PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Denver, CO
November 17-20, 2018

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African Association for the Study of Religions

Statement of Purpose: 

The African Biblical Hermeneutics and the African Association for the Study of Religion invite papers that theorize on scripturalization, orature, and orality as a cultural way of life in African and African diasporic cultures. Papers can address specific themes including the epistemological, philosophical, socio-cultural, genre, linguistic, and performative aspects of orality; or even its relation to the general life styles and rhythms of the earth. Since these themes are also available for exploration from the biblical side, scripturalization provides that entry point. We would like contributions that develop the ontological and existential realities of African cultures as bases that generate fundamental theories for African and African diasporic hermeneutics and heuristics. We strongly urge interactions with African scholars such as Chinua Achebe, Ousseina Alidou, Ezra Chitando, Afe Adogame, Solomon Iyasere, Helen Mugambi, Isidore Okpewho, Ngugi Wa-Thiongo, etc.

Call for Papers: 

The African continent is one of the global locations where Christianity is increasing most rapidly. The history of Churches in Africa is contextualized by colonial encounters between European forms of Christianity and varieties of African religions, spiritualities, and traditional belief systems. This has produced various strains and adaptations of Christian ecclesiologies that are still emerging, distinctive, and in some instances dominated by traditional practices. While interest in studying enculturated forms of African ecclesiologies and their social, cultural, and political contextualizations enjoys increased study, for example, missiology, African Biblical hermeneutics and translation, African theology and philosophy, or Africana Studies, there remain many areas of interest and lines of inquiry. We, therefore, invite papers that focus upon churches in the African context and are also in conversation with African scholars of Christianity whether located in an African country or in its diaspora. Such papers could be theoretical treatments of the church in frameworks and models arising from African experience (e.g., church as family, church and mission in Africa, church and ancestors, etc.), or could be ethnographic studies of ecclesial structures and institutional realities in particular contexts or church communities. We are particularly interested in papers that address poverty, colonialism, the role of women, sexuality, and Christian/Muslim/African Traditional Religion relationships as they relate to the life of the church in Africa Christian/Muslim/ATR relationships.

• Scripturalization and Orality in/as African Spirituality: A Preface to African Hermeneutics
The African continent is one of the global locations where Christianity is increasing most rapidly. The history of Churches in Africa is contextualized by colonial encounters between European forms of Christianity and varieties of African religions, spiritualities, traditional belief systems. This has produced various strains and adaptations of Christian ecclesiologies that are still emerging, distinctive, and in some instances dominated by traditional practices. While interest in studying enculturated forms of African ecclesiologies and their social, cultural, and political contextualizations enjoys increased study, for example, missiology, African Biblical hermeneutics and translation, African theology and philosophy, or Africana Studies there remain many areas of interest and lines of inquiry. We, therefore, invite papers that focus upon churches in the African context and are also in conversation with African scholars of Christianity whether located in an African country or in its diaspora. Such papers could be theoretical treatments of the church in frameworks and models arising from African experience (e.g., church as family, church and mission in Africa, church and ancestors, etc.), or could be ethnographic studies of ecclesial structures and institutional realities in particular contexts or church communities. We are particularly interested in papers that address poverty, colonialism, the role of women, sexuality, and Christian/Muslim/African Traditional Religion relationships as they relate to the life of the church in Africa. Co-sponsored session with the African Association for the Study of Religions Unit and Ecclesiological Investigations Unit.

• Responses to Violence against African Diaspora Religions: Brazil and beyond
Religions of African origin, both on the continent and in the diaspora, have long been targeted, exoticized, and demonized by Protestant, Catholic, and even Muslim ritual communities that are often more closely aligned with the structures of political and economic power in a given society. In recent years, attacks on African-based ritual traditions have become increasingly violent with the growth of neo-evangelical religious movements. In Brazil, for example, Candomblé temples and Umbanda centers have been invaded and altars desecrated or destroyed. Leaders and practitioners of African-based religions have been attacked and some have died as a result of assaults that are almost always connected to neo-evangelical Protestant congregations whose teachings include the idea that Afro-Brazilian religions are a form of “devil-worship.” A profound anti-Blackness is at the root of these attacks on indigenous, African-based religious expressions; and as a highly visible white supremacy becomes increasingly normalized in the US context, it seems important to examine, critique and imagine effective responses. On the African continent, Evangelicals (particularly Pentecostal and Charismatic pastors) berate African Religions as "ancestral cults" and explicitly teach their members that they remain poor because of these religious traditions.
In the midst of this disturbing picture, there have been some interesting reconciliative actions on the part of Christian congregations in Brazil who are appalled at the treatment of Afro-Brazilian ritual communities. Also, numerous grassroots protest marches in support of religious tolerance and respect for African-based religions have been organized by participants in Candomblé. While Brazil is one of the countries where violence against indigenous, African-based religions has been most marked, we are equally interested in presentations that explore this phenomenon (and creative responses to the violence) on the African continent itself and elsewhere in the diaspora. This session is a ROUNDTABLE and not a panel with formal papers. Please submit proposals for brief presentations (5-7 minutes); presentations will be followed by extended discussion among roundtable participants and the gathered audience. This session is co-sponsored with the African Diaspora Religions Unit.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee