PAPERS Resources

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

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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:

Call for Papers: 

We invite proposals from the full range of anthropological 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:

• Sensory Culture, Affect, Embodiment
Including research that addresses bodies and what we put in them; the ways having particular bodies or sexualities shapes research encounters; the movement of bodies within and across time, space, political boundaries, genders, religions

• Delegitimized, Dangerous, Restricted or Constrained Research Contexts
Being denied access; solidarity on the margins; the precarity of the anthropologist in the field; the relation between research ethics and political or economic realities

• Reflecting Empirically on the Category “Religion”
How does the category of “religion” fail or benefit our work? What are the phenomenological, experiential, and practical reasons to invoke or challenge the category? How does work on/with non-religious, areligious, irreligious, secular, or spiritual communities affect our understanding of religion? Do alternative possibilities exist in anthropologies of ethics, morality, and the good?

• Ethnographies of Environment and Ecology
Sustainability, nature-culture entanglements, community responses to climate change. Religious entanglements with waste and pollution. Studies of the everyday ethics of recycling, community gardening, or other environmental efforts.

• Charisma, Personality, and Power in African Religions
With the Anthropology of Religions Unit, the African Religions Unit, and the Africa Diaspora Religions Unit, there is a proposed panel on Charisma, Personality, and Power in African Religions. This panel aims to explore the potential of charisma, as an anthropological and sociological concept, for the critical and comparative study of authority, personality, power and leadership in African religious settings. We invite papers that provide ethnographic, historical and/or theoretical insight into the meanings, performance, and workings of charisma in various religious traditions and communities on the continent and its diaspora. Papers that explore charisma in relation to other categories of power, such as gender, age, race, and sexuality, and in relation to political and institutional structures, are particularly welcome. This session is a panel with formal papers. Please submit proposals for 15 minute papers.

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
ChairSteering Committee