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, Memory, History Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This unit explores the construction and representation of narratives of the past as memory and history in relation to religious practices, ideologies, and experiences. We encourage critical reflection on religion in relation to ideas of memory, heritage, public history, and historiography. We are interested in examining these topics across broad geographical areas, religious traditions, and historical eras.

Call for Papers: 

This Unit provides an opportunity for scholars to engage in the intersection of religion and memory and history. We are interested in examining these topics across broad geographical areas, religious traditions, and historical eras. We invite papers, panels, and roundtables on issues that include but are not limited to the following topics:

● We invite proposals that analyze visual representations of history, memory, and heritage, including photography, film, and the other visual arts.

● Along with the Gay Men and Religion Unit and the North American Religions Unit, we invite proposals for a co-sponsored session on queer memory, including narratives of coming out and transition and memorialization of trauma, such as the AIDS crisis.

● Building on the AAR’s theme focused on “creating, redefining, and expanding spheres of public discourse," we invite papers on San Diego’s Chicano Park and its mural paintings. This multi-unit co-sponsored session will likely be supplemented by a separate tour to the site. In 1970 Chicano Park emerged through the efforts of community activists responding to the fracture and displacement of Chicanx communities caused by the construction of the Interstate 5 freeway in the barrio of Logan Heights. On this freeway’s pillars, Chicano Park displays one of the largest assemblages of public murals in North America, inspired by Chicanx history. In 2018, the San Diego Tribune described the space as a “battleground” for cultural identity between right wing groups waving American flags and Chicanx groups waving flags of Aztlan. We welcome papers from multiple disciplinary vantage points. We are particularly interested in proposals that take an ecological approach by engaging both the manner in which the contested space informs religious/spiritual identities and practices and the manner in which Chicanx spiritualities have influenced this built environment. Likely co-sponsors include the following Units: Religion and Cities; Religions in the Latin Americas; Native Traditions in the Americas; Latina/o Religion, Culture and Society; Anthropology of Religion; Religion, Memory, History; Ecclesial Practices; and Latina/o and Latin American Biblical Interpretation (SBL).

● Along with the Religions in the Latin Americas Unit and the North American Religions Unit, we invite proposals on public representation and memories of immigration, borders, and trauma, especially but not limited to representations of immigration to the United States. Papers related to memory and public histories of the following topics are welcome: violence and militarization of borders; Indigenous cultures and spiritualities in borderlands; discourse of criminality, terrorism, gender, families, children, poverty, protest, and courage; and stories, histories, and the media.

● The following tri-sponsored session (History of Christianity; Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society; and Religion, Memory, and History Units) invites proposals that explore the themes of religious contact, crossings, and contestation, and especially encourage historical perspectives on militarized border encounters (broadly construed). The quincentennial of the Hernán Cortez’s arrival in Mexico occasions us to consider contact cultures in the history of Christianity in the Americas and the longer legacy of incommensurate religious, cultural, political, and social encounters. The location of the AAR’s 2019 meeting in San Diego further invites interrogations of borders as sites and metaphors of contact as well as of containment. 250 years after Cortez’s landfall, Fr. Junipero Serra, also under the auspices of the Spanish Crown, undertook the establishment of missions throughout California. The first of these, San Diego de Alcalá, founded 250 years ago (1769), symbolizes the expansion and contested legacy of the Spanish borderlands. San Diego itself epitomizes the gateway of contact and encounters. Theorizing from her twentieth century context, critic Gloria Anzaldúa argued, "The U.S.-Mexican border es una herida abierta (is an open wound) where the third world grates against the first and bleeds." In recent weeks, confrontations between the “caravan” of Hondurans and armed agents of Mexico and the United States’ heavily-militarized border at the gates of the San Diego-Tijuana crossing, serve as a sobering reminders of Anzaldúa’s description, while complicating the longer legacy of borders in the Americas.

● For a co-sponsored session, in 2019, the AAR Annual Meeting will be held in San Diego, a city with Spanish Catholic roots now located on two US borders: the western border with the Pacific and the southern border with Mexico. The Religion in the American West Unit, the Religion, Memory, and History Unit, and the Roman Catholic Studies Unit invite proposals that explore intersections among themes that strike us as salient for this place: American Catholicism, the US-Mexico borderlands, movement across the US’s Mexican or Pacific borders, and the remembering or forgetting of the past. Relevant topics might include:

○ Catholicism and public memory, whether in San Diego specifically (Mission San Diego de Alcalá; Chicano Park) or at other sites in the US-Mexico borderlands;
○ the history of American Catholicism’s relationships to US nativism;
○ the histories of American Catholic communities originating in Asia and the Pacific (the Philippines, Guam, Hawai‘i, Japan, Vietnam);
○ the forging or preservation of transnational heritages that connect Catholics in the US to places across the Pacific or in Mexico and Central America; and
○ Catholic missions from the US into Latin America, Oceania, or Asia; or missions from those regions into the US.

Method: 
PAPERS
E-mail without Attachment (proposal appears in body of e-mail)
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee