, a graduate of Oral Roberts University (Pentecostal), and a practicing doctor, draws even more directly on the Bible in encouraging his readers to reform their diets. Colbert begins his 2002 book with the question from the title: What Would Jesus Eat? He expects that his readers as Christians have attempted to model their lives on Jesus’s, but rarely when it comes to food: “we seek to follow Jesus in every other area of our lives, why not in our eating habits?” The bible, believes Colbert, offers a clear path that will lead to physical and spiritual health and so when we eat, we should ask ourselves: “Why am I eating this? And “Would Jesus eat this?” If we ask these questions, he suggests, we will have to face two truths about the way we live: “most of what we eat flows from ill-founded, unwise, and mostly unconscious food choices” and 2) “Most of what we eat in a given day may not be what Jesus would have eaten if He were walking in our shoes.”

Secular environmental evangelists also proclaim a truth that is plain for all to see, often turning to nature itself as source of wisdom and truth. Among contemporary environmentalists, Julia Butterfly Hill expresses this idea most clearly in her resolve: “ I was no longer going to live my life out of fear..I was going to live my life guided from the higher source, the Creation source.” Through her relationship with Luna (the tree), Hill comes to realize: “that what I was feeling was the love of the Earth, the love of Creation. Every day we, as a species, do so much to destroy Creation’s ability to give us life. But that Creation continues to do everything in its power to give us life anyway. And that’s true love.” Hill had accepted Luna as her personal savior and guide for her life.

One could hardly imagine anyone farther apart culturally and ideologically than Don Colbert, a politically conservative Pentecostal, and Michael Pollan, a politically liberal secular Jew, yet in his 2008 book, In Defense of Food, Pollan sounds a note remarkably like Colbert’s. Instead of Jesus, however, Pollan invokes the wisdom of grandmothers: “Most of what we need to know about how to eat we already know, or once did until we allowed the nutrition experts and the advertisers to shake our confidence in common sense, tradition, the testimony of our senses, and the wisdom of our mothers and grandmothers.”[9] Pollan’s prescription?: “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”[10] Pollan’s truth is a common-sensical truth.

Spreading the word:

Having found salvation, and a new gospel, the enviro-evangelists all feel compelled to spread the word. Here I’d like to start with the seemingly most un-evangelical of the group: Michael Pollan. Pollan is of Jewish background, but apparently non-practicing. His writing is the epitome of rational discourse, hardly the fire and brimstone of the evangelist. But yet, his works are in fact exhortatory and not entirely unlike that most famed example of fire and brimstone preaching: Jonathan Edwards’ infamous “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” a sermon more often despised (or praised) than it is read. Edwards was a careful student of the Enlightenment, and the power of the sermon comes from the clinical, precise dissection of sin and its consequences. Likewise, Michael Pollan’s work dissects our environmental (food) sins and the consequences to individual, communal, global, and environmental health. Pollan’s equivalent to “Sinners in the Hands…” is his “Letter to the Farmer in Chief,” a letter to the newly elected President Obama published in the New York Times in January 2008, in which he argues that arguing that Obama must make “reform of the entire food system one of the highest priorities of your administration.” If we continue on our current path, Pollan argues, our destruction is assured. And just as Edwards spelled out the precariousness of the sinner’s state, as a spider dangling above the pit of hell, held up only by the slenderest thread of God’s grace, yet deserving of damnation unless the sinner reforms, Pollan describes in great detail the ways that our food choices are clogging arteries, polluting the environment, driving up health care costs, and destabilizing our economy. His program of reform includes everything from supporting farmer’s markets, doing away with agricultural subsidies to big business, establishing a grain reserve, establishing mandatory gardens at primary schools and creating a new School Lunch Corps whose mission would be to change children’s “food culture.”

Joel Salatin, the Christian libertarian capitalist lunatic farmer, was spreading the word of redemption through agriculture long before he was discovered by Pollan. Salatin devotes much of his time to spreading the green gospel. The farm’s website announces:Believing that the Creator’s design is still the best pattern for the biological world, the Salatin family invites like-minded folks to join in the farm’s mission: to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.” . . .

Ragan Sutterfield makes a similar point in his book, Farming as Christian Discipline, “My hope is that Christians will come to see one of their tasks as staking out claims for God's Kingdom by redeeming land from the margins and using that land to create gardens that offer not only good food but also community development and hope.”[12] While Barbara Kingsolver has moved on from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to other writing projects, her website continues to serve as a site of almost religious witness: there is a page filled with reader-submitted pictures of lush gardens and happy children accompanied by testimony of the transformative power of communion with home-grown (or at least locally grown) tomatoes.

Like the temperance and bible tract societies of the nineteenth century the locavangelist movement tends to operate on the conviction that the path to the millennium will be paved by the conversion of individuals: if enough people make the choice for salvation the Kingdom of God will be achieved. And for this, the movement, especially Pollan, have come in for criticism. One reviewer, Laura Shapiro, criticizes Pollan for preaching a doctrine of “individual dietary purity,” which reflects “his religion – the holy, catholic, and apostolic church of food, where only martyrs and lost souls have to shop at Safeway.” According to Shapiro, Pollan alienates the unconverted, because, she write, “he can’t quite bring himself to take us seriously unless we can prove we’ve been born again.” Only time will tell if Shapiro’s critique proves justified, or if the movement gains the momentum and organization to seek systemic change.

KKK Books and the Direction of History



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Randall Stephens

Over at the New York Times, Kevin Boyle reviews two books on the Klan. Fellow blogmeister Kelly Baker's Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930 is one of them along with Thomas R. Pegram's One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.

The authors take different tacks. "While Pegram builds his book up from the experiences of ordinary Klansmen," writes Boyle, Baker "builds out from the Klan’s official declarations of religious devotion drawn from K.K.K. newspapers and magazines." What did the Klan's rise and fall mean? Was it an anomaly of the era or did it represent something darker, more continuous with America's past?

"Yes, the Klan had a very short life," says Boyle. He goes on:

But it has to be understood, [Baker] contends, as of a piece with other moments of fevered religious nationalism, from the anti-Catholic riots of the antebellum era to modern anti-­Islam bigots. Indeed, earlier this year, Herman Cain declared that he wouldn’t be comfortable with a Muslim in his cabinet. It’s tempting to see those moments as Pegram does the Klan: desperate, even pitiful attempts to stop the inevitable broadening of American society. But Baker seems closer to the mark when she says that there’s a dark strain of bigotry and exclusion running through the national experience. Sometimes it seems to weaken.

These books and Boyle's review bring up some weighty issues within American historiography.

How do historians and religious studies scholars generally see these episodes within the context of the arc of American history? Whig historians, of one variety or another, view them as bumps or potholes on the road to freedom and greater equality. Prigs look at them as something more, throwing the whole idea of progress up into the air. (Of course there are all sorts of opinions on the spectrum, shading from one end to the other. Historians need not even be aware of their own views on the subject. See Christopher Shannon's critique of the profession, which we published in Historically Speaking some months ago.)

Take Slavery. How does it fit into the narrative of US history? In 1980 historian John David Smith wrote in the Journal of Negro History that "The importance of slavery in the racial thought of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has been vastly understated by scholars. Yet slavery held an unusual attraction for historians, popular writers, editors, and polemicists in these years." His piece marked a trend in the field. Slavery, historians now wrote, should be taken seriously as integral to the economy and to life in the 19th century. The PBS series Africans in America: America's Journey through Slavery spelled out this theme for a wider audience and included talking head historians like Eric Foner, James Horton, and Nell Irvan Painter. Says Foner, "Slavery was an immense political power in the country, as well as an economic power. The three-fifths clause of the Constitution gave the slave South far greater representation in Congress, and a far larger number of electoral votes, than their white population really would have been entitled to. So the South really had an iron grip on the federal government, down to the middle of the 19th century."*

Other historians have been grappling with the issue of religious freedom/intolerance in ways that parallel Baker's approach. How does one chart the story of religious pluralism and religious bigotry? On this matter David Sehat sees a bleak side to America's past. "What if U.S. religious history was not a history of progressive and unfolding freedom?" he asks in his The Myth of American Religious Freedom. "What if, instead, it was a history of religious conflict? And what if that conflict involved extended periods of religious coercion and the continual attempt to maintain religious power and control?"

On the 19th century Protestant establishment an essay by Ronald P. Formisano and Stephen Pickering sheds some light (or, I guess I should say darkness?): “The Christian Nation Debate and Witness Competency,” in the Journal of the Early Republic. Most importantly, they note:

Historians have examined closely the Founders’ intentions regarding the First Amendment’s religious establishment clause as well as the influence of Protestant Christianity in the public life of the early republic. The new national government, and particularly several states, often breached Jefferson’s “wall of separation” between church and state. . . . In courtrooms across the country, well into the nineteenth century, judges allowed witnesses to be questioned regarding their religious beliefs, with some requiring belief in the “future state” doctrine of divine rewards and punishments before permitting them to testify.

Of course, one generation's dark moments are another's beacons of truth. From where we stand in 2011, we judge and think about the past in ways that are profoundly different from the perspective of historians and religious studies scholars half a century ago. (Think Mircea Eliade.)

If we pull back and gauge the whole, what is American history in general or American religious history in particular about? Do either have a direction or a larger point? What if--as Paul Harvey asked in his review of the PBS documentary God in America--"American religious history [is] about coercion and authority? . . . [W]hat if we make coercion, establishment, and repression as central to our narrative as freedom, disestablishment, and expression? What if this is a show in which Americans’ self-understanding as derived from Exodus is more critically examined than celebrated?"

Eating as Spiritual Practice: Locavangelism in America Today



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Editor's note: I'm delighted to guest post today a contribution from our old friend Rachel Wheeler of IUPUI - Indianapolis, who's currently serving a year as a Fulbright Fellow in Germany. We've blogged before about Rachel's excellent first book To Live Upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth-century Northeast.

Lately, though, Rachel has been contemplating some important matters more close to the present day. She presented a draft of her ideas as a paper, and I'm excerpting a bit of this below as Part I of what will be a three part post about food, sustainability, and religious sensibilities in contemporary America. On this most food-centric of holiday weekend, it seemed appropriate to post this. After reading this, continue on with Part II of this series here, and the finale, Part III, here.

Eating as Spiritual Practice: Locavangelism in America
by Rachel Wheeler

About a dozen years ago, I found myself on a college campus in Portland, Oregon, listening to a talk by a man who billed himself as the “mad, vegetarian cowboy.” Howard Lyman was the founder of an organization called “Voices for a Viable Future,” and that day, as I’m sure he did at hundreds of other public appearances, he told the story of how he had grown up on a cattle ranch in Montana in the 1950s. It was a small operation, but one that had sustained the family for several generations. Then he went off to ag-school at a time when “better living through chemistry” was embraced by agricultural scientists. He came back to the farm with the zeal of the convert. He told his father he wanted to make the ranch bigger and better. They bought up more acres, and started on the path to modern, chemically intensive, factory farming and feed-lot ranching.

Then in 1979, Lyman became paralyzed from a tumor on his spine. His doctors said they could operate to remove the tumor, but chances were he would remain paralyzed, or worse, die during the surgery. Lyman made himself a promise that if he survived, he would devote his life to what he believed was right. The surgery was successful: Lyman not only survived, but he was once again able to walk. At the time, Lyman was 300 pounds (135 kg), and he suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. True to his word, he changed his life. He became a vegetarian, dropped to a healthy weight, and started un-doing all the “improvements” he had implemented on the family’s ranch. He became a lobbyist on Capitol Hill against factory, feedlot farming and even found himself being sued for libel by the beef industry. He became president of an organization named: EarthSave, whose motto is “healthy eating for a healthy planet.” Today he runs an organization called “Voice for a Viable Future.”

Though I cannot know for sure, I am willing to bet that the vast majority of the people in the audience that evening counted themselves as despisers of “organized religion” (the Northwest being the least-churched region of the country, and Reed College students being the second most un-religious students in the whole country) and that they perceived nothing at all religious about the evening. But I couldn’t help but feel I had just attended a religious revival. Lyman’s talk had all the hallmarks of a revivalist sermon, minus any mention of God or Jesus. He had told of the sinful ways in his youth, his arrogance and his disregard for the wisdom of tradition. He recounted the crisis sparked by illness, a miraculous cure, and the epiphany that allowed him to see the error of his former ways. He then chronicled his path of righteousness. The lecture ended with what felt like an altar call, as Lyman exhorted listeners to renounce the sinful ways of the world and follow the narrow path of righteous eating.

In the dozen years since I heard the Mad Vegetarian Cowboy, a lone voice in the wilderness has turned into a loud chorus; and a cultural shift seems to be under way with food front and center. You can scarcely open an American newspaper or magazine today without finding a story that in some way mentions the locavore movement. The term “locavore” was coined in 2005 to mean someone who eats food that did not travel far to reach the plate. The editors of the Oxford English Dictionary declared “locavore” the word of the year for 2007. The Girl Scouts now offer a badge that can be earned by preparing a meal of locally grown food. The movement is far from monolithic: it is possible to find a wide range of belief and practice, from the casual practitioners who occasionally frequent farmer’s markets to augment their supermarket shopping, to those who might be termed fundamentalist locavores, who will not eat a morsel at a restaurant without knowing how far the food traveled, and how the animals were housed and fed. The locavore movement, made up largely of the college educated and reasonably well off, has created a mini-publishing industry, and a flurry of books recounting experiments in extreme locavorism or eco-living has rolled off the presses in recent years: some of the titles include: the bishop of locavangelism, Michael Pollan’s, In Defense of Food, Collin Beaven’s, No Impact Man, Barbara Kingsolver’s, Animal Vegetable Miracle, Kristen Kimball’s, The Dirty Life, and my favorite title (though I confess I haven’t read the book), by Vanessa Farquarson, Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days.

There is an equally voluminous output by Christian publishers, though it has gone largely un-noticed by the mainstream media. Presbyterian pastor Craig Goodwin recently published, A Year of Plenty: One Suburban Family, Four Rules, and 365 Days of Homegrown Adventure in Pursuit of Christian Living, and Ragan Sutterfield, founder of a farm-school for disadvantaged youth, published a collection of essays entitled, Farming as a Spiritual Discipline. Rod Dreher, a Methodist turned Catholic turned Eastern Orthodox, has written about conservatives who embrace what are usually seen as liberal issues in his book: Crunchy Cons: Or How Birkenstock Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party); and one of my favorites, Don Colbert’s, What Would Jesus Eat?

One of the most prominent voices today bridges the Christian and the secular, lefty realms and belongs to Joel Salatin, who calls himself a “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic,” or sometimes, just a “lunatic farmer.” Salatin first came to national prominence through the writings of Michael Pollan, who featured Salatin in his 2006 Omnivore’s Dilemma, which has become the bible of the Locavore movement. Salatin is a 1979 graduate of Bob Jones University (a fundamentalist Christian university), who runs a farm in Virginia. He writes on the farm’s website: “We are in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture.”[1] What the “mad cowboy” and the “lunatic farmer” both mean of course, is that they are far from crazy. Like Wendell Berry before them, who often wrote poems as “the Mad Farmer,” they mean that they are the ones who perceive reality most clearly, and who are willing to be seen as crazy by the world in order to proclaim their truth. Consciously or unconsciously, these authors are invoking the trope of the “fool for Christ;” the believer who challenges societal norms in order to follow a higher calling, and, they hope, lead the way to salvation.

This recent food “madness” begs for interpretation. Is it simply the latest health craze destined to meet the same fate as the Atkins diet, or aerobics? or is there something deeper going on? I think indeed there is something deeper going on, and I believe there are profound resonances with deeply rooted elements of American religious culture. But I think what is most fascinating of all is that the movement has gained substantial momentum among two groups who rarely care to be associated with each other: evangelical Christians and secular liberals. And I think this convergence offers some hope (Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street to the contrary) that the chasm between right and left may in fact bridgeable. . . .

What locavores on the left and right seem to have in common is their emphasis on the importance of practice. It seems to me to be a commentary on what many now see as the superficiality of the 1990s. Both sides are seeking ways to realize their beliefs through actions. It is telling, I think that the environmental movement is growing not by more people heading for escape to a pristine wilderness, but through rediscovering the ancient traditions of agriculture, a turn that seems eminently more practical in a precarious world. As Ragan Sutterfield writes, “the problem with our role in creation is that we don't remember it. In our fallen state we have forgotten our place, both within God's will and love and also in our love and care for creation. We need to be reminded of who we are and what we are about. Practices and disciplines are our primary way of learning to remember, of being recollected to our place and call as creatures. I would like to offer farming, done well, as one of those disciplines.”[2]

I find it fascinating, that a predominantly Protestant country has suddenly discovered “practice.” I don’t know quite what to make of this: it could be a response to the broader political and cultural forces, or it could suggest the assimilation of important religious ideas and practices from other religions. Americans are clearly hungry for practical guidance: Michael Pollan’s prescriptive book Food Rules, was quickly vaulted to the top of best-seller lists. Americans seem to want to be told what to do and many are finding new spiritual rewards in practicing the discipline of eating according to Pollan’s rules. Locavorism may well be the new Kosher, but it is being embraced with evangelical fervor.

[to be continued]


[1] http://www.polyfacefarms.com/

[2] Ragan Sutterfield, Farming as Spiritual Discipline

U.S. Intellectual History in the New York Times



4 comments
Paul Harvey

Congratulations to our friends over at U. S. Intellectual History, whose recent 4th Annual Intellectual History conference, which I very much regretted to have to miss due to my previous commitment to the AAR meeting, got some nice coverage at the New York Times. The conference lineup is very impressive (click the link above for it). A brief excerpt from the piece; much of what is described below could be applied to the field of American religious history as well.

Today, however, a new breed of young intellectual historian is aiming to integrate the spirit of “history from below” with an approach that doesn’t chop American history off at the neck. Young intellectual historians, scholars at the conference were quick to emphasize, have fully absorbed the lessons of the profession’s increased attention to questions of race, class and gender, without losing hold of the premise that ideas matter, even in a culture that still considers “intellectual” a term of abuse.

“We still want to talk about ideas, but we see ideas everywhere,” said Andrew Hartman, a professor at Illinois State University and president of the newly formed Society for U.S. Intellectual History, which sponsored the conference. “Big ideas affect everybody. It’s not elitist to talk about them.”

The conference hardly neglected high culture, with papers on the artists Robert Rauschenberg and Barnett Newman, the philosopher Stanley Cavell, and the history of the reception of “Moby-Dick.” . . .

But the lineup tilted markedly toward postwar political history, with discussions of charged topics like the economist Friedrich von Hayek’s writings on the rule of law, Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s infamous 1965 report on the black family, and the art-historical theories of the evangelical thinker Francis Schaeffer, who has been much in the news in recent months because of his supposed influence on Michele Bachmann.

Opening of the Evangelical Mind?



0 comments
Paul Harvey

My co-blogmeister and most excellent historian Randall Stephens and his co-author Karl Giberson have recently been called (among other things), wolves in sheep's clothing, dangerous menaces to evangelicalism, and, best of all, unethical attack-dog researchers and writers -- the later from famed ethicist Charles Colson, in a matchless self-parody of old-time fundamentalist fury. As John Turner noted here recently, after Randall and Karl's book The Anointed, some have felt there is no hope left for America. (It bears mentioning that most of the above noted did not actually read the book but scanned, and that inaccurately, Randall and Karl's New York Times editorial). As a writer for the always thoughtful and temperate National Review opined, "once left-wing values enter the evangelical bloodstream, there is almost no hope for America."

You might have noticed that some of these initial reactions are an eensy-weensy bit overwrought. Fortunately, we have a good antidote today in Scott McLemee's Inside Higher Ed column. As McLemee points out, "Neither an expose nor a screed, The Anointed is the work of educated evangelical Christians who reject the kitsch and anti-intellectualism that outsiders tend to equate with faith itself." Read the rest here.

A Reforming People: Puritanism and Public Life in New England



3 comments
Paul Harvey

For you colonial America/Puritan New England/David Hall fans out there, here's a brief review, from Choice, of David Hall's newest, sure to be on oral exam reading lists soon if not already. More info is at the book's website.

Hall, David D
. A reforming people: Puritanism and the transformation of public life in New England. Knopf, 2011. 255p index ISBN 0-679-44117-4, $29.95; ISBN9780679441175, $29.95. Reviewed in 2011dec CHOICE.
Whenever Harvard Divinity School professor Hall, one of the premier scholars of American Puritanism, writes books and articles, those interested in early American history and culture should pay heed. This lucidly written, clearly organized work on New England "social practices and the workings of politics" from 1630 to 1650 argues convincingly that the members of New England's founding generation "brought into being churches, civil governments, and a code of laws that collectively marked them as the most advanced reformers of the Anglo-colonial world." The chief comparison is with English puritan reform efforts during the same era, concluding that the American Puritans nearly succeeded in implementing the Leveller program for transforming society and politics, hence the subtitle. The argument develops by describing the application of such concepts as participation, consent, and equity to practical questions of land distribution, legal procedures, church governance, and political action. Hall considers all New England colonies and uses Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a local illustration of both successes and tensions. This nuanced analysis of the Puritan reform impulse avoids both liberal and authoritarian stereotypes of Puritanism. As expected, a fine book. Summing Up: Essential. All academic levels/libraries.

The AAR Left Its Heart in San Francisco



1 comments
Paul Harvey

So many friends and colleagues gathered in San Francisco this weekend for the American Academy of Religion meeting, highlighted by a reunion dinner yesterday evening for those lucky enough to be part of the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

As you will have seen already from Kelly's roundup post last week, the conference was full of intellectual fare. Our bloggers here were on panels discussing everything from twentieth-century fundamentalism, to religion and the AIDS crisis, to the famous self-taught artist and street evangelist Sister Gertrude Morgan (hope you'll blog about that here, Emily!), to subjects in Mormon studies, to "narrativity" in the construction of our American religious history courses and survey writings-- and much more besides. You can survey a lot of reactions/experiences at panels at the twitter hashtag #sblaar.

My friends and colleagues took care of cogitating over these important subjects. As for myself, I spent more time re-indulging the delights of Korean tacos and kimchee fried rice from the Namu food cart at Ferry Point Plaza at the Saturday farmer's market, which surely ranks as one of the best 2 or 3 places in the United States (especially for foodies). On a chilly and rainy weekend, nothing conjures up a pre-Thanksgiving weekend of food and intellectual fun like kimchee fried rice.

Blogging will resume tomorrow, I hope, sorry for the silence, and thanks to many at AAR who said kind things to me about the blog. And finally, congratulations to RAndall, who is very soon, in just a couple of weeks, off to Norway for 6 months as a visiting lecturer/scholar as a Fulbright Fellow in Norway!

New Directions in the Study of Prayer, SSRC Grants Program



0 comments
The Social Science Research Council is pleased to announce the launch of a major new project and grants program entitled “New Directions in the Study of Prayer.” The project aims to generate innovative research on practices of prayer and to foster the development of an interdisciplinary network of scholars engaged in the study of prayer. Supported with funding from the John Templeton Foundation, and developed in conjunction with the SSRC's program on Religion and the Public Sphere, the project will be led by a multi-disciplinary advisory committee, to be chaired by Columbia University's Courtney Bender.

The project invites proposals from scholars in all disciplines for studies that will enhance knowledge of the social, cultural, psychological, and cognitive dimensions of prayer, and of its origins, variations, and correlations in human life. Approximately twenty to twenty-five research grants, ranging from $50,000 to $200,000, will be awarded. Both individual and collaborative projects will be considered, and a small number of journalism grants, of up to $50,000 each, will also be awarded. All grantees will be asked to participate in a series of interdisciplinary workshops, conferences, and online initiatives organized in conjunction with the project. The SSRC has issued detailed requests for proposals from both researchers and journalists.

See more: here and here.

Another Blog of Interest: History of Christianity from the ASCH



0 comments
Michael J. Altman

While we are all aflutter over this weekends' American Academy of Religion, I would ask us to take a moment and turn our attention to another scholarly society--the American Society of Church History. Earlier this month the ASCH launched its very own blog that is open to contributions from any of its members (ahem, AAR are you listening?) So far there has been some quite interesting content covering Christian history in America. Yesterday's post from W. Clark Gilpin, "Wanted: A New Chronology of American Religious History," especially caught my attention.

Gilpin points out that one of the central tasks of the historian is to track change over time and this requires some sort of chronology. How one builds that chronology, though, will depend on what one sees as the engine driving change.
In no small measure, decisions about periodization depend on the issues that a given author or group of authors have identified as the principal engines of change. Historians who link American religious history to immigration are likely to produce a different chronology from historians focused on the intersection of religion and politics, or the history of religiously motivated movements of social reform. And yet, a moment’s reflection will also suggest that these three sets of concerns display interesting chronological convergences, for example, with changes in U.S. immigration law and movements for civil rights during the 1960s.
The entire post is worth a read, but this point was especially interesting to me. As we think about the narratives we tell about religion in America, what are the engines driving our chronologies? What do they allow us to see? Where do they give us blindspots? For my current work I'd have to say "religious difference" drives the narrative. Gilpin names immigration, politics, and reform. Lately on the blog we've been talking a lot about the market. Are there other engines we've yet to put to use? Where could they take us?

AAR 2011: Religion in America Round Up



11 comments
Kelly Baker

For those of you headed to San Francisco later in the week, here's a guide to AAR sessions (and NAASR sessions) about religion(s) in American history, life, and culture. My list is likely not exhaustive, though I tried to be. So, please panels that I might have missed in the comments section. Additionally, Mike Altman (@MichaelJAltman), Ben Brazil (@bbrazil), and I (@kelly_j_baker)will be live-tweeting the conference (under the hashtag #sblaar) as well as posting a discussion after the conference similar to the ASA discussion. AAR has a mobile app this year that might come to good use for those of you (like me!) who don't want to lug around a program book.

(Editor update 11/17: Also, for the owners of the brand new Kindle Fire, my tech savvy spouse made the AAR mobile app downloadable for you too. There's a quick note about installation in the comments section.)

We welcome any guest blog posts about AAR. Please feel free to send them to Paul or me, and we'll post them. As you can tell from the list, any help to cover AAR this year would be more than helpful.

Happy conferencing!

Saturday, November 19, 9:00-11:30 am

A19-109, Religion and the Social Sciences Section
Marie Marquardt, Agnes Scott College, Presiding

Theme: Rematerializing Religion: Critical Applications of Manuel A. Vásquez’s More than Belief: A Materialist Theory of Religion (Oxford University Press, 2010)

Chad Seales, University of Texas
Keep Clean, and Sweet, and Pure: From Material Religion to Material Morality

Sean McCloud, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Toward a Materialist Theory of Metanoia: Reconsidering an "Impoverished Theory of Religious Change"

Elaine Peña, George Washington University
The Materiality of Guadalupan Devotion: Micropractices, Embodied Action, and Space Production

Responding: Manuel A. Vasquez, University of Florida


A19-123, African Diaspora Religions Group
Maha Marouan, University of Alabama, Presiding

Theme: From "Double Consciousness" to the "Black Atlantic": Theorizing the African Diaspora and African Diaspora Subjectivities

Torin Alexander, Saint Olaf College
African Diaspora Subjectivities and Religious Experience: The Pursuit of Wholeness

Karyna Do Monte, Boston University
Brazilian Candomble Meets Ecology: A Samba Plot in the Rio de Janeiro Carnival

Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, University of Miami
Translator of the Afro-Cuban Religious World: Lydia Cabrera

Mary Diggin, Pacifica Graduate Institute
Damballah and Maman Brigitte: The Irish Influence on Vodou Lwas

Responding: Charles H. Long, Chapel Hill, NC


A19-129 Latina/o Critical and Comparative Studies Group
Lara Medina, California State University, Northridge, Presiding

Theme: Religion at the Corner of Bliss and Nirvana: Politics, Identity, and Faith in New Migrant Communities (Duke University Press, 2009), Authors Meet Critics

Panelists: Carolyn Chen, Northwestern University
Rudy V. Busto, University of California, Santa Barbara

Responding: Lois Ann Lorentzen, University of San Francisco
Kevin Chun, University of San Francisco
Jay Gonzalez, University of San Francisco
Luis Leon, University of Denver


A19-130 Mormon Studies Group
Colleen McDannell, University of Utah, Presiding

Theme: Mormon Women and Modernity

Ann Duncan, Goucher College
The Mommy Wars, Mormonism, and the "Choices" of American Motherhood

Jennifer Meredith, University of Utah
Western Pioneer Mythos in the Negotiation of Mormon Feminism and Faith

Jill Peterfeso, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Scripting, Performing, Testifying: Giving Faithful "Seximony" through The Mormon Vagina Monologues

Doe Daughtrey, Arizona State University
"Further Light and Knowledge": Ways of Knowing in Mormonism and the New Spirituality

Responding: R. Marie Griffith, Washington University, St. Louis


NAASR Panel 3
Saturday, November 19, 9-11:30 a.m. Room: Hilton Union Square-Yosemite A
Thomas Tweed, University of Texas at Austin, Presiding

Theme: The ‘Evidence’ of Religion in North America: A Round Table
Kelly J. Baker, University of Tennessee, Knoxville: “The Good, the Bad, the (Un)Dead: The Klan, Zombies and the Problem of Legitimate Evidence”

Lauren F. Winner, Duke Divinity School: “Reading Recipes for Religion: Cookbooks and the Sensory History of American Religion”

Jennifer Hughes, University of California, Riverside: “The Object as Evidence in American Religion”

Laura Levitt, Temple University: “Juridical Evidence and the Question of History, Or Justice and Empiricism”

Saturday, November 19, 11:30 am–1:00 pm

M19-110 Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology
HI-Sutter B

Theme: Mormonism and Peace
James McLachlan, Western Carolina University, Presiding

Patrick Mason, Claremont Graduate University
"Religion, Violence, and the State: A Mormon Argument"

Responding: Robert Rees, Graduate Theological Union


Saturday, November 19, 1:00-3:30pm

A19-205 North American Religions Section
Jon Butler, Yale University, Presiding

Theme: Narrativity in the Study of North American Religions

Panelists: Thomas Tweed, University of Texas, Austin
Janet R. Jakobsen, Barnard College
R. Marie Griffith, Harvard University
Mark Hulsether, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

A19-236 Religion, Food, and Eating in North America Seminar
Reid L. Neilson, Latter-Day Saints Church, Presiding

Theme: Religion, Food, and Eating in North America

Leonard Norman Primiano, Cabrini College
"The Abundance of the Fullness": Mother Divine's Theology of Food

Todd LeVasseur, University of Florida
Koinonia Partners: A "Demonstration Plot" for Food, Fellowship, and Sustainability

Nora L. Rubel, University of Rochester
The Feast at the End of the Fast: The Emergence of a New American Jewish Practice

Benjamin Zeller, Brevard College
Quasireligious American Foodways: The Cases of Vegetarianism and Locavorism

Sarah Robinson, Claremont Graduate University
Refreshing the Concept of Halal Meat in Muslim American Context in Taqwa Ecofood Cooperative

Derek Hicks, Lancaster Theological Seminary
An Unusual Feast: Gumbo and the Complex Brew of Black Religion

Saturday, November 19, 4:00-6:30 pm

A19-305 North American Religions Section
Jeff Wilson, University of Waterloo, Presiding

Theme: Rethinking Key Paradigms in American Religion: "Black Church," "Queering Religion," "Nature Religion," and "Material Culture"

Josef Sorett, Columbia University
The Problem of the "Black Church": Church and Spirit(s) in the American Religious Imaginary, 1923–1940

Megan Goodwin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Captive Bodies, Queer Religions: Scripting North American Religious Difference

Bron Taylor, University of Florida
Gaian Earth Religion: Vanishing Divine Being(s) and the Mod-God of Nature

Jennifer Scheper Hughes, University of California, Riverside
Material Religion: On the Agency of Objects

Responding: Linda L. Barnes, Boston University
A19-307 Religion and the Social Sciences Section Ann B. McClenahan, Washington, D.C., Presiding Theme: Neoliberal Religiosities: Globalization and New Modes of Religious Practice Panelists: Kevin O'Neill, University of Toronto Kathryn Lofton, Yale University Tanya Erzen, Ohio State University Daromir Rudnyckyj, University of Victoria


A19-309 Teaching Religion Section and Native Traditions in the Americas Group
Michael Zogry, University of Kansas, Presiding

Theme: Teaching about Native Traditions: Pedagogical Insights for Specialists and Nonspecialists Alike

Panelists: Michelene Pesantubbee, University of Iowa
Michael McNally, Carleton College
Ines Hernandez-Avila, University of California, Davis
Philip P. Arnold, Syracuse University
Ines M. Talamantez, University of California, Santa Barbara
A19-321 Roman Catholic Studies Group
Amy DeRogatis, Michigan State University, Presiding

Theme: Finding a Place for Spatial Theory in American Catholic Studies

Panelists: Katie Oxx, St Joseph's University
Catherine Osborne, Fordham University
Arthur Remillard, Saint Francis University
Michael Pasquier, Louisiana State University
James Deutsch, Smithsonian Institution

Responding: Vincent J. Miller, University of Dayton

Saturday, November 19, 6:00-8:00 pm

A19-337, Special Topics Forum
Steven Barrie-Anthony, University of California, Santa Barbara, Presiding

Theme: Religion Beyond the Boundaries — American Religious and Spiritual Innovation: Marketing, the Law, and Marriage

Donald Westbrook, Claremont Graduate University
“I am a Mormon” and “I am a Scientologist”: Recent Marketing Efforts in Mormonism and Scientology

Andrew Ventimiglia, University of California, Davis
Circulating Religion, Owning Belief: Intellectual Property in the American Spiritual Marketplace

Erika Seamon, Georgetown University
Redefining Religion through the Lens of Interfaith Marriage


Sunday, November 20, 9:00-11:30

A20-104 North American Religions Section and Body and Religion Group
Ann M. Burlein, Hofstra University, Presiding

Theme: The Past, Present, and Future of Body Studies

Adam Park, Florida State University
Body Studies: A Nature/Culture Problem

Adam Ware, Florida State University
In the Air There’s a Feeling of Christmas: On the Discursive Deafness of Body Studies

Joshua Fleer, Florida State University
Spectator versus Participant: The Gaze of the Historian in the Field of Sports and Religion

Lauren Gray, Florida State University
On Embodiment and Lived Religion

Responding: Martha Finch, Missouri State University


A20-110 Afro-American Religious History Group
Rosemary R. Hicks, Tufts University, Presiding

Theme: New Research in African American Islam

Spencer Dew, Iowa State University
“This Nationalistic Topic”: Internal Debates about the Nationality and Citizenship in the Moorish Science Temple of America, 1925–1935

Andrew Polk, Florida State University
The Best Knower: Mythmaking, Fard Muhammad, and the Lost-Found Nation of Islam

Emily S. Clark, Florida State University
Noble Drew Ali’s “Clean and Pure Nation”: The Moorish Manufacturing Corporation and Identity

Responding: Edward E. Curtis, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
A20-118 Native Traditions in the Americas Group
Gabrielle Tayac, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Presiding

Theme: Landscapes of Identity: Native Traditions of the Pacific

Suzanne J. Crawford O'Brien, Pacific Lutheran University
"Salmon is Our Sacrament": The Revival of First Salmon Ceremonies in the Pacific Northwest

Regina Pfeiffer, Chaminade University, Honolulu
More than Language: The Similarity of Hawai'ian and Maori Indigenous Religions

Mary Louise Stone, California Institute of Integral Studies
Sacred Female Authority Among the Inkas: Hurin Moiety

Matthew Casey, University of California, Davis
Indigenismo and the "Reindianization" of Cusco, Peru

Responding: Fritz Detwiler, Adrian College


A20-121 Religion in Latin America and the Caribbean Group
Jill DeTemple, Southern Methodist University, Presiding

Theme: Saints, Stones, and Bones: Material Religion in Latin America

Todd Ramón Ochoa, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
A Materiality for Sorcery in Central Cuban Bembé

Karin Velez, Macalester College
“Casas a la Santissima Virgen": The Multiplying and Refracting Seventeenth Century Holy Houses of Loreto Conchó (Baja California) and Loreto Moxos (Bolivia)

Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, University of Miami
The Quinceañera and the Traje Tipico: Religion, Ritual, and the Mercado

Jalane D. Schmidt, University of Virginia
The Effigy's Emotion: Cuban Interpretations of the Virgin of Charity

Jennifer Scheper Hughes, University of California, Riverside
Cradling and Presentation: Affection and Tenderness for the Object in Meso-American Religion

Responding: Colleen McDannell, University of Utah
A20-125 Religion in the American West Seminar
James B. Bennett, Santa Clara University, Presiding

Seminar attendees are asked to read the four papers in advance; they will be posted on the Seminar’s website (http://www.yale.edu/relwest/) a month before the session convenes.

Theme: Land, Identity, and Transnational Wests

Sarah Imhoff, Indiana University
City Jew, Country Jew: Immigration, Masculinity, and American Zionism

Konden Smith, Arizona State University
Civilizing the American Frontier: Utah, Kansas, Nicaragua, and American Millenarianism 1856–1858

Brandi Denison, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
"Playing Indian": Defining American Religion through Ute Land Religion, 1910–1940

Katherine Moran, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
Faith, Place, and Power: Catholicism and the Making of the United States Pacific

Responding: Greg Johnson, University of Colorado, Boulder

Sunday, November 20, 1:00-2:30

A20-206 History of Christianity Section
Karen Bruhn, Arizona State University, Presiding

Theme: Negotiating Identities in the Early Modern Christian Americas

Adrian Weimer, Providence College
The “Worke of Cain's Offspring": Elizabeth Hooten and Provocation of Identity in Early New England

Brandon Bayne, Harvard University
“The Chalice of His Suffering”: Martyred Identity, Nostalgia, and the Jesuit Expulsion from New Spain

Veronica Gutiérrez, University of California, Los Angeles
“Que me Entierren con el Hábito del Bienaventurado San Francisco": A Nahua Woman Negotiates a Medieval Spanish Death Ritual

Mary Corley Dunn, Saint Louis University
"But an Echo"?: Claude Martin, Marie de l'Incarnation, and Female Religious Identity in Seventeenth Century New France

Responding: Constance Furey, Indiana University


A20-208 Religion and the Social Sciences Section and Afro-American Religious History Group
Jane Naomi Iwamura, University of Southern California, Presiding

Theme: Theory and Method in the Study of Race and Religion in Twentieth Century America

Panelists:Andre Key, Temple University
John L. Jackson, University of Pennsylvania
Judith Weisenfeld, Princeton University

Responding:Rebecca Alpert, Temple University


Sunday, November 20 3:00 pm-4:30 pm
A20-25 Wildcard Session
Lerone Martin, Eden Theological Seminary, Presiding

Theme: Race, Religion, and the Military

Robert Green, College of the Holy Cross
Black United States Army Chaplains in the Pacific: Race and Religion during the Philippine–American War, 1898–1902

Chih-Yin Chen, Saint Louis University
Soldier–Monks: Vincent Lebbe and His Little Brothers of Saint John the Baptist

Niccole L. Coggins, University of California, Santa Barbara
“Onward Christian Soldiers!”: The United States Military's Religious Identity in the Territory of Hawai’i, 1898–1959

A20-266 Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Group
Courtney T. Goto, Boston University, Presiding

Theme: Evangelism, Education, and Leadership: Transnational Strategies and Local Adaptations in Asian North American Religious Communities

Justin Tse, University of British Columbia
Evangelism, Eternity, and the Everyday: Ambivalent Reconciliation in a Chinese Canadian Christian Church in Metro Vancouver, BC

Michele Verma, Rice University
How Transnational Education Shapes Indo-Caribbean Hindu Traditions in the United States

Sharon A. Suh, Seattle University
New Euro-American Dharma Protectors: Jodoshinshu in Transition

Responding: Russell Jeung, San Francisco State University

A20-280 Roman Catholic Studies Group
James McCartin, Seton Hall University, Presiding

Theme: American Catholic Women: Engagement, Resistance, Transformation

Karen Park, Saint Norbert College
"Gather the Children in this Wild Country": Boundaries and Borders at a Frontier Marian Apparition Site

Rebecca Davis, Graduate Theological Union
"More than a Hyphen": The Contributions of E. Charlton Fortune, California Liturgical Artist of the Early Twentieth Century Liturgical Movement

Jennifer Naccarelli, Claremont Graduate University
Crossing Borders: The Triumphs and Trials of Two Catholic Suffragists

Responding: Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University

Sunday, November 20, 5:00 pm-6:30 pm

A20-306 North American Religions Section
S. Brent Plate, Hamilton College, Presiding

Theme: Artifacts of Crisis: Religion and the Material Culture of Cataclysm

Jennifer Graber, College of Wooster
Between Two Worlds: Kiowa Ledger Art and the Narration of Cultural Calamity

Heather D. Curtis, Tufts University
"Famine Horrors": North American Missionary Photographs and the Visual Culture of Cataclysmic Suffering

Jonathan Ebel, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Monumental Failures: Visual Culture, War Memories, and the Limits of American Civil Religion

Responding: Sally M. Promey, Yale University


A20-331 North American Hinduism Group
Shreena Gandhi, Kalamazoo College, Presiding

Theme: Constructions of Hindu Selves and Hindu Others in North America

Michele Verma, Rice University
Indo-Caribbeans in the United States: Cracking the Conflation of “Hindu” and “Indian”

Anya Pokazanyeva, University of California, Santa Barbara
Faith on the Mat: Hindus, Protestants, and the Construction of Yoga

Michael Altman, Emory University
Sightings and Blind Spots: The "Protestant Lens" and the Construction of Hinduism

Responding: Steven W. Ramey, University of Alabama


NAASR Panel 4
Rosalind I. J. Hackett, University of Tennessee, presiding

Theme: Editors Meet Critics: After Secular Law by Winnifred Sullivan, Robert Yelle, and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo” (Stanford U.P. 2011)
Room: Moscone Center 2024.

Panelists: Jason Bivins, North Carolina State University
Elizabeth Castelli, Barnard College
Janet Jakobsen, Barnard College
Randall Styers, University of North Carolina

Response: Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, University at Buffalo Law School, and Robert A. Yelle, University of Memphis

Monday, November 21, 9:00 am-11:30 am
A21-107 Religion and the Social Sciences Section

D. Michael Lindsay, Rice University, Presiding

Theme: Responses to Robert D. Putnam's and David E. Campbell's American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (Simon and Schuster, 2010)

Panelists:Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago
Michael Hout, University of California, Berkeley
Charles Mathewes, University of Virginia

Responding:Robert Putnam, Harvard University
David Campbell, University of Notre Dame

A21-109 Study of Judaism Section
Sarah Imhoff, Indiana University, Presiding

Theme: American Judaisms

Robert Erlewine, Illinois Wesleyan University
From Exclusivity to Partnership: Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Legacy of Liberal Judaism

Rachel Gordan, Harvard University
The Judeo-Christian Tradition In the Post-World War II Years: A Spur to Jewish Distinctiveness

Yaakov Ariel, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
What's in a City?: San Francisco as a Hub of New Jewish Religious Movements

Kristen Tobey, University of Pittsburgh
An Identity Project in Flux: Rhetorical Negotiation of Gentile Involvement in the Nineteenth Century Jewish Agrarian Movement


A21-104 History of Christianity Section
Matthew A. Sutton, Washington State University, Presiding

Theme: State of the Field: Fundamentalism

Panelists: David Harrington Watt, Temple University
Randall Stephens, Eastern Nazarene College
Mary Beth Mathews, University of Mary Washington
Tona Hangen, Worcester State University

Monday, November 21 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

A21-207 History of Christianity Section
Virginia Burrus, Drew University, Presiding

Theme: The Invention of Early Church History in Nineteenth Century America: Elizabeth Clark's Founding the Fathers: Early Church History and Protestant Professors in Nineteenth Century America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011)

Panelists: Derek Krueger, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Susanna K. Elm, University of California, Berkeley
Sheila Briggs, University of Southern California
Kathryn Lofton, Yale University
Leigh E. Schmidt, Harvard University

Responding: Elizabeth A. Clark, Duke University


A21-208 North American Religions Section

Aaron Hahn Tapper, University of San Francisco, Presiding

Theme: Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities

Panelists: Aysha Hidayatullah, University of San Francisco
Ebrahim Patel, Interfaith Youth Core
Michael Lerner, Beyt Tikkun Synagogue and Tikkun Magazine
Judith Plaskow, Manhattan College

Responding: Reza Aslan, University of California, Riverside


A21-221 Evangelical Theology Group and Religion and Sexuality Group
Amy DeRogatis, Michigan State University, Presiding

Theme: Contemporary Evangelical Sexualities

Erin E. Dufault-Hunter, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Porn Again”: What Pornography Can Teach Christians about Good Sex

Sara Moslener, Augustana College
Saving Civilization: Sexual Purity and American Apocalypse

Emily Linthicum, University of California, Santa Barbara
AIDS and American Evangelicalism: Franklin Graham and the Reshaping of Evangelical Discourse on HIV/AIDS

Elizabeth Young Barstow, Harvard University
“You, Your Friend, and God”: Dating as a Means of Developing Spiritual Maturity for Evangelical Young Adults

Responding: R. Marie Griffith, Washington University, Saint Louis


A21-223 Native Traditions in the Americas Group
Natalie Avalos Cisneros, University of California, Santa Barbara, Presiding

Theme: Resilience and Revitalization in Indigenous California

Cutcha Risling Baldy, University of California, Davis
Xoc-itch’iswhalte (They Will Beat Time with Sticks Over Her): The Hupa Flower Dance Ceremony and Elements of Spirituality in Song

Melissa Leal, University of California, Davis
Asumpa (To Flow): Native American Language and Cultural Revitalization through Hip Hop

Dennis Kelley, University of Missouri
Religion, American Indians, and Ecocriticism: Conceptualizing Indigenous Spirituality through Environmental Activism

Responding: Chris Peters, Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development
Ines M. Talamantez, University of California, Santa Barbara


A21-232 North American Hinduism Group and Yoga in Theory and Practice Group
Jeffery D. Long, Elizabethtown College, Presiding

Theme: Mother India Meets the Golden State: California Gurus and West Coast Yoga

Panelists:F. X. Charet, Goddard College
Philip Goldberg, Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates
Donnalee Dox, Texas A & M University
Ann Gleig, Millsaps College
Lola L. Williamson, Millsaps College

Responding: Stefanie Syman, Brooklyn, NY


A21-203 Arts, Literature, and Religion Section
Kelly J. Baker, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Presiding

Theme: Explorations of the Religious in Contemporary Art

Ronald Bernier, Wentworth Institute of Technology
Screening God: Video, Viola, and the Theological Sublime

Leonora Onarheim, University of Oslo
Sites of Memory and Transcendence: Reflections on the Sculptures of Ruins by Anselm Kiefer

Emily S. Clark, Florida State University
New World, New Jerusalem, New Orleans: The Apocalyptic Art of Sister Gertrude Morgan

Brett Potter, Toronto School of Theology
Mystical Embrace: Barnett Newman, Primal Desire, and Apophasis

Monday, November 21, 4:00 pm-6:30 pm

A21-300 Special Topics Forum Religion, Media, and Culture Group
Sarah M. Pike, California State University, Chico, Presiding

Theme: Who Speaks for Us?: Responses to Representations of Islam and Christianity in America

Panelists: Stewart M. Hoover, University of Colorado, Boulder
Jeffrey H. Mahan, Iliff School of Theology
Nabil Echchaibi, University of Colorado, Boulder
John Blake, CNN.com
A21-303 American Religion in the Age of AIDS Cluster
Randall Miller, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and Pacific School of Religion, Presiding

Theme: American Religion in the Age of AIDS

Lynne Gerber, University of California, Berkeley
“Is Everyone Healed but Me?”: AIDS at Thirty in a Queer San Francisco Church

Ezer Kang, Wheaton College
Ethnic Churches, Chinese Immigrants, and HIV in New York City: Inconvenient but Necessary Bedfellows

Debra Levine, New York University
The Four Questions and the Disintegrating Glue of Community

Amy Koehlinger, Florida State University
Passionate Play: Catholicism and Damien Ministries

Anthony Petro, New York University
After the Wrath of God: American Christians and the Biopolitics of AIDS

Responding: Mark Jordan, Harvard University


Tuesday, November 22, 9:00 am-11:30 am

A22-106 North American Religions Section
Randall Styers, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Presiding

Theme: Industrial Effervescence: Manufacturing Economic Selves and Producing Religious Collectivity in American History

Merinda Simmons, University of Alabama
Colonizing Religion: Faith as Market Force in the American South

Lisle Dalton, Hartwick College
Gilded Age Railroad Brotherhoods as Industrial Religion

Chad Seales, University of Texas, Austin
Mechanics of Communication: Corporate Chaplaincy and the Discursive Formation of Industrial Religion

Evan Berry, American University
Parts of a Whole: Ecological Consumerism in a Global Age

Responding: Jason C. Bivins, North Carolina State University


A22-115 Afro-American Religious History Group
Curtis Evans, University of Chicago, Presiding

Theme: Out of Place: African American Religious Lives in Catholic, Mormon, and Orthodox Spaces

Matthew John Cressler, Northwestern University
Black Priest for a Black Church: Race and Catholicism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Max Mueller, Harvard University
Jane Manning James: Reenacting and Reclaiming the "Black" and "Mormon" Past

Tshepo Morongwa Chéry, University of Pennsylvania
Racial (Un)Belonging and the Ethereal Homeland: South African Coloured Identity, Travel, and the Practices of Black Nationalism in the African Orthodox Church in America

Responding: Marla Frederick, Harvard University


A22-123 North American Hinduism Group
Vijaya Nagarajan, University of San Francisco, Presiding

Theme: California Dreaming: South Asian Religions Encounter the Counterculture

Smriti Srinivas, University of California, Davis
Utopian Settlements, Californian Vedanta, Huxley, Isherwood, and Friends

Michael Stoeber, University of Toronto
The Reception of Kundalini Yoga in California and Its Relation to Sikh Dharma/3H0

Eliza Kent, Colgate University
California Hinduism: The Shiva Lingam of Golden Gate Park, 1989–1994

Responding: Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice University
Shana Sippy, Carleton College
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