PAPERS Resources

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

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Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

Floorplans of Annual Meeting Facilities (PDF)

Exhibit Hall Listing and Map (PDF)

Program Book Ads (PDF)

Annual Meeting At-A-Glance (PDF)

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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 and Religion in War, Imperialism, and Protest (potential co-sponsorship with Religion and Politics) Contact person: Matthew Potts -
San Diego is home to the largest concentration of military personnel in the United States, especially naval forces which aim to extend American power globally. This session welcomes papers that consider the relation among religion, war, andempire, especially as rendered in literature, film, or visual art, as well as readings of art’s complicity with or resistance to war and empire, whether alongside or against religion.

What Is the “Spiritual” in Art-Making? What is the "Mystical" in Art-Making? (potential co-sponsorship with the Mysticism Unit), Contact person: Jeff Brackett -
This panel welcomes papers on the question of how and why artists and art professionals deploy the hotly contested term “spiritual” when referring to visual artists, their artmaking, and art. What is the "mystical?" How has the "mystical" been experienced, enacted or expressed in artistic forms? How do the spiritual and the mystical interact with one another?

Images of the Ocean in World Religions(potential co-sponsorship with Comparative Studies), Contact person: Nicole Zhange Ni -
This session welcomes papers that explore images of the ocean in visual, verbal, and audio arts that draw from world religions. What is the significance of the oceans in our globalized world? What resources are available in diverse artistic endeavors and religious traditions that teach us to live with the oceans?

Destruction and Unmaking in Arts, Literature, and Religion (potential co-sponsorship with Comparative Studies), Contact person: Margaret Elaine Elwell -
This session invites reflection on burning, smashing, unraveling, or undoing in art and literature as religious, spiritual, or theological acts. Of interest are creative practices, rituals, or installations that destroy or unmake, visual and literary methods and representations of destruction, and undoing/unmaking in the processes of art and craft.

● Decolonizing: The Study of Arts, Literature, and Religio, Contact person: Deborah Haynes

● Museum Space as Sacred Space: Problematizing Cultural Appreciation vs. Appropriation, Contact person: George Pati

● Religion and Art in the Public Space, Contact person: Rachel Lindsey

Literature of Virtues (potential co-sponsorship with the Ricoeur Unit), Contact person: Ben Brazil

● Comparative Approaches to Religious Visual Culture
Contact person: Eric Huntington,

Arts, Literature, and Daoism(potential co-sponsorship with Daoism), Contact person: Nicole Zhange Ni

Textual and Visual Images of Female Deities in Chinese Devotional Practices (potential co-sponsorship with Chinese Religions), Contact person: Nicole Zhange Ni

● Meet the Authors, Contact person: Pamela Winfield

This panel seeks to highlight recent publications in the field.

We welcome individual paper proposals that address the topics list above, but also encourage you to reach out to the contact persons to form pre-arranged panels.

N.B. The Arts, Literature and Religion (ALR) Unit joins other AAR program Units in explicitly informing candidates that acceptance of proposals carries with it the expectation of physical attendance and participation in the panel. It is our policy that any no-show will be refused from participating in an ALR panel for one year, barring unforeseen exceptional circumstances.

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