PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Secularism and Secularity Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

The Secularism and Secularity Unit explores a broad a set of questions associated with the secular, including its complex entanglements with religion and spirituality. This inquiry entails the study of political secularism and its role in the construction of religion, as well as the study of secular people, who can be described with a variety of labels including atheist, agnostic, humanist, and freethinker. It also includes an ongoing reappraisal of the historical transformations named by “secularization,” which signal the emergence of the modern and presuppose a break from the premodern. The group fosters new directions in secular studies by encouraging theoretically informed research that makes empirical contributions and engages with the subfield’s rapidly growing interdisciplinary literature.

Call for Papers: 

The Secularism and Secularity group is especially interested in submissions that address the following topics through original research:

● Secularism in Popular Culture: How and where does the concept of secularism circulate outside the academy? How does it circulate in popular culture, or among politicians, policymakers, and bureaucrats?

● Secularism and Right-Wing Politics: What can secular studies tell us about the rise of authoritarian regimes and religio-nationalism? Does it provide resources to respond? How have secularism and the critique of secularism changed since 2016? How should they change?

● Secularism and the Body: How does secularism operate in bodily regimens and disciplines? What is the role of secularism in fitness and diet—for instance, in workout communities or lifestyle trends? How are secular ontologies and epistemologies structuring the body, and what are the effects, for instance, on disability?

● Secularism, Surveillance, and Borders: What is the role of secularism in surveillance? What is the relationship between secularism and the regulation of borders? Does the emergence of empiricism or materialism contribute in special ways to the evolution of governmentality?

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee