AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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Purpose, Practices & Procedures:
1. Purpose of an AAR Program unit: The purpose of program units is twofold: to provide a forum for dialogue and exchange among differing approaches and projects in the field and to provide opportunities for the discussion of work that does not fall within the agendas that find other expressions in the Annual Meeting program. Program units should provide significant time for presenting research in the major subfields of religion.
Purpose of the North American Religions Program unit: The North American Religions Program unit exists to sponsor conversations about the field at thematic, theoretical, definitional, experimental or historiographical levels, in order to ask where the study of North American religions is going or should be going. Such conversations embrace the diversity of scholars, disciplines, methods and traditions that make up the field.
Routine functions: The Steering Committee composes the Call for Papers for NAR sessions for the AAR Annual Meeting; reviews, shapes and accepts proposals for those sessions; reviews and reports on sessions; and communicates with the NAR constituency.
Composition: The Steering Committee is made up of ten members, two of whom are elected by the members to serve as co-chairs. A Steering Committee term is three years, renewable for a second three years if everyone is amenable. The terms are staggered, so that there are continuity and change on the committee. During a total of six possible years, a member might serve a co-chair term, which is three years. A member elected to serve as co-chair has at least one full year’s experience on the Steering Committee. The co-chair elections are staggered as well, so that each new co-chair serves with an experienced co-chair.
Responsibilities: The co-chairs take care of the business of NAR and moderate communication of the Steering Committee. All members of the Steering Committee make decisions on substantive matters. All attend the Annual Meeting and reserve Friday dinner for Steering Committee socializing, envisioning and business. All attend the NAR Business Meeting.
Succession: Members of the Steering Committee are replaced by the following procedure: when there is a vacancy, after the Annual Meeting the co-chairs ask the NAR constituency (via email) for nominations. From among the nominees, the Steering Committee votes to elect a new member.
The co-chairs maintain this “NAR Purpose, Practices & Procedures” document, make it available to the Steering Committee and the NAR constituency, and revise it as needed by vote of the Steering Committee.
This Unit advances the study of religions in North America, broadly conceived (Mexico, the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, etc.), as well as the study of historical, social, and structural links between North American religions and those beyond North American boundaries. We are especially interested in sponsoring sessions that explore the fundamental questions that have shaped the field in the past or should shape it in the future.
The Unit sponsors roundtables, debates, workshops, performances, pre-circulated papers, and other creative formats. As always, this program unit also welcomes proposals for keyword panels based on important concepts in the field. We encourage the submission of both individual contributions and complete panels, though we may reconfigure proposed panels in order to place them on the conference program. For panel proposals, diversity of rank/seniority (including graduate student, post-doctorate, junior and senior participants) and race and ethnicity is strongly encouraged. Presenters in any format should expect to give short presentations that maximize time for audience questions and comments. All presenters should explicitly relate research to ongoing discussions in the field and the wider academy.
In addition to the above, we also encourage proposals on the following topics for our 2017 meeting in Boston, Massachusetts
• Decolonizing Puritan studies
• Islam and US politics
• Religion and education: religious schools, religious education, homeschooling, comparative schooling
• Religion and Public History/Museums
• North American Religions and Pedagogy
• Religion and music/the arts
• Critical interrogations of white Christianity or Christianity and race in America
• Teaching the survey
• Religion and Public Health
• Religion and the Environment/Religion and Standing Rock
• Media in the mediation of American religion
• Prayer and Political Activism
• Native American activism, resource extraction, and spirituality
We also invite proposals for possible co-sponsorships:
*With Afro-American History: Explorations of relationships among American Religious History and African American religions, particularly through an engagement with new works such as Josef Sorett’s Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics (2016) and Judith Weisenfeld’s New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity During the Great Migration (2017), (for a potential co-sponsored panel with the North American Religions/Afro-American Religious History Unit).
*With Evangelical Studies: studies of evangelicalism and contemporary politics