PAPERS Resources

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

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Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit examines, through systematic study and reflection, the social locations, religious beliefs, and practices of the rich and diverse multicultural backgrounds of Latinas/os in the United States. The Unit recognizes that this is an interdisciplinary enterprise in view of the cultural and religious roots and sources of Latinos/as, including heritages from Europe, indigenous nations of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The traditions emerging out of the mixture of these cultures throughout the Americas continue to undergo further development and innovation in the North American context, producing the distinct phenomena of Latino/a theologies and religions. It is this rich and deep religious/theological-cultural-social-political complex that is the focus of this Unit.

Call for Papers: 

We solicit papers in the following 5 areas of study. Anyone who wishes to organize a panel on a subject not listed below may also contact one or both of the Unit's co-chairs to propose the panel.

● Building on the AAR’s theme focused on “creating, redefining, and expanding spheres of public discourse," we invite papers on San Diego’s Chicano Park and its mural paintings. This multi-unit co-sponsored session will likely be supplemented by a separate tour to the site. In 1970 Chicano Park emerged through the efforts of community activists responding to the fracture and displacement of Chicanx communities caused by the construction of the Interstate 5 freeway in the barrio of Logan Heights. On this freeway’s pillars, Chicano Park displays one of the largest assemblages of public murals in North America, inspired by Chicanx history. In 2018, the San Diego Tribune described the space as a “battleground” for cultural identity between right wing groups waving American flags and Chicanx groups waving flags of Aztlan. We welcome papers from multiple disciplinary vantage points. We are particularly interested in proposals that take an ecological approach by engaging both the manner in which the contested space informs religious/spiritual identities and practices and the manner in which Chicanx spiritualities have influenced this built environment. Likely co-sponsors include the following Units: Religion and Cities; Religions in the Latin Americas; Native Traditions in the Americas; Latina/o Religion, Culture and Society; Anthropology of Religion; Religion, Memory, History; Ecclesial Practices; and Latina/o and Latin American Biblical Interpretation (SBL).

● We invite papers for a co-sponsored session that engage and analyze the work of the recently departed scholar Luis León, for a commemorative co-sponsored panel. Likely co-sponsors include the following Units: North American Religions; and Religions in the Latin Americas.

● We invite papers for a tri-sponsored session that analyze religion, social class, and the 'food chain.' This may include food-chain labor; food ecologies; theological meanings of food labor; food injustice; Latinx food culture/religiosity; ghettoization, ethnicization, and/or gendering of food labor spaces; and other relevant topics. Likely co-sponsors include the following Units: Religion and Food; and Class, Religion, and Theology.

● We invite papers for a co-sponsored session on Ancestry and Death/Los Muertos in indigenous religious traditions. We are particularly interested in scholarship on indigenous and Latinx celebrations of Día de Muertos. Likely co-sponsors include the following Units: Indigenous Religious Traditions.

● We invite invite papers for a tri-sponsored session that explores the themes of religious contact, crossings, and contestation, and especially encourage historical perspectives on militarized border encounters (broadly construed). The quincentennial of the 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. Theorizing from her twentieth century context, critic Gloria Anzaldúa argued, "The U.S.-Mexican border es una herida abierta (is an open wound) where the third world grates against the first and bleeds." In recent weeks, confrontations between the “caravan” of Hondurans and armed agents of the United States’ heavily-militarized border at the gates of the San Diego-Tijuana crossing, serve as a sobering reminders of Anzaldúa’s description, while complicating the longer legacy of borders in the Americas. Likely co-sponsors include the following Units: History of Christianity; and Religion, Memory, and History.

● We invite papers for a session on climate change, displacement, and legal violence. Papers should address topics related to climate-related violence and Latinx communities in the U.S.A. and beyond. Topics of interest include ecological racism, loss of land and economic upheaval, gentrification, or other more hidden forms of climate-related violence against peoples. Recent reports from the United Nations, climate and social scientists, and social movements have demonstrated for a wider audience that climate change is not merely a theoretical hypothesis for the future, but an all too present reality. Moreover, sociologist Tracy Skillington (in “Climate Justice without Freedom,” 2015) studied the consequences of climate change for persons displaced by climate change, and referred to the legislative opposition to refugees by industrialized countries as “legal violence.” Theology and ethics have rich traditions of speaking to issues related to creation care and the consequences arising when we neglect this calling: from the Jewish notion of tikun olam, theologies arising from Native American and other indigenous spiritualities, to more recent contributions of ecofeminists and other scholar-practitioners. Situating our conversation at the intersections of religious/philosophical, environmental, and social scientific thought, we invite papers that address climate-related violence, Latinx communities, religion, and social justice. Likely co-sponsors include the following Units: La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of Religion.

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