EIR Election and Survey 2020

EIR Election and Regional Survey 

We are pleased to announce a full slate of candidates for the Board Officer positions of 2020-21 President, 2020-21 Vice President-President Elect, and Student Director. Please take a moment to review the biographies and statements of our candidates below this message. We are grateful for their willingness to serve on the EIR Board and support the Region’s mission. You can cast your vote in the Survey Monkey link here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NGWLX3V , which will also take you to a short survey that asks for you feedback on ways that the EIR can better serve our Regional Members. The vote and survey should take no more than a few minutes.  


Regional Development Grants

I’d like to remind everyone of the Jun 1, 2020 deadline for Regional Development Grants (up to $4000), which is fast approaching! Here’s the link for more information https://www.aarweb.org/AARMBR/Who-We-Are-/Grant-Programs-/Regional-Development-Grants.aspx  Regional Development Grants must be sent to each Region’s REC, so please send your grant applications to me (chogan@washjeff.edu) so that I may forward them to the Regional Grant Review Committee. 

Best Wishes and Be Well,

Cynthia A. Hogan, Ph.D.

Regionally Elected Coordinator


Biographies and Statements for EIR Board Candidates


EIR President of the Executive Board, July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021


James W. Watts


Dr. Watts is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University, where he has taught since 1999. He is a biblical scholar whose research focuses on the interplay of ritual and rhetoric in the Torah/Pentateuch and in the rest of the Hebrew Bible. He also directs the Iconic Books Project, leading an interdisciplinary team of scholars in investigating the social functions of material texts. He combines the two research interests in his comparative studies of the ritualizing of scriptures. He is the author of Leviticus 1-10 (Peeters, 2013), Understanding the Pentateuch as a Scripture (2017), How and Why Books Matter (2019), and the editor of Iconic Books and Texts (2013) and Sensing Sacred Texts (2018). Watts previously served as President and host of the EIR in 2013-14 and 2017-18.


EIR Vice-President/President Elect, July 2021-June 30, 2021 (EIR President 2021-22)


Abrahim H. Khan


The areas of my scholarship are philosophy of religion (Kierkegaard studies), cross cultural and comparative studies in religion, and religion healing and medicine/mental health. I teach at the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, and cross-appointed t the university’s department for the study of religion. I have taught at different Canadian universities. Further my university education is in both USA and Canada. At AAR I have chaired two program units and am currently a life member and participant for the last four years in its mentorship program. Other memberships include the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion and the Canadian Theological Society of which I am a former president.

Besides teaching research and publications experiences, other relevant skill sets and resource for the job include some administrative expertise as director for graduate studies at Trinity and through the Toronto School of Theology. Added to that is the work as editor of the Toronto Journal of Theology for over a dozen year, and advisor/mentor to journal and serial publications in Europe, all have won prizes.  Not to be overlooked is serving as an executive officer of the International Association for the Study of Religion whose 2010 Congress was in Toronto, and my involvement in it through programs organizing for over 20 years. The associations and connections are still ongoing


EIR Student Director July 1, 2020 June 30, 2022 


Chris Miller


I first attended the regional meeting when it was hosted at my home institution in 2017. This conference offered an exciting opportunity to assist with the operations that come with running a conference, as well as the chance to network with scholars in my discipline. I also presented a paper at this meeting, which I am happy to say was accepted for publication last spring by The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. The valuable feedback and encouragement I received at this session facilitated my refinement of the paper. Ever since this experience, I have found the regional meetings to be great opportunities for students to expand their professional networks and hone their research. 


I believe I would be an ideal candidate for Student Director due to my consistent involvement in Religious Studies professional associations. I have been a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the American Academy of Religion for the past three years. I have also been fortunate enough to have funding to attend the last two AAR annual meetings. In the Canadian context, I am a member of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion and have presented at the CSSR’s annual conference for the past three years. Partly due to the scope of my dissertation, which analyzes the development of academic sub-fields, and partly out of my own curiosity, these meetings have helped me to understand how conferences are structured, Program Units are formed, and how associations fit within the broader sphere of scholarship. 


Within my school, I have had many experiences in positions of student leadership. For the past two years I have been the University of Waterloo representative in the CSSR’s Student Ambassador program. I am responsible for ensuring that all graduate and undergraduate students at UW are aware of events and news from the CSSR. This includes encouraging participation in conferences and essay contests. My responsibilities also involve communicating student concerns to the CSSR. This position has given me valuable experiences representing graduate students within a larger professional organization.