Public Scholars Project

Public Scholars Project American Academy of Religion AAR

The Public Scholars Project is a joint initiative of the American Academy of Religion and the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute. Through seminars and other resources, the Public Scholars Project equips scholars of religion to effectively communicate in the public sphere and foster religious literacy.

Free Webinars

Upcoming Webinar

Religion, Public Health and COVID-19: Tips and Tools for Teaching about Religion Remotely

We have organized this rapid-response webinar to offer advice, historical context and collegial support for scholars impacted by the global pandemic. Educators face the unprecedented challenge of transitioning from in-person to virtual instruction in a matter of days – all while juggling care for children who are home from school, family or friends who may need medical attention and personal mental and physical health. We will discuss how scholars of religion can share research about religion and public health, teach about religion remotely with fair grading options, manage tenure processes and speak about religion and medicine with different publics.

We are pleased to host co-presenters including Lee H. Butler, distinguished service professor of theology and psychology at the Chicago Theological Seminary; Ellen Idler, director of Emory’s Religion and Public Health Collaborative; Pamela Klassen, professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto; Doug Oman, associate adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley; and Phillis Isabella Sheppard, associate professor of religion, psychology and culture at Vanderbilt Divinity School. More panelists may be added. The webinar will include a presentation and extended Q&A.

When

April 9, 2020, 12 – 1 p.m. EDT

Where

Zoom videoconference room

Cost

Free and open to the public. Registration required.

2019-20 webinar schedule

  • September 2019 – Religious Studies and Pop Culture: Tips for Sharing Scholarship with the Public
  • October 2019 – Religious Studies and Hospitals: Promising Venues for Public Scholarship
  • November 2019 – American Academy of Religion annual meeting (no webinar)
  • December 2019 – Religious Studies and Sports: Tips for Sharing Scholarship with the Public
  • January 2020 – Religion in the Streets: Tips for Sharing Scholarship with the Public
  • February 2020 – Religious Studies and Mass Incarceration: Tips for Sharing Scholarship with the Public
  • March 2020 – Religious Studies, Native Americans and the Free Exercise of Religion: Tips for Sharing Scholarship with the Public
  • April 2020 (special edition) – Religion, Public Health and COVID-19: Tips and Tools for Teaching about Religion Remotely
  • April 2020 – Religious Studies and the Military: Promising Venues for Public Scholarship
  • May 2020 – Break
  • June 2020 – Religious Studies and the 2020 Election: Tips for Sharing Scholarship with the Public

Check back here for my information about upcoming webinars.

Presenters will be announced one month before each webinar. To receive information about upcoming webinars, please sign up for the Religious Freedom Center’s e-newsletter.


Media Literacy Training

In the following online and onsite programs of the Public Scholars Project, participants will receive media literacy training, designed to help them hone their skills at communicating with a variety of publics (e.g., fellow residents, the electorate, public officials, journalists) in a variety of settings (e.g., social media, news, public events, community gatherings). Modes of public engagement may include, but is not limited to, effective use of Social Media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn) and Video & Audio (e.g., YouTube, podcasting), as well as engagement with Journalists (interviewing techniques for print, radio, television; writing op-eds and letters to the editor) and Community Groups (public officials and educational, civic, business, and religious groups). The following programs are designed to help AAR members cultivate their media literacy.


Project Designers

The Public Scholars Project is an initiative of the American Academy of Religion’s Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion.

Marion Pierre serves as the AAR staff liaison. The project leads for the Public Scholars Project are Evan Berry, assistant professor of environmental humanities and religious studies at Arizona State University, and Ben Marcus, religious literacy specialist at the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum.