FSU Department of Religion set to host virtual AAR/SBL Southeast Region Annual Conference

| Thu, 03/10/22
Left: J. Lorand Matory, of Duke University, and Musa Dube, of Emory University will serve as conference keynote speakers. Courtesy photos.

Florida State University’s Department of Religion will host the annual conference of the Southeast Region of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature, AAR/SBL, Friday, March 11, through Sunday, March 13.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Religion, Imagination and Possibility.” This conference will be entirely virtual and bring together scholars and students from across the Southeastern U.S. to share their research.

“Participants will explore how religious practitioners as well as scholars of religion use the imagination to shape and convey their experience of the sacred,” said faculty members Matthew Goff and Joseph Hellweg, co-organizers for both the 2022 and 2021 conferences. “Prophets, poets, priests, and politicians all testify to the power of religious imagination to change the world.”

The Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion are the two largest academic societies in the world devoted to the study of religion, and this conference is the annual meeting of the groups’ Southeastern regional affiliates. This year marks the second time the conference will be delivered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conference highlights include:

  • SBL keynote address by Musa Dube, Professor of New Testament in the Emory University Candler School of Theology, “Prophets and Professors of the Bible at the Crossroads: Eco-Criticism, Pandemics, and Pedagogy Reimagined”
  • AAR keynote address by J. Lorand Matory, Lawrence Richardson Distinguished Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, “Slavery in the Heart of Freedom: Race, Romance, and Religion through the Lens of BDSM”
  • Featured roundtable, “Omar ibn Said: A West African Muslim in North Carolina in the 19th Century”
  • Invited sessions on Africana religions
  • An invited session, “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Orality, Performance, and Scripture (with a focus on the Dead Sea Scrolls)”

A virtual book fair will also take place throughout the conference so attendees can browse and purchase titles from Baylor University Press, Brill Academic Publishers, Mercer University Press, New York University Press, University of Virginia Press, University of Tennessee Press, the Society of Biblical Literature, and William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

“The Department of Religion is now in its sixth decade as an independent academic unit at FSU. Its faculty have led the field nationally, in every subfield of the study of religion, and its alumni are now faculty leaders at a wide variety of institutions across the U.S.,” said Martin Kavka, chair of the religion department. “The Department’s hosting this conference, for the second year in a row, reflects its importance both regionally and nationally as a center for the study of religion.”

The regional AAR and SBL meetings are the places where scholars get their start.

“They are relatively small meetings, where beginning graduate students and advanced undergraduates can meet people at other institutions, improve others’ scholarship as their own scholarship is improved by interactions with others, while they also have close access to famous scholars such as the keynote speakers for this year’s conference, Musa Dube (Emory) and J. Lorand Matory (Duke),” Kavka said.

Conference registration fees are $25 for faculty members and $10 for students from outside FSU. FSU students do not need to register in order to attend. Registrants will receive a passcode the day before the conference that will be used to access sessions.

To register and to access more information, including the program and a full schedule of events, visit the conference website.