PAPERS Resources

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

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Religion, Affect, and Emotion Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit provides space for theoretically-informed discussion of the relationship between religion, affect, and emotion. The Unit serves as a meeting point for conversations on the affective, noncognitive, and passional dimensions of religion coming from diverse fields, including anthropology, comparative religion, psychology, decolonial theory, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, philosophy, and theology. Proposals drawing on these theoretical resources to examine specific religious traditions, shifting historical understandings of religion and affect/emotion, comparative work that looks at affective forms across traditions, and broader theoretical reflections are all welcome.

Call for Papers: 

● Practices in Non-Dualist Pedagogy -
How does consideration of affect/emotion reframe the modern scene of education devised by the Enlightenment? How are pedagogical techniques developed in the humanities (and especially in theology and religious studies) attentive to affect/emotion? How is affect/emotion taught?

● Feeling True and False -
Under what circumstances do we consider felt experiences “true” or “false”? How do feelings coalesce around questions of authenticity and deceit? How is “authenticity” as a feeling of trust or faith made or performed? How does “sincerity” operate in religious discourses?

● The Affective Life of Borders -
How do borders, boundaries, and geography figure in the social life of emotion? How does feeling muddle or produce borders, boundaries, and geographic landscapes? What are the felt reverberations of borders composed through surveillance, militarization, and enclosure?

● Fascist Affect -
Is there an affective signature of fascist movements? In what ways are religious affects generated and deployed in militarism, personality cults, and collective gatherings? How do religion scholars navigate the affects/emotions entailed by studying and confronting fascism?

● Affect and Literary Form -
How does the study of affect open onto questions of form, genre, and technique in writing? How can experiments in literary form (e.g., in Black study, queer performance, or affect theory itself, as with Lauren Berlant and Katie Stewart's The Hundreds) be understood with reference to affect?

● For a possible co-sponsored session with the Science, Technology, and Religion Unit, we invite proposals for work considering the relevance of emotion science for studying belief and cognition in both religious studies and theology. We’re especially interested in work that brings religious studies and theology into conversation around these issues. This may include approaches that connect emotion science, cognitive science, and trauma theory.

● For a possible co-sponsored session with the Class, Religion, and Theology Unit and others, we invite proposals on religion and affective labor, care work, and/or reproductive labor (in the broadest senses of each).

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
This method has helped us to ensure our group's excellence in diversity throughout our panels.
ChairSteering Committee