AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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The study of religions, medicines, and healing is a growing field within religious studies that draws on the disciplines and scholarship of history, anthropology (particularly medical anthropology), phenomenology, psychology, sociology, ethnic studies, ritual studies, gender studies, theology, political and economic theory, public health, bioscientific epidemiology, history of science, comparative religion, and other interdisciplinary approaches to interpret meanings assigned to illness, affliction, and suffering; healing, health, and well-being; healing systems and traditions, their interactions, and the factors that influence them; and related topics and issues. As a broad area of inquiry, this field incorporates diverse theoretical orientations and methodological strategies in order to develop theories and methods specific to the study of illness, health, healing, and associated social relations from religious studies perspectives. Although religious texts serve as important resources in this endeavor, so do the many approaches to the study of lived religion, religious embodiment and material culture, and popular expressions of religiosity. Finally, like its sister field of medical anthropology, the field of religions, medicines, and healing encourages examination of how affliction and healing affect social bodies through fractured identities, political divides, structural violence, and colonialism. We support the work of graduate students, religion scholars, scholar-activists, and scholars in allied fields. We promote collaboration with other interdisciplinary Program Units and those focused on particular traditions and/or regions.
The Religions, Medicines, and Healing Unit welcomes paper and/or panel proposals that explore specific intersections of religious and healing traditions and practices. We ask that proposals address the socio-political context of the topic, as well as theoretical and analytical framework(s): How does this analysis help us to understand religions and “healing” in new ways?
This year, we are particularly interested in the following themes:
• 2017 AAR Theme: Religion and the Most Vulnerable
• Environmental Protection and Health
• State of the Field: Past, Present, and Future of the Studies of Religions, Medicines, and Healing
• We invite paper proposals that address issues related to the Most Vulnerable in our global society in the context of indigenous medicine(s) and healing, for a joint session with the Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit. We ask that proposals address the socio-political context of the topic, as well as theoretical and analytical framework(s). We plan to co-sponsor the session, with pre-distributed full papers (full papers due online Nov 1, 2017), a brief presentation of each paper, and facilitated discussion.
• We also welcome paper proposals for a possible joint session with the Religion and Disability Studies Unit and the Childhood Studies and Religion Unit dealing with issues surrounding normatively-informed medical, psychological, mental health, and religious interventions to make the bodies and/or minds of children and young people with disabilities “whole” from a wide variety of perspectives. We plan to co-sponsor the session with pre-distributed full papers (full papers due online Nov 1, 2017), a brief presentation of each paper, and facilitated discussion.
We encourage graduate students with ongoing research projects in the field of Religions, Medicines, and Healing to apply for mentor-pairing. Graduate students will provide full drafts of their papers several months in advance, and after being paired with a Mentor, will have the opportunity to receive in-depth feedback and guidance on their work between April-November, 2017. At the 2017 AAR, we will host a roundtable session for the mentor-mentee pairs to present together and share their insights—the graduate students on their research, and the mentors on the pedagogical aspect of the process.