AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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The Religion and Humanism Unit is a forum for constructive work incorporating humanist themes in theology, religion and the arts, and philosophy. The unit also aims to bring scholarly and critical methodologies to bear on the history of humanism and the question of the human. We engage religious historians in the task of tracing the history of humanism across its many manifestations. Understanding that humanism is a highly contested phenomenon, we also seek to bring humanism and its critics into constructive conversation. Finally, in advancing our critical and constructive goals we seek to be rigorously interdisciplinary in approach.
The "Enhancing Life Project" is composed of scholars from around the world, from many disciplines and also on seven of the world's religions. The question of the enhancement of life is one of the most contested issues across the range of disciplines. From the critics of humanism to the advocates of transhumanism, the question of enhancing human life is hotly debated. This session will explore the criteria for judging human enhancement and competing visions of human flourishing.
Co-sponsored sessions with the Science, Technology, and Religion Unit:
Life in the 21st century benefits from technological advances in the sciences. Most technologies, ranging from medical to communication devices, from transportation to data management systems promise to enhance life. And yet as we have learned over the last centuries, technology can also endanger life. We are especially interested in papers that address some of the following questions: "From the side of ethics, how can we judge technological advances?" alongside the hermeneutical question "What visions of an enhanced life are embedded and presupposed in certain technologies?" And: "How do technological visions resonate with specific religious conceptions of enhancing life?"
Co-sponsored session with the Ricoeur Unit:
Narrative Identity, “Identity Politics,” and National Identity. Paper proposals will be considered for a co-sponsored session with the Unit. We are particularly interested in papers that draw on narrative theory and theories of identity including, but not limited to, Ricoeur in order to discuss how politics and politicians construct narratives about what it means to be human within the context of narratives of national identity.
We are also in consultation with the Religion and Science-Fiction Unit about how we imagine the future of religion and humanism in creative works.