AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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This Unit provides a scholarly forum to study the global Roman Catholic community. Consequently, we welcome critical studies, cultural, ethical, historical, and theological perspectives. We seek to mirror the subject community’s diversity in pursuing equally diverse methods to study that community.
The Roman Catholic Studies Unit invites submissions on diverse subjects in Catholic Studies, but especially the following topics:
• American Politics: Approximately sixty percent of white Catholics voted for Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election of 2016, while around eighty percent of Latino/as, many of whom are Catholic, voted for Hillary Clinton. What does this say about the electoral politics of today’s American Catholics? How does this result affect Catholic participation in state and local politics? How do other factors like race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality play a role in the political identities of Catholics? We invite papers that reflect on reasons for this electoral outcome and its implications for the future.
• Global Migration: More than sixty-five million people are displaced around the world today. We invite papers that consider the involvement of Catholics in this global crisis, both as refugees and as those who reject or accept refugees into their communities. What are some theological positions on the treatment of refugees? What historical precedents might shed light on current circumstances? Are there specific examples of Catholics responses to refugee crises in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, as well as debates about the status of refugees in the United States and other parts of the world?
• Urban Catholicism: With Boston, Massachusetts, as the site of the Annual Meeting, we are reminded of the legacy of ethnic Catholic enclaves in many U.S. urban centers. We invite papers that address the historical, anthropological, and theological ramifications of urban life for Catholics in the past, present, and future. What can we learn by comparing and contrasting studies of urban Catholic communities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with those of the twenty-first century? Is there a way to think comparatively about the urban experiences of Catholics in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America? Is there something unique about the development of Catholic beliefs, practices, and institutions in urban environments? How might scholars apply their knowledge of urban Catholicism to suburban and rural settings?
• Queering Catholicism: What is queer about Catholicism? How are some Catholics queering the religious tradition of their birth and/or choice? What performative qualities of Catholicism make the Catholic Church a prism through which to explore queer theory? We invite papers that consider the historical, theological, and ethical dimensions of sexuality and identity politics in the Catholic Church, with particular attention to the ways in which queer theory might enrich or disrupt other disciplinary modes of interrogating what it means to be Catholic.
• We are especially interested in proposals that are attentive to the ways in which history and theory relate to one another within the field of Roman Catholic studies. Co-Chairs are happy to consult with individuals who are developing individual papers, paper sessions, or roundtable proposals to answer questions, discuss ideas, and help shape final submissions.