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American Academy of Religion

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Society & Culture
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The audio feed of American Academy of Religion (AAR), the world's largest scholarly and professional association of academics, teachers, and research scholars dedicated to furthering knowledge of religions and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. Featuring interviews with award-winning scholars and sessions recorded during the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

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The audio feed of American Academy of Religion (AAR), the world's largest scholarly and professional association of academics, teachers, and research scholars dedicated to furthering knowledge of religions and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. Featuring interviews with award-winning scholars and sessions recorded during the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

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American Academy of Religion

Latest release on May 28, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 8 days ago

Rank #1: Marty Forum: Wendell Berry

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November 24, 2013
Baltimore, Maryland

Panelists:
Wendell Berry, Port Royal, Kentucky
Norman Wirzba, Duke University
Michael Kessler, Georgetown University (Presiding)

(Audio File: 1 hour, 32 minutes)

Jun 30 2015

1hr 31mins

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Rank #2: Populism through the Lens of Religion and Race

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This discussion explores the impact of religion and race on American populism across the ideological spectrum. Papers explore the interplay of religious and secular forces on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, including a theological exploration of the death of Michael Brown and an examination of how Millennial activists are blurring secular/religious boundaries. The session juxtaposes these topics with examinations of white conservative populist expressions. Papers explore populist elements within the Southern Baptist Convention that laid the foundation for white evangelicals to throw their support behind Donald Trump and among Tea Party women whose rhetoric centered around a vision of white Christianity fighting the legality of abortion.

Robert P. Jones, Public Religion Research Institute, presiding

Papers:
- "The Reproductive Politics of Evangelical Tea Party Women and the Afterbirth of Trump’s America"
Larycia Hawkins, University of Virginia

- "Populism in the Southern Baptist Convention"
Adam Hankins, DePaul University

- "Critical Complexities: Religious-Secularity or Secular-Religiosity, and #BlackLivesMatter"
Seth Gaiters, Ohio State University

- "Seeing Jesus in Michael Brown: Theological Protest as the Performance of Purity in the Black Lives Matter Movement"
Rima Vesely-Flad, Warren Wilson College

This session was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 18, in Boston, Massachusetts.

May 24 2018

1hr 50mins

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Rank #3: "Goddess and God in the World": An Embodied Theological Conversation

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Taking off from their new book, Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology (Fortress, 2016), Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow introduce their embodied theological method and explore their theological differences: Is Goddess a personal presence who cares about the world? Or is God an impersonal creative energy equally supportive of good and evil? Mary E. Hunt will moderate a conversation that includes Monica Coleman, Aysha Hidayatullah, Miranda Shaw, and Julia Watts-Belser, who will speak from Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, and Goddess perspectives. The panelists respond to the book, especially to its method, but also discuss their own theological positions, reflecting on what theological perspectives best make sense of and promote the flourishing of our common world.

Sep 21 2017

2hr 5mins

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Rank #4: Judith Butler's Parting Ways (Columbia University Press, 2012)

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A panel discussion with Judith Butler about her book "Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism" (Columbia University Press, 2012).

November 25, 2013
Baltimore, Maryland

Panelists:
Claire Katz, Texas A&M University
Samuel Brody, University of Cincinnati
Yaniv Feller, University of Toronto
Mark Lewis Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary
Saba Mahmood, University of California, Berkeley
Martin Kavka, Lehigh University
Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley (Responding)
Rebecca Alpert, Temple University (Presiding)

(Audio File: 2 hours, 28 minutes)

Jul 01 2015

2hr 27mins

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Rank #5: Recolonizing the Academy Under a Trump Presidency

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This panel analyzes the intensified colonization of academic spaces—both intellectual and physical—under the current presidency. How do we accurately map these changes and negotiate these spaces in an era of national “whitelash” from peripheral ideological and embodied spaces? How do we contend with the increasing marginalization and targeting of vulnerable populations? What strategies might scholars use to contribute to the ongoing process of decolonizing the academy? What are the potential ramifications of our non-action or complicity in this academic landscape?

Munir Jiwa, Graduate Theological Union, presiding

Panelists:
- Hatem Bazian, Zaytuna College and University of California, Berkeley
- Jasmin Zine, Wilfrid Laurier University
- Mel Chen, University of California, Berkeley
- Shanell T. Smith, Hartford Seminary

This session was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 19 in Boston, MA.

Apr 19 2018

1hr 32mins

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Rank #6: “Normativity” and the Academic Study of Religion: Theology v. Religious Studies

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This conversation focuses on one of the most enduring and difficult issues facing the Academy: what is the relationship between theology and religious studies? 2015 AAR president Tom Tweed presides over the exchange between Ann Taves, a distinguished scholar of religious studies (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Graham Ward, a distinguished scholar of theology (University of Oxford), by asking each to identify the epistemic, moral, and aesthetic values that inform their work.

Jan 07 2016

1hr

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Rank #7: 2016 Plenary Address: Michelle Alexander with Kelly Brown Douglas

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Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar. Alexander is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Stanford Law School. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she coordinated the Project’s media advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and litigation. The Project’s priority areas were educational equity and criminal justice reform, and it was during those years at the ACLU that she began to awaken to the reality that our nation’s criminal justice system functions more like a caste system than a system of crime prevention or control. She became passionate about exposing and challenging racial bias in the criminal justice system, ultimately launching and leading a major campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement known as the “DWB Campaign” or “Driving While Black or Brown Campaign.” In addition to her nonprofit advocacy experience, Alexander has worked as a litigator at private law firms including Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, in Oakland, California, where she specialized in plaintiff-side class-action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination. In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship, which supported the writing of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" (The New Press, 2012), and that same year she accepted a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. She currently devotes much of her time to freelance writing; public speaking; consulting with advocacy organizations committed to ending mass incarceration; and, most important, raising her three young children—the most challenging and rewarding job of all.

In this plenary address from the 2016 AAR Annual Meeting, Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas (Goucher College) interviews Alexander, and the women converse in turn about racial (in)justice, the election, and religion's role in U.S. politics.

The session is introduced by 2016 AAR president, Serene Jones.

This plenary was recorded during the 2016 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on November 20.

Aug 03 2017

1hr

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Rank #8: Faculty Members on Preparing Scholars of Religion for Non-academic Careers

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In recent years as the job market for tenure-track academic positions has tightened and the use of contingent faculty has exploded, increasing numbers of graduate degree seekers are intending to pursue nonacademic careers. While some areas of study present obvious nonacademic options, for scholars in the humanities, nonacademic career opportunities and the best preparation for them may not be obvious and religious studies faculty are exploring how graduate programs can - and should - prepare all alumni for multiple employment outcomes. This panel brings together faculty members from a variety of institutions to discuss some of the problems confronting their students and their programs as more people turn - by necessity and by choice - to nonacademic career paths.

Cristine Hutchison-Jones, Harvard Law School, Presiding

Panelists:
- Molly Bassett, Georgia State University
- Jason C. Bivins, North Carolina State University
- Kathleen Moore, University of California, Santa Barbara

This session was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 19.

Jun 14 2018

1hr 23mins

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Rank #9: Reformation and Reformations

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The Reformed Theology and History Group and the Martin Luther and the Global Lutheran Traditions Group host a joint panel on the meaning of 'Reformation' and what implications the notion of 'Reformation' or 'reformations' has for us today—theologically or ecclesially. Panelists explore the relevance of 'reformation/s' for the contemporary context, including ways in which aspects of the Protestant Reformation deserve retrieval, reframing, or retraction today.

Panelists:
- Amy Plantinga Pauw, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
- Kristen E. Kvam, Saint Paul School of Theology
- Cornelis van der Kooi, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
- Evangeline Anderson Rajkumar, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Kirsi Stjerna, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, presiding

The panel was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 20 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mar 15 2018

2hr 33mins

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Rank #10: The Study of Religion and Responses to Terrorism: Paris, Beirut, and Beyond

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This panel session was added to the 2015 AAR program only a week before the Annual Meeting in response to the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, France. The panel of scholars, whose areas of focus range from interreligious dialogue to political Islam to French secularism to ancient Christianity. They discuss the media, Islamophobia, religious violence, geopolitics, rational actors, and activism. They engage questions including: what are the connections between the Paris attacks, other recent attacks in Europe, and ISIS-inspired attacks in Beirut and Baghdad? What should the role of scholars of religion be in contesting Islamophobia and debating appropriate responses to terrorism? How can scholars of religion help shape attitudes and conversations about Islam, religion and violence in the general public? How might the attacks in Paris, Beirut, and elsewhere open up classroom conversations about broader issues in the study of religion?

The panel discussion is followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Panel Participants:
Sarah Rollens, Rhodes College
Stephanie Frank, Columbia College, Chicago
Edward E. Curtis, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
Jerusha Lamptey, Union Theological Seminary

Todd Green, Luther College, Presiding

This panel was recorded on November 21 at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Atlanta, GA.

Jan 21 2016

2hr 11mins

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Rank #11: Black Liberation Theologies of Disability

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Building upon a 2015 conference on Black Liberation Theologies of Disability at Union Theological Seminary, organized by Kendrick Kemp, this session attempts to construct liberation theologies that take seriously the experiences of blackness and disability. Panelists explore the ways that racialized and disabled embodiment offers innovative readings of text, tradition, and theological frameworks. What resources for a black liberation theology of disability can be sourced from black religious traditions? From disability activism? From black protest movements? Can theology be more responsive to the presence of elders in black religious communities? How can theologies grapple with the disabling traumas, state and social violence, and the toll of activism in black experiences? How can black theologies support those living with mental health challenges, learning differences, and brain injuries? How do our theologies honor and celebrate black disabled bodies?

Panelists:
- Nyasha Junior, Temple University, presiding
- Monica A. Coleman, Claremont School of Theology
- Garth Kasimu Baker-Fletcher, Texas College
- Kendrick Kemp, Union Theological Seminary
- Pamela Lightsey, Boston University

This session was recorded during the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 21, in San Antonio, Texas.

Sep 08 2017

2hr 15mins

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Rank #12: Existentialism, Authenticity, and Asceticism with Noreen Khawaja

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Noreen Khawaja talks to Religious Studies News about her book "The Religion of Existence: Asceticism in Philosophy from Kierkegaard to Sartre" (University of Chicago Press), which won the American Academy of Religion’s 2017 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Constructive-Reflective Studies.

Music is Dexter Britain, “Fresh Monday” (www.dexterbritain.co.uk)

Feb 15 2018

27mins

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Rank #13: Preparing Scholars for Nonacademic Careers: What's a Faculty Member to Do?

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A companion to our last episode, which focused on what students can do to prepare for nonacademic careers, this podcast highlights how religious studies faculty and graduate programs can create a variety of career paths for their students. In recent years as the job market for tenure-track academic positions has tightened and the use of contingent faculty has exploded, increasing numbers of graduate degree seekers are intending to pursue nonacademic careers. While some areas of study present obvious nonacademic options, for scholars in the humanities, nonacademic career opportunities and the best preparation for them may not be obvious and religious studies faculty are exploring how graduate programs can—and should—prepare all alumni for multiple employment outcomes. This panel brings together faculty members from a variety of institutions to discuss some of the problems confronting their students and their programs as more people turn—by necessity and by choice—to nonacademic career paths.

Panelists:
- Cristine Hutchison-Jones, Administrative Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School
- Martin Kavka, Professor of Religion, Florida State University
- Stephen Prothero, Professor of Religion, Boston University
- Kathryn McClymond, Professor of Religious Studies, Georgia State University
- Sarah E. Fredericks, Assistant Professor of Environmental Ethics, University of Chicago Divinity School

This panel discussion was recorded during the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 20, in San Antonio, Texas.

Jun 21 2017

1hr 14mins

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Rank #14: Religion, Immigration, and Politics: North American and European Perspectives

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AM 2016: This panel provides some comparative insights on the current situation in Europe alongside experiences in the USA, exploring how religion is located within these debates, for instance as a foundation for appeals to national or civilizational identities that exclude certain groups, as well as a means for overcoming conflict and providing support and advocacy for vulnerable immigrant communities. What are the implications of defining refugees/immigrants in terms of their faith and ethnicity, including the ways in which this can fuel negative stereotypes? And how do we make sense of the ambiguous response of Christian churches/Christianity in both the USA and Europe in addressing issues around immigration? The panelists address these questions and others through comparative insights drawing upon the social and political sciences, as well as theological approaches.

Panelists:
- Emma Tomalin, University of Leeds
- Atalia Omer, University of Notre Dame
- Daniel Groody, University of Notre Dame
- Jocelyne Cesari, Harvard University
- Erin Wilson, University of Groningen
- Victor Carmon, Oblate School of Theology

This panel session was recorded at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 21, in San Antonio, Texas.

Jul 27 2017

1hr 58mins

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Rank #15: Kyle Harper, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity

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Kyle Harper talks to Religious Studies News about his book From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity (Harvard University Press), which won the American Academy of Religion’s 2014 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Historical Studies.

Music is Dexter Britain, "Fresh Monday"(www.dexterbritain.co.uk)

Apr 05 2015

26mins

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Rank #16: Protecting the Vulnerable on Campus - Academic Labor, LGBTIQ Persons, and Grad Students

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For many of us who study or work in colleges and seminary campuses today it may be easy to ignore the vulnerable at our institutions. Yet the most vulnerable are often at risk or subject to discrimination and exploitation based on inequities of power, money, lack of social net, or means to voice their concerns about campus life and work. This panel examines what needs attention and the strategies that vulnerable people and their allies can use to decrease vulnerability and increase solidarity. Special attention is paid to the status of, and strategies being deployed by, the LGBT+ community, graduate students, people of color, low paid workers, and non-tenured faculty.

Eddie S. Glaude, Princeton University, presiding

Panelists and Papers
- " 'Although the Doors Were Shut': Cultivating Courageous Community at the Borders of the Academy"
Cameron Partridge, Saint Aidan's Episcopal Church, San Francisco

- "It Doesn't Always Feel Good: Redefining Notions of Inclusion and Moving beyond 'Diversity' "
Prea Persaud, University of Florida

- "Solidarity within the Faculty"
James Keenan, Boston College

- "Ad Junk: Accounting for Different Vulnerabilities in Vulnerable Professional Positions"
Hussein Rashid, Islamicate LLC

- "Just Employment: Solidarity among Campus Workers"
Kerry Danner, Georgetown University

This session was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 18 in Boston, Massachusetts. It was organized by AAR Committees on Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty; Graduate Students; and LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession.

May 10 2018

2hr 27mins

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Rank #17: Fatemeh Keshavarz: Unsilencing the Sacred – Poetic Conversations with the Divine

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AAR's 2016 American Lectureship in the History of Religions was held by Iranian academic and poet Fatemeh Keshavarz, who at this session at the 2016 AAR Annual Meeting, delivers her capstone lecture.

Born and raised in the city of Shiraz, completed her studies in Shiraz University, and University of London. She taught at Washington University in St. Louis for over twenty years where she chaired the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from 2004 to 2011. In 2012, Keshavarz joined the University of Maryland as Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Studies, and director of Roshan Institute for Persian Studies. Keshavarz is the author of award-winning books including "Reading Mystical Lyric: the Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi" (USC Press, 1998), "Recite in the Name of the Red Rose" (USC Press, 2006), and "Jasmine and
Stars: Reading more than 'Lolita' in Tehran"(UNC Press, 2007). She has also published other books and numerous journal articles. Keshavarz is a published poet in Persian and English and an activist for peace and justice. She was invited to speak at the UN General Assembly on the significance of cultural education. Her NPR show “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” brought her the Peabody Award in 2008. In the same year, she received the Herschel Walker Peace and Justice Award.

Keshavarz is introduced by Louis A. Ruprecht (Georgia State University) followed by Ebrahim E. I. Moosa (University of Notre Dame).

This session was recorded during the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 20 in San Antonio, Texas.

Learn more about the American Lectures in the History of Religions at https://www.aarweb.org/programs-services/history-of-religions-lectures.

Jul 20 2017

1hr 10mins

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Rank #18: Writing Religion Online: Scholars and Journalists in Conversation (SBLAAR16)

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Over the past decade there has been an explosion of online religion writing. New publications continue to emerge and, with them, new kinds of writing and writers. There are more and more ways for scholars to share their expertise and knowledge with academic and popular audiences alike. At the same time, there are a growing number of journalists interested in covering religion well. Not only are these two fields growing, but they are starting to intersect and even blur. This conversation brings together scholars, journalists, and editors to talk about the present and future of online public writing about religion and to answer questions such as: “What does this work mean for the future of religious studies and for the thinking about religion beyond the academy?” and “How do we train scholars and journalists to get jobs and do them well?”

Panelists:
- Kali Handelman, Center for Religion and Media at New York University, presiding
- Brook Wilensky-Lanford, Killing the Buddha, Chapel Hill, NC
- Simran Jeet Singh, Trinity University
- Patrick Blanchfield, New York University

This discussion was recorded at the 2016 AAR Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX, on November 20.

Aug 24 2017

1hr 29mins

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Rank #19: Seeing the Myth in Human Rights with author Jenna Reinbold

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Jenna Reinbold, winner of the 2018 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the category of Analytical-Descriptive Studies, discusses her book "Seeing the Myth in Human Rights" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).

Feb 28 2019

21mins

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Rank #20: Religion on Television: Production, Positives and Perils/Pitfalls

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This panel is on the different approaches scholars of religion are taking in presenting religion and the study of religion to a wider audience on television. Reza Aslan (Prayer in America, The Secret Life of Muslims, and Believer), Amir Hussain (The Story of God with Morgan Freeman), Candida Moss (Bible Secrets Revealed, Greatest Mysteries, and Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery), Vanessa Ochs (Religion and Ethics Newsweekly), and Stephen Prothero (God in America) are all experts in this area, and will answer questions about their experiences on being a part of these programs, as well as being invited guests on various news and talk shows. The goal of this panel is to generate a robust discussion, during which the panelists will respond to some preliminary questions, but will also take questions from each other and the audience. The moderator will ask them to consider: what were your hopes and expectations, what challenges did you face, and what lessons did you learn, in the process of producing these programs for a general, often non-academic, audience? Further, what was the reception, both popular and scholarly, of your program, and what changes would you make if you had the chance/moving forward? Do the theoretical discussions and expectations of the academic study of religion translate to popular representations of religion, or is that perhaps, a false binary? What other concerns regarding religious representation, scholarly responsibility or popular prejudices did you find you had to address when in the midst of program production? Through this discussion, we hope to give some insight into the complicated processes of presenting religion for a wider audience, but also think through the role of religious studies scholars during these times when religions are often demonized, exoticized, misappropriated, misrepresented and misunderstood in the media and popular culture.

Shreena Gandhi, Michigan State University, Presiding

Panelists:
- Reza Aslan, University of California, Riverside
- Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University
- Candida Moss, University of Birmingham, UK
- Stephen Prothero, Boston University

This panel was recorded during the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 20 in Boston, Massachusetts

Mar 01 2018

1hr 47mins

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