PAPERS Resources

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

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Preliminary Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

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Native Traditions in the Americas Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit sees its mission as the promotion of the study of Native American religious traditions and thereby the enrichment of the academic study of religion generally, by engaging in discourse about culturally-centered theories and encouraging multiple dialogues at the margins of Western and non-Western cultures and scholarship. The Unit is committed to fostering dialogue involving Native and non-Native voices in the study of North, Central, and South American Native religious traditions and to engaging religious studies scholarship in robust conversation with scholarship on other facets of Native cultures and societies.

Call for Papers: 

We invite individual paper and group proposals on any aspect of Native Traditions in the Americas (North, Central and South).
In particular, in light of AAR's theme of "Scholarly Workers in Public Spaces," we invite papers on the themes of activism as ceremony, activist art, and public art. We are interested in Indigenous activist art in public spaces in the Americas but encourage papers on Indigenous art and activism in California.

We also invite papers on:

Displacement, Dispossession, Disappearance - The role of religion in rationalizing or resisting violence against Indigenous peoples, with particular emphasis on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, militarization and racialization of policies aimed at Indigenous peoples, and the separation of Indigenous children from their families. Papers will be considered for a joint session with the Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence group.

● The personhood of animals within Native American philosophies and religious traditions, and the impacts of the loss of keystone species for Native cultures. Papers will be considered for a possible co-sponsored session with the Animals and Religion group.

● The use of entheogens and mystical experiences. This could include papers on Native religious traditions from throughout the Americas that include the ceremonials use of substances such as peyote and ayahuasca. In addition, papers could focus on the commodification and appropriation of Indigenous practices involving entheogens; legal issues related to the ceremonial usage of substances classified as “drugs”; trans-Indigenous practices involving entheogens; entheogens in healing and medicine for substance abuse, decolonization, and/or self-determination; artistic representations reflecting entheogens; and/or issues with terminology and methodology. Papers will be considered for a possible co-sponsorship with the Mysticism group and the Indigenous Religious Traditions group.

● The Indigenizing of Christianity among California Indians and Indigenous peoples of Mexico, Central, and South America, including the particular role of women and two-spirit people.

● Repatriation and the decolonization of museums.

● Decolonizing love, erotic sovereignty, and healing.

● Rematriation, including the gendered dimensions of Indigenous revitalization/resurgence/retraditionalization, such as the role of two-spirit people.

● Building on the AAR’s theme focused on “creating, redefining, and expanding spheres of public discourse," we invite papers on San Diego’s Chicano Park and its mural paintings. This multi-unit co-sponsored session will likely be supplemented by a separate tour to the site. In 1970 Chicano Park emerged through the efforts of community activists responding to the fracture and displacement of Chicanx communities caused by the construction of the Interstate 5 freeway in the barrio of Logan Heights. On this freeway’s pillars, Chicano Park displays one of the largest assemblages of public murals in North America, inspired by Chicanx history. In 2018, the San Diego Tribune described the space as a “battleground” for cultural identity between right wing groups waving American flags and Chicanx groups waving flags of Aztlan. We welcome papers from multiple disciplinary vantage points. We are particularly interested in proposals that take an ecological approach by engaging both the manner in which the contested space informs religious/spiritual identities and practices and the manner in which Chicanx spiritualities have influenced this built environment. Likely co-sponsors include the following Units: Religion and Cities; Religions in the Latin Americas; Native Traditions in the Americas; Latina/o Religion, Culture and Society; Anthropology of Religion; Religion, Memory, History; Ecclesial Practices; and Latina/o and Latin American Biblical Interpretation (SBL).

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee