PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Preliminary Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

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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 and invite proposals from a commensurate range of disciplinary and methodological approaches.


● Afro-futurisms and especially as related to and commentary on other topics in the call;

● “Futurity” - slowness v. acceleration;

● time v. sacred time v. science fiction time;

● California dreaming: Dis-, anti-, Utopian & Post-apocalyptic Californias;

● on the 50th anniversary of Comic-Con: cosplay, fandom, fanfiction, possible worlds, canons, affect and emotion, materiality, queer cosplay;

● Science Fiction fans and fandoms;

● proposals that provoke science fictional imaginings and transgressions on the AAR's 2019 theme "Scholarly Workers in Public Spaces: A Necessary Long Term Focus in the Study of Religions;"

● proposals for a possible co-sponsored panel with Queer Studies in Religion: queer and trans* approaches to religion and science fiction. Themes might also include: Afrofuturism, race, capitalism, colonialism, affect, and political geographies;

● proposals for a possible co-sponsored session with the Music and Religion Section seeks individual paper and/or session proposals on musics of the future and/or apocalyptic musics; and

● proposals for a possible co-sponsored panel by Zygon in cooperation with Science, Technology, and Religion Unit: papers on the nuts and bolts of transformation that involve imagining technology’s role in society.

Of particular interest will be papers that sit at the intersection between science fiction, religion-and-science, technology, and public policy. Possibilities include superheroes, socially participatory AIs, technological interventions to end scarcity, intergalactic travel, human enhancement, and bioengineering. Panelists will be invited to prepare 9,000 word full papers to be submitted to a thematic section of Zygon (the journal submission deadline will be about a month after the AAR 2019 meeting; we will expect two iterations of papers before the AAR meeting, the second one to be made available to AAR meeting participants).

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