AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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This Unit provides an academic forum to integrate the analysis of the Holocaust with past and ongoing problems of genocide around the globe. It asks critical questions about the implications of these histories and their legacies for the study of religion, building on Jewish and Christian theological, literary, ethical, ritual, and philosophical responses to the Holocaust, and opening conversations with responses to genocide from other communities, such as Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Indigenous peoples.
In keeping with the 2017 Presidential Theme "Religion and the Most Vulnerable", we seek submissions addressing the problem of vulnerability and marginalization of minority religious and ethnic groups. What resources can we draw from the analysis of historical genocides to help address vulnerable populations in the present? In addition to papers addressing this broad theme, we are particularly interested in receiving submissions for the following panels:
A panel on the future of Godwin's Law: Are historical comparisons useful for identifying political vulnerability in the present, or do they serve, instead, to curtail debate and contribute to a "victim mentality"?
For a co-sponsored session with the Transformative Scholarship and Pedagogy Unit, a panel titled "Teaching Holocaust and Genocide in This Time", to address issues of pedagogy and current world politics.
For a co-sponsored session with the Religion, Affect and Emotion Unit, a panel addressing the emotional logic of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as discourses of shared vulnerability. How do they create vulnerability through emotions? What is the emotional structure of being made vulnerable? How do these emotional contours interact with systems of power?
For a co-sponsored session with the Religion, Social Conflict and Peace Unit and the Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Unit, a session prompted by the 2016 Presidential election, since which the United States has witnessed an unsettling increase in hate incidents. While historical analogies are imperfect, scholars of the Holocaust and genocide are starting to see unsettling trends in popular and political discourse reminiscent of trends in authoritarian and fascist societies. The language and culture of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are important sites for scholarly inquiry, and this panel seeks papers addressing the intersections of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism (1) to explore how classical tropes of religious bigotry are being re-oriented to a new political context; (2) to develop new language and methodologies that offer critical perspectives on religious bigotry and violence; (3) to explore innovative interreligious strategies for addressing religious bigotry, and (4) to explore how besieged religious communities can work together to preserve and protect the dignity and integrity of all people.