PAPERS Resources

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

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Martin Luther and Global Lutheran Traditions Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit seeks to provide an avenue for a comprehensive conversation on both Lutheran history and thought in the global context. In so doing, it is able to draw on an immensely rich tradition that goes far beyond Lutheran parochial interests as it includes the relationship to other Christian traditions as well as cultures in the global South.

Call for Papers: 

● 90-Minute Stand-Alone Session: Luther, Usury, Anti-Judaism and Justice -
We live in a time in which justice is fractured, setting oppressed communities against one another. Much of current economic and ecological injustice might be broadly traced to neo-liberal regimes birthed in early modern global expansion and funded, in part, by the practice of usury. Luther critiqued usury, and yet his treatment of it is an important instance of the ambiguous character of his legacy. On the one hand, in his “Trade and Usury (1524),” Luther highlights how the practice of usury in the emerging global market economy came at the cost of justice for the poor. Some have seen this to be of a piece with an ethic which criticizes crass ecclesial commercialization and the economic objectification of the poor, a point of some importance for addressing economic and ecological justice. He notes how the practice of increasing the value of a thing because it is in short demand is like selling a neighbor his or her need, and his critique – in concert with the Aristotelian tradition – of decrying making money with money, could well inform critiques of the neo-liberal economic order run amok. Yet there is a dark side to his critique of usury. In his infamous “On the Jews and their Lies (1543),” he notes the Jewish practice of usury as a mark of their moral repugnance. Here Luther reflects a long-standing Christian commonplace, wherein many Jews who are systematically excluded from the guilds are driven to usury, and then persecuted even while being driven to engage in this practice out of necessity. Lutherans and students of Luther, with concerns for economic and ecological justice, are thus faced with a startling irony: the economic exclusion of the Jews helped fuel the engines of emerging capitalism.

In this panel, we invite contributors to consider the viability and applicability of Luther’s writings on economic justice to current economic concerns. Mindful of the root sense of economics as the order of a household, how might the various households we inhabit – domestic, urban, national, and global – be ordered so that economic, racial, gender, inter-religious, and ecological justices are pursued as the same justice? What kinds of order promote flourishing that does not pit need against need, and neighbor against neighbor? How might justification inform justice to the end that every form of poverty is decried and every instance of grace celebrated? What might Martin Luther's writings, reformation scholarship, or Global Lutheran traditions contribute to the possibility of economic and ecological justice?

● 90-Minute Joint Session with Sacred Texts, Theory, and Theological Program Unit: Planetary Promise in Global Lutheran Traditions: Reading Sacred and Scarred Texts -
We invite papers for an open call that wrestle with the complex interaction of studies of Global Lutheran Traditions, Sacred Texts, and our planetary crises. Biblical texts and theologies doing violence to these have been used for planetary destruction as well as planetary liberation and healing. And land itself serves as text bearing witness to those histories. Land is sacred and scarred in the wake of Christian colonialisms, ecological violence, and exploitation.Co-sponsored by the Martin Luther and Global Lutheran Traditions Unit and the Sacred Texts, Theory and Theological Unit, this open papers session queries into eco-theological voices as sources for exploring the complex legacy of sacred and scarred texts that Global Lutheran Traditions carry with them. We extend a special invitation to scholars of sacred texts, biblical scholars, Indigenous scholars, and theologians working in the environmental humanities. Such papers might wrestle with contemporary themes in the environmental humanities: petrocultures, Indigenous studies, environmental racism and colonialism, eco-hermeneutics, critical animal, and plant studies, Anthropocene studies, queer ecology, affect theory, etc. These papers may also take a historical view, asking into the environmental history of Martin Luther and other Lutheran reformers or Global Lutheran Traditions.In essence, this session asks with Vítor Westhelle’s phrasing, what are the “planetary promises” that Global Lutheran Traditions bear with them?

● 90-Minute Stand-Alone Session with Business Meeting: The Annotated Luther: Producing and Using the Volumes (in Classrooms and beyond) -
A session on The Annotated Luther will focus on the production and use of this six volume collection of Luther texts that was published in 2015-2017. This session will have two foci: 1)discussion of matters related to producing these volumes, and 2) discussion of how the volumes are being used to engage Luther in a variety of courses and settings.

We envision an interactive session in which presenters will make brief opening comments regarding either their role as contributor to TAL or as people engaging TAL in the classroom or beyond it. Presenters then will move to a table and audience members will choose a table with a topic of interest to them, where each presenter will facilitate a conversation on their particular topic with the participants who come to their table.

Toward this end, we invite proposals that describe a specific topic for presentation and roundtable conversation. The proposal should include a working title as well as a description of the topic's significance for studying Luther and Global Lutheran Traditions. We invite proposals from both contributors to TAL and those using it in the classroom or other settings. Topics for persons who worked to produce TAL might comprise identifying Luther's "essential" texts and how to arrange them, exploring best ways to translate Luther into contemporary English including matters of inclusive language, and decisions involved in writing introductions and annotations. Topics for persons using TAL could involve examining ways to employ TAL to engage Luther in a variety of disciplines, course, and settings or exploring values of the visual art forms reproduced in the TAL volumes.

Method: 
PAPERS
Other
Other: 
the normal online system for submitting proposal
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Comments: 
This system worked well and the decision making was fair and smooth, using numbers, and also the chairs being able to see the names was important in facilitating decision making in securing a balanced composition of the presenters, to include senior scholars as well as students. The numeric evaluation was most important.
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee