In just a few days 120 graduate students and early career scholars will converge upon Andover Hall for the second annual “Ways of Knowing: Graduate Conference on Religion.” Our panelists represent sixty academic institutions from across the United states and the world, and they include master’s and doctoral students as well as post-graduates and junior faculty. The many paper titles in the conference program reflect a broad spectrum of interests, disciplines, and methodologies. The conference promises a high-energy gathering in a friendly environment.
As a scholar of religion the great joy of 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 present. Last year’s conference saw panels on Latina feminist intercultural epistemologies, Muslim networks of solidarity, and Foucauldian reflections on friendship, among many others. This year’s conference includes panels on missionaries, medicine, and imperialism, ritual in ancient Jewish texts, and a range of panels exploring the intersection of science and religion. This remarkable diversity makes “Ways of Knowing” the most exciting conference of its kind.