PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Boston, MA
November 18-21, 2017

2017 Annual Meeting Program (PDF)

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Preliminary 2017 Annual Meeting Program (MS Word)

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Pragmatism and Empiricism in American Religious Thought Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

Our mission is to foster the advancement and understanding of the pragmatic and empiricist traditions in American religious thought, as well as the intersections of those traditions with other methodologies, intellectual figures, artistic movements, communities, and issues. This Unit is concerned with critically interrogating, evaluating, and developing the insights and relevance of the pragmatic and empiricist traditions of American thought, broadly construed, for the study of religion and theology, with attention both to the historical interpretation of ideas and contemporary developments within this critical sphere of philosophical and theological reflection. Recent areas of interest include pragmatism and democracy, the continued relevance of empiricism to the revival of pragmatism, multidisciplinary aspects of the tradition (intersections with other fields of inquiry), overlaps with cultural criticism and analyses of gender and race, and the application of pragmatic and empiricist analyses to contemporary problems.

Call for Papers: 

We invite proposals that address the topic—“Resisting Trump: Pragmatist Norms and Practices.” This topic encourages deep inquiry regarding the integral nature of reflection and activism, of academic work and extra-academic organizing and advocacy in response to the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. For many pragmatists, democracy is an article of faith if not an object of religious piety. Thus, we encourage the submission of proposals that reassess the meaning of democracy in the age of Trump. The AAR’s Presidential Theme for 2017 is “Religion and the Most Vulnerable.” We welcome papers that address this critical issue in light the pragmatist, empiricist, and naturalistic foci of the unit. Regarding the latter foci, we specifically invite proposals that address the topic of religious naturalism: how is our construction of nature and comportment with its multifarious character a religious phenomenon? In addition, we solicit proposals on (1) William James and (2) on the relations among Richard Rorty’s Achieving Our Country, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me.

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
ChairSteering Committee