2020 Annual Meeting

Your AAR staff continues to work toward holding the Annual Meeting in Boston, Nov. 21-24, 2020. We are aware of the uncertainty and contradictory projections related to the COVID-19 pandemic and with health and safety as a priority, we will continue monitoring the guidance of governments and health experts as we plan and make decisions. Should any changes need to be made related to the 2020 Annual Meeting, we will promptly notify you.

2020 Regional Meetings

Open Registration:

All remaining regional meetings for 2020 have been canceled

Chaplaincy Program: Conference Program

AAR-CERP Annual Chaplaincy Conference

Chaplaincy Conference, Atlanta

Each year speakers are recruited for the topics in which chaplaincy directors indicate they are most interested. Potential attendees send their ideas to Barbara McGraw, who works with others to locate scholar-experts in the areas of interest. For an idea of the kinds of topics and speakers from previous years, below are listings of most of the topics and speakers from conferences since 2011 (for space reasons, we’ve edited down speaker info from their online bios).

2019 Topics and Speakers

Moral Injury and Identities in Crisis

Zachary Moon, Chicago Theological Seminary

Orthodox Christianity: History & Practices

Cyril Hovorum

Interfaith Leadership & Legal Trends

Barbara A. McGraw


Todd Green

Kemetic Religion: History & Practices

Salim Faraji

Understanding the Differences between Racism, Bias, Discrimination, and Racial Prejudice

Gaston Espinosa


Vasudha Narayanan

Closing Thoughts & Attendee Main Take-Aways Discussion

Barbara A. McGraw


2018 Topics and Speakers

Racism in Christianity and Paganism in the U.S.

Damon Berry holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies from Ohio State University. He is Assistant Professor of American Religions & Contemporary Issues in Religion at St. Lawrence University. His research focuses on the imbrication of religious and racialized discourses that shape and inform logics of exclusion and violence.

Perils and Promise of Chaplaincy Today

Wendy Cadge is Professor of Sociology and Chair of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Brandeis University. Her expertise includes contemporary American religion, especially related to religion in public institutions, religious diversity, religion and immigration, and religious and moral aspects of healthcare.

Trends in Anti-Catholic, Anti-Evangelical and Anti-Mormon Bias

Gaston Espinosa holds a Ph.D. from the University of California-Santa Barbara and specializes in U.S. Latino Religions, Pentecostal/Charismatic Movements, American Religion and Politics, American Religion and Film. He is the Arthur V. Stoughton Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College.


Joseph Laycock is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Texas State University. His research interests include American religious history, new religious movements, and moral panic. He contributes to Sightings, Religion DispatchesThe Bulletin for the Study of Religion Blog, The Conversation and other online outlets.

Interfaith Leadership & Legal Updates: Scincerity

Barbara McGraw is Professor, Social Ethics, Law, and Public Life; Director of the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism; and Director of the Interfaith Leadership Program at Saint Mary’s College of California. She is coauthor of Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions. She has served as a volunteer prison chaplain.

Norse Religions: History and Practices

Michael Strmiska holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies/Myth Studies from Boston University. He is Associate Professor in World History at SUNY-Orange with research interests in the political dimensions of modern Pagan and Native Faith movements in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the United States.

Black Islam: Nation of Gods and Earths

Richard B. Turner is Professor of African-American Religious History, with joint appointments in the Department of Religious Studies, the African American Studies Program, and International Programs at The University of Iowa. Publications include Islam and African Americans, Electronic Volume and Islam in the African-American Experience, Second Edition.


Donald A. Westbrook holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Claremont Graduate University. He has researched and published in the areas of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, Coptic history, and new religious movements. He is the author of Among the Scientologists: History, Theology, and Praxis.

2017 Topics and Speakers

Interfaith Leadership and Legal Updates

Barbara McGraw, Professor, Social Ethics, Law, and Public Life; Director of the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism; and Director of the Interfaith Leadership Program, Saint Mary’s College of California. Coauthor of Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions. She has served as a volunteer prison chaplain.


Tom Tweed, Professor of American Studies, University of Notre Dame; and author of The American Encounter with Buddhism and co-editor of Asian Religions in America.


Todd Green, Associate Professor of Religion, Luther College, and former fellow at the US Department of State. Author of The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West and of (forthcoming) Presumed Guilty: Why We Shouldn’t Ask Muslims to Condemn Terrorism.


Jordan Rosenblum, Associate Professor of Classical Judaism, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Much of his research focuses on Jewish diet and identity.

New Religious Movements

Eileen Barker, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science. She is the founder of INFORM, which provides information about alternative religious, spiritual, and esoteric movements, and is the author of hundreds of articles on these topics.

Religion and Racism

Michael Barkun, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Syracuse University; and the author, Religion and the Racist Right.

2016 Topics and Speakers

Leadership and Legal Issues (including sharing experiences and best practices across governmental agencies and how administrative and court decisions in one agency may affect matters in the other)

Barbara McGraw, Professor, Social Ethics, Law, and Public Life; Director of the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism; and Director of the Interfaith Leadership Program, Saint Mary’s College of California. Coauthor of Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions. Has served as a volunteer prison chaplain.

Native American Church vs. Native American Spirituality

Michael McNally, Chair and Professor of Religion, Carleton College. Author, Honoring Elders: Aging, Authority, and Objibwe Religion, and editor, The Practice of Native American Christianity.

Nation of Islam, Salafi Islam, and African American Muslims, generally

Richard Brent Turner, Professor of African American Religious History, University of Iowa. Author, Islam in the African American Experience and of “Moorish Science Temple of America” and “Nation of Islam.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses

George Chryssides, Honorary Research Fellow in Contemporary Religion, University of Birmingham (UK); Author, Jehovah’s Witnesses: Continuity and Change and of The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements.

Santa Muerte

Andrew Chesnut, Professor of Religious Studies and Chair in Catholic Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University. Author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint.

Western Esotericism (including Thelema and Golden Dawn groups)

Henrik Bogdan, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Gothenberg (Sweden). Author of Western Esotericism and of Rituals of Initiation and of Occultism in Global Perspective; author of “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the George E.H. Slater Collection.”

Breakout Sessions:

Correctional Institutions: Topics included issues that arise when minority religion groups do not have sufficient oversight, faith-based housing units, and seminary programs in prisons.

Patrick McCollum: Co-Chair, National Correctional Chaplaincy Directors Association; and Minority Faith Issues Chair, American Correctional Chaplains Association. For 17 years, served as a volunteer prison chaplain.

Military: Topics included: the chaplain as religious adviser, opportunities and challenges.

Chaplain (Col.) Charles E. Reynolds, Director of the US Army Religion, Culture and Advisement Directorate. Has served as active duty Army Chaplain for 23 years.

2011–2015 Collective List of Topics and Speakers

Afro-Cari​bbean Religions

Miguel De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies, Iliff School of Theology. He is the author of Santería: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America.


Robert Stockman, Adjunct Professor, Depaul University. He is the author of The Baha’i Faith: A Guide for the Perplexed.


Gaston Espinosa, Professor of Religious Studies, Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of Mexican American Religions: Spirituality, Activism & Culture.


Jeffrey Wilson, Associate Professor of religious studies and East Asian studies at the University of Waterloo, and the author of several books on Buddhist practice in America.


Ramdas Lamb, Associate Professor, University of Hawaii, Manoa. He is the author of the article “Beyond Anthropology: Towards a Global Pluralist Perspective in Hindu Studies.”

Chaplain Religious Freedom

Ken Bush, Director of Training, Programs and Research, National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces; former Director of Training and Leadership Development, US Army Chaplain Center and School.

Barbara McGraw Professor & Director, Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism; director of Interfaith Leadership Program, Saint Mary’s College of California. See more at Sponsors & Presiders.

Chaplaincy History/Future

Ulli Klemm, Administrator of Religion & Volunteer Services, PA Department of Corrections.

Patrick McCollum, Founder and Co-Chair of the National Correctional Chaplaincy Directors Association; for 17 years, he has served as a volunteer chaplain in California prisons.


Anthony Pinn, Professor of Religious Studies, Rice University. He is the author of Theism and Public Policy: Humanist Perspectives and Responses and of What is Humanism and Why Does It Matter?

Slavica Jakelic, Assistant Professor of Humanities and Social Thought, Valparaiso University. Her current book project’s working title is The Practice of Religious and Secular Humanisms.

Interfaith Leadership (including defining “religion,” countering bias, leading institutional change)

Barbara McGraw (see description above).


Marcia Hermansen, Director of the Islamic World Studies Program and Professor of Theology, Loyola University Chicago. She is associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World.

Lawrence Mamiya, Professor Emeritus of Religion & Africana Studies, Vassar College. He has led educational discussions inside prisons for 30 years. He is the author of "Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam" and "Black Militant and Separatists Movements."

Susan Van Baalen, former Chief Chaplain, Federal Bureau of Prisons. She is the author of “Islam in American Prisons” in the Oxford Handbook of American Islam.

John Voll, Professor Emeritus of Islamic History, Georgetown University. He is the coauthor of Makers of Contemporary Islam.


Eric Michael Mazur, Professor of Judaic Studies and of religious studies, Virginia Wesleyan College. He is the author of The Americanization of Religious Minorities: Confronting the Constitutional Order.  

Jacob Dorman, Associate Professor of History, Kansas University. He is the author of Chosen People: The Rise of American Black Israelite Religions.

Edward Curtis IV, Professor of Religious Studies, Indian University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. He coedited The New Black Gods: Arthur Huff Fauset and the Study of African American Religions.

Legal Issues (including religious accommodation and sincerity, RLUIPA and RFRA, lawsuit avoidance)

Barbara McGraw (see description above).

James T. Richardson, Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies, University of Nevada, Reno. He is the author of Regulating Religion: Case Studies from around the Globe.

Messianic Judaism

Mark Kinzer, President Emeritus of the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute. He is the coauthor of Israel's Messiah and the People of God: A Vision for Messianic Jewish Covenant Fidelity.

Jonathan Kaplan, Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern Studies. He is the author of the article “Say to the Cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God’: The Hebrew Bible, Outreach, and Messianic Judaism.”

Native American Religions

Michelene Pesantubbee, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Indian & Native Studies, University of Iowa. She is the author of the article “Cherokee Religious Traditions.”

New Religious Movements

William Ashcraft, Professor of Religion, Truman University. He is co-editor of Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America and of New Religious Movements: A Documentary Reader.

Marie Dallam, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Oklahoma. She is the author of “New Religious Movements” in Religions of the World.

Benjamin Zeller, Associate Professor of Religion, Lake Forest College. He is the author of Prophets and Protons: New Religious Movements and Science in Late Twentieth-Century America.


Graham Harvey, Head of Religious Studies, Open University (United Kingdom). He is the author of Contemporary Paganism: Listening People, Speaking Earth.

Sarah Pike, Professor of Religious Studies, California State University, Chico. She is the author of New Age and Neopagan Religions in America and Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans.

Michael York, retired director of the New Age and Pagan Studies Programme, Bath Sap University (United Kingdom). He is the author Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion.


Nikky-Guninder Singh, Professor & Chair of Religious Studies, Colby College. She is the author of The Feminine Principle in the Sikh Vision of the Transcendent.

Michael Hawley, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Mount Royal University (Canada). He is the editor of Sikh Diaspora: Theory, Agency, and Experience.


Jenny Rose, Adjunct Professor, Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of Zoroastrianism: An Introduction and of Zoroastrianism: A Guide for the Perplexed.

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