PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Anthropology of Religion Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit draws together scholars who utilize the methodological tools and theoretical perspectives of anthropology in the study of religion as a social and cultural phenomenon. Given the increasing importance of anthropology and ethnography for the academic study of religion, we serve the academy as an important forum for sustained discussion and critique of anthropological approaches that can connect scholars working on diverse traditions, regions, and eras who otherwise might not have the opportunity to learn from each other. Interested members are encouraged to join our (low volume) list-serv:
http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/AAR-Anthropology/info

Call for Papers: 

We invite proposals from the full range of ethnographic theories and methods exploring diverse traditions, regions, topics, periods, and encourage standpoints from across the discipline. We especially encourage individual and panel submissions that address:

● Author Meets Critics -
We encourage traditional and creative arrangements, including single authors, books from multiple authors on a related or contested theme, and prominent writers of religion in the public sphere. Book(s) should be recently published and anticipated to have an enduring impact on theoretical and/or methodological dimensions of the anthropology of religion.

● Building on the AAR’s theme focused on “creating, redefining, and expanding spheres of public discourse," we invite papers on San Diego’s Chicano Park and its mural paintings. This multi-unit co-sponsored session will likely be supplemented by a separate tour to the site. In 1970 Chicano Park emerged through the efforts of community activists responding to the fracture and displacement of Chicanx communities caused by the construction of the Interstate 5 freeway in the barrio of Logan Heights. On this freeway’s pillars, Chicano Park displays one of the largest assemblages of public murals in North America, inspired by Chicanx history. In 2018, the San Diego Tribune described the space as a “battleground” for cultural identity between right wing groups waving American flags and Chicanx groups waving flags of Aztlan. We welcome papers from multiple disciplinary vantage points. We are particularly interested in proposals that take an ecological approach by engaging both the manner in which the contested space informs religious/spiritual identities and practices and the manner in which Chicanx spiritualities have influenced this built environment. Likely co-sponsors include the following Units: Religion and Cities; Religions in the Latin Americas; Native Traditions in the Americas; Latina/o Religion, Culture and Society; Anthropology of Religion; Religion, Memory, History; Ecclesial Practices; and Latina/o and Latin American Biblical Interpretation (SBL).

● Querying the “Public” in “Public Religion” and “Public Scholarship” - Critically reflecting on the relations among contested and diverse publics; the multiple configurations and performances of being public; the spatial, temporal, structural, and ideological dimensions of public-ness.

● Technologies of Fieldwork - Exploring the ways in which various media shape ethnographic theory and method, fieldwork encounters and relationships, and understandings of what constitutes religious practice (including but not limited to smartphone devices, software applications, and social media platforms).

● Contact Zones of Infrastructure and Labor - How does religion help shape the origins, development, and impact of contact zones? How do the transnational, cultural, political, economic, and technological conditions of these zones structure forms of lived religion and religious institutions?

● Borders, Boundaries, and Borderlands - Considering contestations of space and religiosity related to the nation-state or to space more figuratively.

● Nationalism, Religious Violence, and Peace-Making - Emerging forms of religious nationalism, religious critiques of nationalist ideology, religious movements supported and challenged by the nation.

● Ethnographies of Environment and Ecology - Sustainability, nature-culture relationships, responses to climate change.

● Daniel Murray (daniel.murray@mail.mcgill.ca) would like to propose a paper session on fieldwork and ethnography with the Daoist Studies Unit and the Anthropology and Religion Unit.

Further, we encourage panel proposals that use creative and alternative formats that elevate critical dialogue and engage multiple senses, for example:

● Flash Formats - An increased number of presenters are allotted ~7 minutes, followed by a robust, guided discussion.

● Sensory Props - Presenters engage with a material form that bears fieldwork significance, such as physical objects, visual images, and/or sound recordings.

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