The AAR has named Eileen B. Barker to receive its Martin E. Marty Award for Contributions to the Public Understanding of Religion. Barker, a sociologist of religion at the London School of Economics, is the founder and chairperson of INFORM, which uses scholarly research as a basis fro accurately informing the news media, Government officials, and the public about new religious movements. She is the author of editor of seven books, including New Religious Movements and The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing?
Upon learning that Barker had won the award, Wade Clark Roof praised Barker's research and writing for "helping to sharpen our understanding of, and quell our fears about, new religious movements. The public dimension of her work is at the forefront, clarifying views about so-called 'Cults' and calling into question the easily accepted, deeply ingrained misperceptions."
The annual award was established in 1996 to "bring greater recognition to scholars whose relevance and eloquence speaks, not just to scholars, but more broadly to the public as well," said Barbara DeConcini, Executive Director of the American Academy of Religion.
Barker will receive the award at the beginning of the AAR Presidential Address at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 18, at the 2000 AAR/SBL Annual Meeting in Nashville. (Coincidentally, Barker will be giving one of the meeting's plenary addresses earlier that day, at 11:30 a.m.)
The award's previous recipients are Martin E. Marty (1996); the late Walter Capps (1997); Harvey Cox (1998)' and Cornel West (1999).
The recipient of the award is determined by the AAR's Public Understanding of Religion Committee. To nominate someone to receive the 2001 award, send a nomination letter and biographical information to Steve Herrick, AAR, 825 Houston Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30329.
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