PAPERS Resources

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

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Religions in the Latin Americas Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit fosters interdisciplinary and theoretically innovative analyses of Latina/o and Latin American religiosities and spiritualities in the Americas. We explore the richness and diversity of religious traditions in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, highlighting the complex and often explosive relations between religion and politics in the region, the centrality of religion in the Americas since pre-Conquest times, and the global significance of religious events and lived religion in the region. Our goal is to advance knowledge and ways of knowing that expand traditional areas of religious studies throughout the Americas, mindful of transnational and global realities. Thus, we encourage studies that explore non-Western beliefs and practices, including the indigenous, the African diasporic, Buddhist, and Islamic, as well as those that advance more complex understanding of culturally hybrid Christianities. We encourage feminist- and queer-centered perspectives as well as thought rooted in community experience. Diverse disciplinary and methodological perspectives are highlighted in presentation of this scholarship.

Call for Papers: 

As always, we are interested in papers that advance interdisciplinary and theoretically innovative analyses of Latina/o and Latin American religiosities and spiritualities in the Americas.

This year, we are also especially interested in papers that address the following topics:

● Indigenous Religion and Spirituality before the Arrival of Europeans

● Theoretical approaches to religion as a category of analysis in the Latina/o/x Americas. In particular, thinking beyond intersectionality to the co-constitutive nature of race, religion, sexuality, and gender in colonial and post-colonial histories.

● Queer spiritualities and communities in Latina/o/x America(s)

● Political Theologies or Theopolitics from Latin America

● Religion and religiosity in Brazil and Brazilian communities throughout the Americas

● African diasporic religion in Latin America and Latina/o/x communities in the U.S.

● Religion, spirituality, and public space in Latin America and Latinx communities

Co-Sponsored Sessions:

● With the Men & Masculinities Unit, we are soliciting papers for a possible co-sponsored session on Latina/o/x Masculinities in the Americas. This session would aim to explore the co-construction and performance of masculinities and religious identities in the Latina/o Americas from historical, sociological, or ethnographic perspectives. Masculinities are historically and locally contingent assemblages of discourses, bodily practices, values, and rituals that are performed in social action and institutional settings. We seek papers that consider the role of practice, ritual, devotion, embodiment, and material/visual cultures in the construction of gender identities, ideals of manhood, religious authority, and the shaping of gendered religious practice. Any papers related to the following topics are welcome:

o Masculinities in Colonial Latin America
o Pentecostal Masculinities
o Rethinking Machismo
o Catholic Masculinities
o Masculinity & Religion in the Public Sphere
o Masculinity & Religious Authority
o Lay and Clerical Masculinities
o Devotionalism and Masculinity
o Masculinity and Secularism in Latin America
o Masculinity & National Identity
o Queering Masculinity
o 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 co-sponsored session will likely be supplemented by a separate tour to the site.

● 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 Religion, Memory, and History Unit and the North American Religions Unit we are considering a co-sponsored session on Immigration, Borders, and Trauma, especially but not limited to representations of immigration to the United States. Papers related to 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, memory, history and the media.

● Together with the North American Religions Unit and the Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit we invite papers for a co-sponsored session that reflects on and engage with the work of Luis León for a commemorative co-sponsored panel.

New Format Session

We are interested in exploring alternative panel formats to encourage new modes of discussion. For the upcoming conference in San Diego, we are considering a panel in which 5-7 participants respond to a single question, each speaking for 6-7 minutes. This will then be followed by an open discussion. In this vein, we invite responses that are no more than 900 words to the following question:

● What are the implications of using the terms Latinx, Latina/o, Latin@, Latine for the hemispheric study of religion the Americas? What are your naming practices and why? What would be an appropriate designation for this Unit in particular, given that our Unit deals with realities pertaining to both Latin American and U.S. Latinx communities?
Please note that your 900-word submission will be your presentation (i.e., no need to write another presentation once you submit to this CFP!)

Prearranged Panel Sessions

● In addition to accepting INDIVIDUAL paper proposals, our Unit will also consider PANEL proposals, which usually consist of 3-4 presenters, along with a moderator and a respondent. When submitting your proposal, please identify the proposal as either an INDIVIDUAL or PANEL proposal.

Book Panel Sessions

● These sessions work best when 2-3 authors work together to propose a panel with a single, overarching theme. Each panelist should submit an individual proposal that makes reference to the larger theme, and the panel as a whole should determine ahead of time who the respondent(s) will be. These "New Book" sessions are meant not merely to highlight the merits of each book, but, more substantially, to serve as springboards for a larger group discussion (i.e,. What broader issues are raised by placing the books in conversation with one another?)

Emerging Scholarship Session

● We encourage 1) doctoral students and recent Ph.D. graduates working in the area of the Latina/o Americas who 2) have never presented at the national AAR meeting to submit papers. To apply, upload your individual paper proposal in the AAR’s PAPERS system, explicitly labeling it as an "Emerging Scholarship” submission.

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
ChairSteering Committee