PAPERS Resources

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

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History of Christianity Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

The mission of this Unit is to deepen and broaden the study of the Christian past by presenting innovative and engaging research on the history, culture, and development of Christianity from its origins to the present, while at the same time promoting interdisciplinary dialogue among the fields of history, religious studies, ritual studies, art history, anthropology, and historical theology. We have a strong commitment to providing a showcase for the work of both younger and established scholars in the field.

Call for Papers: 

The History of Christianity program Unit continues to encourage chronological depth and geographic breadth in the study of Christian histories. Generally, unless otherwise noted, we invite papers and papers sessions that address the issues suggested in this Call for Proposals across time periods. We also continue to invite papers or full panels on topics and periods not explicitly mentioned in this Call.

● The following tri-sponsored session (History of Christianity; Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society; and Religion, Memory, and History Units) invites proposals that explore the themes of religious contact, crossings, and contestation, and especially encourage historical perspectives on militarized border encounters (broadly construed). The quincentennial of Hernán Cortez’s arrival in Mexico occasions us to consider contact cultures in the history of Christianity in the Americas and the longer legacy of incommensurate religious, cultural, political, and social encounters. The location of the AAR’s 2019 meeting in San Diego further invites interrogations of borders as sites and metaphors of contact as well as of containment. 250 years after Cortez’s landfall, Fr. Junipero Serra, also under the auspices of the Spanish Crown, undertook the establishment of missions throughout California. The first of these, San Diego de Alcalá, founded 250 years ago (1769), symbolizes the expansion and contested legacy of the Spanish borderlands. San Diego itself epitomizes the gateway of contact and encounters. The U.S.A.-México border is an open wound, noted critic Gloria Anzaldúa wrote, “where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds.” The recent confrontation between the “caravan” of Hondurans and armed agents of the Mexico and the United States’ heavily-militarized border at the gates of the Tijuana-San Diego crossing, serves as a sobering reminder of Anzaldúa’s description and, at the same time, complicates the longer legacy of borders in the Americas.

● The following co-sponsored call is issued jointly with the Use, Influence, and Impact of the Bible Unit of the Society of Biblical Literature, and represents a welcome unprecedented opportunity. The location and date of our meeting further prompts us to consider the hemispheric and transatlantic linguistic dimensions of contact, as 2019 represents the 450-year anniversary of the publication of La Biblia del Oso (The Bear Bible), the first Spanish-language translation of the Bible which was published in 1569 in Basel, Switzerland by the exiled monk Casiodoro de Reina. His fellow monk Cipriano de Valera, revised his work, culminating in the 1602 Reina y Valera Bible. It looms as large in the memory and culture of Spanish-speaking Protestantism as does the 1611 King James translation in English-speaking Protestantism. In keeping with the theme of encounters, we invite papers that explore the history of sacred text making, translating, and reception history within communities in and around the hispanophone world.

● The long legacies of these aforementioned decisive turning points in Christian history, provokes us to consider political uses of the past (e.g., myths, symbols, texts, creeds, figures, etc.). Notions of the past return in material and visual culture and are often deployed to assert dominance (as in the case of new medievalism of white Christians) and/or resistance to systems of domination. What light can historians of Christianity (across the sweep of history and the globe) shed these patterns of violence (physical, discursive, emotional, and otherwise)? What are ways in which progressive Christian movements have also made uses of the past? Furthermore, the modern appropriation of the past provokes us to consider the very use of “religious history” and the “history of religions” (as it pertains to Christianity). At the dawn of the 25th year since the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, we ask how government and ruling bodies across the Christian tradition have historically applied and denied the use of the term religion in legal and political contexts.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee