Bahá’í Studies Group at American Academy of Religion Offers Exciting Program to Thousands at Religious Conference

by Robert H. Stockman

The Bahá’í Studies program at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) will be particularly impressive this year. Sponsored by the Bahá’í Studies Group, a newly formed interest group within the AAR, the theme is “The Most Challenging Issue: Religion and Race in the Bahá’í Community.”

Seven papers have been accepted, with the plan to edit them for publication as a book through an academic press. Dr. Loni Bramson, a history professor at American Public University in the United States, will edit the volume and is still soliciting papers, even though it is too late to add them to the AAR program. The seven papers are:

  1. Mike McMullen, University of Houston–Clear Lake, Texas, USA: “Bahá’í Race Unity Efforts since 2000: Evidence from FACT Data”
  2. Loni Bramson, American Public University System, USA: “The Most Challenging Issue: Improving Race Relations in the 1920s and 1930s and the Bahá’í Faith”
  3. Christopher Buck, Independent Scholar, USA: “Alain Locke on Religion and Race”
  4. Susan Maneck, Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi, USA: “After Tuskegee: The Lives of Dempsey Morgan and Myron Wilson”
  5.  Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA: “The Most Challenging Issue Revisited: African American Women Bahá’ís and the Question of Race”
  6. Guy Mount, PhD candidate, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA: “Whither the Syncretic? Black Internationalism and the Bahá’í Faith”
  7. Louis Venters, Francis Marion University, Florence, South Carolina, USA: “‘Can’t You See the New Day?’ Toward an Understanding of Large-Scale Growth of the Bahá’í Faith in South Carolina, 1968–1986”

The panel will be held on Sunday, November 20, 2016, 9:00–11:30 a.m. in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Room Bowie-A (on the second level) in San Antonio, Texas. In order to attend one must register to attend the AAR, which costs several hundred dollars (see the details at https://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/registration-housing).

The Wilmette Institute hopes to offer some of the papers as free Web Talks in the future and may do a course based on the proposed book, if it is published.

The AAR is the primary professional association for those studying religion. Its annual conference is attended by 10,000 to 12,000 university professors, graduate students, journalists, clergy, and others who study or write about religion. The conference runs from November 19–22 in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

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