PAPERS Resources

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

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Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit creates space for critical interdisciplinary engagement with interfaith and interreligious studies, examining the many modes of response to the reality of religious pluralism (theological, philosophical, historical, scriptural, ethical, praxiological, and institutional). We seek to:
• Foster rigorous analysis to establish the contours of this emerging field.
· Explore connections with diverse disciplines as they grapple with encounter of persons and traditions in our multi-faith contexts.
• Advance cutting-edge institutional and pedagogical innovation at the intersection of the academy and civic engagement.

Call for Papers: 

The Interreligious and Interfaith Studies group invites paper and panel proposals that examine the encounter of institutions and individuals who approach and embody religion in different ways. We welcome proposals that are interdisciplinary, incorporate alternative pedagogies, make use of new media, and reflect the dialogical nature of this field with interactive formats. We also welcome proposals that address the AAR 2019 Presidential theme regarding public engagement.

Panel or roundtable proposals should reflect a commitment to our intersected diversities, especially diversity of religion/lifestance.

In particular, this year we invite papers in the following areas:

The Racialization of Religion (Co-sponsored Session with Religion and Politics Unit and Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Unit) -
Many encounters with religious difference in the United States manifest racial dimensions. What role do both religion and race play in our current political polarization? In what ways is religion deployed to provide cover for racial bias or to efface intrafaith racial diversity? We seek to explore the intersections of race and religion with interdisciplinary and interreligious rigor.

● Children in Harm’s Way -
The field of Interreligious Studies is sometimes lifted up as a collective space for shared problem-solving. How might the tools of analysis and activism be useful in addressing children in war zones, on treacherous migrant journeys, or those who suffer sexual and other abuse? What are the implications for pastoral care? Given that religious structures are sometimes implicated in the harm—catalysts for violent conflicts, protectors for those committing abuse, etc.—what is the role of the academy?

● Decolonizing or “Resetting” the Interfaith Table -
How has the historically dominant understanding of religion predetermined the shape of the interfaith “table?” Liberal and conservative dichotomies, pluralist/inclusivist/exclusivist categories, the nature of boundaries, and conceptions of what qualifies as religion all derive from one particular cognitive framework. We invite discussion of the implications of this history, and strategies for decolonizing interreligious studies.

● Cultivating the Field -
As the field of Interreligious and Interfaith Studies takes shape, questions continue to arise about how to guide its growth. This year, we invite consideration of the following intersections:

○ Material Inter/Religion – Artifacts of material religion are often analyzed within particular traditions, but they can also be significant in interreligious space. How are the arts, architecture, liturgy, images, objects, etc. designed or deployed or interpreted to contribute to the field of interreligious studies, and what theorization informs these choices?
○ The Curricular and Civic Projects – What is the relationship of the curricular project of Interreligious Studies and the civic project of Interfaith Engagement? How do institutions of higher learning relate to their surrounding communities in this work? What are the implications for the construction of courses, co-curricular elements, civic and political life?

● Workshop: Pedagogy of Interreligious Studies -
We are piloting a new format in an extra session this year. It will be organized as an interactive workshop focusing on teaching practices, strategies, and challenges in teaching Interreligious Studies. While we will have a knowledgeable facilitator at each table, it is designed for peer-to-peer learning. You can propose to be a listed participant whether you are an experienced practitioner, or looking to develop your first course with an interreligious component. For your “paper proposal,” please submit the following: Describe a new or existing course that you would like to develop and/or share. The course may focus in any discipline as long as it incorporates a substantive address of “the dynamic encounter between religious traditions and persons” (Paul Hedges). Briefly discuss approaches, strategies or tools you believe can be valuable in interreligious studies, and/or questions you have about pedagogy and best practices. Include your teaching context and how it fits in the broader curriculum. For this session only, it is fine to reveal your identity in the body of the proposal.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee