AAR Annual Meeting
November 21-24, 2015
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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
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 2015:
1) The Value of Animals in Religious Studies and in the Academy: papers that address the value of religious studies for animal welfare (pursuant to the AAR 2015 Annual Meeting theme of Valuing the Study of Religion)
2) Animals in Islam (for a possible co-sponsored session with Study of Islam Section)
3) Postcolonial Studies and Animals (for a possible co-sponsored session with Religion, Colonialism, and Postcolonialism Group; the Religion and Ecology Group)
4) Esotericism and Animals (for a possible co-sponsored session with Western Esotericism Group). Animals have always been a very significant presence in western esoteric discourses and practices, yet, strangely enough, they have not received much attention by scholars so far. We will have a preference for proposals dealing with the actual presence of animals in rituals and practices (as companions or as tools). However, discussions of the symbolical or allegorical presence of animals in texts and discourses will also be considered.
5) Animals and Gender
6) Animals in War
7) The Religious/Ethical Significance of Animal Fables
8) Panel responding to Aaron Gross’s new book, The Question of the Animal and Religion
9) Panel responding to Frans de Waal’s new book, The Bonobo and the Atheist
10) Connecting to new places using animals (for a possible quad-sponsored session)