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Online Program Book

In-person sessions begin with an A-prefix (i.e., A20-102), whereas Virtual sessions begin with an AV-prefix (i.e., AV20-102)
All Times are Listed in Central Standard Time (CST)


Theme: Supersessionism, Nations, and Race

Friday, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM (In Person)

Grand Hyatt-Texas A



Theme: Reflecting on the Buddhism Survey Course

Friday, 2:00 PM-5:00 PM (In Person)

Convention Center-208

The Buddhist Pedagogy Seminar invites those who teach an introductory Buddhism survey course to a three-hour, interactive workshop to explore the questions: What is the work my Buddhism survey course aims to do? How? And for whom? Through worksheets, guided writing, and small-group discussions, and using syllabi as the text, participants will engage in two reflective processes. The first considers the Buddhism survey in relation to multiple contexts including students, teacher/scholars, institutions, and social factors. The second offers an approach to aligning professors, students, and material for better learning and more satisfying teaching. These processes are helpful both in building syllabi and in shaping language that affirms the deep purposes of teachers of Buddhism survey courses. Participants will need to have a copy of their Buddhism Survey syllabus with them in the workshop.


Theme: Annual Meeting

Friday, 2:00 PM-5:00 PM (In Person)

Convention Center-221A

This annual gathering of the network of Centers for Religion and Public Life provides an important opportunity for colleagues leading and working in such centers to gather to share insight and best practice.


Theme: Preparing to Facilitate Scriptural Reasoning at the 2022 NetVUE Conference

Friday, 2:00 PM-5:00 PM (In Person)

Grand Hyatt-Crockett CD

At the next Conference of the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), a plenary session will be devoted to leading conference participants through a session of Scriptural Reasoning, which focuses on the reading of sacred texts across traditions to simulate conversation, empathy, and insight. Originally encompassing English-speaking Jews, Christians, and Muslims, the practice of Scriptural Reasoning now spans the globe, encompassing many languages and traditions, with centers of practice and research in twelve countries. For the 2022 plenary session to work well, NetVUE is in need of volunteers who expect to attend the Conference and who are willing to facilitate small groups of eight to ten people each. In this session, Nicholas Adams, Professor of Philosophical Theology at the University of Birmingham, will introduce the practice of Scriptural Reasoning and provide initial training advice to future volunteer facilitators.

Please join us if you plan to participate in the 2022 NetVUE Conference (March 24–26, 2022 in Dallas) and would be willing to serve in this capacity. Today’s session will include two iterations of Scriptural Reasoning in actual practice, with a brief break at the halfway point of the session. Feel free to join us for either or both iterations as your schedule allows.


Theme: Christianity and Political Imagination in South Sudan

Friday, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM (Virtual)

This roundtable offers a discussion of Christopher Tounsel's recent book, Chosen People: Christianity and Political Imagination in South Sudan (Duke University Press, 2021). This book investigates the centrality of Christian worldviews to the ideological construction of South Sudan and the inability of shared religion to prevent conflict. Exploring the creation of a colonial-era mission school to halt Islam's spread up the Nile, the centrality of biblical language in South Sudanese propaganda during the Second Civil War (1983--2005), and post-independence transformations of religious thought in the face of ethnic warfare, Tounsel highlights the potential and limitations of deploying race and Christian theology to unify South Sudan.


Theme: Whose Rooster? A Roundtable on Thoreau, Melville, and Transcendentalist Environmental Politics

Friday, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM (Virtual)

This roundtable on Transcendentalist environmentalism considers ideas of health in nature and the ways in which human and natural flourishing are interconnected; how the health of human communities is tied up with the health of nature, and vice versa. Our conversation will bring out the political dimensions of aesthetic encounters in the appreciation of natural beauty and seeks to retrieve the insights of Transcendentalist figures for our time, in our current environmental predicament. The panel will focus on the figures of Henry David Thoreau and Herman Melville, who each inhabited the landscape of Massachusetts. Although Melville is not typically counted among the Transcendentalists, he is roughly contemporary with the movement, and his work often engages Transcendentalist themes and thinkers, Thoreau in particular. This roundtable will sharpen Thoreau and Melville’s contrasting positions, force us to reconsider oversimplified characterizations of these thinkers, and constructively extend their dialogue to speak to the pressing environmental issues of our day. Short presentations will be followed by an energetic dialogue among the panelists and the audience.


Theme: Race, Empire, and Inequality in the History of the Study of Religion

Friday, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM (Virtual)

The study of religion has been intertwined with racialized thinking since the Victorian comparativists at times reinforcing empires logics of racial difference, at times upending them by producing new modes of religio-racial subjectivity. This panel breaks fresh ground on these questions by diving deep into particular archives of race and religion. Arranged in chronological order, the papers move across France and the U.S. The first paper uses the appointment of Alfred Loisy to the chair in history of religions at the College de France in 1909, over his rival Marcel Mauss, to shed new light on the hegemonic structures of French republican anti-Semitism. The second paper explores the WPA slave narrative collection compiled in the 1930s, putting Zora Neale Hurston’s auto-ethnographic account of that project into conversation with Walter Benjamin and Saidiya Hartman on violence. The third paper unpacks the politics of French scholar Henry Corbin’s Aryan Islam, a reframing of race via Shiism that pulled nineteenth-century Orientalisms into the mid-twentieth twentieth century, toward unexpected ends.

  • Abstract

    This paper enthusiastically embraces the Unit’s call to unearth the connections between the study of religion and the inescapability of history’s ethical and political claims upon us. I will explore the modes of power and domination exercised and expressed in the acquisition and retrieval of archival materials—that is, in the production and consumption of history. Specifically, this paper draws methodological and theological insights from the work of Walter Benjamin, Saidiya Hartman, Zora Neale Hurston, and Judith Butler into conversation with the process of collecting the WPA Slave Narratives in the 1930s, and with the broader dilemma of archival silence and violence. Historical subjects—especially enslaved subjects—while undisclosed and irretrievable in an archive created by epistemologies of slavery and domination, still permeate the negative space of the archive and are revealed to us in the pursuit of alternative futures.

  • Abstract

    In the late nineteenth century, history of religions was institutionalized as an autonomous scientific discipline at several French state institutions as an integral part of the laicization program of the new, anticlerical Third Republic. Thus far, scholarship on the cultural history of the French discipline has been almost exclusively focused on the confessional and political identities of its main agents. Adopting an intersectional methodology inspired by a Gramscian theoretical framework, this paper analyzes the neglected role of widely reigning social attitudes in the making of the discipline. This paper offers a case study of the appointment of the excommunicated Catholic priest Alfred Loisy to the secular chair of History of Religions at the prestigious Collège de France. Through a rich analysis of the enormous correspondence on this appointment, it will become clear that a powerful elitist network decided to support Loisy, not so much because they were so convinced of his scholarly merits, but especially because they didn’t want his main rival, the leading Jewish social anthropologist and nephew of Émile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss on the chair,

  • Abstract

    Henry Corbin (1903-1978), the French Islamicist and phenomenologist of religion, has long been celebrated for discovering, theorizing, and introducing to the world a spiritual continuum named ‘Iranian Islam.’ Some scholars have described his project as proposing a pattern of anti-Orientalism or reverse Orientalism. In this paper, I will show that Corbin’s work was not an anti-Orientalistic project, but rather an alternative model of Orientalistic approach to Islam. My main argument is that while the more typical pattern of Orientalism used to represent Islam in negative terms for portraying a positive figure of the West as its opposite, Corbin’s model superimposes Helleno-Christian patterns on a racialized ‘Iranian Islam’ to make a case for this Islam being valuable because of its preserving of elements of a lost golden age of the West.


Theme: Authors Meet Critics: Lawrence W. Gross' Native American Rhetoric (New Mexico University Press, 2021)

Friday, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM (Virtual)

In December 2021, the University of New Mexico Press will publish Native American Rhetoric, an anthology dealing with the nature of rhetoric within individual Native communities, the conventions and practices of how Native Americans address each other, and the moral thinking and religious traditions standing behind the rhetoric of specific Nations. While the book is dedicated to the memory of Ines Talamantez who posthumously published chapter in the book, the panel is presided over by the book's editor, Larry Gross. Book contributors will briefly present their chapters as follows: Chapter 1: And Now Our Minds Are One: The Thanksgiving Address and Attaining Consensus among the Haudenosaunee by Philip P. Arnold; Chapter 4: Women, Childbirth, and the Sticky Tamales: Nahua Rhetoric and Worldview in the Glyphic Codex Borgia by Felicia Lopez; Chapter 5: O'odham, Too: Or, How to Speak to Rattlesnakes by Seth Schermerhorn; Chapter 6: Sounding Navajo: Bookending in Navajo Public Speaking by Meredith Moss; Chapter 9: Why We Fish: Decolonizing Salmon Rhetorics and Governance by Cutcha Risling Baldy; Chapter 10: The Two-Spirit Tlingit Film Rhetoric of Aucoin's My Own Private Lower Post by Gabriel S. Estrada; Chapter 12 Coyotean Rhetoric: A Trans-Indigenous Reading of Peter Blue Cloud’s Elderberry Flute Song by Inés Hernández-Avila. Emerson Bull Chief and Michael Zogry are the respondents who will comment on the anthology, followed by a question-and-answer session.

When the AAR Millennial Scholar, Dr. Ines Talamantez (Sun Clan of the Mescalero Apache, Lipan Apache, and Chicana), passed in September 2019, the contributors decided to dedicate the book to her memory. Two years after her passing, the University of New Mexico Press is releasing the book, Native American Rhetoric. Dr. Talamantez taught that scholars of Native American religious traditions should theorize from within their culture of interest and include considerations of Native languages. Her teaching very much informs this work. This anthology adds to the more abundant literature on Native American rhetorical contestations of settler colonialism by turning instead to the internal workings of rhetoric among Native American rhetors and Native American audiences, including those plant and animal peoples who are non-human people.

While the book editor Larry Gross will preside over the panel, each of the seven panelists will briefly present their chapters and then invite commentary from Emerson Bull Chief and Michael Zogry. This roundtable considers the Haudenosaunee, Nahua, O'odham, Navajo, Hupa, and Teslin Tlingit Nations, among others. First, Larry Gross will give an account on the book project as its editor and then introduce the roundtable participants. Next, Philip Arnold offers that the Thanksgiving Address that repeats our minds are one reinforces the Haudenosaunee principles of unity, consensus, and peaceful co-existence. This “Our minds are one” repetition both celebrates and creates unity between humans and the natural world and within the human community and is a key example of Haudenosaunee rhetoric. Felicia Lopez then demonstrates how the rhetoric in the Nahua codices relates to women's concerns, such as childbirth. Through carefully placing the codices within Nahua cultural context and worldview, Lopez offers new readings of the pictorial and glyphic codices and their gendered aspects. Schermerhorn will present his verbatim interviews that he conducted with the Tohono O'odham about rattlesnakes. While part of his point is to outline the way in which rattlesnakes are people also worthy of speech, the rough nature of the quotes and the way in which they are imbedded in other fragmented narratives speaks to the ways in which rhetoric actually occurs in Native American communities. Meredith Moss explains the use of Diné language markers in speeches that are otherwise largely given in English. She finds that Diné introductions and closings in the Diné language are powerful identity markers that also rhetorically impact their audiences. Tracing the close connection the Hupa people have to the salmon, Cutcha Risling Baldy argues that the Hupa people and other Native people in northern California concerned about the survival of the salmon should center salmon rhetorics in their efforts to influence state and federal policies and regulations that govern the fate of the salmon. Then, Gabriel Estrada details the ways in which the Teslin Tlingit film, My Own Private Lower Post, by Duane Gastant' Aucoin enters into a Teslin Tlingit healing rhetoric in light of his family's immediate history of Indian residential school traumas, domestic violence, and alcoholism. Aucoin establishes himself as a two-spirit healer and storyteller as he performs the Tlingit-language story of how Raven steals the sun, moon, and stars. Finally, Inés Hernández-Avila discusses what she introduces as the Coyotean rhetoric of the Mohawk writer Peter Blue Cloud. Hernandez-Avila argues that when looking at how Coyotean rhetoric functions in Native societies, the emphasis should not be on the more predictable notions of this "Trickster" figure, but instead, on the deeper and more complex facets of this well-known sacred being. After presentations by critics Emerson Bull Chief and Michael Zogry, the panel open for a question-and- answer session.


Theme: Town Hall on the Study of Mysticism

Friday, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM (Virtual)

Scholars are invited to a virtual town hall to discuss the current state of mysticism studies and where we might go from here. Rather than a formal panel, this session will be an informal discussion, mediated by steering committee members of the Mysticism Unit, in which anyone may participate. We will consider questions such as what sorts of methodologies need putting away, what needs special attention at the moment, and what questions ought to be central to future research on mysticism.


Theme: Sociopolitical Contexts of Scholarly Knowledge Production

Friday, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM (Virtual)

This session explores stakes of knowledge production in Islamic contexts, particularly in Africa, from a variety of socio-political perspectives.

  • Abstract

    Intentionally or unintentionally, Muslim womens narratives are either totally excluded or pushed to the margins in the traditional documentation of Islamic history as well as contemporary feminist scholarship. The patriarchal norms of early Islamic history did not value womens experiences as authentic knowledge. Women of African origin were further disadvantaged because of their race and if they were linked to Shia thought, they also faced discrimation as a sectarian minority. Despite its liberatory claim, contemporary Muslim feminist scholarship in western academia has done little to unearth the narratives of African Muslim women affiliated to Shia tradition. The secularist strategy of promoting liberal and progressive scholarship on Islam has deterred constructive methodologies that argue for empowerment of Muslim women by building on narratives of religious women from within Islamic tradition. In this paper, I draw on the counter-storytelling approach to present the case studies of three early African Muslim women: Um Ayman, Sumayya, and Fizza to interrogate the intellectual inactivity on a genre that holds the potential for loquacious discourse.

  • Abstract

    Much scholarship on the rise of the territorial nation state and, relatedly, secularism, relies on a theory about intra-Christian conflict and debate in Europe. This paper analyzes a genealogy of Maghrebi Muslim jurists—Abū Bakr ibn al-‘Arabī (d. 1148), Aḥmad ibn Yaḥiya al-Wansharīsī (d. 1508), and al-Mahdī al-Wazzānī (d. 1923)—to show how a theory of territory developed in the Maghrebi context as a process of travel, emigration, and encounter with others. Writing on the cusp of the 20th century, al-Wazzānī relied on work by the two earlier scholars to make way for an Islam that could be practiced in the absence of a Muslim ruler. The coming of European colonialism prompted him to deterritorialize Islam and, consequently, to reconceptualize the nation as extra-religious. To make this argument, he recontextualized Ibn al-‘Arabī and al-Wansharīsī. Where the earlier scholars had bound Islam to the land and its ruler, al-Wazzānī said Islam could exist free of any Muslim sovereign. Taken together, these three jurists demonstrate how encounters with others from both Muslim and non-Muslim polities shaped an Islamic conception of political and religious space over time.

  • Abstract

    My paper aims to shed new light on Muslim historiography by demonstrating how understanding the nature of the struggle in writing biographical works (ṭabaqāt) recasts the foundations of Islamic thought. Many scholars of Islamic legal history argue that biographical texts are literary sources, yet they are frequently used only for data mining. Their approaches to ṭabaqat are ad hoc, inconsistent, intuitive (rather than evidence-based), and sometimes they simply misread the sources. My presentation questions the assumption that biographers copy previous historians’ texts without injecting their views into the material. It also questions the effectiveness of the common practice of using the ṭabaqāt genre as “dictionaries” for data mining without examining the entire text or understanding the author’s approach.

  • Abstract

    During his early career, the West African thinker ʿUthmān dan Fodio (d. 1232/1817) wrote a number of works refuting the practice of ostracizing people deemed ignorant of basic creedal doctrine from the Muslim community. Although historians of Islamic West Africa have tended to portray the advocates of that practice as a peculiar “sectarian cult” whose ideas likely stemmed from their less educated milieu, this paper argues that their views were in fact connected to a controversy that took place in 1080/1669 in the southeastern Moroccan city of Sijilmāsa.The paper unfolds in three sections. First, by drawing on a set of hitherto unstudied manuscripts, I examine the Sijilmāsa controversy from the perspective of its instigator, analyzing his reasons for disciplining common people’s creedal beliefs. Second, I investigate the routes and means by which these manuscripts spread southward. The third section reevaluates the views of dan Fodio and his opponents in light of this backdrop. By exploring these trans-Saharan connections, the paper not only de-exoticizes peculiar-seeming practices but also considers what they can tell us about the social life of Islamic creed across the region.


Theme: From Vatican II to Pope Francis: Toward a Dialogical Church

Friday, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM (Virtual)

In virtue of its mission to bring all people of whatever nation, race, or culture into one Spirit, the church comes to be a sign of that kinship which makes genuine dialogue possible and vigorous (GS 92). The Second Vatican Council was both a moment of intense dialogue and exchange among Catholics and a turning point in relations between the Catholic Church, other Christian churches, and religious communities as it committed itself to a path of dialogue and openness with others. Carrying forward the council’s vision in a new day, Pope Francis calls Catholics to renew the dialogical culture of synodality within the church and to build a culture of friendship and solidarity with the whole human community. In both its inner life and external relations, Vatican II envisioned a dialogical church that might be from the local to the global level a sign of for all humanity.

  • Abstract

    Fratelli Tutti’s dual emphasis on global and local as complementary poles serves its outreach to other cultures and draws upon principles perennial to Catholic moral thought. Regarding other cultures, this global-local polarity bears affinities with the southern African notion of ubuntu, as well as Bruno Latour’s critique of globalization. With respect to Catholic moral thought, this polarity extends key themes found in Francis’s texts—especially Laudato Si’ and Evangelii Gaudium—and speaks to the principle of subsidiarity as developed within the encyclical tradition. Yet, this paper argues, Fratelli Tutti’s aim of global dialogue would benefit from attention to the question of borders, an ineluctable political reality that represents both challenge and opportunity. As challenge, borders intervene in and potentially obstruct solidaristic dialogue considered horizontally in a way that risks undermining the encyclical's harmonious ordering of global and local considered vertically. As opportunity, borders potentially structure pluralistic local contexts in a manner presupposed in Fratelli Tutti's aim to promote social friendship and justice amidst diversity.

  • Abstract

    The purpose here is to contribute to the theological research on synodality through the study of concrete actions of ecclesial governance? I propose to use the notion of religious innovation to present post-conciliar diocesan synods in several phases: proposal, diffusion, appropriation, adoption. The fourth and last phase of the innovation process encounters several obstacles, which explains the only partial and incomplete reception of the reform of the diocesan synod. This will open the way to a more theological and prospective reflection, where the ecclesiological principle of synodality emerges. The challenge then is to identify, characterize and overcome the present limitations, so that the Catholic Church may move forward with confidence and fruitfulness on "this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium" (Pope Francis, 17th October 2015).


Theme: Session 4: Concepts of God/Divinity Including Divine Grace vs. Self-Effort

Friday, 4:00 PM-5:45 PM (In Person)

Marriott Riverwalk-Alamo A


  • Abstract

    India’s theological traditions, nurtured by centuries of vibrant inter-religious debate between atheists and theists, dualists and non-dualists, have led to a plethora of richly nuanced articulations of divinity, some of which radically alter the very idea of what “divinity” might mean. This paper focuses on a Tantric conception of divinity, Abhinavagupta’s 11th century formulation of a dual-aspect monism, expressed as a cosmopsychism. For Abhinavagupta, the world with all its multiplicity derives out of a cosmopsychism, a unity of awareness that can allow itself to be splintered, fragmented into a diverse, mutually interactive multiplicity of different consciousnesses. Abhinavagupta tells us,

    The category called Śiva is itself the body of all things. ‘On the wall [of the world which is itself Śiva] the shining of the picture of all beings’ -- This statement indicates the way that all these come to appear. And the purport of the entire corpus of scriptures means to indicate that the category Śiva itself is all this.

    Abhinavagupta uses this image of the world as a portrait on a wall on a variety of occasions, where this panentheist multiplicity of beings unfolds out of a cosmopsychist unity.
    Abhinavagupta’s conception of divinity is interesting to us today especially because it affords a conception of divinity that curiously finds resonance with a number of currently popular models proposed in the wake of the incompatibilities of physicialism with quantum physics. Particularly, Abhinavagupta’s dual-aspect monism shares some features with Galen Strawson’s conception of physicalist panpsychism; in particular Strawson’s consideration that the world is really real. Strawson considers himself a physicalist in that what exists for him is precisely physical, concrete “stuff”, what he calls a, “stuff-monist” view. Abhinavagupta’s model veers towards this, especially in his invocation of the idea of bodies (vapus) all the way up, where, as we saw, all that we see here is the body of Śiva, the cosmopsychist reality that splits itself to make up the diversity of the world here. The world of stuff is real for both; for both it entails also the concrete reality of things we do not readily see, energy for Strawson, subtle bodies for Abhinavagupta.

  • Abstract

    Nondual Saiva panentheism may be described particularly as simultaneously nondual and theistic. In approaching liberation, above its theories, symbols and rituals, it advocates no effort (anupaya, etc.). Here it also unites nondual self-luminosity (svaprakasatva, etc) with sole divine agency in anugraha, saktipata, etc. Abhinavagupta’s expressions of a convergence suggesting identity between gracious, sometimes-called “cat-liberation” and nondual subitism, are found in other South and East Asian religions, though nondualisms and theisms usually reduce one to the other.

  • Abstract

    This paper examines the historical development of a “trinitarian” god, a term intentionally borrowed from Christianity, in the Bhagavatapurana 1.2.11 with commentaries of Sridhara, Jiva, Visvanatha, Vamsidhara, and related texts. I frame this discussion as concerned with ontology or metaphysics, aesthetics, and practice, each mediated through a reconstruction of Hindu texts (Upanisads, Bhagavadgita, samkhya and yoga, vedanta, and purana). I examine the utility of terms like “transcendence” and “immanence”, “monotheism” and “trinity”, “divine grace” and “self-effort”, “latent’ and “manifest”, “plurality” and “unity”—categories that characterize the study of religion and philosophy more broadly. This analysis is aimed at building comparative discussion on issues of difference within nonduality. I argue that difference and nondifference are reconciled within these commentaries on Bhagavatapurana 1.2.11 by appealing to a multi-layered ontology, one that posits modes of existences in god’s nondual being.

  • Abstract

    The Ramcharitmanas of Goswami Tulsidas is the most widely read sacred text among Hindus in India and in much of the Hindu Diaspora. Consequently, the author’s theological approach to Ram has greatly influenced the way Ram bhakti is understood and practiced. This is especially the case with respect to the Ramananda Sampraday, the largest ascetic order in India today and also the largest Hindu devotional school focused on Ram and on the writings of Tulsidas. This paper will investigate the way Ramanandi ascetics use his theology in blending asceticism and devotionalism in their beliefs and practices. From the ascetic point of view, they believe our destiny and goal in life is to break free from bondage to the birth/death cycle, and this is accomplished through various forms of renunciation and ascetic practices, which are seen as necessary parts of the path. However, from the devotional point of view, they believe everything that happens is due to the will of Ram, and thus personal effort plays little role in one’s life. Our goal is simply to surrender to the inevitably of the Divine will. This apparent conflict of theological beliefs with respect to self-effort and predestiny is, to Tulsidas and to most Ramanandis, not a conflict at all. Personal effort and struggles on the path are seen as merely manifestations of the Divine will and the Divine play.

  • Abstract

    Ikkoankar (One Being) expresses Guru Nanak’s concept of the Divine. His imaginative leap inheres with complex currents that form the very foundations of Sikh philosophy and practice. This paper focuses on the dynamic somersaulting of its physical and metaphysical elements. How do the corporeal senses lead to a sensuous recognition of the transcendent One? How is the timeless reality realized in daily fluctuations? How does plurality configure into total unicity? Taking an aesthetic approach, I argue Guru Nanak veers away from religious conceptualizations and categories to an intimate experience with the One conducted by the five physical senses—common across genders, races, and ethnicities. Ultimately then, what new possibilities does the Nanakian “concept”open up for our contemporary global existence?


Theme: Friday Evening Lectures

Friday, 4:00 PM-6:00 PM (In Person)

Grand Hyatt-Republic B



Theme: The Eighth Raimon Panikkar Symposium

Friday, 4:00 PM-6:30 PM (In Person)

Grand Hyatt-Presidio C


Theme: Buddhist-Christian Responses to Ecological Catastrophe and Climate Change

Friday, 4:00 PM-6:30 PM (Virtual)

Ten of the warmest years globally have occurred since 1998, the arctic has lost 95% of its oldest ice, 6 of 10 of the largest wildfires in California occurred in 2020, and the march goes on. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, “It is therefore no longer a question of whether to mitigate climate change or to adapt to it. Both adaptation and mitigation are now essential.” This paper session explores Buddhist and Christian responses to climate change in terms of both adaptation and mitigation. What kinds of responses can be formulated in terms of religious thought, scientific understanding, environmental activism, and community building?


Theme: Sectional Meetings: Black Theology Group

Friday, 4:30 PM-5:30 PM (In Person)

Grand Hyatt-Travis CD



Theme: Society for the Study of Native American Sacred Traditions Annual Meeting

Friday, 4:30 PM-6:30 PM (In Person)

Convention Center-225D


Theme: A Womanist Theology of Worship: Liturgy, Justice, and Communal Righteousness

Friday, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM (Virtual)

Nascent Black Christianity in America was grounded in African spirituality, a communal God-consciousness recognizing no separation between sacred and secular. Worship patterns emerged from this idea of sacred cosmos, becoming liturgical traditions present even today. However, European and Anglo histories, theologies and worldviews have had a deleterious effect on theo-ethical spirituality and embodiment in African-American worship. This roundtable session will feature the author and other liturgical theologians reviewing A Womanist Theology of Worship (Orbis Books) which examines the history of Black Christian worship in America, effects of white supremacy on its spiritual and liturgical heritages, and proffers a womanist liturgical paradigm to recover liberative, holistic liturgical and spiritual practices. The roundtable, like the text, will pay special attention to how the historical link between liturgy and justice infused Black worship, how racism and patriarchy weakened the link, leading to a loss of prophetic and communal authority across communities, and the potential of this new paradigm to uplift, re-member, and resurrect Black people as breath, soul, and spirit.


Theme: Exile, Migration, and Diaspora

Friday, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM (Virtual)

At a time when borders are built and destroyed, this panel addresses the questions of what it means to be a migrant and a displaced person, and what is the role of religion in reconstructing a precarious identity. The first presentation focuses on the novels Mama Day, by Gloria Naylor, and Paradise, by Toni Morrison, to explore constructions of Black identity in relation to the dialectic of exile. The second paper offers a case study of the contemporary indigenous Chilean poet, artist, and climate activist Cecilia Vicua, bringing into light her concept of an indigenous futurism. The third paper discusses issues of diaspora in indigenous literature through an analysis of Maria Campbells Halfbreed, and the fictional autobiography In Search of April Raintree, by Beatrice Culleton, inspired by Campbell’s work. At a time when borders are built and destroyed, this panel addresses the questions of what it means to be a migrant and a displaced person, and what is the role of religion in reconstructing a precarious identity. The first presentation focuses on the novels Mama Day, by Gloria Naylor, and Paradise, by Toni Morrison, to explore constructions of Black identity in relation to the dialectic of exile. The second paper offers a case study of the contemporary indigenous Chilean poet, artist, and climate activist Cecilia Vicua, bringing into light her concept of indigenous futurism. The third paper discusses issues of diaspora in indigenous literature through an analysis of Maria Campbells Halfbreed, and the fictional autobiography In Search of April Raintree, by Beatrice Culleton, inspired by Campbell’s work.

  • Abstract

    Today, inexorably, members of our human species are beginning to catch sight of a crisis that exists beyond the confines of our specific cultures—beginning to recognize, that is, that our own personal, social, and political crises reflect a growing crisis in the biological matrix of life on the planet. In this paper I offer a case study of the contemporary indigenous Chilean poet, artist, and climate activist Cecilia Vicuña, which takes seriously her concept of an “indigenous futurism.” Her work often begins life as a poem and unfolds in various forms, a site-specific installation, performance, ritual, song, or film. Over the past fifty years, Vicuña has produced an extraordinary multidisciplinary archive of work, publishing over twenty books of poetry. I would like to propose three inter-related ideas about religion and indigenous ecologies in Vicuña’s work – the first is about her practice of inventing new words, creative etymologies as a weaving of new spiritual kinship systems fundamental to her indigenous religious practice. The second and third ideas are about ritual and trauma as sites of awareness and collective global transformation of our ecological crisis.

  • Abstract

    In "Reflections on Exile," Edward Said describes exile as "the unhealable rift force between a human being and a native place" (Said, 2000, p. 137). Exiled persons exist in a "discontinuous state of being," such that being in the world is marked by rupture and by ceaseless movement to recover that which is irrecoverable (Said, 2000, p.140). In Black Women, Writing, and Identity (Routledge, 1994), Carole Boyce Davies describes persons marginalized through exile and displacement as migratory subjects. Davies argues that migratory subjects have a precarious relation to identityalways in a state of belonging and not belonging in relation to both place and placelessness. In such a formulation, migratory subjects emerge through a space and time that is, to borrow a phrase that has also been taken up in indigenous and trans studies, "elsewhere." Consistent with Davies and Said's depictions of the literature of exiles, this paper explores constructions of Black identity in relation to the dialectic of exile by tracing the haunting portrayals of migration and the trappings of nostalgia that disturb the utopic Black communities in Gloria Naylor's Mama Day and Toni Morrisons Paradise.

  • Abstract

    Although Maria Campbell’s groundbreaking text Halfbreed is explicitly autobiographical, she explains that she is not recounting her story for its own sake but in order “to tell you what it is like to be a Halfbreed woman in our country.” For Campbell, to be such a woman in Canada means to be caught in a network of conflicting religions, ideologies, social pressures, and notions of identity. These themes were taken up ten years later by Beatrice Culleton in her work of fictional autobiography, In Search of April Raintree. Together, these texts by Campbell and Culleton comprise the foundation of modern Indigenous literature in Canada. In this paper I examine these works through two lenses. First, I use works from diaspora studies to think about the presentation of dispossession in the texts. Second, I draw on Métis scholar Jo-Ann Episkenew’s discussion of Indigenous literature as medicine.