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 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:

● Spectacular Violence - representations of guns, mass shootings, and serial killers as/and religion

● The Material and popular Cultures of immigrant religious communities in Southern California

● Emerging data points for the study of religion and popular culture - papers might consider Religious Platforms, Platforming Religion, the study of religion through and on the internet (including podcasts, memes, apps, streaming services, etc.), analysis as hermeneutics, digital humanities research techniques

● Crowdfunding online as religious activity

● On the 100th anniversary of Broken Blossoms: Orientalism in Popular Culture

● Pulp Fiction at 25: Its legacy for the study of religion and popular culture

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

● The Religion, Film, and Visual Culture Unit and the Religion & Popular Culture Unit are seeking papers for a joint panel The Golden State: Utopias and Dystopias (Californian or Otherwise)

● The Men, Masculinities & Religion Unit and the Religion & Popular Culture Unit are seeking papers for a co-sponsored panel on Religion and Masculinities in Popular Culture. The session seeks to explore how religious and gendered identities and practices are represented in and shaped by popular culture in a variety of religious traditions and national contexts. We welcome papers that analyze film, music, television, comedy, YouTube, and other digital and social media.

● The AAR’s Religion and Popular Culture Unit and the SBL’s Bible and Popular Culture Unit invite proposals for a joint session exploring Comic-Con through the Bible, Religion and Popular Culture. Papers might address Comic-Con and other comic conventions as a ritual/festival act or pilgrimage site, cosplay as performative identity, fan culture as religion, fictional religions/sacred texts at Comic-Con, discussion of religion and atheism at Comic-Con, presence/absence of biblical and religious comics and figures from Comic-Con and fan culture, and the implications of the changing material presence of comics and sacred texts at cons and in various cultures.

Representations of Buddhism in Contemporary Japanese Literature and Media

Papers would discuss various aspects of Buddhism (or Japanese religions) as characterized in particular books, movies, anime, manga, online environments, etc. These might include, for example, any of Genyū Sokyū's novels, Zazen Girl by Taguchi Randy, Yumemakura Baku's series on Kūkai or the 2017 movie based on it, Legend of the Demon Cat, anime series (and manga) such as Saints Young Men, manga depicting founders of religious traditions and other Buddhists (e.g., the 2018 manga Zen: Shaku Sōen), etc. Papers could also focus on Buddhism in the writings of Ishimure Michiko, who passed in February 2018. Ronald Green:

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