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YSAR 2013-2015 Meets in Indianapolis


YSAR 2013-2015 Meets in Indianapolis

The latest cohort of participants in the Young Scholars in American Religion program, together with faculty mentors Courtney Bender and Robert Orsi, met in Indianapolis for their first seminar September 25-29, 2013. The 2013-2015 group includes: Shelby Balik (Metropolitan State University of Denver); Rosemary Corbett (Bard College); Omri Elisha (City University of New York); Alison Greene (Mississippi State University); Katie Holscher (University of New Mexico); Hillary Kaell (Concordia University); David King (Memphis Theological Seminary); Anthony Petro (Boston University); John Seitz (Fordham University); and Josef Sorett (Harvard University).

“I found the group to be lively and passionate about what they're doing," said Orsi. “I was impressed by their interest in seeing what happens to scholarship in American religious history when it is pursued at the intersection of history and ethnography. Pedagogically, they're an extraordinarily creative group, excited about teaching and innovative about how they go about teaching American religion—in terms of sources, approaches, perspectives, and so on. They have great ideas about what ‘religious history’ can be about. They're also very thoughtful about the contemporary academy.

“They know their students—I was impressed by how deeply they could describe the worlds their students come from, what ideas and experiences their students (of varying ages and backgrounds in most cases) bring into the classroom, as well as the particular challenges of students' lives in our present day society. They're also funny and great to hang out with.”

Bender concurred. “It was great to be in conversation with colleagues who bring so much intellectual intensity to the craft of teaching. And yes (echoing Bob) they do know their students well. I was quite struck by how carefully each one of them considers the best ways to introduce students to new ways of thinking about and understanding the past.

“I'd perhaps also add (or underscore) that this weekend's meeting focused on teaching and I am (we are) quite excited to turn to research in the spring!”

Sponsored by the Center and funded by Lilly Endowment, the Young Scholars in American Religion program dates back to 1991. One hundred and fifteen scholars have participated in the program, which is designed to help new faculty excel in the areas of teaching and research and to form a community of colleagues that will extend into the future.