AAR conference is 'candy store' for theologians

22 November 2018

Almost 9.500 theologians, religion scientists, and academic publishers were present at the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), from 17 to 21 November in the United States. Amongst the visitors was a delegation of PThU staff members. One of them, Marcel Barnard, professor of practical theology, describes the conference as ‘a candy store’ for theologians. He wrote a blog about his experience. A few fragments from his blog…

A pleasant surprise: our article came up

“Big names, rising stars and specialists in almost every field you can think of,” writes Barnard. “The past few days we were in Denver, CO, at nearly a mile high (1,609 metres) located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which were shining under a clear blue sky with their snow-capped tops. (…) More than a thousand meetings - out of which you can visit fifteen at the most. On top of that a huge market with publishers who represent thousands and thousands of books in the field of theology and religious studies (…). Secretly proud because my publisher gave my book a prominent position. And happily surprised when suddenly, during one of the sessions, an article by Mirella Klomp and myself is mentioned, about what we have called sacro-soundscapes.”

Interesting lectures

“Extremely interesting was a lecture on the technical expansion and improvement of humankind and the so-called transhumanism. In a fascinating thought experiment, Noreen Herzfeld of St. John’s University argued that our lives, our self-awareness and our memory, have already partly (been) moved to computers. The questions arises whether we can also move the rest of our lives there. In other words, can we do without a body?”

"It is too much"

"It is too much," concludes Barnard, “and at the same time so interesting that I can’t get enough of it. How fortunate am I in doing what I do. Until next year!”

Photo: AAR/SBL 2018


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