- The Annual Meeting of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies
An undercurrent for this year's annual meeting was distress over the inaccuracy and incivility of much of the discourse surrounding the US presidential election—and the polarization fostered by such discourse. The society's mission can be seen, in part, as fostering discourse about difference and common ground more honestly, happily, and hopefully—by "supporting activities related to the comparative study of, and the practical interaction between, Buddhism and Christianity, whether by groups or individuals" and by encouraging "those who report on Buddhist-Christian dialogue and comparative study, both as historical research and contemporary practice, to employ analytical and theoretical tools and set their discussion within the framework of our larger human history" while being "as inclusive as is feasible in all such aforementioned activities."
Our activities this year included, on Friday, our governing board meeting, a program committee meeting over lunch, a late afternoon panel, and a dinner afterwards at a nearby restaurant, and, on Saturday morning, our second panel and our members meeting. The society, as a "related scholarly organization" of the American Academy of Religion, holds its annual meeting in conjunction with AAR's annual meeting, with our panels publicized within its program book.
governing board meeting highlights
Four highlights of this year's board meeting were:
• The good news about the financial and membership growth of the society over this past year, and the effectiveness of the online new membership and membership renewal system.
• The lively discussion about how to shape the new blog, which the board is still committed to launching.
• The board's delight over how effectively newsletter editor Jonathan Seitz (in Taipei) and treasurer Glenn Willis (in Pennsylvania) were able to contribute to [End Page 259] its meeting via video conferencing—and the implications of this success for the increased involvement of international advisors.
• The board's approval of University of Hawai'i Press's offer to make the journal available online to the society's members.
governing board officers' reports
After President John Makransky called the board meeting to order, the agenda was unanimously approved and the 2015 annual meeting minutes were approved by consensus.
Newsletter Editor's Report
Jonathan Seitz asked us to consider what genres might be included and what topics might be proposed for the "Views" segment of the "News and Views" section of the journal, which the newsletter editor edits. Jonathan and journal co-editors Carol Anderson and Thomas Cattoi agreed to come up with a list of "viewpoint" topics to be publicized to the society.
Glenn Willis, after announcing the good news of our numerical and monetary growth, announced the sad news of his resignation due to his increased faculty responsibilities. He led us into a discussion of the treasurer's current responsibilities, which have been automated and simplified due to the website work of Alicia Brown and others. Key treasurer tasks are the checkbook and tax exemption paperwork.
In light of the late hour in Taipei, and the board's desire to have Jonathan involved in the discussion of how to launch the blog, we entered into a wide-ranging discussion that resulted in Abraham Vélez's unanimous appointment as editor of the blog, with the understanding that a co-editor would be appointed within two months. After a lunchtime adjournment for the Program Committee luncheon, led by Vice President Kristin Largen, we reconvened for the rest of the officer's reports.
Journal Co-Editors' Report
Carol Anderson and Thomas Cattoi reported that, having conversed with the editorial advisory board members, they had updated the list in light of people's current availability. They emphasized the absolute necessity for article reviewers to turn in their reviews expeditiously or immediately decline the request. University of Hawai'iPress has proposed, they reported, making the journal available online to members. The board voted unanimously to accept the offer. Members who so desire can still receive a paper copy. [End Page 260]
Book Review Editor's Report
Sid Brown reported about the new books in the review pipeline. She asked Elizabeth Harris, our international advisor from the European Network for...