AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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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 Unit 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.
The Secularism and Secularity Unit is interested in co-sponsoring a session with the Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Unit that calls for papers on Max Weber’s “Science as a Vocation” to mark its 100th anniversary.
We are also interested in co-sponsoring a session on Asian American secularities with the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit.
The Secularism and Secularity Unit is once again especially interested in papers that address the secular’s complicated relationship with race and sex/gender. What forms of activism does the secular enable that are not available in spaces governed by religious norms, and what forms does it foreclose? How does the divide between secular and religious map (or fail to map) onto struggles for rights and recognition, such as those of indigenous people or activists fighting for racial and gender equality? Why is the secular so often white, so often male?
We encourage paper and session proposals that engage these and related questions through original historical or social scientific research.