UF Religion at AAR/SBL 2018 in Denver, CO

The American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting brings thousands of professors and students, authors, publishers, religious leaders, journalists, and interested laypersons to its Annual Meeting each year. Co-hosted with the Society of Biblical Literature, the Annual Meetings are the largest events of the year in the fields of religious studies and theology. Some 10,000 people attended recent Annual Meetings, enjoying access to more than 1100 academic sessions and additional meetings. This year’s meetings will be held in Denver, Colorado from November 17-20. 


UF Religion
is proud to have 15 faculty, current graduate students, and Ph.D. graduates representing the department through paper presentations, presiding over panels, and leading in other ways at the event. Below is a full list of their presentations and panels with information about when, where, and what events they will be participating in so that you can enjoy their scholarly work!

UF Religion and UF Faculty

Dr. Jonathan Edelmann will present the paper, “An Answer to the Call: Exploring the Risks and Rewards of Hindu-Christian Studies for Hindu Theology” as part of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies panel on the theme, “An Invitation to Comparative Theology: Francis X. Clooney’s Argument for the Future of Hindu-Christian Studies.” (P18-104) This will take place Sunday – 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm in Hilton City Center – Penrose II (Lower Level 1). 

Dr. Rachel Gordan will preside over the Religion and Food Unit’s panel on “Materiality, Spirit, and Flesh.” (A19-328) It will take place on Monday – 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm in Convention Center – 703 (Street Level). 

Dr. Sarra Tlilli from UF Languages, Literatures, and Cultures will present the paper, “A Case for Vegetarianism in Islam?” with the Animal and Religion Unity under the theme, “Practicing Animals and Religion in Shelters, Classrooms, and around the Dinner Table.” (A19-204) It will take place Monday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Convention Center – 103 (Street Level).

Current UF Religion Graduate Students

Kerri Blumenthal will facilitate the Student Lounge Roundtable panel, “Hacking Accessibility: Tools for Students with Special Learning and Mental Health Needs” (A18-141) on Sunday – 11:30 am – 1:00 pm in Convention Center – 113 (Street Level). 

Bhakti Mamtora will present the paper, “Theorizing Scripture: Orality and Textuality in 19th-century Northwestern India,” with the Society for Comparative Research on Iconic and Performative Texts under the theme, “Performing and Printing Scriptures” (P17-105) it will take place Saturday – 9:00am – 11:30am at the Sheraton Downtown-Denver (I.M. Pei Tower – Third Level). Mamtora will also present, “Religious Others and Inter-faith Relations in Western India,” with the Religion in South Asia Unit under the theme, “Religious Encounters in Early Modern South Asia” (A17-228). This will take place Saturday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Convention Center – 401 (Street Level). 

Sarah “Moxy” Moczygemba will present the paper, “Citizens and Interlopers, Secret Police and Angels: Night Vale as a Community Text” as part of the New Religious Movements Unit and Sacred Texts, Theory, and Theological Construction Unit under the theme, “Smiling Gods, Angels Named Erika, and Glow Clouds: Welcome to Night Vale and the Podcast as a Sacred Text.” (A17-321) It will take place Saturday – 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm in the Convention Center – 401 (Street Level). 

Prea Persaud will present the paper, “Healing Waters: The Performance of Memory and the Creation of Sacred Space in Trinidad,” with the North American Hinduism Unit under the theme, “Contesting Identity and Authority in Caribbean Hinduism.” (A18-221) It will take place Sunday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Convention Center – 103 (Street Level). Persaud will also present, “From the Himalayas to Blanchisseuse: The Gangadhara Festival in Trinidad,” with the Hinduism, North American Hinduism, and Religion and Migration Units under the theme, “Migration and Materiality: The Stuff of the Hindu Diaspora.” (A19-213) This will take place Monday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Convention Center – Mile High 1F (Lower Level). 

Priyanka Ramlakhan will present the paper, “The Woman Question: The Role of Panditas and Naaws in Contemporary Trinidad” with the North American Hinduism Unit under the theme, “Contesting Identity and Authority in Caribbean Hinduism.” (A18-221) It will take place Sunday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Convention Center – 103 (Street Level). Ramlakhan will also preside over the Graduate Student Committee panel, “The World Needs Us: Serving the Public Sphere through the Study of Religion.” (A19-100) This will take place Monday – 9:00 am – 11:30 am in Convention Center – Mile High 4A (Lower Level). Ramlakhan will also present, “Between Matter and Spirit: Hindu Cremation and Death Rituals in Trinidad,” with the Hinduism, North American Hinduism, and Religion and Migration Units under the theme, “Migration and Materiality: The Stuff of the Hindu Diaspora.” (A19-213) This will take place Monday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Convention Center – Mile High 1F (Lower Level).

Rodney Sebastian will present the paper, “Mapping the Manipuri Rasalila: Theme, Ritual and Structure,” with the Dharma Academy of North America (DANAM) as part of the panel theme, “Regional Bhakti Traditions,” (M16-400) it will take place Friday – 5:45pm – 7:15pm at the Embassy Suites-Crystal C (Third Level). Sebastian will also present, “Constructing the Manipuri Rasalilas: Agency, Power, and Consensus” with the Religion in South Asia Unit under the theme, “New Directions in the Study of South Asian Religions.” (A18-226) This will take place Sunday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Convention Center – 105 (Street Level).

Graduates of UF Religion

Dr. Rose Carraway (Iowa State University) will present the paper, “Mindfulness as a Pedagogical Teaching Tactic in Large Introductory Courses” with the Body and Religion, Ritual Studies, and Teaching Religion Units under the theme, “Embodied Pedagogy: Teaching Tactics.” (A18-209) It will take place Sunday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Hyatt Regency – Capitol 3 (Fourth Level). 

Dr. Shreena Gandhi (Michigan State University) will participate in an Exploratory Session panel entitled, “Deities with Many Arms, Hegemonies with Many Aspects: An Exploratory Roundtable on Feminist and Critical Race Theory Approaches in Hindu Studies” (A18-135), which will take place Sunday – 9:00 am – 11:30 am in Convention Center – Mile High 4C (Lower Level). Dr. Gandhi will also take part in the panel, “Author Meets Critics: Jessica Johnson’s Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Evangelical Empire (Duke University Press, 2018)” on Sunday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Hyatt Regency – Capital 7 (Fourth Level). Dr. Gandhi will also serve as a panelist on the theme of “The Good Life in the Study of Religion” on Monday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Hyatt Regency – Centennial F (Third Level). 

Dr. Lucas Johnston (Wake Forest University) will serve as a panelist on the theme of “New Developments in Resources and Strategies for Teaching Religion and Ecology” on Friday – 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm in Convention Center – 205 (Street Level). 

Dr. Todd LeVasseur (College of Charleston) will present the paper, “Erotic Energy Flows of Feminist Materialist Religious Becoming” with the Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Unit under the theme, “Becoming and Unbecoming Energy: Agriculture, American Energy Policy, Ecosexuality, and the Church of Stop Shopping.” (A17-114) It will take place Sunday – 9:00am – 11:30 am in Hyatt Regency – Mineral D (Third Level). 

Dr. Leah Sarat (Arizona State University) will present the paper, “The Word is Not Imprisoned: Trauma and Transformation in an Immigrant Detention Facility,” as part of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements Unit’s panel on “Trauma, Transformation, and Peacemaking in Pentecostal-Charismatic Communities” on Monday – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm in Convention Center – 705 (Street Level). 

Dr. Caleb Simmons (University of Arizona) will present the paper, “Positioning Virasaivism: Inclusion and Exclusion and the Construction of Religious Identity in Early Modern Mysore” with the Hinduism Unit under the theme, “Hindu or Non-Hindu? New Archival Perspectives on the Lingayat/Virasaiva Religion.” (A17-216) It will take place Saturday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Convention Center – 103 (Street Level). Dr. Simmons will also preside over the North American Hinduism Unit under the theme, “Contesting Identity and Authority in Caribbean Hinduism.” (A18-221) It will take place Sunday – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Convention Center – 103 (Street Level).