PAPERS Resources

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

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Religion and Popular Culture Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit is dedicated to the scholarly exploration of religious expression in a variety of cultural settings. We encourage a multidisciplinary display of scholarship in our sessions and are committed to taking popular culture seriously as an arena of religious and theological reflection and practice.

Call for Papers: 

This Unit invites both organized sessions and individual paper proposals that explore the intersections of religion and popular culture. We strongly encourage presentation formats that foster interactive environments and provide creative alternatives to the conventional reading of papers. This year, we encourage presentations that address the following topics:

• Religion in Scripted Comedy Shows
(The Good Place, Blackish, Master of None, etc)

• Religious Aspects of Fan Fiction

• Teaching Religion and Popular Culture

• Differences between Theological and Religious Studies Approaches to Popular Culture

• Fictional Religions in Film, Literature, and Other Media
(Such as Bokononism, Movementarianism, etc.)

• New spiritual material cultures, communities, and objects originating in the legalization of marijuana

• “Truth”, Conspiracies, and Fake News
The use of religious imagery in memes, religious communities within internet subcultures, nationalist and populist movements, and in particular, rising anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in contemporary popular culture.

• “Peak” Experiences and Rocky Mountain Highs
What are the cultural productions and religious and spiritual results of hiking, mountaineering, and other outdoor activities?

• Religion and Popular Culture during and after the Great War
What did Religion and Popular Culture look like during World War I? How did the War change religion and popular culture? What is the legacy of the 11/11/1918 Armistice for the study of Religion and Popular Culture?

We also invite submissions for two possible co-sponsored sessions:

• Cinema in Southeast Asia
The Religion in Southeast Asia Unit is working with the Religion and Popular Culture Unit to organize a jointly sponsored session on cinema in Southeast Asia. The session will explore film as a site for debating issues — such as, e.g., historical memory and violence, LGBTQ rights, the place of religion in public life, changing ideals of romantic intimacy and personal accomplishment — that have proven difficult to discuss in other public arenas.

• The AAR’s Religion and Popular Culture Unit and the SBL’s Bible and Popular Culture Unit invite proposals for a joint session exploring interactions between the Bible, Religion, and Popular Culture that involve material or people in or from the Global South.
Finally, we offer an open call for any other topics dealing with religion and popular culture, especially proposals that address the relevance of popular culture studies for larger theoretical and methodical issues in the field of religious studies.

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
ChairSteering Committee