PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Boston, MA
November 18-21, 2017

2017 Annual Meeting Program (PDF)

Preliminary 2017 Annual Meeting Program (MS Word)

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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. To learn more about this Unit, visit our Website at

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 looking for papers and panels that engage with the following topics:

• Rituals of Resistance: We are interested in proposals which examine ritual efficacy in contexts of political crisis or change. In particular, we look for proposals that stress the role of ritual in social transformation. We are specifically looking for studies on religious festivals challenging or resisting statehood.

• Ritual and Vulnerability: In alignment with the theme of religion and the most vulnerable, we invite proposals from scholars of religion and ritual that examine the rituals of the socially and politically marginalized, including ritual and disability or rituals in transgender communities. We are considering a co-sponsored potential session with the Religion and Disability Studies Unit.

• Rituals of Aging: We encourage paper proposals that engage in research on rites of passage marking the phases of aging, including rituals of retirement in different religious traditions. We are considering a co-sponsorship with the Mormon Studies Unit.

• Ritual Studies in Teaching Religion: We are interested in proposals examining the representation of rituals and ritual studies in religious studies college textbooks and how rituals and ritual studies are taught in undergraduate courses.

• Aesthetics of Ritual: We are interested in proposals which discuss issues of an aesthetic approach to the study of ritual, including ritual and the senses, the role of poetry in rituals, and ritual smell and touch.

• Interrituality in Middle Eastern Christianity, Islam, and Judaism: The Ritual Studies Unit and the Middle Eastern Christianity Unit are issuing a Call for Papers that solicits proposals related to the interrituality of religious life in the Middle East—particularly of Christians with other religious communities. Topics of interrituality could include liturgy and liturgical practices, pilgrimage, or any other way that Middle Eastern Christian practices participate in, or resemble, the practices of other communities. This call for papers is open to research in all academic disciplines and all historical time periods; we are particularly interested in proposals that discuss the ways in which rituals serve as markers of identity and means of appropriation in the Middle East.

• We are interested in individual paper proposals as well as proposals for full panels. Panel proposals would need to include full proposals of individual papers for review. Proposals that do not indicate their body of evidence and their method of investigation and analysis are unlikely to be considered. 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