PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Boston, MA
November 18-21, 2017

2017 Annual Meeting Program (PDF)

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Preliminary 2017 Annual Meeting Program (MS Word)

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Animals and Religion Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

The purpose of this Unit 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 Unit 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 Unit 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 particularly value papers that attend to real animals, alongside theoretical constructs, imagery, or representations pertaining to them. We especially seek proposals on the following topics in 2017:

• Animals from the Margins (in conjunction with the AAR's presidential theme of "Religion and the Most Vulnerable")

• Religion in Animal Institutions (Rescues, Sanctuaries, Slaughterhouses, etc.)

• Proposals for 5 minute presentations on the topic of "Animals, Religion, and Politics” for a lightning presentation & discussion-oriented panel. (Please indicate that your proposal is for this session by starting your title with “5 min Politics Presentation:”)

• Animals in the Media (for co-sponsorship with the Religion, Media, and Culture Unit)

• Animals as Religious Agents

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 co-chairs. The co-chairs 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