PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Denver, CO
November 17-20, 2018

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Ritual Studies Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit 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.

Call for Papers: 

The Ritual Studies Unit encourages submissions from scholars who propose innovative approaches to the study of ritual and foster theoretical sophistication in the interdisciplinary study of ritual. Although we are open to reviewing any proposals that enhance the academic study of ritual, this year we are particularly looking for papers and panels that engage with the following topics:

• Cognitive Studies of Ritual and the Senses
In continuity with last year’s focus on the aesthetics of ritual, we invite paper proposals from the full array of the cognitive science of ritual, from sound recognition and sensual perception to the study of ritual simulation, representation, and misrecognition. Co-sponsored with the Cognitive Science of Religion Unit and the Ritual Studies Unit.

• Mysticism, Lineage, and Ritual Transmission
We are interested in projects that explore the transmission and configuration of mystical power or religious energies. This includes both traditional means and contemporary methods that might use new technologies and social media (for example, initiation rituals performed over Skype). For co-sponsorship with the Mysticism Unit, the Ritual Studies Unit, and the Religion, Media, and Culture Unit.

• Ritual and Vulnerability
We are interested in proposals which examine rituals of the socially and politically marginalized, including rituals in transgender communities, ritual and disability, and rituals of the homeless.

• Embodied Pedagogy Teaching Tactics in Large Introductory Courses
We are interested in papers discussing teaching tactics that focus on ritual and embodied pedagogy in undergraduate courses (e.g. World Religions, Introduction to Religion, etc.). Co-sponsored with the Body and Religion Unit, the Ritual Studies Unit, and the Teaching Religion Unit. Proposals should:
o State succinctly the context within which you used the strategy including characteristics of your students, the institution and the course, when in the semester you use this tactic, and how long it takes;
o State the pedagogical purpose of the strategy;
o Describe the strategy itself in brief, clear language -- demonstrating a quick version of the tactic is encouraged;
o State why and how the strategy was effective (or not effective) – i.e., how it supported (or failed to support in some way) student learning; and
o Address potential challenges or obstacles -- i.e., avoiding cultural appropriation, avoiding the appearance of 'practicing' religion in public institutions, and potential ethical issues.

We are interested in sessions that experiment with new formats, such as forming sessions with 2-3 pre-circulated shorter papers and 2-3 respondents. We welcome individual paper proposals as well as proposals for full panels.

Proposals should be situated in the context of scholarship on ritual. They should indicate their body of evidence and method of investigation and analysis. All proposals will be reviewed anonymously and judged based on the clarity and structure of the argument.

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection
ChairSteering Committee