PAPERS Resources

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

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Arts, Literature, and Religion Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit seeks to engage the critical issues at the intersection of religion, literature, and the arts. We are concerned with both the aesthetic dimensions of religion and the religious dimensions of literature and the arts, including the visual, performative, written, and verbal arts. Approaches to these two avenues of concern are interdisciplinary and varied, including both traditional methodologies — theological, hermeneutical, and comparative approaches associated with the history of religions — and emerging methodologies, those that emerge from poststructuralism, studies in material culture, and cultural studies.

Call for Papers: 

The Arts, Literature, and Religion Section seeks proposals that address a range of interconnections between religious and creative practice and understanding, with a preference for the topics below. We are especially interested in panel proposals and in modes of presentation that go beyond paper reading. Successful proposals will clearly articulate the primary thesis of the presentation and its contribution to the field. Proposals will integrate creative praxis and religion in meaningful ways.

• Songwriting, Hymnody, Lyricism, and Chants
This session will consider the creation of songs, lyrics, hymns, chants, anthems and other forms of orality and its connection to religion, art, and literature. Topics may include, but are not limited to: contemporary hymnody; communal singing traditions; creation of political chants; songwriting for sacred spaces; historical anthem and hymnal traditions; and visual representations of songs (including music videos).

• The Art of Spiritual Proclamation, Religious Speeches, and Public Religious Addresses
This session will consider the role public proclamations play in religious life. What can certain political speeches, like Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, or President Obama’s 2008 “race speech” reveal about religion and spirituality? What is the role of public spiritual proclamation in non-religious settings? How do we read religion through the lens of the public address, political speech, or other acts of proclamation?

• Children’s Literature/Visual Art Featuring Children and Religion
This session will consider any genre of writing or any forms of visual art with a focus on children. What do these written and visual cues reveal to us about children, religion, and spirituality?

• Art, Religion, and Literature Pedagogy
This session will focus on the pedagogy of interdisciplinary work and teaching in the fields of art, religion, and literature. What are best (or worst) practices for weaving together literature and art in a religion classroom? What are areas of caution for introducing religion into the literature classroom? We are interested in a rich and nuanced conversation for those who are new or highly experienced in bringing together these disciplines in a classroom setting.

• Architecture and the Common Good
This session will consider how the architecture and aesthetics of public spaces reflect, or fail to reflect, the common good of particular communities. How are public spaces (i.e. libraries, coffeehouses) used as sites to promote cultural and religious values? How are public spaces used to monitor who has access to cultural and religious values? How do we “read” public space connected to religious ideas?

• Landscape Art and Religion
Art about the natural world is often cited as a source for religious reflection and contemplation. This session will consider the connection between landscape art/art engaging the natural world as a catalyst for theological and religious reflection. Various artists and genres of art welcomed, including contemporary and historical landscape artists, as well as self-taught and unknown artists.

We also welcome individual papers and/or panel proposals on any other topic in arts, literature, and religion.

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection
ChairSteering Committee