Anticipation High as Ways of Knowing Conference Approaches

October 21, 2013
Anticipation High as Ways of Knowing Conference Approaches

In just a few days, 120 graduate students and early career scholars will converge at Harvard Divinity School for the second annual "Ways of Knowing: Graduate Conference on Religion."

The conference, held October 25-26, will feature panelists from 60 academic institutions from across the United States and the world. They include masters and doctoral students, as well as post-graduates and junior faculty.

The wide variety of presentation topics in the conference program reflects a broad spectrum of interests, disciplines, and methodologies. The conference promises to be a high-energy gathering in a welcoming environment on the HDS campus.

As a scholar of religion, the great joy for me with a conference like this is the remarkable diversity of thought and experience that gathers for these two days. Regardless of my research focus, my favored theoretical tools, or my religious tradition, I can learn something from every project that is presented.

Among many other topics, a few of the highlights from last year's conference were the panels on Latina feminist intercultural epistemologies, Muslim networks of solidarity, and Foucauldian reflections on friendship.

This year's conference includes panels on missionaries, medicine, and imperialism, ritual in ancient Jewish texts, and a host of other lectures exploring the intersection of science and religion.

This remarkable diversity makes Ways of Knowing the most exciting conference of its kind in the country.  

Activities commence bright and early at 7:30 am on Friday and Saturday with a light breakfast and a chance for attendees to mingle. The first panel sessions begin at 8 am. With 30 panels and 120 papers, the conference provides ample opportunities for participants to learn from their colleagues' research in a variety of fields, themes, and topics.

The conference features two special topics. The ritual module includes six panels on ritual in South Asian, East Asian, Jewish, and Christian contexts, and an address by Michael Puett, Klein Professor of Chinese History at Harvard.

David Lamberth, Professor of Philosophy and Theology at HDS, will give the address for the autonomy module's four panels on constructions of autonomy in modern European theology and philosophy.

Professor Sherine Hamdy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Alghanim Professor of Social Science at Brown University, will deliver Friday's keynote address, which will be followed by a reception.

Throughout the conference, attendees can bring a bagged lunch and join the faculty-led panel discussions on academic publishing and academic jobs, and they can relax and chat with colleagues during coffee breaks.

The conference is sponsored by the Science, Religion, and Culture program at Harvard Divinity School and the New England/Maritimes Region of the American Academy of Religion. It is open to all free of charge. We ask attendees to register in advance so that we can be sure to provide plenty of breakfast, coffee, and tea for everyone. I hope to see you there!

—by Faye Bodley-Dangelo, Conference Coordinator