PAPERS Resources

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

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Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

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.

Call for Papers: 

In light of the 70th Anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the 2018 Annual Meeting theme, "The Civic Responsibilities, Opportunities, and Risks Facing Scholars of Religion," the Religion, Genocide, and Holocaust Unit invites proposals that address the various relationships between religion and genocide. Of particular interest are proposals that treat the influences and ramifications of the Convention on Genocide, the perils of genocide recognition and scholarship, and the inter-generational effects of genocidal violence. We are particularly interested in proposals that are comparative and that treat understudied religious communities and conflicts.

Gender, Religion, and Violence
We seek papers that address topics such as (1) genocidal violence and the construction of masculinities, (2) rape and sexual violence as tools in conflicts and genocide, (3) religiously inflected and symbolic sexual violence, and (4) the targeting and persecution of gender and sexual minorities. Possible co-sponsorship with the Men, Masculinities and Religion Unit; Women and Religion Unit; and Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Unit.

Recognizing the Armenian Genocide
At a 2017 United Nations General Assembly meeting, President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, invited "all member States to support a new initiative toward the international recognition of the Armenian genocide" ( In light of President Sargsyan’s invitation and the Annual Meeting theme of "The Civic Responsibilities, Opportunities, and Risks Facing Scholars of Religion," we invite proposals that address the role of religion in the politics of recognition and denial with regard to the Armenian genocide. We are particularly interested in the following themes: (1) the politics of denial and recognition of the Armenian genocide in Turkish and European contexts with attention to religious language involved, and/or (2) the role of religious and or secular rhetoric, as well as the implications and political influence of international recognition of the Armenian genocide by various religious groups (such as Pope Francis in 2015 and the Central Council of Jews in Germany), (3) and/or the risks facing scholars of the Armenian genocide, especially Turkish scholars or scholars based in Turkey. Possible co-sponsorship with the Religion in Europe Unit.

Religion and the Convention on Genocide
As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, we welcome papers that critically reflect on the legacy of the Convention and its relationship to religion as well as future directions for study. Topics may include, but are not limited to: (1) the political uses of the Convention by religious groups, (2) debates about the efficacy of the Convention to protect religious groups and the current status of religion as a "stable identity" amid other Convention protected groups, (3) the contributions of religious studies to the reconceptualization of "genocide," (4) and comparative approaches to the involvement and reaction of religious actors who have been indicted or convicted under the Convention. Possible co-sponsorship with Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Unit.

Inter-generational Memory and Legacies of Genocide
We invite proposals that consider theories and narratives of post-memory and other multi-generational effects of genocide, such as (1) child survivors, (2) children born of rape, (3) testimony and inherited trauma, and (4) the return of refugees. We are particularly interested in proposals that attend to the effects of genocide on ethno-religious communities beyond the Holocaust.

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