Minutes of the 2016 Annual  ASEC Meeting

Minutes of the Annual Business Meeting of the Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture (ASEC), Saturday, November 19, 2016, Washington, D.C.

President Scott Kenworthy called the meeting to order at 8:15 by welcoming everyone to the meeting.

Conference Update

The bi-annual conference will be March 10-11, 2017 at Miami University of Ohio. Kenworthy announced that conference participants may want to check flights to either Dayton or Cincinnati. The Havighurst Center at Miami University has provided a $4500 grant to cover the keynote lecture and banquet, while the Hilandar Center at Ohio State has also provided a grant of $2000. “Eastern Christianity, Reformations, and Revolutions” is the theme of the conference, although papers do not have to be on those themes. Vera Shevzov has agreed to be the keynote lecturer on themes related to the Russian Revolution. The deadline for proposals is being extended since we did not receive enough proposals in response to the first call for papers. ASEC members are asked to spread the word. The new deadline will be December 15, 2016.

Introduction of Officers

Kenworthy thanked everyone who has been serving. Heather Bailey joined the board as secretary. Until July, Eugene Clay was serving simultaneously as secretary and VP. He started a web site and a listserv, and has been working on the conference as well.

Vice President’s Report:

Clay reported that we have received about sixteen proposals for the 2017 conference so far. The prize committee is in the process of deliberating and will announce its winner on December 16. We have a web site: easternchristianity.org. Right now the files are on Clay’s personal web site but he will work on moving them over to easternchristianity.org. The web site is simple, using Word Press. ASEC newsletters are housed there. Listserv archives and announcements are on there, as is information about ASEC publications.

Secretary’s Report:

Bailey announced that she stepped in as acting secretary in July. Lucien Frary made a motion to approve the minutes from the 2015 ASEC meeting; Christ Stroop seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report:

Lucien Frary reported that ASEC’s opening balance for the period December 16, 2015 to October 31, 2016 was $5,016.06. With deposits of $965 and withdrawals of $210 ASEC currently has $5771.06. ASEC has about 40-50 people who contribute regularly. Frary recommends that ASEC should not spend thousands of dollars bringing in speakers from far away. Instead, he recommends putting more funds towards publications.


Newsletter Update:

Kenworthy congratulated Charles Arndt  on his new  tenure-track position at Vassar College. Arndt announced that the next newsletter will be coming out in a couple weeks. So far Arndt has received nine contributions, but previously he received many more. Arndt asks members to include their affiliation when they send him information for the newsletter. People are welcome to send photographs for the masthead. Arndt suggested that it would be ideal to reflect the diversity of Orthodoxy in the images of the masthead, instead of just having all photos of Russia.  Members should expect an email soon, and expect to have a couple weeks to submit information.


Updates on Publications:

Jenn Spock brought a copy of the Tapestry volume. It was published by Ohio Slavic Papers run by Slavic and East European languages at Ohio State University. Several members of the organization contributed to the volume and edited the volume. The Resource Center for Medieval Studies paid for the production costs, and the volume will be available electronically through OSU’s digital knowledge bank. Center already has a list of about 48 libraries where they would like to see the volume located. OSU has been very good to our organization. Spock will submit to the newsletter contact information for those interested in the volume.

David Goldfrank reported on the volume from the conference held at Georgetown in March 2013. The volume is in production right now. Galley proofs are not ready for authors yet. Spock, Nollan, and Goldfrank have edited and seen the project through: Rome, Greece, Russia, America: Essays in Orthodoxy in Honor of Iosif Volotsky.  The volume is being published by Academic Studies Press.

Eugene Clay reported on papers from the 2015 conference at Rhodes College in Memphis. Fourteen essays were submitted for the conference volume called Contact, Crisis, and Conflict in Eastern Christianity. Eugene is currently working as editor.


Old Business:

At the 2015 annual business meeting it was decided that next conference should be in spring 2017 to avoid conflicts with all the centennial commemorations of the Russian Revolution. Kenworthy mentioned we should continue to think about whether spring or fall is a better time for the conference. There was a conversation about the web site, which has now been started.  ASEC is still incorporated in New Hampshire. Question of whether to rename organization is still hanging out there.

New Business:

Confirmation of new officers: Heather Bailey was nominated to serve as secretary and Christopher Johnson was nominated in absentia to serve as treasurer. He had one reservation about possibly moving into administration and not being available for conferences. Goldfrank made a plug for Johnson. Frary also suggested that he is perfect for the position. Spock moved to confirm Bailey and Johnson as secretary and treasurer. The motion was approved.

Other new business: publishing conference papers, finding publishers, getting books distributed can be problematic. Do we try to find one publisher and stick with it? Nicholas Chapman mentioned that the hardest thing to sell is a collection of essays without a tight theme. Publishers want to make sure they can sell 500 copies. Having a tighter theme is one path to getting better distribution and marketability. Another comment was made to the effect that special issues of journals can be the best approach to handling conference papers. Canadian-American Slavic Studies would be interested in publishing our conference papers on a regular basis. But our organization has tried not to limit itself to Slavic Studies. State, Religion, and Church published by Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Moscow is published on online and is a cutting edge journal in religious studies. A suggestion was made to plan a conference around the 300 year anniversary of the church reform of Peter I. That could be a good theme for a conference and a special issue of a journal. The bicentenary of Greek Revolution is also coming up. Kenworthy noted we are a small organization seeking to define Eastern Christianity broadly. There again we may want to avoid themes that are too narrowly Russian. Stroop reiterated that open-access journals are great for scholars, and State, Religion, and Church is eclectic. Spock noted that we should not close the door to Canadian-American Slavic Studies. Goldfrank noted marketing is a central issue for publishers. Kenworthy noted that we had a panel devoted to Gavrilyuk’s book on Florovsky at last conference. We could try to do that on a regular basis. Kenworthy suggested possibility of having a theme for each conference, and publishing works on that theme, while keeping conference presentations open to other topics on Eastern Christianity.


Stroop asked about ASEC’s Facebook page. He noted that it has not been well-maintained and asked whether ASEC should keep it now that we have a web page. What kind of social media presence should ASEC have? Stroop reported that he did not have sense that there was much interest in Facebook from our membership. Consensus in the room was that it would be best to keep Facebook, link to the newsletter, just as another resource/medium. Stroop will add Kenworthy as an administrator.

Mark Elliot: East-West Church Ministry Report. Has appointed a successor, Geraldine Fagan, author of Believing in Russia (Routledge Press). Elliot will be editing through 2017 and then Geraldine will be taking over. The full texts of all back issues (24 years) are on the web site.

Frary announced that Festschrift for Theo Stavrou will appear in February 2017. Thresholds into the Orthodox Commonwealth: Essays in Honor of Theofanis G. Stavrou, Slavica Publishers.

Johnson is doing a survey of people teaching Eastern Christianity.

Spock mentioned that it would be useful for everyone to read our organization’s Constitution, which is on our web site. Tweaks may be appropriate from time to time.

Matt Miller announced that Eastern Orthodox Christianity: The Essential Texts (400 pages, with another 1000 pages available online) is available.

Chapman announced a new volume: Arab Orthodox Christians under the Ottomans (Holy Trinity Publications).

In October 2017 there will be an international conference on “Religion and Russian Revolution” in Moscow. CFP deadline December 31. Gregory L. Freeze is presenting the keynote.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:16.