PAPERS Resources

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

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Religion and Science Fiction Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit connects the study of religion to the limitless possibilities for world-making, soul-saving, god-imagining, community-forming, and human-being posed by science fiction (and broadly, “speculative” fictions). Science Fiction (SF) is a literary and visual medium addressing the most basic existential and teleological questions human beings can pose. As the genre of infinite possible worlds and human and superhuman becoming, SF has a unique ability to ask, examine, and suggest answers to the most profound questions and to envision transcendence beyond traditional realist literature or religious interpretations of the world.

Call for Papers: 

Religion and Science Fiction invites proposals exploring the intersections of religion and speculative fictions in ways that illuminate theoretical, methodological, and substantive issues in the study of religion. We are especially interested in proposals that invite audience conversation, make use of new media, and consider alternative "sciences" and worlds. We seek proposals on the following topics:

• 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We invite papers on this classic foremother of science fiction and iterations of her story from the originating novel to Rocky Horror Picture Show and beyond.

• Cyborgs, Monsters, and Transformation

• Contact Fiction and Colonialism

• Transposition of Religious and Theological Concepts through Worldbuilding

• Religion in Games and Gaming
(Halo, Mass Effect, Fallout, Deus Ex, Bioshock and etc.)

• Blade Runner, Then and Now

• Westworld, Then and Now

• Resurgence of Science Fiction Television
(Black Mirror, Star Trek: Discovery, Orville, Expanse, Westworld, Gifted, Sense8, Marvel/DC titles, Future Man, Handmaid’s Tale, The OA, Electric Dreams, Mr. Robot, 12 Monkeys, etc.)

• Proposals that provoke science fictional imaginings and transgressions on the AAR's 2018 theme "Religious Studies in Public: The Civic Responsibilities, Opportunities, and Risks Facing Scholars of Religion"

• We invite proposals from a range of disciplinary and methodological approaches.

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