PAPERS Resources

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

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Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

Floorplans of Annual Meeting Facilities (PDF)

Exhibit Hall Listing and Map (PDF)

Program Book Ads (PDF)

Annual Meeting At-A-Glance (PDF)

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Japanese Religions Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit is a forum for scholars of different disciplines — including textual, historical, anthropological, sociological, ritual, artistic, and other areas of study using different approaches — to present their research findings on various theories and forms of Japanese religious life in the past and in the contemporary setting, within Japan and other areas of the world.

Call for Papers: 

We invite papers sessions, individual papers, and roundtables that address all aspects of Japanese religious practice and thought. All time periods welcome. To facilitate greater exchange within and beyond Japanese religions, we prefer proposals that include explicit reflection on the study of religion more broadly. Creative formats are encouraged (film, organized discussion, pre-circulated papers/texts, workshop, etc.).

Our Unit is committed to diversity and inclusion. We strongly encourage considering balance in terms of gender, and areas of specialization and time periods, as well as balance between graduate students, junior scholars, and senior scholars. Showing little or no regard for such diversity will reflect very negatively on your proposal.
In submitting proposals, please follow the AAR guidelines carefully. First-timers are encouraged to contact the co-chairs for additional advice (Asuka Sango at; Levi McLaughlin at

Next year's Annual Meeting theme is "Scholarly Workers in Public Spaces: A Necessary Long Term Focus in the Study of Religions." Of course, we need not be limited to this theme.

Also, we would like to draw your attention to the AAR's session allotment. Our Unit has two options: (a) one 2.5 hour session and one 2 hour session; or (b) one 2 hour session and two 90 min sessions. Co-sponsorship adds one 90 min session to this allotment. We are therefore hoping to sponsor more 90 min sessions to allow more people to participate. Please keep this in mind as you compose your proposal.

Below are possible topics proposed by our members this year. We also welcome proposals on other topics as well.

Possible topics for AAR 2019:

● Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) and religion

● Workshop-style panels with pre-circulated papers and conversations with authors, Jolyon Thomas;

● Brainstorming session for a new Nanzan Guide to Japanese Religions (with new categories such as "money," "time," etc.), Matt McMullen:

● Disasters as a lens through which to analyze religion and local communities, Kristina Buhrman:

● "Religion" as an epistemological category in Japan, Ernils Larsson:

The Specter of Idealism in the Study of Japanese Religions: Beyond the Practice-Belief Dichotomy, Ethan Bushelle:

Representations of Buddhism in Contemporary Japanese Literature and Media

Papers would discuss various aspects of Buddhism (or Japanese religions) as characterized in particular books, movies, anime, manga, online environments, etc. These might include, for example, any of Genyū Sokyū's novels, Zazen Girl by Taguchi Randy, Yumemakura Baku's series on Kūkai or the 2017 movie based on it, Legend of the Demon Cat, anime series (and manga) such as Saints Young Men, manga depicting founders of religious traditions and other Buddhists (e.g., the 2018 manga Zen: Shaku Sōen), etc. Papers could also focus on Buddhism in the writings of Ishimure Michiko, who passed in February 2018.

Ronald Green:

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