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

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New Materialism, Religion, and Planetary Thinking Seminar

Statement of Purpose: 

Recently, a number of methods and ideas for re-thinking ideas as part of the rest of the natural world (including religious ideas and values) have appeared on the religious studies landscape. The ideas of emergence theory, new materialisms, and object-oriented ontologies are all geared toward thinking about religion and science, ideas and nature, values and matter from within what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari call a “single plane” of existence. Others within the field of “religion and ecology/nature” are skeptical of these “postmodern” methods and theories and claim rightly that ideas from various religious traditions such as pantheism, panentheism, animism, and even co-dependent arising already do the intellectual work of rethinking “religion and nature” together onto an immanent plane of existence. This closed seminar will begin to explore some of the links and differences between these older religious traditions of thinking immanence with more recent post-modern theoretical moves toward spatially-oriented ways of thinking.

Rather than being a final reflection on these connections and differences, this seminar calls for a more sustained comparative study of these different spatial approaches. Recently, a number of methods and ideas for re-thinking ideas as part of the rest of the natural world (including religious ideas and values) have appeared on the religious studies landscape. The ideas of emergence theory, new materialisms, and object-oriented ontologies are all geared toward thinking about religion and science, ideas and nature, values and matter from within what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari call a “single plane” of existence.

Call for Papers: 

Over the past 50 years or so there has been a resurgence in new and old forms of immanent ways of thinking about metaphysics and reality. To some extent, these methods for thinking about the link between mind/body, culture/nature, and spirit/matter have coincided with the emergence of an ecological crisis and awareness of our own embeddedness within the rest of the natural world. These immanent frames for understanding how our ideas materialize in the world and how our entanglement with other bodies in an evolving planetary community shapes our ideas, have great potential for re-thinking human-technology-animal-earth relationships and for addressing problems of global climate weirding and other forms of ecological degradation. Older forms of thought from animisms, shamanisms, and other religious traditions are joined by these more recent forms of thinking with immanence such as the universe story, process thought, emergence theory, the new materialisms (NM’s), object-oriented ontologies (OOO’s), and even queer theory; yet, these older forms of thinking and the new philosophies of immanence rarely meet in conversations surrounding religion and ecology/nature.

This, the third of a four-year seminar, will focus on ethical implications of immanent philosophies and theories that have been reflected on over the past couple of years. As each year builds on the other in this seminar, we are not accepting outside papers, but papers by seminar participants will be written prior to the seminar and available online prior to the AAR meeting in 2018. Anyone is welcome to attend our session at the AAR, which will be mainly devoted to Q&A of the pre-circulated papers.

Method: 
Other
Other: 
We are not accepting submissions from outside of the seminar participants this year.
Process: 
Other (please explain below)
Comments: 
We do not accept proposals from outside of the seminar, as it is a closed seminar. Each member of the seminar has been asked to present once during the overall seminar.
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee