2021 NetVUE Regional Gathering – AAR/SBL Annual Meeting

Religion and Justice Issues in the Undergraduate Classroom: An AAR/SBL Pre-Meeting

November 18-19, 2021 · American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting · San Antonio, TX

This gathering provided an opportunity for teachers and scholars in the field of religious studies to explore the ways that their undergraduate classrooms can become sites for deeper conversations about issues of justice. Students are increasingly interested in issues of religion and justice, and in how these concerns will impact their own future endeavors (including, but not limited to, their work careers). Hence, religion and justice issues tend to intersect with the work of helping students to undertake the work of vocational reflection and discernment in their own lives and in the various communities of which they are a part. These issues involve a great many aspects of religion and higher education, including the theological and ethical approaches of various faith traditions; the increasingly important role of interreligious and interfaith studies in the undergraduate curriculum; and the relationships among general education, professional preparation, and the personal life stances of undergraduate students. This gathering addressed questions such as these: 

  • How might the undergraduate classroom become a space in which the relationships between religion and justice are more adequately articulated?
  • How are these issues related to the work of reflection and discernment that undergraduate students are doing as they look toward their future directions in life?
  • What resources (readings, discussion topics, and pedagogical approaches) are available to religious studies scholars who seek to emphasize the relationships among religion, justice, and personal reflection and discernment?
  • What obstacles are classroom teachers likely to face in addressing these issues in the religious studies classroom, and how can these obstacles be addressed?

This gathering was of interest to those who teach undergraduate courses in religious studies, theology, ethics, and related fields, including those that focus on interreligious and interfaith studies.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, November 18, 2021 (Grand Hyatt, Crockett AB)
2:00 p.m.

Introduction: Religion on Display: Love, Fear, and Justice
         David S. Cunningham, Director of NetVUE

2:15 p.m.

Opening Address: Neighbor Love Through Fearful Days
         Jason A. Mahn, Augustana College (IL)

2:45 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Responses To Jason Mahn
         Krista E. Hughes, Newberry College Mindy Makant, Lenoir-Rhyne University
         Rajikumar Boaz Johnson, North Park University
         Daniel A. Morris, Norwich University

3:45 p.m.


4:00 p.m.

Discussion with Panelists

5:00 p.m.


6:30 p.m.

Dinner at a local restaurant

Friday, November 19, 2021 (Grand Hyatt, Crockett AB)
9:00 a.m.

Introduction: Religion and Justice: Immigration, Incarceration, and the Environment
         David S. Cunningham, Director of NetVUE

9:15 a.m.

Environmental Justice and Religion
         Catherine Wright, Wingate University

9:45 a.m.

Crossing Borders in the Classroom: Immigration, Religion, and Justice
         Julia Lambert Fogg, California Lutheran University

10:15 a.m.


10:30 a.m.

Incarceration and Policing, Religion, and Justice
         Arminta M. Fox, Bethany College (KS)

11:00 a.m.

Discussion with Panelists

Other Optional Sessions

Friday, November 19, 2:00–3:15 or 3:30–4:45 p.m.

Grand Hyatt, Crocket CD

         Preparing to Facilitate Scriptural Reasoning at the 2022 NetVUE Conference
Nick Adams, University of Birmingham

         NetVUE sought volunteers who expected to attend the Conference and who were willing to facilitate small groups of eight to ten people each in the practice of Scriptural Reasoning. In this session, Nicholas Adams, Professor of Philosophical Theology at the University of Birmingham, introduced the practice and provided initial training advice to future volunteer facilitators.

Sunday, November 21, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Marriott Rivercenter, Grand Ballroom, Salon L

         NetVUE Reception for Members and Friends
         David S. Cunningham, Director of NetVUE, and Lynne Spoelhof, NetVUE Program Manager

         All SBL and AAR participants were invited to join us for this reception, whether or not their institutions are members of the network. Attendees could learn more about NetVUE (including faculty development and grant opportunities), connect with friends and colleagues with similar interests, and enjoy one another’s company.

Meals, Accommodation, and Transportation

Registered participants were invited to the Thursday reception (complimentary snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and bar); as well as dinner at a local restaurant.

Because this was a one-day conference, lodging needs varied. Members of the American Academy of Religion who were registered for the Annual Meeting could obtain discounted lodging through the AAR. Details concerning area hotels, as well as airport transfer and parking information, is available on the AAR website.

NetVUE is a program of the Council of Independent Colleges and is grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for its generous support of this event.