Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Job prospects for Pagan scholars

I am speaking only of religious studies here, and I wish only to point out that a PhD (or terminal master's degree) with an emphasis on Pagan Studies is a poor bet in the academic job market at the present time.

Every year, following the annual meeting, the American Academy of Religion publishes a list of academic positions for which interviews were conducted at the annual meeting, as well as the number of candidates who interviewed for each opening. The top fields and number of positions in each:

New Testament (12), South Asian religions (10), Asian religions (10), Islam (9), Hebrew bible (9), Other (9), Catholic theology (8), History of Christianity/Church history (7).

There are several dozen other categories with somewhere between 6 and 0 openings this year--54 categories in all. "Asian religions" had jumped a lot from 2003; and "Islam," of course, climbed after 11 September 2001. There were no openings in 2004 and 2003 in "new religious movements" and just one in 2003 in "women's studies in religion."

Candidates need multiple arrows in their quivers. As for me, now you know why I teach in the English Department.


Anonymous lee said...

As you wisely point out, I concur that the trick is to have lots of arrows in the quiver. And that a decent program and advisor shouldn't let you out the door without them, even while allowing (or in my case encouraging) non-traditional work in areas like Pagan Studies and the like. For my own part, and for the time being, I seem to be finding enough local part-time work as a generalist teaching the dreaded "World Religions." But the proof, of course, will be in the pudding in next year or so, when I start casting my nets for that mythical tenure track gig. There are also examples like Sarah Pike, who have similarly well-armed quivers, and seem to be making a decent go at it. So, while I agree that you're not likely to get an appointment in "Pagan Studies," careers can be carved out if one goes at it realistically.

Lee (now "qibitum" at livejournal)

11:17 AM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...


You make good points. I should add some too:

1. Positions for which candidates are interviewed at large conferences are usually full-time, tenure-track positions, but . . .

2. Some tenure-track positions are filled through seaches and interviews on campus also.

3. Right now, I see Pagan Studies classes frequently taught by part-time (adjunct) faculty rather than full-time tenured faculty.

Sarah Pike, however, is a good example of a tenured professor who is serving as a generalist in the undergraduate classroom but publishing in Pagan Studies.

12:25 PM  

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