PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Antonio, TX
November 19-22, 2016

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Ritual Studies Group

Statement of Purpose: 

This Group provides a unique venue for the interdisciplinary exploration of ritual — broadly understood to include rites, ceremonies, religious and secular performances, and other ritual processes — in their many and varied contexts, and from a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives. To learn more about this Group, visit our Website at

Call for Papers: 

The Ritual Studies Group encourages submissions from scholars whose research focuses on the study of ritual and from scholars keen to develop theoretical sophistication in ritual studies. Although we are open to reviewing all proposals that contribute positively to the academic study of ritual, this year we are looking for papers and panels addressing the following topics:

Revisiting Classical Theories of Ritual: We welcome proposals which revisit and examine the contemporary significance of classical theories and theorists. In particular, we would like to revisit the themes of sacrifice and symbol or to specifically address the significance of the Manchester School of Anthropology and/or the role of Africa in the development of ritual studies.

The Eucharist as Revolutionary Love Feast: In alignment with the theme of revolutionary love, we seek proposals from critical scholars, theologians, liturgical scholars, and biblical scholars that use a ritual studies lens to explore the transgressive/revolutionary nature of historical and current ritual practices, potentially for a cosponsored session with a program unit in the SBL.

Reflexivity in Ritual: We are looking for proposals which take up issues of either (or both) ritual as a reflexive space or reflexivity in the context of theories of ritual. As a related issue, we are also seeking proposals examining the engagement of ritual in educational spaces, most especially as these proposals on educational spaces might contribute to a cosponsored session with the Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Group.

Dance, Movement, and Sound: We hope to consider proposals that examine both movement and sound within the context of ritual performances and ritual spaces.

Rituals of Hate: We are interested in proposals which take up contemporary issues related to ritual and the ritual studies, such as the examination of rituals and violence and rituals of hate and aggression or the relationship between secular and religious dimensions in ritual.

Engaging ritual in the classroom: (co-sponsored with the Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Group)
How do site-visits and sharing in communal practice/worship expand or challenge the theory and pedagogy of interreligious studies? What is at stake for hosts and guests? How do we define success and failure in the domain of “inter-riting”? We welcome proposals that incorporate alternative pedagogies of presentation.

We are interested in both individual paper proposals and proposals for full panels. Panel proposals should include full proposals for individual papers. Contributors will be asked to submit their papers in advance of the meeting to be available to attendees, and to present a short summary instead of a full paper at the meeting. Proposals that do not substantively engage with broader theoretical issues in the study of ritual are unlikely to be considered.

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection
We had some dispute on this process within the committee, and switched from initial anonymous review to a visible review. Based on broader program committee desires we will be using an open process.
ChairSteering Committee