PAPERS Resources

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

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Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

The term “genocide” was coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944, and in 1948 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. In this context, our group treats prominent atrocities of the twentieth century, which is known as “the Age of Genocide.” These genocides include the killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo, but our topics of interest extend beyond genocides of the twentieth century as well beyond the legal definition of genocide. This Unit addresses religious aspects of genocidal conflicts and other mass atrocities that have made a deep and lasting impact on society, politics, and international affairs. Our work is interdisciplinary and includes scholars from fields including History, Ethics, Theology, Philosophy, Jewish Studies, Church History, Anthropology, Political Science, Gender Studies, and regional area studies of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Call for Papers: 

In 2019, we are particularly interested in receiving proposals addressing the following topics:

● Genocide and the destruction of material culture: what role does the destruction of monuments, artefacts, or ritual sites play in genocide? Does such destruction in itself function as a form of cultural genocide? What role does the language of "world heritage" play in either protecting or undermining the rights of local communities in relation to their material culture?

● In several recent shootings in houses of worship in the United States, the shooter has referenced the white nationalist mantra of a "white genocide," a claim of the Jewish-designed demise of the white race amidst demographic shifts due to immigration, miscegenation, and higher birth rates among non-whites. We invite papers that address any of the following: analytically engage tribalism and the religious dimensions of the claim of white genocide; critically question how and why this claim should be of interest to religion scholars; and meaningfully connect the white nationalist slogan of a "white genocide" to another slogan--"my race is my religion." Papers accepted for this session will be considered by Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal for possible inclusion in a focus issue.

● For a session co-sponsored with the Baha'i Studies Unit, papers are invited on a range of topics related to the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. Does 40 years of continuous persecution constitute an attempt at genocide? What is at stake in naming the persecution of Baha'is as such, and what strategies from genocide studies might be brought to bear on the ongoing situation? What are the causes of the persecution? What are the psychological, social, cultural, and theological responses from the Iranian Baha’is? What impact has the persecution had on Baha’i communities elsewhere in the world? Papers accepted for this session will be considered by Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal for possible inclusion in a focus issue.

● For a possible co-sponsorship with Comparative Theology Unit, the Religious Conversion Unit, and the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit, a panel on genocide in comparative perspective. We propose to organize a panel on Conversion/Deconversion in contexts of religious persecution, genocide, or expulsions, with particular interest in the Holocaust and the Iberian Expulsion. We are specifically looking for papers that describe the constructive and comparative theological potential when theology is performed and written from or within the context of such a great evil executed at the intersections of religion, ethnicity, nationality, and race, and we are also interested in proposals that discuss the impact that such conversions may or may not have on theologies of conversion and/or theologies of salvation.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee