AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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This Unit asks “What does liberation theology mean in and for the twenty-first century?” We encourage crossover dialogue — between contexts and between disciplines — and reflection on the implications of liberationist discourse for the transformation of theology as a whole, both methodologically and theologically.
The Liberation Theologies Unit calls for proposals that move forward theological, theoretical, and political understandings of “identity” or of specific identities; their historical, sociological, theological, or embodied basis; or their relation to contemporary instantiations and mechanizations of power (e.g., engagements with the 2016 political campaigns, advertising/marketing, media narratives, economics, biopower, incarceration, respectability politics, music, social media, social movements, resistance communities, liberationist pedagogies, and so on).
We welcome proposals that address the concept, rhetoric, history, and problematics demarcated by the term “identity” in contemporary discourse, just as we welcome proposals that take up particular identities in contemporary or historical forms. Some identities that may be of interest might include racial, economic, colonial, sexual, or gender identities and/or those such as: white working class; undocumented; illegal; Christian; Muslim; American; religious fundamentalist; leftist; conservative; political elite; the rich, poor, or middle class; the oppressed; 99%; millennials; socialist, capitalist, etc.; black, white, or brown; politician; terrorist; any of the painful terms fabricated to denigrate any social group, and so on and so on…
The Liberation Theologies Unit encourages crossover dialogue—between contexts, disciplines, and religions—and reflection on the implications of liberationist discourse for the transformation of theology as a whole, both its methods and substance. We welcome proposals arising out of, or engaging all religious or ritual traditions including, but certainly not limited to: indigenous religions, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, traditional African religions and Buddhism. We encourage broad interpretation of the terms of the call and creative, constructive proposals for liberation theologies in the 21st century.
For a joint panel with Sacred Texts, Theory, and Theological Construction Unit
The Liberation Theologies Unit and Sacred Texts, Theory, and Theological Construction Unit call for paper or panel proposals for a co-sponsored session specifically working with sacred texts, theory, and theology in contemporary liberation and social justice movements. We especially welcome proposals that think about the role of sacred texts with respect to the water protectors at Standing Rock or the contemporary use of theology and sacred texts in #BlackLivesMatter or other liberation movements around the globe. For instance: the role of sacred texts in water protectors' resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, specifically, or in their modeling of a mode of existence/activity that resists corporate capitalism, its legacies, or its environmental effects more generally or theoretically.
Broadly defined, by “texts” we mean anything ranging from the discipline of Biblical Studies through scriptural analysis to anything that can be "read" or "interpreted" visually, orally, literarily, etc. We also encourage a broad understanding of theological construction that thinks from, alongside, or in the wake of social justice movements. What texts motivate liberation? What creative theological transformation happens in the textual space of social justice movements? How are new texts created, and what are some new "sacred texts" emerging from these movements?
For a possible joint panel with Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society and Black Theology Units
Papers for a possible joint session with the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Unit, Liberation Theologies Unit, and the Black Theology Unit on the various ways in which bodies are used to communicate, interpret, and theologize -- to tell stories drawn from signing the body -- in African American and other cultures, including the use of Black American Sign Language, a distinct variant of ASL that arose from the experiences of Black Deaf people in segregated schools for the deaf.