PAPERS Resources

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

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Class, Religion, and Theology Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit seeks to study class as a relational concept that needs to be explored in its complex manifestations, which will yield more complex understandings of religion and theology in turn. Avoiding reductionist definitions that occur when studying each class in itself or viewing class only according to stratified income levels or particular historical and sociological markers, this Unit will investigate how classes shape up in relation and tension with each other and with religion and theology. This Unit’s investigations of class, religion, and theology also include intersections with gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and ecology.

Call for Papers: 

We would like to feature the following sessions for the 2018 AAR Meeting. The first session is our stand-alone for our Program Unit, the second, third, and fourth sessions would be co-sponsored.

• The Class, Religion, and Theology Unit invites individual papers that deal with the many connections between religion and work as an expression of class, including reproductive labor broadly conceived. Proposals might include (but are not limited to) the following questions:

o How are religion and work related and what are the challenges for the study of religion and theology?
o What does it mean for the practice of religion that 99 percent have to work for a living, and how does religion impact work?
o What are the implications of the substantial growth of contingent academic labor for the future of the study of religion and the academy as a whole? How might more complex understandings of religion that take into account questions of power help shape more complex understandings of work, and vice versa?
o Proposals that deal with Joerg Rieger and Rosemarie Henkel-Rieger's Unified We Are a Force: How Faith and Labor Can Overcome America’s Inequalities (2016) are also welcome.

• The Class, Religion, and Theology Unit and Critical Approaches to Hip Hop and Religion Unit invite individual papers and panel submissions for a co-sponsored session exploring the varied connections between hip hop culture and class. Possible submission topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:

o How does hip hop allow us to better understand capitalism's functions as a religion?
o How does class allow us to better understand the political economy of hip hop?
o The relationship between art and political activism/class consciousness.
o Hip hop as a site for working class resistance.
o Comparing hip hop and worker organizing as moral-cultural practices/embodied performances: the aesthetics of performative contestation against injustice (for example, how are strikes and hip hop performances aesthetically similar? or textual analysis of worker songs and hip hop lyrics).
o Comparing worker organizing and hip-hop battles as practices of community formation (for example, the role of conflict in each, attention to power, etc.).
o The complexities of racial justice in hip hop and class: each offers examples of contesting white supremacy and other examples of being co-opted by white supremacy.
o Sanitation strike (in honor of MLK's last campaign): class struggle and hip hop can both be seen as refusing to be treated like refuse — resistance to dominant social norms of who/what counts as "garbage"/worthless, making life/art out of what dominant social norms consider to be "waste."
o Emerging voices in hip hop and grassroots worker organizing.

• The Class, Religion, and Theology Unit and the Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit invite papers for a session focusing on the intersections between religion, culture, economics, and class in the struggle for/against public education. 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of several important moments in the struggle over public education in the United States. These anniversaries include the Poor People’s Campaign (or Poor People’s March on Washington), the expansion and repression of the Black Panther Party, the founding of the Young Lords Organization in Chicago, and the student “blowouts” (walkouts) in Los Angeles public schools that catalyzed the Chicano movement. Though not an exhaustive list, we welcome papers on the following topics that address intersections of religion, culture, economics, and class in the struggle over U.S. public education:

o Privatization and racial re-segregation of schools
o Education governance
o School funding disparities
o Bilingualism
o Curricular conflicts
o Religious studies and practice in schools
o Undocumented youth education
o Community school models
o Causes/effects of achievement gaps
o Retention and graduation disparities
o The school-to-prison pipeline.

• Papers that address the impact of current US political/legislative environment on people with disabilities in light of studies in religion and regarding those who are most vulnerable (e.g., children, elderly, imprisoned, immigrants, migrants, LGBTIQA, homeless). For a co-sponsorship with the Class, Religion, and Theology Unit, the Religion and Disability Studies Unit, and the Religion, Memory, History Unit.

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
The visibility to chairs makes it possible to ensure diversity among the presenters. Chairs can make adjustments while still accounting for feedback from the steering committee.
ChairSteering Committee