PAPERS Resources

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

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Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

For over 25 years this unit has been committed to lesbian-feminism in the study of religion. Whether pursued through religious studies, social-scientific, historical, or theological methods during the approach to the academic study of religion, lesbian-feminist scholarship challenges hegemonic discourse within gay, lesbian, and queer movements that function to privilege queer theory as capable of eclipsing theories and methodologies that are explicitly feminist in the face of entrenched patriarchy and self-consciously lesbian in the face of persistent maleness and heteronormativity. We are especially committed to scholars and scholarship that advance people of color, persons with disabilities, decoloniality, and economic justice. This is accomplished with diverse and timely themes, and by providing a theoretical space for probing and further developing the openings and opportunities afforded by changing sociopolitical and theoretical contexts.

Call for Papers: 

● Audre Lorde (1934-1992), born of Caribbean immigrant parents and raised in New York City, was a lesbian-feminist activist and poet, essayist in the late twentieth century. Before her untimely death from a fourteen-year long battle with breast and liver cancers, Lorde had become well-known not only for the depth of her poetic vision, but also for her importance to the burgeoning Black feminist communities and for her unwavering clarity with regard to the inherent racism of the white feminist movements in the United States. Lorde asserted that creative differences, emerging from the inexorably different identities that we find in the “deep places” (Sister Outsider) within ourselves, could catalyze positive change in our communities and in the world as a whole. In academic contexts, she is especially known for recognizing the erotic as a source of knowledge and for her powerful speech “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” What does Lorde’s lesbian-feminist, activist poetry, speeches, and essays offer to the study of religion? What changes occur in evaluating, ‘knowing,’ or ‘doing’ religion when we turn to Lorde? How might she open our imaginations beyond the master’s house, so to speak, within religious studies? We invite papers that explore lesbian-feminism in the study of religion that engage Audre Lorde from diverse perspectives that range in format—such as theoretical contributions, poetry, and comparative studies.

Lesbian-Feminisms in the Study of Religion and Human Enhancement and Tranhumanism Units, Michelle Wolff, Augustana College, michellewolff@augustana.edu, Sarah Bloesch, Elon University, bloesch@mail.smu.edu, Amy Michelle DeBaets, adebaets@oakland.edu, Ronald S. Cole-Turner, coleturn@pts.edu -
If the future is female, what needs to change in technology aimed at human enhancement and transhumanism? What might a lesbian-feminist, crip, people of color focused technology look like? The Lesbian-Feminisms in the Study of Religion and Human Enhancement and Tranhumanism Units invite innovative proposals for the diversification of technology aimed at human enhancement and transhumanism. If the major ethical concerns in these endeavors can be attributed to a narrow demographic of developers and consumers (typically white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied, wealthy men) what are the possibilities for a more just future? What have we not yet imagined? What does the growth and recognition of SF (speculative/science fiction) authors of color mean for the study of religion? We are especially interested in constructive and diverse proposals. Accepted papers will be invited to submit for publication in a Cosmologics focus section (https://cosmologicsmagazine.com/)

Co-sponsored session including multiple Units and in solidarity with the Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty Working Group, we solicit papers on religion and reproductive labor, care work, and/or affective/emotional labor (in the broadest senses of each of these). One way to conceptualize these generically is as physical and/or interactive labor, whether paid or unpaid, that keeps bodies and communities alive from one day, and one generation, to the next. Proposals could address, for example, a particular religious practice interpreted as a form of this kind of labor (or vice-versa), religious meanings of this kind of labor, the role of family, kinship, and community in structuring working relationships, or other relevant topics. We are particularly interested in how white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, disability oppression, and other apparatuses of inequality impose disparate burdens on intersectionally targeted bodies — e.g., women of color, lesbian-feminists, immigrants, continent faculty members, people with disabilities — who are involved with this kind of labor. Descriptive, comparative, historical, constructive, and other methods are all welcome. Papers that emerge from activism or engage in conversation with activists are especially welcome. The session will be co-sponsored by these Units: Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty Working Group; Women and Religion; Religion, Affect, and Emotion; Religion and Disability Studies; Lesbian Feminisms and Religion; Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection; and Class, Religion, and Theology.

Method: 
PAPERS
Other
Process: 
Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection
Comments: 
We have informed our committee that co-chairs will not submit to our sessions due to the conflict of interest. While committee members are encouraged to apply, they must refrain from evaluating their own submissions.
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee