PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

Floorplans of Annual Meeting Facilities (PDF)

Exhibit Hall Listing and Map (PDF)

Program Book Ads (PDF)

Annual Meeting At-A-Glance (PDF)

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Online Program Book

  • Focus on Employment
  • Preconference Workshop
  • Presidential Theme: Scholarly Workers in Public Spaces
  • Professional Development
Public Scholarship and Practical Impacts Workshop
Theme: Media Training and Work outside the Academy
Cristine Hutchison-Jones, Harvard University, Presiding
Friday - 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Convention Center-27A (Upper Level East)

The Applied Religious Studies Committee is hosting a one-day workshop focusing on putting knowledge of religion into the public sphere. The first part of the day will be an introduction to working with the media with Auburn Media. Using a tested methodology that has put several AAR members into media conversations, we want to assist more individuals increase the public understanding of religion. The second part of the day will be a panel conversation exploring actual work that scholars of religion are engaged with outside of the academy, and the social impact they have created. The workshop is designed for individuals who would like basic, professional training in reaching general audiences through various media.

The cost for attending the workshop is $75 which includes the entire day of sessions and morning coffee. Registration is limited to the first 30 participants. To participate, select this workshop when registering for the Annual Meeting. If you have already registered for the Annual Meeting, you may contact to reserve a space in this workshop.

The Applied Religious Studies Committee is eager to support scholars exploring or working in careers outside of the traditional tenure track. Additional support may be available to those for whom the cost of registration might be a barrier. For more information, please contact

Reza Aslan, University of California, Riverside
Kelly J. Baker, Women in Higher Education
Andrew Henry, Boston University
  • Preconference Workshop
  • Professional Development
THATCamp - The Humanities and Technology Camp
Theme: The Technology and Humanities Camp
Unregistered Participant, Presiding
Candace Mixon, Macalester College, Presiding
Adam Porter, Illinois College, Presiding
Younus Mirza, Shenandoah University, Presiding
Friday - 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Convention Center-24C (Upper Level East)

The advent of digital technology and social media has not only transformed how today religious communities function, they have also changed how scholars teach about and conduct research on religion more broadly. If you are interested in how technology is changing—or can change—the work of scholars of religion, then we invite you to attend the THATCamp AAR & SBL  unconference taking place the day before the AAR & SBL conferences begin. THATCamp brings together scholars to explore the role of technology in humanities scholarship. This is not a conference for techno-elites, it is a conference for every one of all skill levels. If you are new to digital humanities, come and learn. If you are a seasoned pro, come and share.

The cost of the workshop is $30,which includes a full session, coffee and a light snack. To participate, select this workshop when registering for the Annual Meeting. If you have already registered for the Annual Meeting, you may contact to reserve a space in this workshop.

  • Preconference Workshop
  • Professional Development
Religion and Media Workshop
Theme: Techno-Utopias
Beth Singler, University of Cambridge, Presiding
Friday - 11:00 AM-6:00 PM
Convention Center-6E (Upper Level West)

The Religion and Media Workshop is a day-long seminar designed to foster collaborative conversations on the study of religion, media, and culture. This year’s workshop will explore the concept of techno-utopias. In our global world, we are becoming increasingly accustomed to rampant social mediascapes and to a steady supply of new home, personal, and work technologies engineered to save us time, increase productivity, and reduce depression. Scholars also are aware that the lived context for these mediated technologies includes proto-fascism and looming environmental collapse. Since humanists have joined the wave of techno-utopians seeking to engage and repair the world through mediated technologies, this Workshop asks whose utopia is in view. To attend to this question, we will ask about the roles of privilege and power, materiality and immateriality, and the shifting negotiations of bodies, identity, and imagination.

The cost of the workshop is $55 and includes a full session, coffee and lunch. To participate, select this workshop when registering for the Annual Meeting. If you have already registered for the Annual Meeting, you may contact to reserve a space in this workshop.

Juli Gittinger, Georgia College and State University
  • Full Papers Available
Islam, Gender, Women Unit
Theme: New Directions in the Field of Islam and Gender
Justine Howe, Case Western Reserve University, Presiding
Sunday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton Bayfront-Sapphire M (Fourth Level)

This workshop session focuses on new directions in the field of Islam and gender, organized around four pre-circulated articles and book chapters. Each table will focus on one paper and bring together the author, a facilitator, and interested readers. A broader discussion among all participants will finish the session. Attendees should choose and sign up for one of the four tables in advance and read the paper for discussion at that table prior to the session (accessible through the AAR website). Please contact Justine Howe ( to obtain access to the sign-up web form.

Zahra Ayubi, Dartmouth College
Martin Nguyen, Fairfield University
Prolegomenon to Feminist Philosophy of Islam

In this chapter, I identify philosophical problems that arise as a result of feminist reflection on the Ghazali-Tusi-Davani philosophical ethics tradition (akhlaq) and that warrant continued philosophical engagement. I ask how we might engage with akhlaq texts philosophically and explore answers to philosophical problems they pose. Such a philosophical engagement is fruitful because these texts address perennial human concerns about how to live, which pertain far beyond the genre of akhlaq and beyond Muslim contexts. I argue for the necessity of philosophical approaches to the study of gender in Islam and identify four central philosophical problems posed by male-centered akhlaq, which serve as a prolegomenon to feminist philosophy of Islam: 1) rationality as a standard for defining the human and human capacity, 2) the contradiction of patriarchy and khilafah, 3) essentialization of women that leads to new hierarchies, and 4) individual ethical refinement at the cost of utilization of others.

Juliane Hammer, University of North Carolina
Kayla Renée Wheeler, Grand Valley State University
Murder, Honor, and Culture: Mediatized Debates on Muslims and Domestic Violence

This chapter, from Peaceful Families: American Muslim Efforts against Domestic Violence(Princeton 2019), focuses on three subtopics that are held together by their common connection to media representations and public perception. As reflected in the title of the chapter, they are murder, honor, and culture. Murder refers to examples of the representation of the murder of/by Muslims in the press at the time of the incidents; honor explores discourses on honor killings related to Muslims; and culture probes constructions of culture between religion and race, employed in analysis of and explanations for domestic violence murders in Muslim communities. This chapters explores the connection between political goals and media production as they intersect with the lives of American Muslims and with the work of Muslim advocates against domestic violence.

Ali Altaf Mian, University of Florida
Ash Geissinger, Carleton University
Genres of Desire: The Erotic in Deobandi Islam

This article contributes to the burgeoning study of Islamicate sexualities by describing and analyzing “the erotic” in a modern South Asian Muslim community, namely the Deobandīs. In so doing I also highlight the resourcefulness of two methodological postures: (1) a trans-genre reading strategy by means of which I elaborate the performative lives of erotic desire in Deobandī texts as well as contexts and (2) a careful engagement with Michel Foucault’s biopolitical theory and Jacques Lacan’s idea of sublimation by means of which we can raise critical questions about religion and sexuality in modernity (its colonial and postcolonial variations).

Joseph Hill, University of Alberta
Ula Taylor, University of California, Berkeley
Wrapping Authority: Women Leaders in a Sufi Movement in Dakar, Senegal

Since around 2000, a growing number of women in Dakar, Senegal have come to act openly as spiritual leaders for both men and women. As urban youth turn to the Fayda Tijaniyya Sufi Islamic movement in search of direction and community, these women provide guidance in practicing Islam and cultivating mystical knowledge of God. While women Islamic leaders may appear radical in a context where women have rarely exercised Islamic authority, they have provoked surprisingly little controversy. Wrapping Authority tells these women’s stories and explores how they have developed ways of leading that feel natural to themselves and those around them. Addressing the dominant perceptions of Islam as a conservative practice, with stringent regulations for women in particular, this book eveals how women integrate values typically associated with pious Muslim women into their leadership. These female leaders present spiritual guidance as a form of nurturing motherhood; they turn acts of devotional cooking into a basis of religious authority and prestige; they connect shyness, concealing clothing, and other forms of feminine “self-wrapping” to exemplary piety, hidden knowledge, and charismatic mystique. Yet like Sufi mystical discourse, their self-presentations are profoundly ambiguous, insisting simultaneously on gender distinctions and on the transcendence of gender through mystical unity with God.

Kathryn M. Kueny, Fordham University
Business Meeting:
Justine Howe, Case Western Reserve University
Saadia Yacoob, Williams College
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
  • Professional Development
Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty Committee and Graduate Student Committee and Teaching Religion Unit
Theme: Teaching Unfamiliar Topics
Kathleen Fisher, Assumption College, Presiding
Monday - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hilton Bayfront-Indigo 202A (Second Level)

In collaboration with the Graduate Student Committee and the Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty Working Group, the Teaching Religion Unit is facilitating conversations about teaching unfamiliar topics and/or teaching outside one’s research area. This session will take place as conversations around tables focused on particular areas or courses. We anticipate that our presenters and participants bring a range of pedagogical experience and research knowledge to each table so that faculty currently engaged in teaching unfamiliar topics, faculty who anticipate teaching outside their research subjects, and future faculty, including graduate students, can share tips, tricks, and sources.

Alyssa Beall, West Virginia University
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Academia: Navigating Alien Courses, and Surviving.

Successfully negotiating an academic career can require a vast number of changes to the courses you teach, and how you teach them. This presentation examines the multiple factors that impact entry-level academic positions, and how veering from (or adding to) an intended specialization in the field can be both professionally useful, and personally rewarding.

Emily Bennett, Bellevue University, Central Community College
Teaching Unfamiliar Topics

I will discuss teaching as contingent faculty in the small college/department environment, having taught multiple topics outside of my research area. I will facilitate a conversation focusing on resources for course preparation, the challenge of having confidence as an instructor, and how teaching unfamiliar topics present opportunities for enhancing one’s pedagogical practices and learning. Teaching an unfamiliar topic is an opportunity to thinking creatively about learning activities and to model lifelong learning.

Matthew Hotham, Ball State University
Teaching Islam across the Curriculum: Strategies for Enhancing Teaching about Islam beyond the Religious Studies Classroom

This paper discusses the successes and struggles of a 2019 faculty development workshop titled “Teaching Islam Across the Curriculum” (TIAC). According to a 2018 survey, 45 faculty members at Ball State University (BSU), in departments spanning from Criminal Justice to Architecture, teach about Islam. The majority expressed a lack of confidence when teaching the subject. This survey demonstrated that most teaching about Islam at BSU happens outside of religious studies classrooms, led by faculty with no formal training in the subject who feel insecure about this. TIAC addressed this by inviting ten faculty members to participate in an 1-week workshop. Through creating an environment for faculty conversation and collaboration, TIAC takes a first step toward improving the quality and quantity of teaching about Islam across the BSU curriculum. This paper will discuss the contours of the workshop, future changes and adaptations, and strategies for implementing similar programs at other institutions.

Anne Blankenship, North Dakota State University
Strategies for Teaching Unfamiliar Topics

My approach to teaching a less familiar topic is twofold: First, I define the most valuable skills and material that students need to know. I chose three priorities that became outcomes for all of my courses. Second, I borrow course templates and assignments from my existing courses. For example, when I agreed to teach Global Islam, I used my History of Christianity course as a template to orient the tradition-based topic. This meets my desired outcome for understanding global diversity. Common outcomes across courses means that assignments can generally be duplicated as well. Because I want my students to be savvy consumers of media, we begin class meetings in most courses with current event presentations. There is no need for us to reinvent the wheel with each new course, particularly if we have consistent pedagogical aims.

Beth Ritter-Conn, Belmont University
Learning to Swim: How to Survive in the Deep End When Teaching Unfamiliar Course Material

In many liberal arts universities, the population of part-time adjunct instructors employed to teach introductory courses vastly outnumbers the full-time faculty. Most of these instructors teach courses outside their primary field but receive little training in how to teach these courses effectively. By focusing on broader learning goals, appealing to the power of story, and emphasizing real-life application by incorporating experiential learning, instructors can navigate the choppy waters of unfamiliar topics more easily and provide excellent learning experiences for their students.

Aaron Ghiloni, University of Queensland