PAPERS Resources

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

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Religion and Cities Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit is focused on scholarship that explores the dynamics of religion in urban contexts. We draw largely, though not exclusively, from social research in looking at the ways in which the cultures, economies, space, and politics both shape and are shaped by the presence of an increasing diversity of faith traditions in cities.

Call for Papers: 

The Religion and Cities group seeks papers that address the way religious communities address, confront, and respond to changing urban demographics due to gentrification, generational shifts, and other economic and social trends. As demographics shift in many urban environments, religious communities in changing neighborhoods are faced with decisions about who to serve and how to use their facilities. Some religious institutions with declining memberships must determine what to do with aging or historic buildings with considerable maintenance costs beyond their means to support. Others find ways to share building space with other religious groups and community groups that would not have been likely partners before. Still, others adopt innovative strategies to develop affordable housing or provide safe spaces for marginalized groups and immigrant community networks.

Papers should focus on current trends or the recent past and may be considered from various disciplinary approaches: historical, ethical, sociological, ethnographic, etc. Individual paper proposals will be given priority, but we will consider panel proposals that present a multi-faceted approach to a unified topic.

• To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in Memphis, the Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. Unit, the Afro-American Religious History Unit, and the Religion and Cities Unit plan to co-sponsor a session at the 2018 meeting. We are seeking papers that focus on surveillance of religious communities including socio-religious movements in cities, making connections to FBI surveillance of King in his last year. Papers that address the ways Black and Brown activists continue to be surveilled today (including the 2017 revelation of the FBI's construction of "Black Identity Extremists") and a critical analysis of historic and contemporary religious-theological responses to surveillance are welcomed.

• Urban Migration and Religious Ethics
For a co-sponsored panel with the Comparative Religious Ethics Unit and the Religion and Cities Unit, we are looking for papers that focus on urban migration and religious ethics. We would like to consider how diverse religious traditions have viewed cities and urban migration. How does the wave of recent global urban migration enhance or challenge religious ethics? We invite papers that address how religious ethics be utilized to respond to crises associated with mass urbanization.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee