PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Denver, CO
November 17-20, 2018

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Law, Religion, and Culture Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit is interested in the cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and comparative studies of the interrelationships of law and religion. The terms “law” and “religion” are broadly conceptualized and our interests have extended to include ancient and contemporary contexts and a wide variety of critical approaches. We hope to instigate consideration of religion and law issues at the AAR beyond issues concerning religious freedom and the United States Constitution.

Call for Papers: 

As always, the Law, Religion, and Culture Unit welcomes proposals for individual papers, papers sessions, and roundtable panel proposals, including author-meets-reader sessions, on any aspect of the cultural, historical, critical, and comparative study of the intersections of law and religion in Asia, Africa, Europe, or the Americas, including legal categories in religious traditions, the treatment of religion within legal traditions, human rights, and freedom of religion. We welcome explorations of “formal” law that directly intersects with states and “informal” law that does not.

This year, our Unit particularly invites proposals that address the following broad themes:

• Process, Procedure, and Administration in Religious Law
Traditionally, scholarship on religious law has tended to focus on the content of legal rules (doctrine) and on traditions of interpretation (jurisprudence). Far less attention has been paid to the administrative structures, processes, and procedural norms of religious legal traditions. This panel invites papers that consider the administrative, procedural and bureaucratic features of religious law in specific places and times. Questions to be considered include: Who or what is granted recognition or standing (e.g., animals, nature, other religious groups, deities)? What counts as evidence? How are judgments made, appealed or enforced? In what ways are religious and civil legal institutions co-constituting? How has the administration and organization of religious law changed across spaces and times?

• The 25th Anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)
We seek papers analyzing the impact of the RFRA on religion and society, including the ways individuals and communities have marshaled and adapted themselves to it.

• Religion and Law outside the Courts
We are interested in papers on non-elite and vernacular uses of law and religion.

• Law, Religion, and Public Lands/Spaces/Water
We call on papers or panel proposals on law, religion, and public lands, spaces, and waters. Co-sponsored session with the Law, Religion, and Culture Unit and the Religion and Ecology Unit.

• The Relationship between Right-Wing Politics, Religion, and European Identity
This topic can be either historical or contemporary and could include discussions of negotiating boundaries of/within Europe (e.g., regional or separatist movements), the relationship between religion and foundational laws/constitutions, and the exploitation of religious terms (internally or externally) in relation to the far-right. Co-sponsored session with the Law, Religion, and Culture Unit and the Religion in Europe Unit.

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