Join AASR member Adriaan van Klinken on his inaugural professorial lecture titled “Reimagining Christianity and Sexual Diversity in Africa” at the Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS) and the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science (PRHS) on Thursday 28 October, 4:30pm.
Adriaan is Professor of Religion and African Studies at the University of Leeds, and Extraordinary Professor at the University of the Western Cape (South Africa), in the Desmond Tutu Centre for Religion and Social Justice. At Leeds, he is Director of both the Centre for Religion and Public Life and the Leeds University Centre for African Studies. His prolific research is predominantly focused on the intersection of religion, gender, and sexuality in contemporary African settings.
Dear AASR friends,
With deep pain, we share the devastating news that long-standing AASR member Rev. Dr. Melissa D. Browning passed away on April 8th, 2021, after living courageously and to the fullest while fighting cancer for the past several years. She leaves behind her husband, Wes Browning, and their daughter, Olivia.
Much beloved by her family, friends, community members, students, and colleagues near and far, she played a substantial role in our Association for many years, serving with dedication and integrity. This included serving on the Executive Committee as Assistant Secretary General and Webmaster (2010–2015), for which her husband Wes generously provided technical expertise and web support and continued to do for several years following the conclusion of Melissa’s tenure. As Asst. Secretary General, Melissa served meritoriously and in many instances did the “heavy lifting,” always with grace, cheerfulness, and selflessness.
Melissa was Interim Director of Contextual Education and International Partnerships at Columbia Theological Seminary and is remembered as an outstanding feminist theologian, ethicist, and activist, with long-standing connections in East Africa and the rest of the world. Melissa’s teaching, community activism, and scholarship, and especially her bold book Risky Marriage: HIV and Intimate Relationships in Tanzania (Lexington 2013), remain a testament to her intelligence and humanity. AASR members remember her as an incredibly pleasant and personable colleague who was deeply loved and admired by many, and a consistently hardworking colleague who did much to build and strengthen the Association.
We remember her family in these moments as they grapple with this painful loss. May the richness of the joy and hope that Melissa offered the world so graciously be an inspiration; and may we as an Association continue to honor her legacy of service, energy, dedication, and love for Africa.
Rest in power, Melissa!
Update: Please read Rev. Dr. Melissa D. Browning’s full obituary here. Details on donations and tributes among others can also be found here https://www.melissabrowning.com/.
The AASR is committed to mentoring graduate students and early career scholars. To this end, we invite graduate students and early career scholars writing about religions of Africa to apply for the mentorship programme. Early career is defined as those who have earned a Ph.D. in the past five years and those who are yet to secure a continuous teaching or research position. To indicate your interest, please submit a.) a 250-word abstract outlining a project you are working on or intend to work on b.) a 250-word bio that includes what you would hope to gain through mentorship, and c.) an abridged CV (two-page maximum).
Please, send these documents to the secretary-general of the AASR, Dr. Nathanael Homewood, at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is 1 May 2021 by 5:00 PM WAT. Upon review, submissions will receive a response by 15 May 2021.
Those selected will present a 5-7 minute paper on their current project or project proposal at the July 21-23, 2021 AASR Virtual Conference. This project can be at any stage and most certainly does not need to be completed. The goal is to create a space where even nascent ideas can be shared and receive constructive and encouraging input and feedback from members of the association. The experience will demystify the professional presentation and promote mentorship in a context where every question is valued. You will be required to send a draft of your presentation by the beginning of July so potential mentors can have access to it before the virtual conference.
After the conference, each presenter will be paired with a senior scholar who will provide mentorship and advice on the project and career advancement and opportunities more broadly. This mentorship will include a one-on-one session after the presentation, with the possibility of an ongoing relationship.
I want to draw your attention to several upcoming events that we hope you will consider participating in.
Save the Date: On March 24 at 4 pm GMT we will host a virtual AASR General Meeting. A Zoom link and agenda will be provided closer to the date, but we kindly ask that you plan to join us as the new-ish executive shares updates and plans for the next few years.
AAR Call for Papers: You can find the AASR cfp for the 2021 AAR Annual Meeting here. The submission deadline is March 1, 2021, at 5 pm EST. We encourage members to submit proposals for these and the many other panels that create space for conversation about religion(s) in Africa.
Leeds University Short Term Virtual Fellowships: For association members based at African institutions, Leeds University is offering short-term virtual research fellowships to consider “African Knowledges for Global Challenges.” Those interested can find more information here.
Finally, this is a friendly reminder for all members to make sure to renew your membership for 2021. The improved Association website makes it easy to do so. Further, the executive has decided that 2021 fees are “pay what you are able”, ensuring, in light of the global pandemic, that membership is accessible to everyone.
Nathanael J. Homewood
AASR General Secretary