AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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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.
For the upcoming 2017 meeting in Boston, our Unit is planning three sessions, connected to the conference theme, "Religion and the Most Vulnerable." We invite paper proposals on the following three topics. We also welcome individual papers or proposed full panel sessions connected to other Latinx religious themes.
• Sanctuary Spaces: Safety and Resilience in Latinx Communities
This papers session focuses on Latinx religious movements and practices of “sanctuary” that aim to protect people, women and children in particular, from interpersonal and systemic violence. Submissions that analyze developments in sanctuary movements and in movement understandings of “sanctuary” are strongly encouraged. This includes (but is not limited to) the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s, movements to create “sanctuary cities” and “sanctuary schools,” and recent religious developments in response to the 2016 election.
• Luchar por la justicia es rezar/To struggle for justice is to pray: Liturgical practices and socio-political protest
Mujerista theologian Ada María Isasi-Díaz wrote that “…striving against injustice is to draw nearer and nearer to the divine.” Using this insight to frame our conversation, this papers session explores the intersections of liturgical practices and socio-political protest within civic spaces and the church. Potential questions to consider include: How are liturgical practices in Latinx communities being used to employ socio-political protest? How is socio-political protest being used to enflesh our individual and/or communal prayer? While Isasi-Díaz wrote from a Catholic context, submissions reflecting the breadth and depth of spiritual and religious diversity in Latinx communities are encouraged.
• Protest and Accomodation: Latinx Responses to the Protestant Reformations
In light of the 500 year anniversary of Martin Luther’s “95 Theses,” this papers session welcomes proposals that seek to: recover the historical experiences of the Reformers (i.e., as political exiles and refugees), analyze how migrations and political-economic conflicts shaped the religious controversies within various reformations and counter-reformations, analyze how religious practices and commitments shaped socio-economic and cultural conflicts, or analyze and assess the implications of these reformations for indigenous and African diasporic peoples in the Americas. Other submissions relevant to Latinx religions and the Protestant Reformations are also encouraged.