September 30 2023

Claudia Schippert, Whitney Bauman, and Ann Gleig, AAR Program Committee

students entering a school in Pasco County, FL

AAR Program Committee members Claudia Schippert, Whitney Bauman, and Ann Gleig reside in Florida. They share some context about the current situation in the state and resources for updates and action.

Interview with Niloofar Haeri

Kristian Peterson interviews Niloofar Haeri, AAR Book Award winner

Niloofar Haeri joins Kristian Petersen to discuss her award-winning bookSay What Your Longing Heart Desires: Women, Prayer, and Poetry in Iran (Stanford University Press). Through the book, Haeri examines the everyday prayer practices of Iranian women as the basis for reflecting on the relationship between prayer and poetry and on how ideas about religiosity debated in classical Persian poetry inform the world of prayer.

Rebecca Alpert, Temple University

Providing students with skills they will use throughout their lives as writers should be part of graduate education, no matter what career paths they choose.

Rebecca Alpert, Temple University

woman in hat browsing bookshelves

Rebecca Alpert explores what we should be teaching graduate students in the humanities today—such as how to navigate writing a book-length work.

Interview with Sam Gill

Sam Gill joins Kristian Petersen to discuss his award-winning 2021 book, The Proper Study of Religion: Building on Jonathan Z. Smith (OUP, 2020). Through the book, Gill invites the reader to build on Smith’s work by considering the significance of Smith’s tendency towards jest and play, the centrality of incongruity to Smith’s theories of religion, and how to academically evaluate the category of “experience.”

Gill's book won AAR's 2021 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the analytical-descriptive studies category. He is a professor emeritus of religion studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Molly Bassett, Georgia State University

students with notebooks open on laps

The essays in this issue of Spotlight on Teaching highlight faculty perspectives on equity-focused pedagogies from a variety of institutional and career perspectives. Our intention is to contribute to ongoing conversations about how faculty address issues of equity and create more equitable classrooms in ways that readers will find provocative, productive, and adaptable in their own contexts. The idea for collecting essays around equity-focused pedagogies came from my own encounter with Asao Inoue’s scholarship in a Writing Across the Curriculum workshop at my home institution. You’ll find Inoue’s work alongside many other recommended readings linked in this issue.

Interview with Yuhang Li

Yuhang Li joins Kristian Petersen to discuss her award-winning book, Becoming Guanyin: Artistic Devotion of Buddhist Women in Late Imperial China (Columbia University Press, 2021). Li's book provides anglophone readers with an unparalleled and badly needed authoritative study on one of the most important figures in Chinese myth and religious practice, particularly with respect to women's experience in late imperial China. 

Interview with Maria E. Doerfler

Kristian Peterson interviews Maria E. Doerfler, AAR Book Award winner

Maria E. Doerfler joins Kristian Petersen to discuss her award-winning book, Jephthah’s Daughter, Sarah’s Son: The Death of Children in Late Antiquity (University of California Press, 2020). Through the book, Doerfler plumbs the fragmentary historical record for evidence of how members of Christian communities in Late Antiquity responded to the deaths of children.

Interview with Isabel Laack

Isabel Laack joins Kristian Petersen to discuss her award-winning 2020 book, Aztec Religion and Art of Writing: Investigating Embodied Meaning, Indigenous Semiotics, and the Nahua Sense of Reality (Brill, 2019). Through the book, Laack investigates the religion and art of writing of the pre-Hispanic Aztecs of Mexico. Inspired by postcolonial approaches, she reveals Eurocentric biases in academic representations of Aztec cosmovision, ontology, epistemology, ritual, aesthetics, and the writing system to provide a powerful interpretation of the Nahua sense of reality.

Laack's book won AAR's 2020 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the historical studies category. She is Professor for the Study of Religion at Tubingen University. 

Interview with Kathryn Tanner

Kathryn Tanner joins Kristian Petersen to discuss her award-winning 2020 book, Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism (Yale University Press, 2019). Through the book, Tanner suggests Christianity can challenge the culture of finance capitalism that permeates our lives by guiding us to reflect on social inequalities and identity-building—concepts which she argues are at the core of Christian faith and practice. In the interview, she discusses how "Christianity and specific forms of it could gum up the works of capitalism."

Tanner's book won AAR's 2020 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the constructive-reflective studies category. She is Frederick Marquand Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School.


American Academy of Religion · Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism with Kathryn Tanner