PAPERS Resources

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

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Preliminary Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

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Bonhoeffer: Theology and Social Analysis Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit seeks to explore the historical and contemporary interface between theology and public life within the context of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s legacy in theology. Together with professional societies affiliated in the study of Bonhoeffer’s life and thought, the Unit has explored a variety of topics from medical ethics to political life in a global context.

Call for Papers: 

In concert with the 2019 AAR Annual Meeting theme of creating, redefining, and expanding spheres of public discourse, the Schleiermacher Unit, Bonhoeffer Unit, and Religion, Peace, and Conflict Unit invite proposals for a jointly sponsored session entitled, “Church as a Political Institution.” We seek proposals that explore critically how Christian churches, organizations, or communities are redefining or could redefine their work as political agents. We ask also for proposals that help us understand how acting as political agents re-creates or redefines Christian groups. Proposals might address:

● a public theological discourse;

● a public space in which Christian groups are or ought to be working; or

● the risks/benefits of a particular kind of political agency.

For a co-sponsored session, we invite proposals that, in addressing what it means for churches to function as political agents, refer to the thought of Friedrich Schleiermacher or Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Also in keeping with the 2019 AAR theme, we invite papers examining Bonhoeffer’s brief, but powerful, essay: “After Ten Years: An Account at the Turn of the Year 1942-43” and its role in current public discourse.

Finally, the Bonhoeffer: Theology and Social Analysis Unit also invites papers marking the 80th year since 1939, the year that Bonhoeffer revisited the site of his formative 1930-31 year as a Sloane Fellow at Union Theological Seminary - a year that recent scholarship suggests was particularly important for Bonhoeffer in creating, redefining, and expanding spheres of public discourse, especially work and worship with Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and firsthand encounters with the "Negro Problem" in the American South. In 1939, Bonhoeffer returned to New York to escape the ever-growing dangers of Nazi Germany, but stayed only briefly, naming his responsibility to share in the sufferings of his people. It is also the year that he joined the resistance. We seek proposals that will interrogate themes related to these decisions including, but not limited to, Christian practices during wartime, conscientious objection, the “terrible alternative,” i.e. willing the defeat of one’s own nation. Moreover, this anniversary invites reflection on the following: Bonhoeffer’s relationship(s) with, and critical assessments of, Reinhold Niebuhr and/or H. Richard Niebuhr; his understanding of patriotism; his critical assessments of American democracy and pragmatism.

Proposals that promise to include some form of audience engagement via powerpoint slides or handouts (with extended quotes or outlines, for example) other uses of multimedia, paper summaries, etc. will be given preference.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee