SeminarsUpcoming and Recent Seminars

Each year, the Association for Bahá'í Studies supports and promotes a number of seminars. Some seminars are organized around a professional or academic field, while others are interdisciplinary and focus on a theme. Some emerge from existing collaborative projects or working groups, while some are organized by the Association's Committee for Collaborative Initiatives. While the specific programs will vary, these seminars often involve the presentation of research, group discussion, study, and planning for ongoing collaborative initiatives.

We will post here information about upcoming seminars. Check back regularly or join the ABS mailing list for updates.

Methodologies in Academic Research

Virtual seminar

13-14 June 2020

Building on efforts in the 2019 Seminar regarding methodology, this seminar brought together 50 graduate students and faculty in Africana studies, education, social sciences, economics, natural sciences, engineering, and religious studies. Leading up to the seminar, disciplinary groups took part in two virtual discussions: the first addressing foundational Baháʼí texts and articles exploring questions of methodology; the second focused on discipline-specific articles. The culminating two-day seminar program included: insights from the disciplinary pre-calls; a plenary presentation questioning criticism as an element of methodology across fields; discussions about critique in interdisciplinary groups; and discussions in disciplinary groups to plan next steps for collaborative writing and research.

Business

Regional working group seminar

New York City, USA
22-23 February 2020

Participants in business and related fields were drawn mostly from the northeast of the continent. The program included a workshop on participation in professional and academic discourses; study and consultation on a Baháʼí perspective on business and commerce; reflections on discourses on corporate purpose and corporate social responsibility; examples of efforts to engage with specific discourses; and time for consulting about potential collaborative initiatives.

The Baháʼí Faith and Liberalism

Thematic conference seminar

Ottawa, Canada
7-8 August 2019

This seminar brought together 25 students and faculty in social sciences. It began with a consideration of Baháʼí approach and methodology, and then explored the elements of liberalism as a tradition of thought, and its implications for Baháʼís conducting research. Questions considered included: How can the idea of an evolving conceptual framework assist in understanding and interrogating the intellectual tradition of liberalism? Why is it relevant for Baháʼís engaged in academic and professional discourses to consider the intellectual history, assumptions, and central concepts of liberalism? What implications does Baha’u’llah’s Revelation hold for how to think about the insights and deficiencies of liberal thought? How might the Baháʼí framework resolve various conceptual tensions that emerge from the liberal tradition? Does the experience of the Baháʼís and their friends in community building provide relevant material to draw on making contributions to the discourse on liberalism?

Propaganda

Thematic conference seminar

Ottawa, Canada
7-8 August 2019

This seminar brought together 20 students and faculty across diverse disciplines to examine the phenomenon of propaganda. Participants studied texts from influential scholars in the field, watched documentaries on the topic, analyzed those texts and documentaries through the lens of the Baháʼí conceptual framework, and identified principles that can distinguish propaganda from communication that contributes to the betterment of humanity. Focus questions included: How can we understand the nature of propaganda, and the forces behind it, to protect ourselves, our communities, and our institutions from its influence? How can we contribute to the discourses of society in ways that are free from propaganda? How might communication media be restructured so they are less vulnerable to propaganda and more supportive of consultative public discourse? How can we contribute to the evolution of thought, in the professional and academic spaces we work in, along all three of the lines above?

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