PAPERS Resources

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

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Cultural History of the Study of Religion Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit is devoted to historical inquiry into the social and cultural contexts of the study of religion and into the constructions of “religion” as an object of scholarly inquiry.

Call for Papers: 

The Cultural History of the Study of Religion Unit seeks papers that examine the formation and transformation of “religion” and related categories in social, cultural, and political practice in different geographic and historical contexts and in relation to the scholarly study of religion as that study has evolved over time.

For the 2017 Annual Meeting, we particularly welcome proposals on the following topics:

• Religion Goes Public
In conversation with the 2018 AAR theme, “Religious Studies in Public”, this session will consider the parameters of “religion” in conjunction with those of “the public.” What are the constitutive features of the public that have supported the presumption that religion and publicness are antithetical? How do practices of publicness vary across history and across religious cultures? What is religion’s relation to the production of publics and counter-publics?

• Re-Thinking the Study of Religion Core
This session will focus on teaching and pedagogy and offer new models and specific strategies for revising “theory and method” religion courses for undergraduates, as well as situating such courses within the longer history of the study of religion. What intellectual histories do such courses reveal and occlude? What is the function of the core course within the formation of the discipline of religious studies more broadly?

• Transforming Categories of “Indigenous” and “World” Religions
This session will interrogate the various disciplinary and political purposes served by the construction of “Indigenous” persons and religions, particularly as a category opposed to that of “world religions”. For possible co-sponsorship with the Cultural History of the Study of Religion Unit and Indigenous Religions Unit.

As always, we welcome all papers that develop new archives for and interpretations of the cultural, intellectual, and institutional history of the study of religion.

This group regularly uses its sessions to develop new models for conference conversation. Toward that end, we ask that participants be prepared to write shorter papers for possible pre-circulation or short position papers for roundtable format. We also welcome suggestions for new conversational models.

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
ChairSteering Committee