Rachel Kraus, Executive Officer

In many ways, the Association for the Sociology of Religion is in excellent shape as we enter 2017.  Our 78th annual meeting in Seattle this year was a great success.  Highlights of this year’s meeting included Lori Beaman’s Presidential Address, “Living Well Together in a (non)Religion Future:  Contributions from the Sociology of Religion” and Linda Woodhead’s Furfey Lecture “Is No Religion the New Religion?”  We offered more sessions than even before, including four ASR/ASA Joint Sessions and fourteen author-meets-critic sessions.  Participation in the annual meeting was at an all-time high with around 250 registrants.  Further details about these and other aspects of the annual meeting are available on the ASR website at www.sociologyofreligion.com.

The results of ASR’s 2016 election were also announced at this year’s meeting.  Every year we elect a President-elect and three Council members from our membership.  Dan Olson was elected to the position of President-elect, which means that he will succeed ASR’s current incoming president, Michael O. Emerson.  The three new Council members, who will serve for three year terms, are Ruth Braunstein, Gladys Ganiel, and Kevin McElmurry.  Congratulations to all those elected, and thanks to all of the nominees for their willingness to let their names go forward in the election.  Lori Beaman, our past-president, will be the Chair of the Nominations Committee for our 2017 election.  Finally, our membership passed a bi-law change to our constitution clarifying the selection process of members for our standing committees.

The planning for our 2017 meeting in Montreal — “Religion and Division: Causes, Consequences, and Counters” — is well underway, we continue moving forward with Oxford University Press as the publisher of our journal and Gerardo Mardi as its editor, and the Association has filled two of its leadership positions — the editor position for our book series Religion and the Social Order and the Executive Officer position.  Many thanks to James C. Cavendish for his four years of extraordinary service to the ASR!  Thankfully, we do not have to say goodbye to Jim, as he will continue to participate in our association as a member of the Development Committee through 2019.  Jim’s many meaningful contributions to the ASR while serving as Executive Officer include:

  • Created a stronger electronic presence with an overhaul of our organization’s website, membership processing via Paypal, and electronic conference submissions and registrations.
  • Enhanced our organization’s transparency with a multitude of important documents being made available to our membership and the public.
  • Acquired AV equipment for our annual meetings so members would have easy access to display PowerPoint presentations during our conferences. The purchase of our own AV equipment results in thousands of dollars of savings for the organization EVERY YEAR!
  • Worked with council and our financial team to help increase the overall financial health of the ASR.
  • Negotiated a 20% discount when our members purchase OUP books through the members only area of our website adding even more value to an ASR membership.
  • Assisted in composing and disseminating the 2014 Membership Survey to gauge the organizational and annual meeting preferences of our members.

Annual Meeting

The 2017 Annual Meeting is being organized by our President, Michael O. Emerson, and our Program Chair, Di Di.  Our hotel will be the InterContinental Montreal Hotel, which is located at 360 St. Antoine Street West Montreal, Quebec, just steps away from the main ASA hotel and Old Montreal.  We will continue our two-day meeting pattern, with the ASA Religion Section meeting the day following.  Our opening night reception will be on Saturday, August 12th, our sessions will be on Sunday and Monday, August 13th and 14st, and the ASA Religion Section will be on Tuesday, August 15the.  There will be approximately five simultaneous sessions each day, followed by the Presidential and Furfey Lectures, respectively, in the early evening on the 13th and 14st.  The full details of the meeting and the Call for Papers can be viewed on the ASR website at www.sociologyofreligion.com.

Please be attentive to both the submission dates and ensuring that your 2017 ASR membership dues are paid.  A dues notice was e-mailed in November to remind members to renew their membership.  Because 2017 membership in ASR is required for program consideration (one author, for multi-authored papers), if you haven’t joined or renewed your membership in the Association, please do so on the ASR website before attempting to submit a proposal.  Please DO NOT submit a proposal if you cannot arrange to be available during any of the time slots that the Program Chair may assign your paper presentation during any of the days of the conference.  One request for a session change can result in up to eight additional changes.  As you can imagine, this can be a headache and next to impossible to schedule.  The Program Committee thanks you in advance for your understanding.  Anyone who will present a paper or serve as a panelist, discussant, or book critic during the conference must be an ASR member and register for the conference.  Session organizers should make this clear to anyone they invite to participate in a session or serve on a panel.

As you begin thinking about and preparing for our 2017 meeting, I’d like to call your attention to a few items.  First, please be sure you have any relevant and current travel documents you may need to visit (and leave) Montreal.  Second, the quality of our annual meeting depends, in part, on our participants staying at our conference hotel.  Having an adequate number of participants staying at our conference hotel helps insure that we secure adequate space for our conferences.  The more meeting space we need, the more room nights hotels expect us to fill.  If we cannot guarantee hotels a set number of nights that our participants stay at the hotel, we may lose out on the possibility of using that hotel, pay huge penalties and fines (thousands of dollars) for not meeting our contractual obligation of participants staying at our conference hotel, and/or be required to pay more money in food and beverage.  All of these outcomes result in 1) great financial cost to the ASR and 2) perhaps a lower quality meeting if we cannot find hotels that will offer us space due to the lack of participants booking room nights at our conference hotel.  The bottom line is we need our participants to stay at our conference hotel to insure a top quality meeting for everyone.  If cost is a concern, please let me know, and I’m happy to help set you up with a roommate.

The period for submission of session proposals is strictly limited to January 1 – March 31, 2017, while the submission period for individual papers extends through April 30, 2017.  Please visit the ASR website at www.sociologyofreligion.com for submission guidelines and for access to the online submission portal.  All individual paper proposals must be submitted directly through the website.

Thanks to everyone for your participation in our organization and your interest in Sociology of Religion.  I look forward to working with you in the upcoming years.  Please feel free to contact me at ASREO@bsu.edu if you have any questions or concerns regarding our association.

Best wishes to all of you for 2017.

James Cavendish, ASR Executive Officer (2012-2016)


I want to take this opportunity to express how much I’ve appreciated serving you and the Association as Executive Officer over these last four years.  The job of the Executive Officer is often intense and time-consuming, but I felt like I was able to meet the challenges of this position with a joyful spirit and sense of gratitude because of the welcoming and warm character of our membership, our common commitment to the Association’s mission, casino online and the willingness of so many of you to help in completing the tasks necessary to ensure the vitality and longevity of our Association.  I especially appreciated having the opportunity to work with our Presidents over these last several years – Peter Beyer, Roger Finke, Fred Kniss, Christopher Ellison, Melissa Wilde, and Lori Beaman – each of whom brought their distinct styles and visions to our collective endeavors, and with the Program Chairs, members our Council, committee members, and numerous volunteers.

I firmly believe that the Association for the Sociology of Religion has been able to survive for over 78 years because of the commitment of our members, the importance of our mission, and our Association’s ability to adapt to the needs of each new generation.  An occasional change of leadership also helps ensure our vitality because it allows for the expression of new ideas, perspectives, and ways of doing things among individuals and groups who have fresh energies and ambitions.  Rachel Kraus, Professor of Sociology of Ball State University and longtime member of ASR, is one such individual, and I am delighted that she has agreed to serve as our new Executive Officer.  Having worked with Rachel over these last several months of transition, I am confident that Rachel will be an excellent leader for our Association because she brings with her the skills and qualities necessary to carry ASR into the future.  Please join me in welcoming Rachel by showing her the same level of warmth, patience, and helpfulness you have shown me over these last several years.