Sandwich Program and the American Academy of Religion 2013

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014, 09:28 WIB

Nina Mariani Noor

Arriving at the end of spring season, Boston welcomed me with its warmth atmosphere.  I still could feel the warmth of the sun and beautiful colorful flowers which spread around the town. It was the second time for me to step my feet on the States, and really it gave me another chance to see and experience living there.

Living in Brighton center neighborhood where I could find anything in walking distance made me easier to fulfill my needs. Public transportation in Boston is among the best in the USA in which we only need to walka maximum ofsixminutes from one location. Boston University is located in Brookline area and I onky need to take one bus ride to get there.

On this reflection I am going to share my experience in joining Annual meeting of The American Academy of Religion. I feel very lucky since while doing my sandwich program in Boston University, I had an opportunity to attend Annual meetingof  the American Academy of Religion in Baltimore Maryland on 23 – 26 November 2013. This annual meeting was held in Baltimore Convention Center and some hotels near the building.

The American Academy of Religion brings thousands of professors and students, authors and publishers, religious leaders and interested laypersons to its Annual Meeting each year. This year, its annual meeting was Co-hosted with the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Annual Meetings are the largest events of the year in the fields of religious studies and theology. More than 10,000 people attended the 2013 Annual Meetings, enjoying access to some 900 academic sessions and additional meetings.

Joining a big event with hundreds panels from various topic on one time, really need our strategy in order to grasp as much as knowledge available there. The Committee already sent the book program to participants two weeks before the event so we can started to read it and highlight sessions that we want to join. Furthermore, mobile application is also available for iPhone, iPad and tablet and it makes participants find it easier to highlight the sessions that are interesting for them and also as a reminder when the program started. Based on my experience, I chose not only sessions that are in line with my dissertation topic but also some sessions that are interesting for me, both the topic and its presenters.

Another great opportunity in AAR is meeting with many well-known scholars and professors from religious studies around the world. In addition we can listen to their presentation, we can also attend some receptions which are held by some universities and centers. In those receptions we have a big chance to greet, meet and discuss with some professors and we can get information about scholarship, fellowship and possibilities of doing post-doc.

In my opinion, AAR is very useful for ICRS students, not only as the place to enrich knowledge and issues on religion but also to build networking with scholars and professors in religious studies. I hope, in the future, some ICRS students can join AAR not only as attendee but also as presenter, or if it is possible, ICRS can make its own forum that involved ICRS students and faculties. Based on my own observation, Indonesia and religious issue in Indonesia as a topic is raising. However, nowadays, stillonly several scholars about Indonesiawho are well known internationally. I think there is a big chance for us to start make our studies about Indonesia more visible in international level, and I believe that AAR is one alternative arena to make it.

This AAR encourages me to work harder on my study and also inspire me to be more confident with my topic and starting to think to disseminate my research through conference, seminar and other forum internationally. Hope to join again next year as a presenter.