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 and Humanism Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

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 a constructive conversation. Finally, in advancing our critical and constructive goals we seek to be rigorously interdisciplinary in approach.

Call for Papers: 

Religion and Humanism Stand Alone session

The Persistence of the "Human" in the Humanities
Beyond unfortunate political realities that undermine the significance of marginalized lives, the attack on “the human” as a valuable entity also emerges from within the university. On the one hand, there’s an increasing interest in instrumental approaches to education, assessing learning in terms of total enrollments and evaluations. This has contributed to diminished administrative support for what had once been core courses in the field of the humanities. Beyond this, however, the introduction of topics like the anthropocene have led to an increasing suspicion of “the human” as being more trouble than it’s worth, and thus of “the humanities” as equally problematic.

The Religion and Humanism Unit therefore calls for papers that engage how religion—whose death was similarly prophesied incorrectly—provides resources for how to rehabilitate the human, and thus the humanities, as an important resource. With the rise of feminist, black, queer, disability, and political theologies in the past 30 years, it is clear that religion maintains a vital place in understanding the contemporary human condition. Given this, what vital, unique contributions do the humanities provide—as a subject, not just skills—to the present and potential future generations of learners? Why does the space of the fallible human—capable of creations of beauty as well as their destruction—still matter as a question of study? What do we risk losing if we neglect these possibilities for study in the search for more “practical” forms of knowledge”? How can the resurgence of religion provide an instructive model for how to think through why the humanities—far from irrelevant—are more critical than ever?

With the Riceour Unit:

The Style of the Public Square
Political discourse today has become sharply divisive; and divisive precisely around fault lines defined by religious and secular visions and practices - hypertheism and overhumanization. Scholars in Religion and Humanism have already diagnosed how the problem of “evacuating the center” afflicts current political debate and calls for a third way. Paul Ricoeur, whose work lies at the intersection of religion and humanism, provides a way to understand how to frame the conversational space between these opposing perspectives—even in an increasingly polemicized environment.

This Religion and Humanism and Ricoeur Unit joint session will focus on the style of political language as a substantive political question. Historically, the study of rhetoric and style has been central to humanism as an intellectual movement. Moreover, Ricoeur studied ideology and utopia as genres of political discourse, wrote an essay on "The Fragility of Political Language," and modeled difficult dialogue among divergent viewpoints in his own writings. The session will question how Ricoeur’s approach to language and interpretation can provide tools to counter the reductive thinking that riddles the public sphere.

For this joint session, we seek proposals that examine contemporary US politics in terns of the style, genre and rhetoric of political language. We invite papers that:
1: Address how Ricoeur’s style, which put rival points of view into unexpectedly fruitful conversation, enhance public political debates
2: address how Ricoeur provides a model for navigating a public square where religion and humanism can meet as partners in democratic dialogue.
3: Analyze how political style embodies particular ideological or policy stances, achieves or impedes political goals, and distorts or enables political dialogue.
4: Addresses the normative question of how religious discourse can contribute to renewing democratic dialogue rather than impeding it.

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