Anti-intellectualism is cultural suicide.
Now that Deane is away in San Francisco for the week, off attending the big annual Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion circus, it is up to the rest of us to keep things going here.
I’ll keep this short for today and just throw out a question that has been irritating me of late, one that can be asked in relation to a number of different things, from the professionalisation of the academic world to the devolution of democracy in many parts of the world to a non-choice between the far right and the extreme right – though some places still have more authentically centrist options available, the Left seems to have almost disappeared from mainstream politics. The question is thus:
Is withdrawing in disgust the same thing as apathy?
(Intelligent) thoughts from the gallery are most welcome …
Berlusconi Youth has seven handy hints for anybody attending the SBL/AAR (and ETS) conferences in San Francisco in the next few days. It’s some of the most practical and sage advice ever. Be prepared. Read it.
Jolyon White, a graduate in Theology from the University of Otago, has been cleaning up those misleading National Party Billboards that have been littering the landscape recently.
White co-ordinated the campaign which added ”The rich deserve more” and ”Drill it, mine it, sell it” stickers to signs around the country.
- The Press
The Press alleges that Jolyon managed to fix up some “700 National billboards”, which is just an outstanding effort. Compare this with Jesus, who only cleansed the one Temple.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (56th session) notes that while the extent of child poverty has declined in recent years, it remains concerned that about 20% of children in New Zealand are living under the poverty line…. New Zealand is ranked in the bottom third of the OECD for income inequality…. Incomes remain much more unequal than during the 1980s…. New Zealand has large and persistent income differences between ethnic and gender groups. There are also an unacceptably large number of children experiencing hardship. The choice to favour investment in other segments of the population over children will have adverse consequences for New Zealand in the future. Insufficient response to this very unsatisfactory situation contributes to the overall grade of D.
- The New Zealand Institute
Jolyon joins the ranks of other famous social justice protestors in recent years who have utilised creative vandalism, including one group that caused $1m worth of damages to the U.S. spy base at Waihopai – a military unit based in New Zealand which participates in the slaughter of Iraqi and Afghani men, women, and children. On 21 October 2010, the Centre for Theology and Public Issues invited one of the Waihopai protestors to speak at the University of Otago.
Now these are real heroes. Like this guy:
Qualitative analysis indicates that, even though only 1% of participants at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) annual conference are women, the level of sexual promiscuity among all participants is at much the same, relatively high, level as at the SBL and AAR annual conferences.*
* Results based on initial survey results. Final results may differ. Qualitative analysis is inherently subjective; results should not be accorded the sacred status of objective scientificity (Wissenschaftlichkeit) as is quantitative analysis. Amen.
Further to discussions about the low number of women presenting at the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) conference, and the disgustingly low number of women presenting at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) conference in 2011 – what are the comparative figures for the American Academy of Religion (AAR) conference this year?
The names for the first 200 abstracts include 119 male and 81 female presenters.
So based on the samples carried out, the percentages of women presenting at the three largest annual religious studies conferences are:
American Academy of Religion (AAR): 41%
Society of Biblical Literature (SBL): 29%
Evangelical Theological Society (ETS): 1%
Michael F. Bird (Evangelion) notes that, of 700 papers to be presented at this month’s Evangelical Theological Society Conference, he recognises that only 8 are by women. There may be a few other women’s names that Michael acknowledges he does not recognise, but let’s not quibble over details. That’s 1%!
How does the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting compare? Taking as a sample the first two pages of the Participant List, I get 40/137 on page one and 40/137 on page two. That’s 29%.
In most disciplines, that’s just below the percentage of women who are members of the faculty – and this with the inclusion of up-and-coming female students.
Why? Given the dominance of Christians at SBL, and the dominance of males in positions of authority within Christianity, is the percentage of women presenters a product of this demographic?
(And on a related issue: why is the local U.S. meeting considered the annual meeting of a purported global body, and not the international meeting?)
I prescribe a large dose of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for all attendees at ETS and SBL this year:
Plans to occupy the AAR/SBL Conferences have been announced on the social networking site, Facebook.
At this stage, no plans have been announced to occupy the ETS Conference. At present, ETS remains unoccupied.
Potential protestors are encuraged to join the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/occupyaar/
A non-hierarchical planning meeting has been announced for Sunday, November 6 @ 4:00pm eastern/1:00pm, via web conference, details here: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=168045063290422
Organisers have published the following questions for discussion at the web conference. They use the mellifluous phrase, “congruence of possibility”:
What would it mean to occupy at AAR/SBL?
Religion, in all of its diversity, has been and will continue to be integral to the occupations. Might we, a large community of scholars of religion, stand not only in solidarity but also as part of this congruence of possibility, which has named itself the 99%? What might this look like? What form(s) might it take? How do we harness ourselves and our resources to be present in the world as part of a community that stands for justice?