2015 Biennial SAR Meeting — Preliminary Schedule

Preliminary Schedule

Here is the Preliminary Schedule for our Biennial Meeting in San Diego, April 16-19. You should find your panel listed here and be able to make travel arrangements with this in mind.

Hotel Reservations

Please remember that the rate at the Handlery Hotel ($119 Single and Double, $139 Triple and Quad) will expire on March 17th. You can book the group rate here. Refer to: Society for the Anthropology of Religion for booking.


If you have not yet registered, consider doing so through AnthroGateway–the AAA’s website for meeting registration. Those who register through the link above before March 15, 2015 will get the lower online registration rate.

We look forward to seeing many of you in San Diego soon!


Preliminary Schedule

Society for the Anthropology of Religion 

Biennial Meeting – 2015

San Diego, CA

Please note that this schedule is correct in terms of the times and days of sessions, but more details will be added before it is printed (e.g. do not worry if your affiliation is not currently listed). Except for the third panel on Friday, all panels are 1 hour and 45 minutes long, making for 15-20 minute presentations depending on the number of presenters/discussants per panel.



Reception (6:00pm-8:00pm)



1st session (8:00am-9:45am):

Religion, Morality, and Community Development: Frederick P. Lampe (chair)

  • Frederick Lampe: “My Husband’s Brother’s Sister”: Kinship Networks, Community, and Development in East Africa
  • Kate McClellan: “Communities Like Us”: Islam and the Development of Multispecies Morals in Jordan
  • Rachel Schneider: White Progressive Christianity and Transformation Ethics in South Africa

Negotiating Religious and Other Boundaries: Anand Vivek Taneja (chair)

  • Yi Liu: Pastor Hsi’s Legacy: An Indigenous Christian Community in North China
  • Anand Vivek Taneja: The Role of Islam in the Ethical Life of Hindus: Some Reflections on the Dargah of Firoz Shah Kotla
  • Christina Cappy: Enacting Morality in Morning Assemblies: Inside South African Schools
  • Adam Dunstan: The Environmental Concerns are the Cultural Concerns: Sacred Space and Science in Navajo Environmentalism
  • Amber Lee Silva: What Counts: Moral and Ortho in American Old Believers’ Projections of Judgment

Ethics of Difference: Moral Discourses, Regulations, and Boundary Marking: Aminta Arrington (chair)

  • Aminta Arrington: Fixing the Boundaries and Redrawing the Purity Map
  • Robert Priest: The Rhetoric of Filth in Moral Discourse
  • Yasmin Cho: The Ethics of Gustatory Taste: Ethnicity, Class, and Tibetan Buddhist Practices in Post-Mao China
  • Masi Majithia: The Memoirs of a Brahmachari: How the Identity of a Brahmachari Can Give Him Political Legitimacy

Morality of Movement: Migration, Pilgrimage, Diaspora, and Return (1): Suma Ikeuchi (Chair)

  • Donna Young: A Chapel, A Synagogue, A Mosque: Journeying through the Holy Land with the Sisters of Sion
  • Devaka Premawardhana: Egress and Regress: Religious Mobility in Northern Mozambique
  • Valentina Napolitano: On the Return and the Criollo Pope
  • Suma Ikeuchi: Temporal Return of Migrant Pilgrims: Japanese-Brazilian Pentecostal Converts in the Land of Their Ancestors


2nd session (10:00am-11:45am):

Moral Self-Fashioning (1): Stephen Glazier (chair)

  • Rachel Werczberger: Ritual and Authenticity in New Age Judaism
  • Stephen D. Glazier: Affect, Morality, and the Self: The Pre-Discursive in Afro-Caribbean Religions
  • Charles Farhadian: The Christ Event and the Immanent Turn in the Anthropology of Christianity
  • William Dawley: Peer Group Ethics and the Remaking of Masculinity: How Peer Groups in the Evangelical and Support Group Movements Help Transform Male Gender Identity in Urbanizing Costa Rica
  • Hector Guazon: Moral Subjectivity in an Unstable Place

The Labors of Morality: Working toward the Moral Good and Work as Moral Good: Aaron Greer (chair)

  • Rachel M Scott: Lottery Luck and Ethical Rewards: Gambling as Religious Practice in Thailand
  • Shari Jacobson: When Work Doesn’t Pay: The Protestant Ethic in Post-Industrial America
  • Caroline Block: The Call to Service and the Politics of Denomination in American Orthodox Women’s Talmud Study
  • Aaron Greer: Discipline and Party: The Hindu Ethic and the Spirit of Neo-Liberal Capitalism in Trinidad
  • Rupa Pillai: Cultivating Intention: The Ethics of Guyanese Yoga in New York City

Translating Religion/Religion as Translation: Interpretation, Recitation, & Performance:

  • Lora L. Kile: Juxtaposition of Morality: Sahagún’s Interpretation of the Méxica Tlacaxipehualiztli Ritualization
  • Pankaj Jain: “Dharma and Science Are Complementary”: Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization’s Experiments with Himalayan Communities
  • Edwin Zehner: Morality and Religion from the Thai Perspectives of Jariyatham (Ethics) and Kunnatham (Virtue): Issues of Translation
  • Saliha Chatoo: Performing Evil: The Language of American Evangelical Hell Houses
  • Ingrid E. Lilly: Constructing a Moral Voice from a Spirit-Possessed, Refuge Body: Babylonian Medical Cosmology in the Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel

Politics of Discernment in Christian Practice: Fred Klaits (chair)

  • Jessica Hardin: Discerning the Sick Body: Embodied Evidence and Critical Christianity in Samoa
  • Rebecca Bartel: Feeling the Spirit Move: Affect and Embodied Discernment
  • Fred Klaits: Insult and Insecurity: Discerning the Good Life in Two American Pentecostal Congregations
  • James Bielo: Discernment and Professional Activity: Notes from a Creationist Design Studio
  • Courtney Handman: Discernment and Difference: Bibles, Land Claims, and Epistemic Categories of the Person in Papua New Guinea
  • Rob Blunt: “The Oath is Our Leader”: Sovereignty, Language, and Ritual Supplementation in Colonial Kenya
  • Discussant: Eric Hoenes del Pinal


LUNCH 11:45am-1:00pm


3rd session (1:00pm-2:30pm)

Pentecostalism through the Lens of Politics, Sexuality & Religious Competition: Joshua Brahinsky (chair)

  • Jason Price: The Deliverance of Jacob K.
  • Priscilla Garcia: Pentecostal Politics, Democracy, and Morality in Brazil
  • Data D. Barata: Christianity’s Moral Dilemmas in a Hybrid Neoliberal Context: Relational Analysis of Struggle for Religious Equality in Ethiopia
  • Joshua Brahinsky: Pentecostal Mobilization, or the Lack of an Ethics of Ritual, Event, Resistance, and Agency?

Gender, Religion, and Conservative Culture: How Patriarchal Structures Enable and Constraint Religious & Ethical Agency: Mayfair Yang (chair)

  • Anubha Sood: Mental Ailments and Divine Treatment: Religious Healing among Women in North India
  • Thomas J. Csordas: Catholic Exorcism: Agency and Patriarchy
  • Sophie Bjork-James: Doing Gender/Doing Religion: U.S. Evangelicalism, the Family, and the Art of Submission
  • Mayfair Yang: Of Mothers and Goddesses: Religiosity and Women’s Agency in Wenzhou, China

Questioning Moral Authority: Contemporary Spirits in the U.S. and Beyond: Misty L. Bastian (chair)

  • Timothy R. Landry: Fragile Spirits of the Sacred Forest: Protecting Vodún through Secrecy in Benin
  • Michele Hanks: Between Electricity and Spirit: Paranormal Investigating and the Production of Doubt
  • Stephanie Boothby: The Ethics of Paranormal Investigation: How Morality and Meaning are Formed in the Face of the Supernatural
  • Misty L. Bastian: Dead Time: Temporal Regimes of Working Class American Paranormal Researchers

Sacred Histories and Reimagining Religious Ethics in South Asian Ritual Performance: Claire Robison (chair)

  • Claire Robison: Performing Ethical Practice through Alterity: Dramas and the Sacred Histories of a Hindu Community in Mumbai
  • Joel Gruber: Performing the Sacred Past into Existence: Ritual Enactment of Tibetan Buddhist Saintly Biographies
  • Rohit Singh: The “Secularization” of Muharram Commemorations in Leh, Ladakh
  • Lauren Smyth: Coffee under the Monastery: Authenticity, Religious Heritage, and “Beautifying” Ladakh
  • Discussant: Rico Monge


4th session (2:45pm-4:30pm)

Presidential Panel

James Laidlaw, Adeline Masquelier, Michael Lambek and Cheryl Mattingly


5th session (4:45pm-6:00pm)

Presidential Lecture: Joel Robbins


Reception (6:00pm-8:00pm)



1st session (8:00am-9:45am):

The Mediumistic Trial: Testing and Contesting Mediumism between Science, Religion, and Morality (1): Ehler Voss (chair)

  • Graham M. Jones: Jugglery without a License: Magic, Mediumism, and the Law
  • Janny Li: A Case of Quasi-Certainty: William James and the Making of the Subliminal Mind
  • Oliver Muller: Higher Beings Commanded: Paint the Fall of Icarus! The Presumed Absence of Mediumistic Art in the Former German Democratic Republic
  • Michael Kinsella: Is the Truth Out There? “Paranormal” Experiences, Other Worlds, and the Politics of Ontology

Alterity, (In)tolerance, and Ethics: Jodie Ann Vann (chair)

  • Jodie Ann Vann: The Ethics of Alterity: Transgression as Moral Practice at Phoenix Pagan Pride
  • Amy Flynn-Curran: The Campaign Was a Spiritual Low-Point: Proposition 8’s Lasting Impact on a Mormon Community in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Nur Amali Ibrahim: Homophobic Muslims
  • David Strohl: What is Moral Obligation? Religious Authority, Conscience, and Tolerance in an Indian Muslim Community
  • Patrick McKearney: The Ethics of Sacrifice and the Sacrifice of Ethics: Transforming People with Learning Disabilities from Curse to Blessing

Spiritual Therapies, Religious Doubt, & Ethical Critiques: Encounters between Religion and Healing: Ayala Fader (chair)

  • Dusty Hoesly: Healings, Weddings, and the Legal Limits of Ethical Practice
  • Quinn A. Clark: The Act of Listening
  • Karen Fjelstad: From Observation to Participation: The Making of a Non-Traditional Spirit Medium
  • Ayala Fader: Treating Religious Doubt: Jewish Religious Therapists and Double Lifers
  • Henrique Fernandes Antunes: Healing as Culture: An Ethnography of the Healing Rituals of a Brazilian Ayahuasca Religion

Moral Moods, Affects, and Ethics: China Cherz (chair)

  • Jason Throop: Mournful Moods: On Morality, Attunement, and Loss
  • China Scherz: Enduring the Awkward Embrace
  • Cathy Wanner: Mourning the Maidan
  • Charles Stewart and Joshua Burraway: Finessing Finitude: De-Historification and Religion at Moments of Crisis
  • Jarrett Zigon: Ethics of Dwelling, Politics of World-Building, Attunement


2nd session (10:00am-11:45am):

The Morality of Mortality: Perspectives on Death in Sub-Saharan Africa: Dianna Bell (chair)

  • Dianna Bell: Muslim Merit-Making in Posthumous Sacrifices in Mali, West Africa
  • Rosa de Jorio and Amadou Beidy Sow: Disputes around Mortuary Practices and Grave Sites in Post-Conflict Mali
  • Joseph Hellweg: Death as Moral Discourse: Dance, Song, Sacrifice, and Text in the Making of Dozo Funerals
  • Jesse Miller: Gegeneration, Reproduction, and Societal Harmony in Case Studies of African Death Ritual Through Sound
  • Discussant: Adeline Masquelier

The Morality of Millenarianism: Agency, Ethics, Diachronicity, and Other Underplayed Concepts: Jacob R. Hickman (chair)

  • Simon Coleman: What Does Pentecostal Heritage Look Like? From Linearity to Incommensurability in Moralizing the Millennial
  • Janet Hoskins: Left-Eyed Morality and the Postcolonial Age: Caodai Theories of the Period Before the World Ends
  • Jacob R. Hickman: The Fifth Pillar of World Religions: Moral Agency over Time in Hmong Millenarianism
  • Joseph Webster: Eschatological Agency: Moral Freedom and Prophecy Fulfillment on Land and at Sea
  • Hossein Mirrazi: Pilgrimage to Jamkaran: Messianic Representations, Identity Construction, and Apocalyptic Aspirations/Expectations
  • Discussant: Joel Robbins

The Relational Morality of Religious Healing Etiologies: Kimberly Marshall (chair)

  • Kimberly Marshall: “Blocking up the Healing”: Navajo Neo-Pentecostal Moral Etiology
  • Justine Buck Quijada: Porous Shamanic Selves: The Morality of Kinship
  • Amanda Lucia: From Healing to Sex Scandal: Understanding the Haptic Logics of Guru Intimacy
  • Nalika Gajaweera: Mindful Togertherness
  • Discussant: Thomas J. Csordas

Religion and Moral Sentiments: Nofit Itzhak (chair)

  • Tanya Luhrman: A Comparative Phenomenology of Good and Evil
  • Nofit Itzhak: On Love, Compassion, and Making Ethical Relationships in Christian Humanitarianism
  • Tyler Zoanni: Some Ambivalent Conceptions: Feelings of Difference in Evangelical Disability Ministries
  • Anna Corwin: Sentiments of Suffering: Moral Sentiment in a Catholic Convent
  • Julia Cassaniti: Moral Emotions, Religious Traditions, and the Variably Transcendental Self
  • Austin Gillett: Tradition, Agency, and Emotion in Hmong Moral Discourse
  • Discussant: Michael Lambek


LUNCH 11:45am-1:30pm


3rd session (1:30pm-3:15pm)

Author Meets Critics: Michael Banner

  • Michael Banner: “Ethics of Everyday Life: Moral Theology, Social Anthropology, and the Imagination of the Human”
  • Discussants: Thomas J. Csordas, Lesley Sharp, Richard Madsen, John Evens, Derrick Lemons

Intersubjectivity, Dynamism, and Negotiation: Existential and Phenomenological Approaches to Ritualization: Marc Roscoe Loustau (chair)

  • Marc Roscoe Loustau: The Absent Presence and Present Absence of Moral Doubt in Transylvanian Catholic Lifeworlds
  • Michael Agnew: “Our Lady Did This for Me”: Ex-votos and the Moral Contours of Caregiving at Lourdes
  • Kate Yanina DeConinck: The Ethics of the Intersubjective at the 9/11 Tribute Center: Ritualized Storytelling in the Wake of Mass Trauma
  • Katherine Dugan: “Dynamically Orthodox” Catholics: Mass and Technologies of Catholic Group Formation
  • Discussant: C. Jason Throop

The Mediumistic Trial: Testing and Contesting Mediumism between Science, Religion, and Morality (2): J. Brent Crosson (chair)

  • Ehler Voss: California Dreamin’: The Invention of Neoshamanism as a Mediumistic Trial of the 20th Century
  • Adam Klin-Oron: Cultivating the Wild Vision: Past and Present Channelers Making Meaning
  • Brent Crosson: Experiments with Power: The Scientific and Legal Trials of Religion in the Caribbean
  • Deana Weibel: Communitas, Morality, Sorrow, and Truth: Supernatural Means of Ascertaining Unorthodox Histories of Religiously Significant Sites

In Bad Faith: Trolling as Religious Praxis: Hoenes de Pinal (chair)

  • Jessica Johnson: Trolling on Mission to Save a “Pussified Nation”
  • Eric Hoenes del Pinal: Trolling for Souls: Street Preachers on American College Campuses
  • Jessica Mason: Believer, Activist, Provocateur? The Counterprotester’s Challenge
  • Joseph Blankholm: The Sincerely Held Beliefs of Nonbelievers
  • Discussant: Jon Bialecki


Rappaport Lecture (3:30pm-5:00pm): Webb Keane


Board Meeting (5:00pm-6:00pm)


Reception (6:00pm-8:00pm)



1st session (8:00am-9:45am):

Ritual, Sacrifice, & Suffering: Asher Brum (chair)

  • Asher Brum: Opus Dei: Suffering Rituals and Secular Moral Critique
  • Emilie Parent: Sundance in Quebec: Ethic of Blood and Suffering in an Indigenous Ritual
  • Thomas B. Ellis: Disgusting Ritual and the Potentiation of the Human Immune System
  • Sravana Borkatoky Varma: Blood Ties: The Tiwa Tribe and Sakta Tantra

The Christian Nation as Ethical Framework: On Moral Authority, Christianity, and the State: Naomi Haynes (chair)

  • Girish Daswani: Is Ghana under a Curse? Debating the Nation’s Past and Future in a Christian Present
  • Naomi Haynes: A Self-Proclaimed Christian Nation and a Pastor’s Bid for President
  • Jon Bialecki: Nations without States and States without Nations: Christian Nationalism and Christian Withdrawal in Southern California
  • Courtney Handman: The Irreducible Materiality of “Unity”: Christian-Israelite Critiques in Papua New Guinea Politics
  • Julia Klimova: How Dead is the Monster: Revisiting the Ethics of Church/State Relations in Russia through Leviathan, the Movie
  • Jacqueline Ryle: Blurred Visions: Christian State and Secular State Ideals in Fiji
  • Discussant: Simon Coleman

Roundtable: Theologically-Engaged Anthropology: A Consideration of Productive Theological Collaborative Partners: Derrick Lemons (chair)

  • Participants: Derrick Lemons, Brian Howell, Don Seeman, Michael Banner

Morality and Movement: Migration, Pilgrimage, Diaspora and Return (2): Stephen Selka (chair)

  • Stephen Selka: Mapping the Moral in African Diaspora Tourism in Brazil
  • Sarah Bakker Kellogg: “Someday We Will be Like the Jews”: Music and Moral Identity in the Syriac Christian Diaspora
  • Jennifer Sime: Rituals of National Catholicism: The Resurrection of St. James and Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Jens Kreinath: Implications and Applications of the Actor-Network Theory: Bruno Latour and the Infrastructure of Shared Pilgrimage Sites in Hatay, Turkey


2nd session (10:00am-11:45am):

Ritual/Anti-ritual: Kaori Hatsumi (chair)

  • Kaori Hatsumi: Halleluiah People: The Catholic Easter Rite, Evil, and the Religious Sensibility of Tamil Fishers in Shri Lanka
  • Megan A. Moore: Lessons in Church Math: Brand Theology, Emotional Economy, and Rejecting Ritual in a Multisite Metro Atlanta Megachurch
  • Yang Shen: Rethinking “Traditions”: Reading Classics as Ritual

Hindu Moralities: Jennifer Ortegren (chair)

  • Pratap Kumar: Convenience Kavadi: Is There a Right Way to Observe Kavadi Ritual? A South African Perspective
  • Antoinette E. DeNapoli: “Change Is the Rule of Nature and the Nature of Dharm”: Experimental Hinduism and Emerging Moral Ecologies in the Practices of Hindu Renouncers in North India
  • Kalpesh Bhatt: Nityapuja, a Hindu Devotional Ritual: Mechanics of Moral Formation through Theological Construction of the Self
  • Jennifer D. Ortegren: Ritualizing Middle Class Morality: Karva Chauth and a New Hindu Dharma of Neighbors

Moral Self-Fashioning (2): Hanna Kim (chair)

  • Seema Golestaneh: Dissolutions of the Self: Ethics and Aesthetics in Iranian Sufi Rituals
  • Hanna Kim: Broken Houses and Too Much Local Brew: Immoral and Moral Ingredients in the Making of the Moral Self
  • Nicole Reisnour: Indexing Morality: Voice, Self, and Divine Guidance in Mabebasan Literary Performance
  • Monirith Ly: Buddhist Moral Meaning-Making through Community Service Learning
  • Guadalupe Barúa: Ethics, Misfortune, and the Quest for Bliss among “Fallen” Wichí