September 21 2021

by Isobel Johnston, MA-Phd candidate, Arizona State University, Tempe

Venus's Bathing (Margate) A woman swimming in the sea; in the background people are looking out to sea from cliffs and a beach. The lettering says; Side Way or any Way. Etching by Thomas Rowlandson, ca. 1800

I spent my first semester of graduate school in survival mode maintaining my studies and TA obligations through the shock and vicious morning sickness of a surprise pregnancy. My second semester was consumed with grief and physical recovery over a miscarriage at seventeen-weeks, six days before my first class. With my reserves for stress management depleted and my sense of direction shifted for the third time in less than six months, I succumbed to the existential self-questioning inherent in any major loss. Compounding this disorienting time was the bewildering timing of these events at the very outset of my midlife transition from professional at-home motherhood, returning to school and upgrading my role in the professional world.

by Thomas J. Whitley and Sam Houston, Florida State University

Still image from video released by ISIS depicting the use of a jackhammer to destroy the Negral Gate.

ISIS (or ISIL or, in Arabic, Daesh) has been busy not just killing Jordanian pilots and Coptic Christians but also destroying antiquities and burning rare books in Mosul. The almost uniform response has been one of disgust, at least among the online academic community. A friend who worked in the Yale Art Gallery as a graduate student and got to work with some of the antiquities that found their way to Yale from Mosul in the 1850s wrote about why we should care about archaeological destruction. As scholars of religion we realize the already seemingly insurmountable limits to the work that we do. We are some of the first to “care” about this destruction. 

Persian alphabet and vocabulary blocks

John Nemec, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, assumed the editorship of the AAR-OUP Religion in Translation book series at the beginning of 2015 and will serve as its editor for five years. In this e-mail interview, Nemec talks to RSN about his plans for the book series and the role of translated works in the field of religion.

Anna Sun talks to Religious Studies News about her book Confucianism as a World Religion: Contested Histories and Contemporary Realities (Princeton University Press), which won the American Academy of Religion’s 2014 Best First Book in the History of Religions award.


We get a kick out of how the AAR's logo has changed to reflect the times; the 1979 logo has a very Dark Side of the Moon feel to it, no? (Okay, okay, we were a few years late!)


Current AAR logo


AAR logo, 1995–2009


AAR logo, 1983–1994

by Monique Moultrie, Georgia State University

African American outdoor family portrait, c.1899

I specifically asked to discuss family relationships in this column because I thought it important to expand our conversation on gender and work-life balance beyond the two-body discussion. Thus, I have titled these remarks “Three Bodies: One Problem, Many Solutions” to reflect the numerous relationships I value in addition to my academic life. While I will respond most closely with comments on my relationship with my elderly mother and grandmother, I also plan to attend to how I negotiate these relationships with my partner of ten years and my academic institution.

by Christopher D. Cantwell, University of Missouri, Kansas City

For twenty-five years now Religious Studies News has provided a crucial service. Its articles, features, interviews, and Spotlights have helped weave together one of the most diverse professional associations in the world into a network of colleagues and friends. I have no doubt that the newsletter’s new, born-digital format will provide even more opportunities to build upon this already stellar record. As a longtime reader of Religious Studies News, I am honored to be able to congratulate the editors and everyone else who had a role in the newsletter’s ambitious redesign.

Willis Jenkins talks to Kristian Petersen about his book "The Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice, and Religious Creativity" (Georgetown University Press, 2013), which won the American Academy of Religion’s 2014 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Constructive-Reflective Studies.

Hussein Rashid, Independent Contractor, Hofstra University

image of a worker's time card being punched

I am an adjunct/contingent/contract employee at multiple universities. I recently decided names matter, because after years of teaching that words mask and reveal truths to my students, what I call the work I do determines how I see myself as an employee.

I am not an adjunct, yet. An adjunct is someone who teaches as a side job. A professional who wants to give back comes and teaches as an adjunct. Professional schools, like law, business, and medicine, may have adjuncts. Their pay as adjuncts are “thank you” gifts that acknowledge time, effort, expertise, and the fact that the adjunct has a full-time job. Therefore, I’m not an adjunct. I do not have a full-time job, and nobody in HigherEd is paying me enough for my time, effort, or expertise. Some places are not even paying me minimum wage, making me question how long they will last when people figure out Costco values us more than HigherEd does. 

John Corrigan, Florida State University, with Charles McCrary, PhD candidate, Florida State University

RSN is pleased to publish this interview between John Corrigan and Florida State University PhD candidate Charles McCrary in anticipation of the conference "How Do We Study Religion and Emotion?", to be held February 19–20, 2015, at the National Humanities Center. The conference is free and open to the public.

Charles McCrary: Hi, Dr. Corrigan. Thanks for doing this interview. We're here to talk about your collaborative research grant from AAR for the study of religion and emotion. So, to start, please tell me a little bit about the project, who is involved, and what it entails.

John Corrigan: In the last twenty-five or so years the academic study of emotion has developed strong momentum across the humanities and social sciences. After a slow start among those who study religion (the AAR turned down a request for a Program Unit Group on it in the early 90s but approved one last year), it has reached a critical mass of interest in a number of subfields in religion. The collaborative project, “How Do We Study Religion and Emotion,” is an effort among scholars from different areas of field to think together about what has been accomplished, where the most promising directions currently are, and how we can jointly forge a language that will enable conversation across subfields as well as with other disciplines. To that end, the following are joining me at the National Humanities Center February 19–20Gail Hamner (Syracuse University), Mark Wynn (University of Leeds), Anna Gade (University of Wisconsin), Donovan Schaefer (University of Oxford), David Morgan (Duke University), June McDaniel (College of Charleston), Diana Cates (University of Iowa), and Sarah Ross (University of Bern). Scholars in religion will attend as well. We are precirculating the papers and intend to publish them in a collection.

CM: I want to ask about the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the project, but first we should talk about the object of study. What is “religion and emotion”? And how is studying it different from just studying emotion?

JC: Studying religion and emotion to some extent has involved actively contesting an ingrained view of emotion in the field of religious studies. Centuries of theological arguments about the nature of emotion, which provided much of the discursive setting for thinking about emotion in the West, were attentive above all to what was called “religious experience.” Much of that theology joined intense feeling to profound spirituality and took emotion as an irreducible datum, insusceptible to critical analysis. That is not to say that theological writing about emotion did not become more sophisticated and layered. Rather, it was the reluctance of theological writers to dissect emotion, to critically analyze its representation and performance, and the gravity of the intellectual traditions that promoted that, that frustrated the coalescence of new ways of thinking about emotion in religion. This particular problem has its cognates in other fields, but religious studies has, for complex reasons, just been slow in getting off the dime. The project visible this winter at the National Humanities Center is an effort to figure out how we can study emotion in religion in such a way as to embrace new perspectives, new science about emotion, and issues of gender and ethnicity, for example, while still responding precisely and productively to the theological arguments that remain embedded in much writing about both religion and emotion.