UNC Religious Studies at the AAR

Members of the Religious Studies department facilitated, presented, and received awards at this year’s national meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

Friday, 29 October

Jenna Tiitsman presided over the Religion and Media Workshop, “Religion Counts: Demographic Technologies and the Politics of Surveillance.”  Brannon Ingram served as a panelist.

Carl Ernst presided over the “Rethinking Islamic Studies” Workshop; Charles Kurzman (adjunct) served as a panelist.

Saturday, 30 October

In the first session, Brandi Denison presented on the Religion, Memory, History Consultation’s “Remembering Loss: The Work of Memory in Facing the Violence of the Past” panel.  Andrew Aghapour presented on the Cognitive Science of Religion Consultation’s “Reductionism in the Cognitive Science of Religion” panel.

In the afternoon, Omid Safi responded to the Study of Islam Section’s “Rethinking History, Reimagining Community” panel; Jenna Tiitsman presided over and Vincent Gonzalez presented on the Religion, Media, and Culture Group’s “Authenticity and the Real” panel.

In the evening, Barbara Ambros presented on the Japanese Religions Group/Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group’s “Revisiting Religious Freedom in Modern Japan” panel.  Stanley Thayne presented on the Death, Dying, and Beyond Consultation/Comparative Studies in Religion Section’s panel, “From Life to Death and Back Again.”

Sunday, 31 October

Randall Styers presided over the Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group’s panel, “’Religion’ in the Making: Social, National, and Global Formations,” as well as the Group’s following business meeting.  Barbara Ambros likewise presided over the Japanese Religions Group’s business meeting.

Brannon Ingram presented on the “Educating Muslims” panel for the Study of Islam Section.  Omid Safi presided over the business meeting of the Islamic Mysticism Group.  Randall Styers responded to the “Bodies and Law: Torture, Sex Change, and Same-Sex Marriage” panel for the Law, Religion, and Culture Group.

Abdallah Lipton presented on the “Tolerance in Colonial and Imperial Contexts” panel of the Religion and Colonialism Consultation.  Tehseen Thaver presented to the “Prophecy, Knowledge, and Performance in Sufism” panel of the Islamic Mysticism Group and the “Negotiating Practice and Authority in Contemporary Islam” panel of the Contemporary Islam Group.

UNC hosted its annual reception that evening.

Kathleen Foody and Ilyse Morgenstein-Fuerst were honored at AAR Awards Ceremony as recipients of two of the AAR’s three inaugural International Dissertation Research Grants. Foody accepted a $5,000 grant for students working in any sub-discipline within religious studies; Morgenstein-Fuerst won the Selva J. Raj Endowed International Dissertation Research Fellowship. Congratulations to both students!

Morgenstein-Fuerst and Foody

image courtesy of Dr. Carl Ernst

Monday, 1 November

Megan Goodwin presented on the Popular Culture Group’s  “2-D Hierophanies: Religious Creativity and Cultural Critique in Comic Books, Manga, Anime, and Graphic Novels” panel.  Jonathan Boyarin presided over the Religion, Media, and Culture Group’s response to Jeremy Stolow’s Orthodox by Design. Anne Blankenship presented on the “Aesthetics, Cultural Production, and Religious History in Asian Pacific America” panel of the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Group.  John-Charles Duffy presented on the “Religious Experience/Persecution” panel of the Gay Men and Religion Group.

Finally, Brandi Denison, Jenna Tiitsman, Laurie Maffly-Kipp, and Randall Styers presented on the North American Religions Section’s “Rhetorics of Progress: Science and Technology in the Making of American Religions” panel.

Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Graven ImagesThe contributions of two graduate students, Anne Blankenship and Megan Goodwin, appear in Continuum Publishing’s recently released Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels. Edited by A. David Lewis and Christine Hoff Kraemer, Graven Images details the role of serial art in exploring innovative religious thought.

Blankenship’s essay, “Catholic American Citizenship Prescriptions for Children from Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact (1946-1963),” discusses the publication’s attempts to reconcile religiosity and patriotism in mid-twentieth century Roman Catholic children.  Blankenship’s research interests include religion in the American west, Japanese American internment, and evangelicalism.

Goodwin’s “Conversion to Narrative: Magic as Religious Language in Grant Morrison’s Invisibles” used Webb Keane’s understanding of religious language to theorize Morrison’s illustration of Chaos Magic.  Goodwin works on cultural constructions of religious and bodily difference in American culture.

More information about Graven Images is available via press release.