The workshop is optimal for social science and critical humanities scholars of any rank who are looking to sustain or reenergize their work, or who are new to an approach. The workshop and presentations should appeal to established scholars producing relevant work, whether they are on the panel or in the audience. The workshop is also designed for graduate students developing dissertation proposals or chapters; and it should appeal to entry-level graduate students who want engagement with theoretically sophisticated and well-crafted research.
The workshop is not a substitute for coursework in method and theory, much less “Method and Theory in Religion 101.” Attendees and participants have professional commitments to this type of scholarly work, and they have already set down this path. Scholars from any other social science or critical humanities discipline versed in qualitative analysis or mixed methods (critical and social theory, methodologies, conceptualization etc.) will fit right in. The program and both the “suggested” and “further readings” are designed to attract our constituency: people who will see the readings as smart, useful, timely, or otherwise “on plan” with their research. The readings, nominated by our speakers, are selected for reasons of topical relevance and/or theoretical and methodological challenge.
WHAT MAKES A PRESENTATION “WORKSHOPPY”?
We hope the speakers (regardless of scholarly rank) will, in the course of their talks, make suggestions about how to structure work, how to theorize data or design research, or introduce techniques new to the study of religion.
We encourage our speakers to use the workshop as an occasion to renew previous ties, pursue collaborative work, and engage new colleagues. Our speakers should shape presentations and workshop programs in conversation with each other and the committee.
When we speak of “breaking the fourth wall” or “peeking behind the curtain,” we mean that we hope for explicit conversation about research design and implementation. We aim for discussion that clarifies aspects of the research process through smart, exacting scholarship.
We expect registered participants to skim (at least) the “Suggested Readings.” It is assumed that those asking questions have familiarity with the readings or topics under discussion.
We ask our speakers to list “Further Readings” so that participants can follow-up on their own, and so that they might “check” their reading-lists vis-à-vis recommendations from established scholars.
We assume (or really hope!) that participants will pursue intersections between workshop topics and their own research interests. “Affirmation of registration” correspondence generally indicates this intent.
Finally, we welcome adjuncts, early career scholars, and anyone else who may use the workshop to gather energy before starting (or resuming) work in areas under discussion.
*Editors: David Walker, Ipsita Chatterjea, Bill Arnal, with thanks to Michael Jerryson for his feedback.
This statement was originally released as “the Workshop’s Speaker and Participant Ethos” in 2014, and appears now with a minor modification.