PAPERS Resources

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

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Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

Floorplans of Annual Meeting Facilities (PDF)

Exhibit Hall Listing and Map (PDF)

Program Book Ads (PDF)

Annual Meeting At-A-Glance (PDF)

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Religion in the American West Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

The Religion in the American West Unit is a forum for graduate students, independent scholars, and faculty who situate their work regionally in the North American West, broadly conceived. The study of religion in this region allows scholars to use a broad array of methodologies (historical, anthropological, literary, sociological, and others) to explore the most pressing questions in the field of American religion and in Religious Studies more generally. These include, but are not limited to: the history of empire and colonialism; the connections between religion and violence; the construction and deployment of racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identities; transnational movement of people and ideas; religion and the natural and built environments; myth-making and its role in the construction and critique of nationalist ideologies; and the development of the category of religion. The purpose of this subfield is not to remain in the American West, to define the West, or to argue that religion in the West is unique. Instead, by situating scholarship regionally, scholars of the American West are able to develop theories and methods that can be useful interpretive lenses for other regions defined by land, transnationalism, migrations, diversity, and colonialism. Moreover, the Unit supports the development of a rigorous intellectual community by pre-circulating papers in advance of the national meeting and maintaining a blog.

Call for Papers: 

1. Laurie Maffly-Kipp retrospective:

2019 is the 25th anniversary of the publication of Laurie Maffly-Kipp’s Religion and Society in Frontier California (Yale UP, 1994). Three years after that book appeared, Maffly-Kipp published her influential essay, “Eastward Ho! American Religion from the Perspective of the Pacific Rim,” in which she argued that greater attention to the American West would fruitfully expand and reframe scholars’ understanding of religion in the US generally.

The Religion in the American West Unit is organizing a retrospective roundtable to discuss Maffly-Kipp’s contributions in this field. The roundtable will consist of 8 panelists, each of whom will speak for 5 minutes. We welcome proposals from individuals at all career stages and from a range of sub-specializations who would like to put themselves forward as possible featured panelists. The questions you address will vary but might include:

● Concretely speaking, how has “Eastward Ho!” or Religion and Society in Frontier California shaped your own scholarship?

● How has the study of religion in the American West developed in the quarter century since Maffly-Kipp’s trailblazing contributions of the 1990s? How have other scholars built on—or moved beyond—Maffly-Kipp’s work in this area?

● What has been the impact of “Eastward Ho!” on the study of American religion generally? Has the field been significantly reframed by the study of the American West? Or does the study of the American West remain a sub-specialization?

● Looking back at Religion and Society in Frontier California and “Eastward Ho!” 25 years later, what new directions did Maffly-Kipp point toward then that remain underexplored?

2. Additional Co-Sponsored Session:

In 2019, the AAR Annual Meeting will be held in San Diego, a city with Spanish Catholic roots now located on two US borders: the western border with the Pacific and the southern border with Mexico. The Religion in the American West Unit, the Religion, Memory, and History Unit, and the Roman Catholic Studies Unit are cosponsoring a panel to explore intersections among themes that strike us as salient for this place: American Catholicism, the US-Mexico borderlands, movement across the US’s Mexican or Pacific borders, and the remembering or forgetting of the past. Relevant topics might include:

● Catholicism and public memory, whether in San Diego specifically (Mission San Diego de Alcalá; Chicano Park) or at other sites in the US-Mexico borderlands

● The history of American Catholicism’s relationships to US nativism

● The histories of American Catholic communities originating in Asia and the Pacific (the Philippines, Guam, Hawai‘i, Japan, Vietnam)

● The forging or preservation of transnational heritages that connect Catholics in the US to places across the Pacific or in Mexico and Central America

● Catholic missions from the US into Latin America, Oceania, or Asia; or missions from those regions into the US

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection
ChairSteering Committee