AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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Folklore Studies has led and leads the way in directing scholarship on the expressive culture of religious communities, the methodological challenges of ethnographic work within those communities, and research and analysis of the religion of ordinary people diachronically and synchronically. Uniquely representing the theoretical and methodological perspectives of folkloristics on the study of religion, as well as consistently spotlighting the contextual material that folklorists see as significant evidence of religious belief and practice, this AAR Seminar allows a more permanent place at the annual meeting for the study of religion as associated with such topics as food, costume, vernacular art, architecture, material culture, medical and healing beliefs, narrative and song, performance, etc., as well as topics relevant to applied folkloristics such as the “paranormal” and the “supernatural.”
In addition to paper proposals which apply the perspectives and methodologies of Folkloristics as a discipline to the study of religion, this year the Folklore and Religion Seminar particularly welcomes paper submissions focused on two broad themes:
Material Culture and Vernacular Religion
Material culture has long been an interest and preoccupation of Folklore as a discipline, and religious cultures and communities offer a particularly rich vein of material objects, practices, and behaviors that serve to make the sacred visible, tangible, and sensible. Material Religion is a point of unique and dynamic intersection where Folklore and Religious Studies come together in fruitful conversation. We welcome submissions that explore the material dimensions of everyday religious practice, including (but not limited to) religious foodways, home altars, icons and images, folk art with religious themes, and the like.
All Hallows, All Souls, All Saints: Vernacular Practices for the Living and the Dead
Vernacular traditions surrounding the seasonal festivals of Hallowe’en, All Souls’ Day, and All Saints’ Day, as well as festal phenomena like Haitian Fet Gede, Mexican/Mexican-American Dia de los Muertos, Japanese Obon, etc., offer rich opportunities to explore the ways in which individuals, families, and communities deal with the quotidian reality of death. The Folklore and Religion Seminar welcomes paper proposals that apply Folkloristic methods and perspectives to the study of these various festivals of the Dead – these seasons of endings and liminality - in historical and ethnographic perspective. We also welcome submissions which focus on traditional folklore forms, examples, or genres of expression (narrative, ritual, material culture, performance, foodways) associated with the interplay between the worlds of the living and the dead.
The ultimate direction taken by the Folklore and Religion Seminar at the 2017 Annual Meeting will depend upon the number and quality of submissions in each category. Submissions that mediate or unify these themes are welcomed as well.