AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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Relationships between religions and the causes and resolution of social conflict are complex. On the one hand, religion is a major source of discord in our world, but on the other, religious agents have often played a central role in developing and encouraging nonviolent means of conflict resolution and sustainable peace. While religion as a factor in conflicts is often misunderstood by military and political leaders, it is also the case that the popular call for an end to injustice is quite often a religious voice. We seek to add a critical dimension to the understanding of how religion influences and resolves social conflict. We want to develop and expand the traditional categories of moral reflection and response to war and also to investigate kindred conflicts — terrorism, humanitarian armed intervention, cultural and governmental repression, ecological degradation, and all of the factors that inhibit human flourishing. We also hope to encourage theoretical and practical reflection on religious peace-building by examining the discourses, practices, and community and institutional structures that promote just peace. Through our work, we hope to promote understanding of the relationships between social conflict and religions in ways that are theoretically sophisticated and practically applicable in diverse cultural contexts.
This unit welcomes individual papers and paper session proposals (presider, 3-4 papers, and respondent) on intersections of religion with violence, social conflict, and peace. For the 2017 Annual Meeting, we are particularly interested in proposals that address the following topics and intersections:
• Emergent practices of resistance and peacebuilding and their relationship to religion (e.g., digital solidarity, unsanctioned actions and actors, unlikely partners or coalitions, religiously grounded or religiously inspired resistance outside of institutional religion)
• Indigenous practices of resistance and peacebuilding
• Pedagogical practices for peacebuilding in and through religious studies courses
• Beyond the “religious actor” model: structural activism for peace
• Trauma healing as part of the work of peacebuilding
• Freedom of the press in contexts of social conflict; the role of journalism in peacebuilding; the role of religion in suppressing or defending freedom of the press
• For a potential co-sponsorship with Religion and Politics Unit: We are interested in papers addressing the international rise of populist, nationalist, or anti-globalization forces or movements in the U.S., UK, France, Italy, Turkey, the Philippines, and elsewhere, including, in particular, we seek analyses of the religious dimensions of the populist moment.
• For a potential co-sponsorship with Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Unit and the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit: Since the 2016 Presidential election, the United States has witnessed an unsettling increase in hate incidents. While historical analogies are imperfect, scholars of the Holocaust and genocide are starting to see unsettling trends in popular and political discourse reminiscent of trends in authoritarian and fascist societies. The language and culture of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are important sites for scholarly inquiry. Papers in this panel will focus on the intersections of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism (1) to explore how classical tropes of religious bigotry are being re-oriented to a new political context; (2) to develop new language and methodologies that offer critical perspectives on religious bigotry and violence; (3) to explore innovative interreligious strategies for addressing religious bigotry, and (4) to explore how besieged religious communities can work together to preserve and protect the dignity and integrity of all people.