PAPERS Resources

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

To return to the Welcome Page, please click here.

Preliminary Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

For questions or support, email support@aarweb.org.

To return to the AAR website, click here.

Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

Since the end of the Cold War, acts of religiously motivated violence have all too often become part of our quotidian existence. Scholars from various disciplines have attempted to account for these incidents, noting such issues as a resurgence of anti-colonialism, poverty and economic injustice, the failures of secular nationalism, uprooted-ness, and the loss of a homeland, and the pervasive features of globalization in its economic, political, social, and cultural forms. What are the religious narratives that help animate these violent actors? This Unit contends that the theories, methodologies, and frameworks for studying the expanding field of religion and violence remain under-explored and require interdisciplinary work and collaboration to provide greater insights into the complex issues involved. The sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, economics, and political science of religion all have provided great insights into the nature of religion and violence over the last few decades and all are arguably interdisciplinary by nature. This Unit provides a venue devoted specifically to interdisciplinary discussions of the subject. We hope to channel and enhance contributions from the historically delineated (albeit constructed) humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. In that vein, we hope to hear papers presenting cross-disciplinary dialogue and research on the topic of religion and violence.

Call for Papers: 

● Religion, Violence, and Technologies of Communication -
In 2018, Facebook executives engaged an opposition research firm to counteract criticism of the media giant; one result was the amplification of antisemitic memes, messages, and press reports about George Soros, a critic of Facebook, in the summer of 2018, even as acts of antisemitic violence were increasing at an alarming rate in the United States. This story broke in the New York Times just prior to the AAR’s 2018 meeting, but the use of communications technologies in the dynamics of religion and violence is anything but new. Communications technologies have long played significant roles in ideological violence, “ethnic cleansing,” genocide, hate crimes, and war-mongering. We seek papers that explore how various communication tools, strategies, and media are imbricated in facilitating violence, and the ways that religion is intertwined with this process. We welcome proposals that deal with these complex dynamics in any global context or historical era. For people interested in submitting on this theme, please contact Sara Kamali (kamali@ucsb.edu).

Displacement, Dispossession, Disappearance (co-sponsored with the Native Traditions of the Americas Program Unit) -
We seek papers on the role of religion in rationalizing or resisting violence against Indigenous peoples, with particular emphasis on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, militarization and racialization of policies aimed at Indigenous peoples, and the separation of Indigenous children from their families.

Violence and Eastern Orthodox Christianity (co-sponsored with Eastern Orthodox Christian Studies Program Unit) -
Widespread experiences of unspeakable violence, dehumanization, and terror during the twentieth century—be it on a mass scale under colonial and totalitarian regimes or in more localized spaces of homes and streets—have resulted in a range of responses. Given the atrocities associated with the twentieth-century Assyrian and Armenian genocides, the Bolshevik GULAG regime, and instances where Orthodox teachings, institutions, and structures may be the sources or justifications of violence (eg. gender-based violence, domestic violence, etc.), we welcome proposals for organized panels and individual papers that explore any aspect of violence and atrocity related to Orthodox Christianity. Consideration of theological, ideological, philosophical, ritual, sociological, or artistic responses to radical evil and its resulting trauma (collective or personal) are welcome, as are critical reflections on violence and Orthodox Christianity from comparative and secular perspectives. Examples of topics include: “mundane” and systemic violence, memory and forgetting, witness and testimony, evil, suffering, and personhood; collective and personal responsibility; justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation; resistance and resentment.

#MeToo and Misogynoir (co-sponsored session with the Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Unit) -
We seek papers responding to Kate Manne’s Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (Oxford, 2017) within the broader context of #MeToo and/or the Kavanaugh hearings. In addition to responding to Kate Manne’s understanding of misogyny, we are also interested in papers that consider the role of misogynoir in sexual violence.

● Moment of Reckoning: Imagined Death and its Consequences in Late Ancient Christianity - We plan to convene a pre-arranged panel, co-sponsored with the SBL's Violence and Representations of Violence in Antiquity Unit, on Ellen Muehlberger's Moment of Reckoning: Imagined Death and its Consequences in Late Ancient Christianity (Oxford, 2019).

● How Can Research on Moral Injury and the Study of Biblical Texts Inform One Another? (co-sponsored with the SBL's Biblical Literature and the Hermeneutics of Trauma Unit) - We plan to host an invited roundtable that will take advantage of the Annual Meeting's presence in San Diego to bring together biblical scholars and clinicians from the Moral Injury/Moral Repair Group at Naval Medical Center San Diego to address the questions: What can the study of the Bible (both as a sacred text and as an academic venture) contribute to the study of and work with moral injury? And what can moral injury research contribute to biblical studies? The session will feature two clinicians (Navy psychologists, psychiatrists, or chaplains), two Bible scholars (one addressing Hebrew Bible texts, one considering New Testament texts), and a respondent.

● A co-sponsored panel on Karl Barth and Comparative Theology, to be organized in collaboration with the Karl Barth Society, the Reformed Theology and History Unit, and the Comparative Theology Unit (the Reformed Theology and History Unit is interested in collaboration)

Method: 
PAPERS
E-mail with Attachment (proposal is in attachment, not in body of e-mail)
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Comments: 
We keep the names anonymous to chairs and the steering committee members during review. However, once we decide on the submissions, we had to change the settings to make visible the author's names and email addresses (for facilitation purposes, such as requesting a panel to take on additional papers or to give feedback to an individual whose submission was rejected).
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee