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Graduate Student Conference 2016

Family and Geneaology in the Study of Religion:
An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference
Hosted by the Department of Religious Studies at Brown University

Conference Dates:
March 18 and 19, 2016
Keynote Speaker: Tomoko Masuzawa (University of Michigan)
All presentations and speeches will take place in the Petteruti Lounge, Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center. 

This conference seeks to explore and bridge the surprising gap between "genealogy" and "family" in the study of religion. Conversations about genealogy and family often appear disengaged from one another and can become embedded in problematic dichotomies. Genealogy implies patrilineal descent, while "domestic religion" is often used synonymously with "women's religion." Similarly, genealogy is associated with science, history, and rationality; family with nature, daily life, and emotion. Why have "family" and "genealogy" been bifurcated in religious studies? What can we learn from bringing them back together?

By approaching these topics in tandem, we hope to engender critical reflection about the subtle relationships between "families" and "genealogies," and to interrogate the prevailing split that seems to separate the two. 

 Conference Schedule:

Friday, March 18th

9:00am: Introductory Remarks | Continental Breakfast

9:30am-11:30am: Session 1: Mortality and Mourning
Discussants: Daniel Picus and Caroline Kory, Brown University

  • "From Birth to Death: Midwifery and Mourning, Women's Religious Roles in Ancient Israel," NaShieka Knight, Towson University
  • "Family, Genealogy, and Religion in Contemporary American Gravemarkers:1990-2014," Adriane Zahner, University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • Group Conversation: Family and the Lifecycle 

11:30am-1:00pm: Break

1:00pm-3:00pm: Session II: Fictive Families
Discussants: Adrien Stoloff and Justin Byrd, Brown University

  • "Gender Relations and Gendered Relations in Hindu Devotional Piety," Dimple Dhanani, Syracuse University
  • "Two Lakṣmī-s: Varied Genealogies and Discourse," Darcie Price-Wallace, Northwestern University
  • "'Priez pour nous, maman': Filiality and the Making of the Catholic World," James Padilioni, Jr., College of William and Mary
  • "God's Friends and Buddha's Sons: Disrupting the Master-Disciple Paradigm of Mystic Lineage," Jessica Stilwell, McGill University

3:00pm-3:30pm: Break

3:30pm - 5:30pm: Session III: Transmission and Inheritance
Discussant: Mark Cladis, Brown University

  • "The Emergence of Genealogical Legitimation in Early Islam: The Simultaneous Development of Historical Visions and Communal Definitions," Samuel Miller, University of Chicago
  • "From Mourning Embroideries to Family Bible Records: The Rise of Gendered Genealogy in Nineteenth-Century American Protestantism," Jamies Brummitt, Duke University
  • "Memory, Inheritance, and Religion," Hannah Roh, University of Chicago
  • "Tell Me About My Mothers: Hybrid Genealogies and the Quest for Complex Subjectivity in Octavia Estelle Butler's Fledgling,"  E. Zora Hamsa, Rice University 

6:00pm: Keynote Address: Professor Tomoko Masuzawa, University of Michigan

Saturday, March 19th

8:30am: Continental Breakfast

9:00am-11:00am: Session IV: Adapting Across Boundaries
Discussants: Nicholas Friesner and Megan McBride, Brown University

  • "'Temple of My Heart' (Pran'er Mondir): Affective Dimensions of Religious Space in Montreal's Hindu-Bangladeshi Community," Aditya Bhattacharjee, McGill University
  • "Bakiné as indigenous creativity: one performance of family in the chaotic Atlantic Modern," Hector Varela Rios, University of Chicago 

11:30am-12:30pm: Closing remarks by Professor Tomoko Masuzawa, University of Michigan.