Greetings of the New Year! This issue of News & Announcements reports some exciting new developments in our Association as we mark our 76th anniversary and the 75th anniversary of our journal. Before I get to those developments, let me share with you the details of this year’s Annual Meeting so you can start making plans now to join us as a presenter, convener, or attendee. As always, we will be delighted to have you with us.
This year’s meeting will be held August 13-15, 2014, at the stunning JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square, located just two blocks from the ASA hotels in the cultural heart of the city. As usual, we will begin our meeting with an Opening Night Reception on Wednesday, August 13, which will include not only the unveiling of new ASR publications, but also an awards ceremony recognizing the winner of the McNamara Student Paper Award and our first ever Distinguished Article Award (more on that later). On Thursday evening, August 14, Christopher Ellison will deliver his Presidential Address, and on Friday Neal Krause will present the Furfey Lecture.
All ASR members can submit abstracts and register for the meeting through the Member Portal of this website, where there is also a link to make hotel reservations. I recommend that you make your reservations as early as possible so you can secure a room at the low ASR rate of $219/night. (Who would have thought that we would be describing that as a low rate, but it is for San Francisco in August!)
As you know, the spring season is the time for elections in ASR, and this year we will not only elect our next President-Elect and three new Council members, but also vote on the creation of two new Standing Committees for our Association – a Distinguished Article Award Committee and a Lifetime Achievement Award Committee.
The person elected as President-Elect will take office as President-Elect at the end of this year’s annual meeting in San Francisco, at which time our current President-Elect, Melissa Wilde, assumes the duties of President. The three new Council members elected will also begin their terms at the end of this year’s annual meeting and continue through the first Council meeting of 2017. Just like last year, all members of ASR – be they constituent members of students – are encouraged to vote in the election through the Member Portal of the website.
The candidates, who have been selected by this year’s Nominating Committee, are as follows:
CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT-ELECT
Lori Beaman is the Canada Research Chair in the Contextualization of Religion in a Diverse Canada, Director of the Religion and Diversity Project, and Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. She has been a member of ASR since her graduate studies. Over the years, ASR has been an important intellectual home for her and her graduate students, and she has served the Association as a member of council and of several committees, as book review editor, and as program chair. Her publications include “The Will to Religion: Obligatory Religious Citizenship” in Critical Research on Religion 1(2) 2013; Varieties of Religious Establishment (Ashgate, 2013), edited with Winnifred F. Sullivan; Defining Harm: Religious Freedom and the Limits of the Law (UBC Press, 2008); “Is Religious Freedom Impossible in Canada?” in Law, Culture, and the Humanities 6(3) 2010; “Religious Freedom and Neoliberalism: From Harm to Cost-Benefit” in Religion and Neoliberal Policy and Governance (Ashgate, 2012), edited by F. Gauthier and T. Martikainen; and “Battles over Symbols: The ‘Religion’ of the Minority Versus the ‘Culture’ of the Majority” in Journal of Law and Religion 28(1) 2012/3. She is principal investigator of a 37 member international research team whose focus is religion and diversity (religionanddiversity.ca).
Lori Beaman’s Vision Statement
ASR plays an important role by offering a stimulating and collegial intellectual environment for scholars whose work focuses on the sociology of religion. I would like to make a contribution to the ongoing and continued strength of the Association. Although we meet in conjunction with ASA, and our collaboration through several joint sessions gives us a presence at those meetings, it is important to be clear about the unique and distinctive contribution our Association makes. ASR’s approximately 50 sessions allow us to be open to a wide range of perspectives and approaches. The size of our membership means that we offer an especially collegial space for graduate students and junior scholars. As an international association, we are a ‘destination’ meeting for international scholars. Our journal, Sociology of Religion, is an important venue for the dissemination of high quality scholarly research. As President, I would showcase and build on these strengths.
Prema Kurien is Professor of Sociology at Syracuse University and Founding Director of the Asian/Asian American Studies program. Her work examines how religion shapes the international migration, settlement, and incorporation patterns of contemporary ethnic groups. Her recent research brings the areas of race, religion, and social movements together by examining the ways in which religion becomes the axis around which such groups mobilize to challenge racial discrimination and to make claims regarding their “cultural citizenship.” She is the author of two books, Kaleidoscopic Ethnicity: International Migration and the Reconstruction of Community Identities in India and A Place at the Multicultural Table: The Development of an American Hinduism, as well as many articles and chapters. She has been an active member of the Association for over fifteen years and is currently on the Council and Chair of the International Committee. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and was Program Chair of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in 2007. She is on the Council of the Asian/Asian America section of the American Sociological Association.
Prema Kurien’s Vision Statement
ASR is one of my favorite annual conferences since it is small, friendly, and inclusive. I love the opportunity to interact in a relaxed and leisurely way with people whose work I read regularly. The food at the receptions is wonderful, and the fact that the Association finds lower-cost, high quality hotels for its members, close to the ASA meeting site is also a big plus! If elected, I will foster these characteristics and with the help of the ASR Council will publicize the Association more widely and develop funding opportunities, programs, and awards to bring more people to the annual conference: ASA attendees including graduate students, individuals with a sociological orientation or training working in other disciplines, as well as international scholars doing cutting-edge work. I will also collaborate with the ASA Religion section to develop closer ties and more common sessions.
CANDIDATES FOR COUNCIL
John H. Evans is a professor and chair of sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Playing God? Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate (2002, University of Chicago Press), Contested Reproduction: Genetic Technologies, Religion, and Public Debate (2010, University of Chicago Press) and The History and Future of Bioethics: A Sociological View (2012, Oxford University Press). He has also published many articles on opinion polarization in the U.S. over abortion, homosexuality and related issues; science and religion; and religion and politics. His current research focuses on the relationship between religion and science. He is currently writing a book about how ordinary Americans define a human, and the relationship of this definition to human treatment. He has served ASA’s Religion Section as a member of its council, its program committee (three times), its nominations committee, and its student award committee. He has also served ASA’s Cultural Sociology Section as a member of its council, its nominating committee, and its book of the year committee.
Richard Flory (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is associate research professor of sociology and director of research in the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. He is the author/co-author/editor of several books including Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism (Oxford University Press, 2013), Growing up in America: The Power of Race in the Lives of Teens (Stanford University Press, 2010), Finding Faith: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generation (Rutgers University Press, 2008) and GenX Religion (Routledge, 2000). He directs the Religion, Culture and Politics Working Group at USC, which includes religion scholars from 20 universities in Southern California. He is currently writing a book on the Los Angeles Dream Center, a large-scale Pentecostal social outreach ministry that includes the historic Angelus Temple, and in 2014 will begin a new project on religious competition and creative innovation in Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea.
Giuseppe Giordan (Ph.D., Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome), is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Padua (Italy). He is Co-Editor of the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion (Brill), and member of the International Committee of ASR and of the Membership Committee of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He served as General Secretary of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion from 2009 to 2013 and as Secretary of the Italian Sociological Association – Section on the Sociology of Religion from 2007 to 2010. He is author, co-author, editor or co-editor of fifteen books or journal special issues in the sociology of religion, including four volumes in the Religion and Social Order series (ASR). His sociological research focuses on the interaction between religion and spirituality, youth and religion, and religious and cultural pluralism. His current project is on the Christian Orthodox and Chinese immigrant religions in Italy.
Mary Ellen Konieczny is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Faculty Fellow in the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago (2005), and holds a Master of Divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology (1985). Mary Ellen’s research interests revolve around culture, social theory, gender and the family, and the relation of local contexts to public politics. She is the author of The Spirit’s Tether: Family, Work, and Religion among American Catholics (Oxford University Press, 2013), an ethnographic study of religion, the family, and moral polarization. Her second book project is a qualitative study of religion in the military, with the U.S. Air Force Academy as the focal case. Positing that the military is both a microcosm of society and has aspects that are particular to it, the study explores how religion is intertwined with current issues of concern—not only religious freedom issues, but also, e.g., pluralism and unit cohesion, and gender relations—and examines how the historical development of and tensions between disestablishment and free exercise affect the present.
Milagros Peña is Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at the University of Florida. She received a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and a doctorate in Sociology from SUNY Stony Brook. Her scholarship spans research on social movements and the sociology of religion in Peru, Mexico, and the U.S. Peña’s early research appeared in several articles and a book titled Theologies and Liberation in Peru: The Role of Ideas in Social Movements (Temple University Press, 1995). Her more recent book, Latina Activists across Borders: Grassroots Women’s Organizing in Mexico and Texas (Duke University Press, 2007), received the 2008 Distinguished Book Award from the Latino/a Section of ASA. In the last several years, she has been involved in collaborative research with Edwin Hernández at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame that includes the publication of Emerging Voices, Urgent Choices: Latino-a Leadership Development from the Pew to the Plaza (Brill, 2006). She is past chair of ASA’s Latino/a Section and has served previously on the Executive Councils of ASR, SSSR, and the ASA’s Religion Section.
Melissa M. Wilcox is Associate Professor of Religion and Gender Studies at Whitman College. Her research interests center on religion, sexuality, gender, and queer studies, and she has published four books in these areas to date, including Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community (Indiana University Press, 2003); Sexuality and the World’s Religions (co-edited with David Machacek, ABC-CLIO, 2003); Queer Women and Religious Individualism (Indiana University Press, 2009; winner of the ASA Sociology of Religion Section 2010 book award); and Religion in Today’s World (Routledge, 2012). She has published articles on topics ranging from religious individualism to the Metropolitan Community Church and from 9/11 and the national mythos to self-injury and ritual studies. Unable to resist the punning opportunities offered by writing about “nuns” who are “nones,” Dr. Wilcox is currently writing a book on the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who call themselves “queer nuns for the twenty-first century.” She has served as a member of ASR’s Council (2008-2010), and on the editorial board of Sociology of Religion (2006-2008). She has also served on SSSR’s student travel grant committee (2007-2009). In 2014 she will complete a term on the Council of ASA’s Religion Section.
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS
Currently, although ASR provides research funding through its Fichter grants and recognizes outstanding scholarship by graduate students through its McNamara Student Paper Awards, there are no other mechanisms for ASR to annually recognize outstanding scholarship by its members. In 2013, Council discussed and approved a recommendation that ASR present to its members a proposal to add two additional annual awards – a Distinguished Article Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
We plan to initiate the Distinguished Article Award this year, but in order for these two awards to be institutionalized on an ongoing basis, ASR’s members need to vote to support these initiatives – and, by extension, support the creation of two additional Standing Committees whose task would be to evaluate submissions and applications for these awards. For this reason, this year’s election ballot will include the following two proposed amendments to ASR’s By-Laws:
Amendment 1: For the creation of “A Distinguished Article Award Committee to encourage, recognize, and support outstanding scholarship in the sociology of religion by giving an annual certificate of honor and monetary grant to a member who has written an exceptional peer-reviewed article in the sociology of religion.”
Amendment 2: For the creation of “A Lifetime Achievement Award Committee to recognize a member for his/her outstanding lifetime contributions in the sociology of religion by giving an annual certificate of honor and monetary grant.”
If two-thirds or more of those voting in the election vote to support these amendments, the awards will be institutionalized on an annual basis, and the amendments will be added to By-Law I, Sec. 2, of the existing By-Laws, which can be viewed at http://www.sociologyofreligion.com/about/constitution-and-by-laws/.
ASR GRANTS AND AWARDS
Your attention is also called to the ASR grants and awards available at this time:
Joseph H. Fichter Research Grants are available to ASR members involved in promising sociological research on women in religion or on the intersection between religion and gender or religion and sexualities. For the 2014 competition, a total of $12,000 is available to be awarded. Dissertation research qualifies for funding, as does postdoctoral research by junior and senior scholars. See the website for instructions and details.
Ralph A. Gallagher Travel Grants are offered to assist faculty colleagues from outside North America and graduate students to attend the ASR annual meeting. Gallagher grants are intended to help defray the cost of staying at the ASR conference hotel. Gallagher grantees must be members of ASR, have had a paper accepted for presentation at the meeting, and agree to stay a minimum of two nights at ASR’s conference hotel. Visit the ASR website for instructions and details.
The Robert J. McNamara Student Paper Award in the amount of $500 is given annually to recognize an outstanding graduate student member’s paper in the sociology of religion. If the winner of this award agrees to attend the meeting to present the paper, s/he can receive an additional $500 toward the cost of a room at the conference hotel. Instructions for submission are available on the ASR website.
Finally, we are very pleased to announce our Association’s first ever Distinguished Article Award competition. This award will recognize the most outstanding journal article published by an ASR member or members between January 1, 2012 and April 30, 2014. The award identifies an article that offers an exceptional contribution to the sociological study of religion. Nomination requirements and procedures are available on the ASR website.
OTHER EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS
In addition to the creation of our new awards, we are happy to report two other initiatives on the horizon. First, our new editor, Gerardo Marti, is planning a special 75th anniversary issue of Sociology of Religion which is due out later this year. Second, the benefits we enjoy as members of ASR will soon be expanding to include 20% discounts on all Oxford University Press titles. All you’ll need to do to enjoy these savings is log into the Members Only area of the ASR website and click on the link to a special OUP webpage. As you can see, although ASR is the oldest of the organizations devoted to the social scientific study of religion, our Association is flourishing. On behalf of the Association, I wish to thank the many members whose dedication helps ensure our vitality.
James Cavendish, Executive Officer University of South Florida