Animals and Religion Group

Statement of Purpose: 

The purpose of this Group is to advance scholarship by providing a forum for scholars whose work addresses relevant issues in the study of animals and religion, and to engage religious studies scholars with the emergent field of animal studies. The Group emphasizes the theoretical implications of attention to animals for the study of religion and a diversity of approaches, including, but not limited to:

Cultural and comparative history of religions

Critical theory

Ethnography and anthropology of religion

Descriptions of the role(s) religious/theological traditions have played in mediating images of nonhuman animals

Assessments of relationships between religious constructions of animals and those animals

Call for Papers: 

This Group addresses issues in the study of animals and religion and seeks to engage religion scholars with the emergent field of animal studies. We welcome theoretically informed paper and panel proposals on all topics related to these themes. We especially seek proposals on the following topics in 2014:
• Climate change, death, and dying (for a possible cosponsored session with the Death, Dying, and Beyond Group and Religion and Ecology Group)

• Disability studies, animal studies, and the study of religion (for a possible cosponsored session with the Religion and Disability Studies Group)

• Climate change, animals, and ethical responses

• Minority religions and animals

• Ethics of zoos, aquaria, and other animal displays

• Fantastic / liminal animals in comparative religious perspective

• Interspecies relationships (predation, friendship, play, etc.)

• Anthropomorphism after the animal turn

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection
Papers are first reviewed anonymously by the entire steering committee, including cochairs. The cochairs then look at the names of submitters to consider factors such as the number of times the scholar has presented in our group and to support diversity. Papers are generally accepted solely on the basis of merit, fit, and the frequency with which an individual has presented (we give preference to scholars who have not presented in the group in the last five years). We strive for balance in gender representation when looking at sessions collectively but not necessarily at the level of an individual session. We especially encourage submissions from traditionally underrepresented minorities.
ChairSteering Committee