AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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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
CTDR invites proposals on the following works. In each case we expect papers that critically explore the boundaries of a work’s disciplinary significance and current utility:
• Max Weber’s “Science as a Vocation” (100th anniversary). Recognizing the anniversary of this important work, we invite papers that explore the boundaries of its disciplinary significance and current utility. For possible co-sponsorship with the Secularism & Secularity Unit.
• Deleuze & Guattari’s Capitalism & Schizophrenia (40th and 30th anniversaries of English translations). Horkheimer & Adorno’s Dialectics of Enlightenment (70th anniversary) For possible co-sponsorship with the Religion & Economy Unit.
CTDR additionally invites proposals on the following topics:
• Affect theory and other critical theories of bodies and emotions: a comparative harangue. What is the relationship between affect/emotion, culture, and religion? How does affect theory compare to other approaches to the body in the humanities? How does an attention to specific affects—like rage, passion, or love—shape our analysis of religion and other social formations? For possible co-sponsorship with the Religion, Affect, & Emotion Unit.
• Media conjurations of race, gender, and class during the 2016 presidential election: classifications, naturalizations, and theorizations from alt right rhetoric to the New York Times and beyond.