PAPERS Resources

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

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Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

The Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion (CTDR) Unit offers an interdisciplinary and international forum for analytical scholars of religion to engage the intersection of critical theory and methodology with a focus on concrete ethnographic and historical case studies. Critical theory draws on methods employed in the fields of sociology, anthropology, history, literary criticism, and political theory in order to bring into scrutiny all kinds of discourses on religion, spanning from academic to nonacademic and from religious to nonreligious.

This Unit seeks to provide a forum in which scholars of religion from a wide range of disciplines can examine and question their disciplinary presuppositions. The work of this Unit can be placed under three main rubrics:

• Critical investigation of the categories generated and employed by the discourses on religion, such as experience, the sacred, ritual, and the various ‘isms’ that can be found in classic and contemporary studies of religion
• Analysis of new and neglected theorists and works central to the critical study of religion, including those produced in cognate fields such as anthropology, political science, or literary theory
• Theoretically-informed examination of elided and often neglected themes in religious studies, including class, race, gender, violence, legitimation, and the material basis of religion

Call for Papers: 

The CTDR group offers an interdisciplinary and international forum for analytical scholars of religion to engage the intersection of critical theory and methodology with a focus on concrete ethnographic and historical case studies. Critical theory draws on methods employed in the fields of sociology, anthropology, history, literary criticism, and political theory in order to bring into scrutiny all kinds of discourses on religion, spanning from academic to non-academic and from religious to non-religious.

This year we invite proposals on the following topics:

Theory and Method 2.0 (For possible co-sponsorship with the Cultural History of the Study of Religion Unit) -
In many graduate and undergraduate religious studies curricula, the core “theory and method” course works to integrate the field. How does this course represent the history of the study of religion? Should this core course be rethought? What work does “theory and method” do to configure and define religious studies?

● Blasphemy and Religiously Offensive Speech

● Philology and Critical Theory: Roles, Relationships, Conflicts, Possibilities

● The Rhetoric of Re-Enchantment

● The relationship between theoretical debates in the study of religion between Europe and the United States, examining differences, influences, and (a)synchronicities. (For possible co-sponsorship with the Religion in Europe Unit)

Studying Religion with Achille Mbembe (For a possible co-sponsored session with the African Religions Unit.) -
This panel engages the work of Cameroonian (South Africa based) philosopher and political theorist, Achille Mbembe, and explores its implications for the study of religion in Africa and beyond. In particular, it engages Mbembe’s two key texts: De la postcolonie (2000; transl. On the Postcolony, 2001) and Critique de la raison nègre (2013; transl. Critique of Black Reason, 2017).

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee