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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Anyone going to the AAR-SBL conference?

Hey, academic readers! Are you going to the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature next weekend? I'll be attending Friday's all-day mini-conference on religion and politics in the media featuring The Revealer's Jeff Sharlet, the Washington Monthly's Amy Sullivan, and scholars Diane Winston, David Domke, and S. Brent Plate. Beyond that, I'll be sampling. Any recommendations?

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 13 November 2005 at 6:17 PM

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Jeff Wilson:

November 13, 2005 07:57 PM | Permalink for this comment

I'll be presenting my paper "There's a Sucker Saved Every Minute, or, P.T. Barnum's Theology of Humbug" on Sunday morning (9am, North American Religions Section, Loews Philadelphia Hotel--Commonwealth C). Here's the official abstract:

"Phineas T. Barnum was an outspoken temperance advocate and promoter of Christian morality. And yet, Barnum worked his way into fame and fortune through the calculated use of deception. His promotion of such monstrosities as the Feejee Mermaid, Chang and Eng, and Jumbo was predicated on exaggeration and disguise. How then to reconcile the Janus-like nature of an upright Christian peddling hokum?

For Barnum, his circus and museum acted as engines for generating wonder. He re-enchanted a rapidly industrializing world, populating it with unicorns and other marvels. As a Universalist, Barnum knew that his audience was destined for salvation, and thus there was no need to preach to them about dogma. Instead, Barnum reconciled his piety and his hokum with a unique 'theology of humbug'--by provoking wonder, even if through dubious means, he invited people to remember the gift provided by their maker: life in a world of marvels."

Another presenter on our Sunday morning bill is Emily Mace (presenting on Jane Addams), who is a UU.

On a mostly unrelated note, I've been given the green-light to teach my own course on Liberal Religion in America this summer at UNC-Chapel Hill. Thus I'm about to officially meet one of my goals for entering the PhD program: I'll soon be the newest professor of American Religion specializing in liberal religious traditions (U/U/and UUism are primary research subjects for me).


November 15, 2005 06:10 PM | Permalink for this comment

Also worth noting: "Responding to Political Targeting of Religion Scholars in U.S. Institutions of Higher Education," Saturday at 4:00 p.m. (panel A19-101).


November 16, 2005 11:31 PM | Permalink for this comment


Brian will be there! What's your e-mail, and I can connect the two of you...?

Talk to you offline.

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