PAPERS Resources

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

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World Christianity Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit seeks to explore the intercultural, interconfessional, and interreligious dynamics of Christianity as a world religion, bringing into conversation scholars in the disciplines of history, mission studies, ecumenical studies, theology, sociology of religion, anthropology of religion, and religious studies.

Call for Papers: 

The World Christianity Unit invites proposals on the following topics:

• Proposals that critically examine the long-term global legacies and transnational implications for World Christianity of liberation movements across the globe emerging from Latin America, especially on the 50th anniversary of the Medellín statement (1968-2018), especially from interdisciplinary perspectives with a particular attention on:
o Global impact, as well as the ecumenical, social, and political implications of Medellín on liberation movements impacting Christians in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, and North America beyond Latin American Christianity, especially on the question of defining and shaping communal, societal, political, and ecclesial relations and dynamics;
o impact and implications on transnational postcolonial and decolonial Christian movements beyond Latin America in other geographical regions;
o the diverse and pluralistic dimensions of liberation movements with a focus on the global, postcolonial, indigenous/first peoples, sociological, gender, sexuality, ecumenical, or interreligious implications of Medellín; or
o proposals that offer creative and innovative re-thinking on the global significance or transnational implications of liberation movements from Latin America in the 1960s.

• Method and Theory in World Christianity: Reassessing Our Scholarly Toolbox
While colloquialisms in the study of World Christianity now exist that illustrate recent shifts in location (the centre of gravity has shifted South), demography (a largely non-Western religion), and type (enter Pentecostalism), what does current research project for the future and how are methods and theories (old and new) being used to break new ground? This panel seeks innovative proposals that go beyond the previous generation of scholarship and ask: what methodological and theoretical tools can we add or recover in order to better understand the past, present, and future of World Christianity. We especially welcome papers that offer innovations in material religion, quantitative methods, historical methods and archive materials, digital media and online religion, and theories related to migration, nationalism, networks, and generational studies.

• Rethinking Middle Eastern Christians in the 21st Century: Movements, Migrations, and the Future
Many Middle Eastern countries have faced political stress in the twenty-first century, which has included the Iraq War (2003), the Arab Spring (post-2010), the Syrian Civil War (since 2011), and the ongoing struggle of Palestinians against the occupation. Middle Eastern Christian communities with long historical roots in the region are adapting to the circumstances in new ways; the circumstances of warfare, social reform, and political change are faced by Christian communities with new technologies of social media, connecting them to international participants of many sorts, such that local matters involve remote agents. In these globalized conditions, Christian communities of the Middle East and their emigrant counterparts abroad are experiencing change. The Middle Eastern Christianity Unit and the World Christianity Unit are inviting paper proposals that address contemporary change involving Middle Eastern Christians. Proposals may focus on any Middle Eastern Christian community (whether in situ, or abroad) from any academic field of study. Successful proposals will provide a clear thesis, identify specific sources of study, and comment on the relevant theories and methodologies of the analysis. While the topic of the paper may be narrow, the argument should aim to capture a sense of a broader current “outlook” among an identifiable Middle Eastern Christian group or groups—whether it be a church denomination (e.g., Maronites), an organization (e.g., Middle East Council of Churches), an immigrant community, or a social movement.

• Decolonization as Healing
With a wide range of other units, we plan to co-sponsor a session on the theme of decolonization as healing, recognizing that colonization in Africa and in other parts of our world has resulted in both historical and ongoing threats to health and wellbeing. We are looking for papers that address facets of this theme, including but not limited to: “Place, Land, and Environmental Degradation,” “Decolonization/Restoration of Identities,” “Vocabularies and Pragmatic Applications of Rituals and Ceremonies,” "Reclaiming the Past, Imagining the Future," and “Tradition as Healer”. Co-sponsored with the Religions, Medicines and Healing; African Diaspora Religions, African Religions; Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society; Body and Religion; Indigenous Religious Traditions; Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society; Native Traditions in the Americas; Religions in the Latina/o Americas; Religion in South Asia, Religion in Southeast Asia; and Religion, Colonialism and Postcolonialism; and World Christianity Units. Successful proposals will clearly identify where the project fits within the Call for Papers, and will speak to its broader implications for African American religious history.
This session is a panel. Please submit a proposal for a paper or presentation. If your proposal is chosen, your paper will be circulated ahead of the conference and you’ll be asked to give a brief (5-7 minute) summary of the paper during the conference session.

As a rule, we use anonymous submissions via PAPERS and adhere to this conscientiously. Exceptions include special sessions, e.g. author-meets-critics sessions and some co-sponsored panels.
Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection
We find this works well and this past year the process yielded presenters ranging from doctoral students to full professors. We make the occasional exception to anonymous submissions in the case of special sessions, e.g. author-meets-critics or invited or co-sponsored panels.
ChairSteering Committee