Looking Ahead to #SBLAAR 17: the Augustinian Refugee

It looks as though finally registering for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion paid off: my name is now included as part of our panel! No longer shall I be known as “Unregistered Participant.”

My presentation this November will represent a bit of a departure for me. Whereas I usually focus on Augustine’s place in the history of the philosophy of time, this time I’ll be zeroing in on what exactly Augustine means when he writes of peregrinatio or (as it’s usually rendered) “pilgrimage.”

Here’s the short version: the problem with translating this term as “pilgrimage” is that it too readily evokes the image of devotion to the cult of the saints (e.g., a pilgrimage to the relics of St. Stephen, etc.). But the term’s origins go back further than that, more commonly denoting the experienceĀ of any migrant, exile, or (at times) even tourist.

My question is: What if we re-translated peregrinatio as “migrancy” in key texts of Augustine’s, such as City of God I? Out of that, further questions grow: Would we get a better sense of what it means to be a (so-called) “pilgrim” in this life? Would we better understand the resonances connecting the migrant experience to the Christian sensibility expressed so memorably in the words of Augustine?

It is my earnest hope that the answer to that last question is: “Yeah, pretty much!”

[H/T to the heroic organizers of the Augustine & Augustinianisms section at AAR, Dr. Matthew Drever and Dr. Paul Kolbet. Great guys, the both of ’em!]

Twilight of the Textbooks: Smashing Idols through Classroom Dialogue

To complete the trifecta, here’s the other piece I’ve contributed to the University of Chicago Divinity School’s Craft of Teaching blog:

https://craftofteachingreligion.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/twilight-of-the-textbooks-smashing-idols-through-classroom-dialogue/

Rather than figuring out the finer points of digital pedagogy or reflecting on the status of academic labour, this post aimed to think through the potentially alienating but ultimately rewarding experience of alternating between great-books-style teaching and survey-style lecturing. My position at MacEwan allows me to teach in both styles, which (as I’ve learned) can be really beneficial both for me and (more crucially) for my students.

Scholarly Labour & the Fantasy of Self-Fulfillment

Here’s something I wrote in light of recent debates about the role that unionization can play in the recognition of academic work as labour:

https://craftofteachingreligion.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/scholarly-labour-the-fantasy-of-self-fulfillment/

If you’d like to read more about the advances of graduate student unionization, check out the work being done by Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you’d like to read about the perils of poorly strategized unionization, take a look at the collective bargaining situation at the University of Calgary.