AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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This Unit creates a space for critical interdisciplinary engagement with interfaith and interreligious studies, which examines the many modes of response to the reality of religious pluralism (theological, philosophical, historical, scriptural, ethical, praxological, and institutional). This Unit will:
• Expand and enrich the modalities of interreligious and interfaith discourse in a diverse set of academic disciplines that have grappled with religious pluralism
• Give voice to what has already been happening for years at the cutting-edge of institutional and pedagogical innovation and at the intersection of the academy and civic engagement in many disciplines
Our intention is that this Unit will encourage the rigorous analysis necessary to establish the contours of this emerging field. A crucial first step involves systematic attention to common terminology (interfaith, interreligious, engaged pluralism, multifaith, multireligious) and the intersection of these terms with the disciplinary approaches that are increasingly using this language (interfaith just peacemaking, comparative theology, and scriptural reasoning). Similarly, we will encourage critical analysis of both national and international interfaith organizational models and other praxis-oriented responses to religious pluralism.
The Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Unit invites paper and panel proposals that critically examine modes of response to religious pluralism from multiple disciplinary perspectives. We welcome proposals that are interdisciplinary, incorporate alternative pedagogies of presentation, make use of new media, and reflect the dialogical nature of this field.
In particular, this year we invite papers in the following areas:
• A co-sponsored call with the Holocaust and Genocide unit as well as the Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace unit
Since the 2016 Presidential election, the United States has witnessed a precipitous increase in hate incidents. While historical analogies are imperfect, scholars of the Holocaust and genocide are starting to see unsettling trends in popular and political discourse reminiscent of trends in authoritarian and fascist societies. The language and culture of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are important sites for scholarly inquiry. Papers in this panel will focus on the intersections of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism (1) to explore how classical tropes of religious bigotry are being re-oriented to a new political context; (2) to develop new language and methodologies that offer critical perspectives on religious bigotry and violence; (3) to explore innovative interreligious strategies for addressing religious bigotry, and (4) to explore how besieged religious communities can work together to preserve and protect the dignity and integrity of all people.
• A panel of white men?
What is the relationship between Whiteness and interreligious studies? How can this emerging field be particularly attentive to the intersection of race and religion when it comes to various models of interreligious engagement? As this field emerges, who is or is not at the table? To what extent does interreligious studies participate in the production of vulnerable populations?
• Models for teaching religion
Do religious studies and interreligious studies offer different methodologies or models for the study of religions? In what ways do these represent competing or complementary paradigms? How is this conversation influenced by the relationship between classroom teaching and co-curricular initiatives? Papers might explore the challenges and opportunities implicit in empirical/experiential; emic/etic; insider/outsider; scholar/practitioner; and other postures that inform models of teaching religion in the Academy.
• Interreligious resources for addressing climate change
What interreligious resources (theological and practical) are being employed in the discourse around and responses to climate change? How has this issue created new or “unlikely” interreligious alliances? To what extent are indigenous practices and systems of thought foregrounded in this work?