PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Boston, MA
November 18-21, 2017

2017 Annual Meeting Program (PDF)

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Preliminary 2017 Annual Meeting Program (MS Word)

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Religion in South Asia Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit’s mission is to provide a venue for new and important research in the many religious cultures, texts, and histories of South Asia. Within the area of South Asia, all world religions exist in unique forms, from religions that originated in India — such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Tantra, and tribal religions — to religions that have taken on longstanding and distinctive forms in South Asia — such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. The focus of our work is thus on a geographical area, the religious, cultural, and intellectual traditions of that area, and changes that have occurred in those traditions over several millennia. Scholars of South Asia explore the distinctive manifestations of religious traditions in the subcontinent, their interactions, and their movements to and expressions in other parts of the world. This Unit encourages contextualizing religion within debates on a broad array of parallel and intersecting issues, such as (but not limited to) politics, secularism, literature, philology, globalization, modernity, colonialism and postcolonialism, history, society, media, popular culture, material and visual culture, and economics. Our scholarship often emphasizes sessions and papers that look at more than one tradition and thus frequently entail some degree of comparative approach. Our Website is We also have a listserv, which is essential to the work of our Unit. Information on joining the listserv can be found on our Website.

Call for Papers: 

RISA is currently seeking submissions for the 2017 AAR meeting. RISA’s mission is to provide a venue for new research in the many religious cultures, texts, and histories of South Asia. We have a strong preference for papers sessions (not roundtables) as well as sessions in which the papers cover a range of traditions, regions, and languages of South Asia. The theme for the 2017 AAR is Religion and the Most Vulnerable, so panels related to this theme are also encouraged.

RISA only accepts prearranged paper sessions (consisting of 3 or 4 papers on a single theme). A standard AAR session has 6 participants: 4 paper presenters, a discussant or respondent, and a presider (150 minutes total). Current AAR policy mandates that one of RISA’s allotted sessions be a shorter session of 5 participants, typically consisting of 3 paper presenters, a discussant, and a presider (90 minutes total). Please specify your preferred format in your submission. If you are looking for others to organize a papers session, please feel free to reach out to colleagues on the RISA listserv, or to contact the RISA co-chairs for assistance, Andrea Pinkney ( and Hamsa Stainton (

The one exception to RISA’s preference for prearranged sessions is the New Directions in South Asian Religion panel, a 150-minute session dedicated to emerging scholarship. The RISA steering committee will only consider INDIVIDUAL paper submissions for this panel. Applicants for this panel must be: (1) doctoral students or recent grads from a Ph.D. programme in South Asian religions and (2) never have presented at the national AAR meeting. To apply, upload your individual paper proposal in the AAR’s PAPERS system, explicitly labelled as a "New Directions,” submission, and also email your proposal (and any other queries) to Dr. Steve Vose, convenor of the panel (

Some themes already identified as potential papers sessions are listed below. Please contact the session organizers for more details:
• Presence and Religion in South Asia: Nancy Martin
• Inter-Religious Interactions: Abhishek Amar
• Religion and Globalization in South Asia and Beyond: Drew Thomases
• Non-violent resistance in South Asian Religion: Tim Dobe
• Gandhian Afterlives: Tim Dobe
• Urban Devotionalism, Hindus and Muslims: Afsar Mohamad
• Religious Identites: Dean Accardi
• Religious Nationalisms and Readings from the Past: Dean Accardi
• Hindu Temples, Today and Tomorrow: Jack Hawley
• Seeking Salvation: South Asian Paths to Immortality and Liberation: Finnian Gerety
• Media and Technology in South Asian Religions: Finnian Gerety
• Is Scripture Poetry and is Liberation Beautiful? Aesthetics and Theology in South Asian Religions: Jason Schwartz

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