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.  

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 8:00 am. With 30 panels and 120 papers, the conference provides ample opportunities for participants to learn from their colleagues’ research into a variety of fields, themes, and topics. The conference features two special topic modules. The Ritual Module includes six panels on ritual in South Asian, East Asian, Jewish, and Christian contexts and an address by Professor Michael Puett. Professor David Lamberth will give the address for the Autonomy Module's four panels on constructions of autonomy in modern European theology and philosophy. Professor Sherine Hamdy of Brown University will deliver Friday’s keynote address and a reception will follow. Attendees can bring a bagged lunch to 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 “Science, Religion, and Culture 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!

Please visit our conference website to register and view the program: www.hds.harvard.edu/gradreligionconference 

Inquiries may be directed to Conference Coordinator Faye Bodley-Dangelo at gradreligionconference@hds.harvard.edu.