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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)

A20-136

Theme: Department Chairs and Program Coordinators' Breakfast

Saturday, 7:30 AM-8:45 AM (In Person)

Convention Center-006C

Department Chairs and Program Coordinators' are invited to a breakfast gathering.

A20-100

Theme: New Members' Breakfast and Annual Meeting Orientation

Saturday, 7:30 AM-8:45 AM (In Person)

Convention Center-214B

New (first-time) AAR members in 2020 are cordially invited to a welcome breakfast hosted by the AAR Staff and Board of Directors, including a brief orientation to the AAR Annual Meeting.

A20-134

Theme: Regional Officers Breakfast

Saturday, 7:30 AM-8:45 AM (In Person)

Convention Center-214A

Gathering of regional leaders including presidents, student representatives, regionally elected coordinators, and other regional officers for a full breakfast meeting to discuss the work of the Regions and the needs of regional leaders.

M20-117

Theme: Annual Meeting

Saturday, 7:30 AM-9:00 AM (In Person)

Hyatt Regency-Rio Grande East

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M20-105

Theme: Session 5: "Religious" vs "Spiritual" and the Concept of Spiritual but not Religious (SBNR)

Saturday, 9:00 AM-10:45 AM (In Person)

Marriott Riverwalk-Alamo A

Worldwide, disaffiliation with institutional religions has increased. However, most people continue to self-define as spiritual beings. What implications can be discerned for Dharma traditions? Might Yoga and meditation be seen as forms of non-tradition-specific spiritual practice?

  • Abstract

    This paper suggests that there is a robust, but mostly unrecognized, influence of the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), one of the most intriguing religious teachers of the 20th century, on the contemporary Nondual Spirituality Movement (NSM). The NSM is a generally misunderstood and maligned global religious phenomenon, typified by the teachings of such figures as Eckhart Tolle, Mooji, Rupert Spira, Adyashanti, and others. Features of the NSM deviate from mainstream religions and it has thus received marginal attention from religious studies scholars. The NSM centers on the attainment of nondual spiritual realization, whose benefits arguably include mental health, social tolerance, and a host of other personal and communal desiderata. Its origins are often traced virtually exclusively to Ramana Maharsi, because he is an oft-invoked patriarch by contemporary NSM teachers. However, Krishnamurti’s influence has mostly gone unrecognized, in part, because he was an outspoken critic of religious organizations and discipleship to religious teachers (including himself). Nevertheless, aspects of Krishnamurti’s message, such as his critique of spiritual progress and traditional spiritual techniques, are widespread within NSM approaches. This talk will offer evidence of these parallels to support its claim of a deep current of Krishnamurti’s thought within the NSM.

  • Abstract

    Identification as “spiritual but not religious” is often associated in the West not only with the adoption of practices from Dharma traditions but also rejection of certain understandings of “religion.” This paper first offers definitions of both “spirituality” and “religion” in an effort to clarify this picture. “Spirituality” refers vaguely but significantly to the experiential and an “inner life” often overlapping with prayer and meditation. Drawing on Clifford Geertz and Ninian Smart, I define “religion” as a worldview and value system referring to “The Sacred,” an authority beyond ordinary reality, with a set of practices that attunes the individual and the community to the worldview and values. “A religion” has organizing structures as well as moral norms, prescribed practices and a worldview or “beliefs,” and is thus far more inclusive than “spirituality.” While for much of history spirituality may most often have been contained within “religion” this is changing. Why is this happening? One reason for leaving formal membership in a religion is exclusivism two senses: the claim to exclusive possession of complete truth, and the requirement to be affiliated to only one religion. Rejection of such exclusivism means loss of belief and disaffiliation; combined with a hunger for spiritual experience this leads to focus on contemplative practices, often of Dharma traditions. One may describe oneself as “not religious” due to the pervasive idea of religion as “belief;” the fact that exclusive membership is not a demand of Dharma traditions also may be a factor. “Spirituality” may thus become eclectic but is still seeking to experience the Sacred. Freedom to choose and to alter practices is also part of religious traditions’ adaptation to new cultural settings – including claiming not to be “a religion.” We may wonder if the growing importance of “spirituality” may lead to change in the meaning of “religion” and/or the decline of “religion” understood as belief and exclusive belonging, in the contexts of plurality and encounter.

  • Abstract

    Contemporary Western yoga draws on ancient spiritual traditions, and yoga classes often present themselves as spiritual and thus different from regular exercise classes. Many of the Americans who identify as spiritual and not religious seek spiritual nourishment in yoga studios. But is that a good idea? Is yoga as we practice it in commercial yoga studios today a worthwhile spiritual practice, or has it gotten too superficial, too commercial, and too focused on the body? This paper will articulate an understanding of ‘spiritual’ and then discuss to what extent contemporary Western yoga can be part of such a practice. Several dangers will be identified, along with the potential of SBNR. However, for its potential to be realized, we need to do a much better job in nurturing the spiritual side of yoga practice than the American yoga community has done so far. This talk will suggest some ways in which the academic world might be able to help.

  • Abstract

    In 2017 for the first time more people in the United States identified as “spiritual” than “religious”. This broad-spectrum identification might perhaps be viewed as the result of decades, if not centuries, of historical events that can be traced at least as far back to Luther’s defiant act in 1517 of hammering his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church. In that moment, Luther set in motion the awareness that individuals can go against the tide, can stand up to institutional structures of authority, can say no to dogmatic assertions, can decide for themselves what they believe and practice. If spirituality can be defined as the core practices that lead to true wisdom or connection to the divine, then we might say that Luther established some 500 years ago that one could decide for him or herself what it means to be truly spiritual. But is the history of ‘being spiritual’ limited to the western genealogies? What about the history of spirituality in the East? How did the migration of Indian yogis and gurus to the West from the late 19th century on impact contemporary sensibilities of spirituality? And what does it mean to be a western scholar who is also an initiate of Dharma traditions? Drawing from a seminal essay by Thomas Metzinger from 2014 I intend to reflect on these and other relevant question as I explore the role that Dharma traditions have and continue to play in the shaping of this distinctive era in which traditional religions takes a back seat to a host of individualistic spiritualities. Critically assessing Metzinger’s claim that spirituality is the “opposite of religion” and is “aligned with science” I draw from a host of classical Sanskritic sources on Yoga and Tantra to illumine and nuance the idea that spirituality is a “quality of inner action” and a “mode of grounding” that constitutes a “specific epistemic stance” driven from a “desire for knowledge” (Metzinger 2014:6). Through my analysis I imagine the possibilities for how contemporary Western scholar-yogis might express their own ‘spirituality’ in ways that might expand and redefining how we pursue and understand ‘truth’ in an age that invites a Yogic transcendence of epistemic boundaries.

  • Abstract

    Mohandas K. Gandhi’s famous quip, “I am a Hindu, I am a Muslim, I am a Jew, I am a Christian…,” did not arise from a lack of rootedness in any religion, as some may assume, but was rather deeply embedded in his spiritual life as a Hindu. Nevertheless, Gandhi’s religiosity seems to fit more in the contemporary characterization of the “Spiritual but Not Religious” (SBNR): on the one hand, he rejected religious institutions and dogmatic laws that may cause violence; and, on the other hand, Gandhi embraced deep truths of religions, religious pluralism, and dialectical relationship with other religions.
    Gandhi perplexes those who want to place him in separate categories of “spiritual” or “religious.” However, I argue that Gandhi exemplifies the Dharma Traditions’ pluralistic, inclusive, and dialectical approach to religion, which encompasses both the SBNR (religious in terms of exclusive and narrow doctrinal category) and the “Spiritual and Also Religious” (SAAR, literally essence; religious in terms of an inclusive and pluralistic dharmic paradigm). In this paper, I will analyze how a Dharma paradigm—in its root meaning of sustaining harmony and upholding moral laws—allows followers to practice the essence of spirituality (sar, literally essence) without adhering to dogmatic rules of religion, which is evidenced by sages, saints, and philosophers of these tradition. Furthermore, by focusing on the exemplary relationship between Gandhi, a self-identified Hindu, and Srimad Rajchandra, a prominent Jain thinker, I will show how a pluralistic and dialectical Dharma approach deepens Gandhi’s spiritual insights that led him to hold fast to the truths of his own Hinduism, instead of abdicating it because of its dogmas. Such example offers a nuanced way to look beyond the popular model of the SBNR for building inclusive and pluralistic partnerships among religious traditions.

A20-105

Theme: Howard Thurman, the Disinherited, and American Religion in the Twentieth Century: A Roundtable Discussion

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (In Person)

Convention Center-208

Howard Thurman (18991981) was a unique figure in 20th century American and African American Religion. He was one of the first significant African American pacifists, part of the first group of black Americans to meet with Mahatma Gandhi, and a mentor to James Farmer, Pauli Murray, and many others. He was a mystic whose impact on thinking about spirituality helped shape liberal religion in mid-20th century America. His presence and broader ambit includes both the black Church and Neo-Hasidism, his close association with Mary McLeod Bethune, Benjamin Mays, and other figures in the liberal Protestant intellectual tradition as well as psychedelic explorations in the 1960s. In 1944 he co-founded the Fellowship Church for All Peoples in San Francisco. The completion of the publication of the 5 volumes of The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman, and the appearance of a number of new books on his life and thought, provide an ideal opportunity to consider Thurman's thought, legacy, and continued influence. This roundtable session brings together several generations of Thurman scholars to discuss the origins and evolution of Thurman scholarship from the 1970s to now.

AV20-101

Theme: Preparing Scholars of Religion for Non-academic Careers: What's a Faculty Member to Do?

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (Virtual)

In recent years as the job market for tenure-track academic positions has tightened and the use of contingent faculty has exploded, increasing numbers of graduate degree seekers are intending to pursue careers off the tenure track and outside of the academy. While some areas of study present obvious career options, for scholars in the humanities, nonacademic career opportunities and the best preparation for them may not be obvious and religious studies faculty are exploring how graduate programs can and should prepare all alumni for diverse employment outcomes. This panel brings together faculty members from a variety of institutions to discuss some of the problems confronting their students and their programs as more people turn by necessity and by choice to diverse career paths.

AV20-106

Theme: Women and Revelation in India, Tibet, and China

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (Virtual)

This panel analyzes revelatory literature of India, Tibet, and China to shed light on the key roles women (divine, human, and everything in between) play in the writing, transmission, and alteration of sacred texts. It focuses on historical literature as well as oral discourse to compare the modes of textual production and dissemination in these regions. The papers draw on revealed literature to identify the social, literary, and ritual conventions shaping the religious lives of women, and analyze ways women have negotiated these conventions by engaging with revealed literature and the act of revelation. Papers in this panel shift the focus away from a Judeo-Christian concept of revelation by exploring the contours and limits of revelatory activities as the divine communication between humans and non-human agents in South and East Asian contexts. They also explore the manifold expressions and representations of women as recipients and/or bestowers of revelation in these religious communities, providing wide-ranging perspectives on the experiences of women and various approaches (e.g., feminist, historical, philological) to theorize women and revelation in South and East Asia.

  • Abstract

    Hinduism challenges the dominant understanding of revelation in the study of religion in several ways. To relate the concept more generatively to Hinduism, this essay proposes that we use a lesser-known yet potent meaning of revelation as realization, which unlocks the concept to illuminate women-authored voices in the making of religion. The case study of a classical bhakti female saint, Karaikkal Ammaiyar, reveals the devotional subjectivity she created in her poetry to Shiva in the Tamil language. Of particular interest are the demands and questions she directed to him, demonstrating her assumption that it is god who is listening to her. The potency yet vulnerability of her speaking is shown in the treatment of her later male hagiographer, who contextualizes her in a domestic story at variance with the themes of her own poetic speech.

  • Abstract

    This paper examines the literary representations of the khandroma (lit. “sky-goer”) in Nyingma Treasure sources from the 14th to the 15th centuries. By introducing a taxonomy of different types of khandromas and her role in Treasure revelations, I argue that Nyingma Treasure literature has reorganized the khandromas into Buddhist categories and revamped them as the most important female persona in Buddhist lores. More importantly, the khandroma plays a vital role in the process of revealing concealed Treasures. In her participation in this process, she serves as a conduit of knowledge and wisdom and embodies a dialectic interaction between the theological and social aspects of gender in the Treasure tradition. The negotiation between these two aspects of gender allows us to propose a new hermeneutic framework in Tibetan Buddhism that takes into account the theological identity of the khandroma as divine conduits of wisdom, and at the same time queries how this identity is negotiated in her earthly emanations. I also consider relational agency as a Tibetan way of thinking about subjectivity that extends beyond individuality and relies more on karmic actions and divine emanations.

  • Abstract

    Scholars have indicated that the appearance of auspicious signs during pregnancy and childbirth is one of the recurrent themes in Chinese Buddhist hagiographies. These omens serve to retrospectively show eminent monks’ inborn greatness and thereby prognosticate their future achievement. These birth stories full of revelations, however, are less told and examined from the mothers’ perspectives. The revelation of omens happening to the mothers are mostly attributed to the virtues of the fetuses. Nevertheless, viewing these revelations from the mothers’ angle reveal how women in history engage with Buddhism to acquire divine correspondence and employ these resources to get through the challenging process of pregnancy and childbirth. By reinterpreting these birth scenes in Chinese Buddhist hagiographies, this paper demonstrates the narrative similarity shared by the Chinese monastic birth stories and the Buddha’s biographies. When receiving divine revelation, mothers of Chinese monastics also draw inspiration from indigenous culture, including the Confucian tradition of auspicious signs, the birth myths of sage kings, vegetarian diet, and interaction with Daoist divinities.

  • Abstract

    This paper analyzes the role and impact of a female guru's 'performing revelation' to unravel religiously sanctioned gender and caste-based power relations in Hindu society. Based on ethnographic research conducted by the author from 2014 to 2019 in Uttar Pradesh with Trikal Bhavanta Saraswati (hereafter, 'Mataji'), this paper examines the dynamics involved in Mataji's experiences of 'revelation' and how her performing revelation through personal narrative works to dismantle the hegemony of dominant castes and advance subordinate identities' inclusion within Hindu power structures. The paper discusses three events in which Mataji reinterprets culturally dominant Hindu ideas and practices that disadvantage subordinate identities from exercising authority as monastic heads. Mataji's practices have opened new pathways for parity of access and representation, such as: the granting to herself, without institutional sanction, the status of the 'first' female Shankaracharya of India, and the spearheading of a women's liberation movement that is mobilizing historically marginalized identities to throw off the shackles of centuries of religious patriarchy and caste hierarchies.

AID1234

Theme: Test Title

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (In Person)

A20-107

Theme: Work, Sex, and Money: Generating Catholic Masculinities

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (In Person)

Convention Center-007B

From the bedroom to the workplace, and from parishes and into the boxing ring, these papers explore how Catholic rituals, doctrines, and spaces create men and examine how masculinity is produced and navigated in different institutional and intimate spaces. Panelists offer historical and ethnographic views into the relationships Catholic men build with each other and the images they project into the world through sport, in on-and offline homosocial communities, by cooking and praying together, and through their physical and financial labor. The panel provides a chance to think about the relationship between masculinity studies and Catholic studies. In a tradition officially dominated by men, scrutiny of what it has actually meant to be a man in different settings can destabilize supposedly fixed categories of meaning and authority. Catholic masculinity and its authority are not natural or stable, but constantly made and remade through practice, and in conversation with tradition and surrounding environments. In opening these processes to critical analysis, this panel exposes the insecurity and the wounding, the creativity and the uncertainty in the production of Catholic manhood.

  • Abstract

    One Sunday in December, 2019, the leader of Emaús, a lay Catholic charismatic group at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish (OLG) in Ferguson, Missouri, walked up to the pulpit after mass. He announced that Emaús would be hosting a retreat for new members. He dared hombres valientes—or brave men—to attend the retreat. He then turned to the women in the pews and encouraged them to convince their husbands to attend. This was, as he explained, the next step in their formation toward becoming good Catholic men. Relying on ethnographic research, this paper argues that that through participation in Emaús, men at OLG construct notions of what it means to be a Catholic man in this predominantly Latino parish. This paper shows how texts such as the menus offered during after-mass meals cooked by Emaús, the retreats they attend, and devotional objects like scapulars, group members construct a Catholic masculine identity. This project intervenes by taking the parish seriously as site where gender identity is constructed, and by bringing attention to the lived experience of Latino Catholics in the Midwest.

  • Abstract

    This paper examines formations of Catholic masculinities in the twenty-first century. With a case study of lay, married men who practice Natural Family Planning (NFP), this paper examines three ways Catholic manhood is be performed and cultivated with a contemporary subculture in the U.S. A strong subculture of Catholic men and women practice NFP within their marriages. Examining this subculture involves reconsiderations of the contours of gender, family, and religious identities in the U.S. The gender performances of men in Catholic marriages require prayer, physical discipline, and Catholic community of men. NFP is an important site for these formations because men see this practice as challenging cultural norms. In the face of 'weak men,' NFP families often embody 'strong men.' Their Catholic masculinity is a response to a particular interpretation of men's shifting gender roles in contemporary life. These formations rely on an anxiety about these changes and a concern about how men will find their place in the landscape. Part of what happens here is that they end up crafting a particular definition of what it means to be a man'a reclamation and reworking of masculinity.

  • Abstract

    This ethnographic study is about money and masculinity, and how Catholic men imagine themselves and their labor as the engines by which their parishes stay alive amidst gentrification and neighborhood change. At the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a parish in the super-gentrified neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, survival always seems tenuous. Each year the church hosts its Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. While the feast is an occasion for devotion it is also an occasion to make money—as the largest fundraiser for the parish it raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and helps the parish stay alive. For men, to be devoted to the saints and the church is to help make money to sustain the parish. Fundraising is a masculinized devotional practice. Moving beyond assumptions that men are not active in devotionalism, this paper explores how they use conceptions of “productivity” and “dedication” to construct masculinity through working for the church. By “following the money,” we see how lay men imagine themselves as agents assuring the endurance of their churches, and how masculinity is made in the devotional economies of Catholicism.

  • Abstract

    This paper is about white-ethnic Catholic men in the 1980s and 1990s who commuted to the New York City financial district for work, spent weekends in the suburbs with their families, and took work trips and vacations all over the world. I argue that the patterns of their professional lives and family activities illumine the most common ways in which U.S. Catholicism in the late twentieth century became a symbolic religious choice deeply intertwined with the American Dream, citizen-soldier masculinity, and global markets. The lives of financial-sector men can tell us much, not only about Catholic lay masculinities, but also about trajectories of US Catholicism to the present day. The “work-hard play-hard” financier who lived a “regular guy” life at home in the suburbs sheds light on the attrition of white-ethnics from parish rolls and the related growth of the “nones.” It illumines the non-factor that “the Catholic vote” played in the 2016 presidential election and will play in the 2020 election. And it shows another way in which the grassroots level of the white-ethnic US church now approaches the globalism that has characterized the clerical level since early modernity.

  • Abstract

    This paper examines formations of Catholic masculinity in the sport of boxing in the late 19th and early 20th century. Boxing was one of the most popular sports in the United States, generating crowds and journalistic attention that rivaled and sometimes surpassed those of baseball, basketball, and football, and was especially popular among immigrant Catholics. Contrary to narratives in sport history arguing that money or prestige cemented the affection of immigrant Catholics for the sport of boxing, the voices and records of Catholic boxers themselves suggest that it was appealing because it engaged a distinctively Catholic constellation of devotional practices and religious ideas about the nature of violence and the experience of the body in pain, especially devotions related to the Sacred Heart, reparational theology, and “victim souls.” Yet this portrait of Catholic manhood shaped by embodied devotional violence is complicated by how Catholic men associated the fistic pursuits not just with reparatory self-immolation but rather also with an exuberant physical aggression learned in the streets, in the parish schoolyard, and in the homes of their childhood.

AV20-108

Theme: Embodiment, Eucharist, and the Trinity

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (Virtual)

This papers session focuses on three related notions: embodiment, the Eucharist, and the Trinity as they bear on the theme for this year's Christian Systematic Theology Unit Call for Papers, namely, "Health, Suffering, and Salvation." Papers include My Being Hurts: A Theological Account of Embodiment and Suffering Through the Lens of Eating Disorders (Niamh Colbrook); Sin Language in the Theology of Psychological Disorder: Recent Trends and Potential Directions (Samuel Davidson); The Spirit and Scarred Resurrection: Embodying and Materialising Pneumatology in the Midst of Oppression (Selina Stone); Opus Dei, Opus Hominum: The Trinity, the Four-Point Hypothesis, and the Eucharist (Eugene Schlesinger); and Drama and Desire: A Comparative Analysis of the Trinitarian Theologies of Robert Jenson and Sarah Coakley (Michael Kamenicky).

  • Abstract

    Karen Kilby and Linn Tonstad critique theological affirmations of vulnerability, which they suggest render suffering good and overlook the intensification of vulnerability in particular lives. They do not, however, offer theological anthropologies that avoid these tendencies. I address this need by providing a theological discussion of embodiment and suffering through the lens of eating disorders. I explore sufferers accounts of eating disorders as means of survival in a context where bodily being-in-the-world itself becomes a form of pain. Eating disorders press us to offer theological accounts of how embodiment might become so thoroughly bound up with suffering. I offer such an account by turning to Augustines The Literal Meaning of Genesis, where his discussions of prelapsarian and postlapsarian bodies disentangle vulnerability from bodily need and dependence. I argue that Augustines anthropology is better able to witness to the complexity of eating disorder experience than are theological affirmations of vulnerability. His anthropology allows us to attend to the meanings sufferers ascribe to their experiences without rendering their suffering absolute.

  • Abstract

    This paper will explore the trinitarian theologies of Robert Jenson and Sarah Coakley. Both give an irreducibly triune account of human participation in God, Jenson through narrative and Coakley through desire. They differ, however, in their understanding of the place of apophatic prayer in the experience of the trinity. Jenson argues that God’s speech transcends silence and Coakley argues that silence opens the contemplative to Christ. They also differ regarding to the relationship between triune persons and human participation, with Jenson arguing that the Son is primary and Coakley arguing that the Spirit is primary. This paper argues that a synthesis is made possible by centering the concept of time. Framing contemplation in the context of time satisfies Jenson’s critique of apophatism by emphasizing that silence primes the contemplative to hear Christ. Time can also resolve the issue of primacy. Jenson’s narrative theology and Coakley’s contemplative theology can be synthesized into a model of narrative contemplation, wherein both Son and Spirit are present as distinct agents within the temporal narrative of the contemplative life.

  • Abstract

    As the events of the incarnation and Pentecost reveal, the Trinity is a God of mission. Eternally self-sufficient, God does not remain self-enclosed, but rather reaches out to embrace and include creatures in the divine life, and recruiting humanity to share in the mission of God. Through a consideration of Bernard Lonergan’s “four-point” hypothesis, particularly as developed by Robert Doran, and in concert with his theology of eucharistic sacrifice, this paper considers how human activity comes to share in the divine life, and, in particular, explores the role of liturgical action in that elevation into God.

  • Abstract

    The paper explores whether and how sin language ought to be employed in theological engagement with mental illness. It summarizes trends in the work of Sonia Waters, Tasia Scrutton, and John Swinton, noting that the trajectory in these works is decidedly away from the association of sin with psychological suffering. While affirming the move to extricate psychological disorder(s) from frameworks of moral failure, however, it argues that the relation between sin and psychological suffering is more complex and significant than is often recognized. To demonstrate the complexity and importance of sin language as it pertains to psychopathology, the paper poses two clarifying questions: 1) What is meant by sin in these treatments, and 2) what possible relationships between sin and pathology are under consideration? It is noted that personal, social, and original sin are all considered in the texts, but without consistent distinction. A five-fold typology is then developed to clarify the possible connections that may be made between sin and pathology, rejecting some and retaining others in nuanced form. These are the identical, etiological, existential, moral, and Christological.

  • Abstract

    Pneumatology has historically tended to centre upon the themes of empowerment, freedom and sanctification within Christian theology. For pentecostals in particular, the Spirit has been associated with engaging the whole person - including the body - through healing and bodily experiences of Spirit-baptism. However, while the Spirit may indeed be understood as a transforming presence in some respects, the realities of disempowerment, exclusion and suffering which are born out of embodiment often go unaddressed theologically as well as in practice. By reading the resurrection of Jesus - one victimized by systemic violence - as a pneumatic event (in keeping with the Apostle Paul) I will argue in this paper that the Spirit’s retention of Jesus’ scars in the resurrection serves to broaden our pneumatological imagination. Moving beyond a focus on empowerment, sanctification or freedom to include the recognition and integration of suffering and oppression within pneumatology, enhances a Trinitarian approach to theological ethics and is particularly relevant to matters of embodiment and social justice.

P20-134

Theme: Theological Explorations of Mimetic Theory

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (In Person)

Grand Hyatt-Crockett AB

This session pairs two papers, along with a response, with the aim of expanding how to think about the intersection of religion, violence, and theology.

  • Abstract

    French Catholic ecclesiologist Yves Congar cites racial segregation in the US Church as a specific example of the contradiction between the Church’s vision of catholicity and its concrete eucharistic practice. My research responds to this contradiction by developing a mimetic ecclesiology that begins with James Alison’s claim that “[k]nowing Jesus is inseparable from knowing Jesus in the eucharist.” By utilizing a mimetic lens, my paper first analyzes the nature of racism and casteism in the US Catholic Church. Second, I build on Alison’s eucharistic insights to explore how an experience of conversion away from both superiority and victimhood contributes to the possibility of redeemed relationality in the presence of the Forgiving Victim. Finally, I place these initial foundations of mimetic ecclesiology into dialogue with Pope Francis’ vision for a “culture of encounter,” which must first occur relationally within the Church so that it may become transfigurative leaven in the world.

A20-109

Theme: Thinking Through Emotion, Confucian and Comparative Perspectives

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (In Person)

Grand Hyatt-Bowie B

This panel is an important opportunity for five thinkers to gather together and present their current research on emotions in Korean religions. While three of these presenters deal more or less with the Four-Seven debate (arguably the most significant philosophical movement in the history of Korean Confucianism), all five are related to thinking through emotional experience within a Confucian cultural horizon of interpretation. Together the relative focal singularity and interpretive diversity of the panel will be a great contribution to the Confucian Traditions Unit at AAR and beyond. This scholarly AAR unit embodies a broader and deeper appreciation for the values of Asian and comparative religious thought that will be significantly exemplified by this unique panel of presenters. While affect theory and practice through emotions have been explored in various fields of intercultural comparative religious studies, this particular focus on Korean Confucianism should be an important contribution to the ongoing conversation of intellectual culture that we all aspire to enrich the practices of academic philosophy in a global context.

  • Abstract

    Yi I ?? (Yulgok ??) was a leading Korean Neo-Confucian thinker and one of the greatest statesmen in Joseon Korea. He articulated certain ambiguity and questions about the textual orthodoxy of Confucianism by presenting his original ideas and insights. One key example is jeong/qing (? emotions or feelings), and Yulgok developed an engaging Neo-Confucian interpretation of it. This paper therefore presents the holistic role of emotions in self-cultivation and ethics by discussing his major works especially the 'Four-Seven debate letters,' Seonghak jibyo (Essentials of sagely learning), and Simu yukjogye (Six-article memorial for current national affairs). According to Yulgok, emotional harmony and 'the transformation of gi/qi (? vital energy)' are important for personal cultivation and public ethics. I conclude that the modern relevance of this interpretation emphasizes the positive role of our emotional passions in inspiring virtuous life, political-social justice, and cultural wellbeing, which also reveals a broader implication for our cross-cultural study of emotions and comparative ethics.

  • Abstract

    This study discusses "the Korean Confucian idea of gyeong in relation to emotions according to Zhu Xis and Yi Toegyes interpretations, as well as its distinctive implication for the contemporary Western philosophy of emotion, morality, and virtue. Gyeong? (jing in Chinese, translated as "seriousness" [Chan 1963], "reverence" [Ching 1986], "reverential concentration" [Munro 1988], or "mindfulness" [Kalton 1988], etc.) is one of the most significant notions in Korean Neo-Confucian philosophy of emotion. This study will first examine the meaning of gyeong and its relation to emotions within Korean Neo-Confucian discussion on human nature, mind-heart, emotion, and virtue. In particular, it covers how Toegye Yi Hwang (?? ??, 1501-1570) understood Zhu Xis idea of jing and systemized the notion in his philosophy. Secondly, it discusses why the notion of gyeong can play a distinctive role in the contemporary Western debates of emotion, morality, and virtue."

  • Abstract

    This study consists of three sections. “The first section outlines the importance of recent archaeological discoveries at Guodian for understanding the songnihak 性理學 both in Korea and in the context of Cheng-Zhu orthodoxy. I will be highlighting points in the Four-Seven debate about the dual or non-dual nature of li (理) and ki (氣) and ‘way-making heart mind’ (daoxin 道心) and ‘human heart minding’ (renxin 人心) wherein references to an incipient and inchoate moral psychology of persons is congealed in relationally constituted and ecologically holistic situations of diffuse agency or ‘creative intelligence’ (yi 義) can be further clarified in light of a revised understanding of shendu. The second section shows a continuity of thinking from Toegye to Yulgok on the inseparability of moral heart mind/feelings and our natural embodiment. I want to highlight the sense of ‘thread’ in the four duan 端 to show how the debate is more about practice and cultivation than it is about metaphysics and abstract epistemology. The final section discusses how the Four-Seven debate can be useful for thinking about the moral psychology of persons in the context of creative democracy, education, and ecstatically naturalistic experience.

  • Abstract

    This study seeks to reinterpret the Neo-Confucian concept of emotions (? jeong/qing) as a core political notion of what might be called Confucian democracy within the traditionally Confucian context of South Korea. This study examines the philosophical underpinnings of the Mencian xingshan (??) thesis (Human nature is good) in terms of Four Sprouts (?? sadan / siduan), and its potential to support a Confucian theory of democracy. For reinterpreting the politicality of the Four Sprouts, this study focuses on jeong / qing (?, emotions) as the core notion of Neo-Confucian moral psychology, as a kind of affectionate and moral solidarity, and as an innate human potential which confers upon us political equality. Further, by understanding jeong as a kind of political and social glue that holds together diverse groups of Korean people with diverging interests competing visions of human flourishing, this study attempts to lay the basis for envisioning a thriving pluralistic democracy sustained by a public culture of civility in Korean.

  • Abstract

    This study critically reimagines the dynamics between Korean Confucianism and family and rediscovers constructive meanings and functions of emotions (jeong ?). This study analyzes multiple degrees of jeong as more than genderized emotions but transformative affects to bring compassions and care for others despite its destructiveness and dangers. This essay recognizes Korean womens leading roles in traditional Confucian families as advisors, educators, and care-givers and suggests its familial expansion to the holistic planetary eco-family beyond biological ties and anthropocentrism for which jeong is a crucial element to interconnect humans and more than humans. Inspired by the neo-Confucian scholar Zhang Zai (??, 1022-1077)s horizontal expansion of family as the whole cosmos beyond both a biological family and an exclusive anthropocentrism, this paper rethinks our planet as an extended eco-family by practicing our jeong with others who are unfamiliar to us in terms of critically and imaginatively expanding our circle of caring beyond our biological families, political parties, sexual orientations, countries, religious upbringings, and human species.

A20-110

Theme: Sensory Experience in Contemplative Practice

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (In Person)

Convention Center-213

Contemplative practices in many traditions and creative disciplines highlight direct experience through the sense perceptions, bringing new modes of knowing that can counter excessive reliance merely on conceptual thinking or confused imagination. How is sensory experience accessed and understood? What do these modes of knowing contribute to contemplative experience and human life, and how might these contributions regarded? These papers include reflections from the Christian desert tradition, Tibetan Buddhism, and encounter with the natural world.

  • Abstract

    Often discussed as anti-patriarchal, women-centric (nāri-kendrik) and unorthodox, the literature and the practices of the Bengali lineages usually subsumed under the umbrella-name of ‘Bauls’ are fundamental for any discussion on vernacular Tantric traditions. The Bauls compose and disseminate esoteric knowledge in the form of songs. Scholars have studied Baul songs either from oral sources or from printed anthologies edited by elite urban intellectuals. This paper will discuss the importance of a digital archive project which will finally allow scholars to study practitioners’ song manuscripts as the primary sources of the Baul tradition. What is the use of a digital archive of Baul manuscripts for the study of an “oral tradition”? What are the ethical implications in the digitization of a corpus of “esoteric literature”? What are the politics of power embedded in the process of creating a digital archive of Baul songs? This paper will address some of these questions while describing the problems and the possibilities of a new ‘open access’ repertoire of unprecedented primary sources for the study of vernacular Tantric traditions.

  • Abstract

    The desert Christians of late antiquity model lives that drew on the wisdom gained through contemplation of the natural world and the desert phenomena of erosion, mirage, and oasis. This paper investigates the wisdom of early Christian contemplative experience for what it offers people living in a time of COVID crisis and climate crisis. Through examination of how desert Christians expressed love for and experienced the desert's love, I argue that a kind of creaturely continuity with desert spaces and kin may emerge from our own contemplative practices and contribute to the restoration of places subject to desertification and of our own inner ecologies marked by devastation.

  • Abstract

    Listening is a sense that we often ignore. In the U.S., speaking is lionized over listening—think of how many speech classes are taught, compared to the number of listening classes. Yet listening can be a powerful way to connect to the natural world, and to the other beings with whom we share it. Moreover, listening can be a way to extend our empathy and broaden our community of care to include other living beings. In this paper I will discuss several nature-based contemplative listening practices that I assign in my religion and environment classes. By asking students to focus on listening rather than seeing, we can productively jar their perceptions in such a way that they discover new insights about the natural world and their relationships with it. I will also share written responses from students that explain what they have learned from these practices. And I will present auto-ethnographic observations from my own listening practices in nature.

AV20-111

Theme: Ethnography, Embodiment, and Virtual Worship

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (Virtual)

While some faith communities have worshipped together through online formats for many years, the global COVID-19 pandemic forced many congregations to engage in online worship together for the first time. In this session the papers address theologies and practices of shared embodiment through liturgy in online formats using ethnographic methods to engage the possibilities and challenges that virtual formats pose for communal worship and community. One paper raises the question of how Christian community is demonstrated and effected in online communion. In another paper it is argued that digital worship is not disembodied, but rather differently embodied. A third paper investigates how congregations had to adapt the liturgical year to bridge domestic- and assembly-based rituals while a fourth and final paper focuses on how the pandemic affected the efforts of solidarity of catholic communities in the metropolitan area of Santiago, Chile.We invite you to a session where we can promise interesting and creative conversations concerning embodiment, worship, digital media and ethnography.

  • Abstract

    It is often suggested that virtual worship is but an approximation of the fullness of Christian worship because it is a disembodied practice. This paper draws on theologically-informed qualitative research to expose this claim as a myth -- the unfortunate result of the kind of thin socio-theological analysis that is all too common among theologians and congregational leaders. The paper argues that a better way of thinking theologically about digital worship emerges from participant observations. After all, qualitative researchers often claim that our bodies are our research instruments. In addition to providing a thicker account of actual communities of practice, such a method of inquiry also points to the need for more careful contextualization of worship in digital culture. Finally, more pressing theological questions are raised about the very experience of Christian worship in digital culture and the theological implications of those experiences.

  • Abstract

    Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, religious communities have dramatically shifted the way they function. Instead of paralyzing their activities, they have found creative forms to engage in worship, education, and social outreach. The pandemic has forced the Churches to deal with life and death issues, and participate in solidarity efforts within the larger communities in which they are inserted. This paper will explore how catholic communities in Santiago's metropolitan area have adapted their practices to reach out to the broader community and continue their job as religious actors through efforts of solidarity that take care of the bodies of their neighbors. I will explore this topic, considering three central questions. (1) What made religious actors leave their homes' security to engage in actions of solidarity? (2) How were the networks of solidarity organized, and what was the Church's role within them? (3) How a renewed face of the Church and its mission is being born amid the double crisis of the estallido social and the pandemic? The concluding remarks will deal with how the experiences described in this paper signal paths forward for a Church in crisis.

  • Abstract

    A significant liturgical controversy of the COVID-19 pandemic is whether Christians should celebrate communion online. Much of the discussion of online communion has been based on theological and theoretical claims, rather than concrete observations and experiences, and much of this reflection has been directed toward specific denominational contexts. In contrast, this ethnographic study centers on participant observation of twelve worship services that included communion, or would ordinarily have included communion, that occurred between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday in 2020 in Free Church, mainline Protestant, Anglican and Roman Catholic settings. It takes the approach of receptive ecumenism and asks what gifts Christians can receive from one another across traditions during and beyond times of crisis. Rather than making a case for or against celebrating communion online, it explores the ways community is demonstrated and effected in online communion practices. As a follow-up to this study, published in Studia Liturgica (September 2020), I return to the equivalent twelve services in 2021 to observe how practices of communion and community changed after a year of online worship.

AV20-133

Theme: Anglicanism in Local Practice: Global Perspectives

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (Virtual)

This session will feature four papers that foreground a glocalized approach to elucidating some of the operative ecclesiologies of the Anglican Communion. The first paper examines operative ecclesiologies within the Episcopal Church, in this instance through the framework of local lived expressions of emerging communities that illustrate how fresh expressions of being church are grounded in Anglican sensibilities. The second paper, from a Māori context, will present the concept of whakapapa (genealogy) as critical for comprehending how the identity of the Māori Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand is shaped. The third paper will examine grassroots community-based ecclesiologies as found in the context of non-Anglo-dominant Episcopal Church communities, focusing on two parishes in Los Angeles. The final paper analyzes how African LGBTQI Anglicans are doing church amidst official opposition to LGBTQI acceptance in church life. As a whole, these papers will show how Anglican ecclesiology is not a static body formed solely by official structures and documents but rather a living tradition that develops and is revitalized as it interacts with local contexts.

  • Abstract

    Emerging ecclesial entities may constellate as worshipping communities rather than congregations of worship, describing themselves with appellations such as “Dinner Church,” “Farm Church,” “Bi-lingual Church,” “Digital Church,” “Praxis Communities,” or their own unique identifier. This presentation will briefly examine five emergent congregations and communities in The Episcopal Church through the lens of the CAIRA model of Pastoral Formation (Swain, 2000), seeing how they express mission and are undergirded by an understanding that is reflective of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s statement that this denomination is “the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement” - an ecclesiology that reflects ‘Christianity’ rather than ‘Churchianity.’ Through a brief examination of Collegiality, Authority, Identity, Responsibility, and Accountability in these emergent communities we will highlight aspects of how fresh expressions are grounded in Anglican sensibilities, whilst shifting the boundaries of our being as ecclesia for the 2020’s and beyond.

  • Abstract

    This paper explores how Episcopalians are “doing” and “being” church in non-Anglo dominant church communities and neighborhoods. Drawing on two case studies of parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles that have been engaged in long-term justice work rooted in community organizing and neighborhood partnerships, I unearth the grassroots baptismal ecclesiologies that took shape in each context, and the biblical and theological commitments that informed and sustained their work. Through analyzing these two parishes’ engagement on the issues of immigrant rights and housing justice respectively, this paper argues for a different kind of church revitalization, one rooted in deep embodiment of the Baptismal Covenant, and the pastoral-prophetic teachings of Jesus along with community organizing methodologies and in authentic partnership with community allies. In doing so I call for an expanded baptismal ecclesiology that pushes the boundaries of what it means to engage in faithful worship beyond traditional Sunday models.

  • Abstract

    This paper analyzes how African LGBTQI Anglicans are doing church amidst official opposition to LGBTQI acceptance in church life. It argues that while official churches are opposed to LGBTQI inclusion, select African clergy and LGBTQI persons are creatively finding ways to be church through active witness and public performance of being church. The paper focuses on three short case studies from South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya to argue that sexual minorities in African Anglican churches are actively participating in the life of the church through unofficial avenues to highlight their plight on the one hand and to meet their socio-spiritual needs on the other hand. While their activities are easily ignored, this paper argues that they are part of the slow but growing acceptance of LGBTQI rights on the continent and represent alternate ecclesial communities.

  • Abstract

    The Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand exists because of the grace and support of the indigenous people who first heard the gospel in 1814 and committed their life-energies to establishing the church in these isles. Despite this fact, a Eurocentric understanding of being church has dominated in the Anglican church in Aotearoa-New Zealand. This continued suppression of Māori perspectives has at once marginalized and disillusioned the very people for whom the church was established in the first place. Against this backdrop, this paper considers what a truly Maori Anglican ecclesiology might look like -- one that springs forth from the lived experiences, cultural imperatives, and wisdom of Māori Anglicans, and is rooted in the Maori concepts of whakapapa (genealogy), whanaungatanga (common ties and connections), and mana (traditional concepts of authority).

MV20-117

Theme: Just Universities Mean Just Economics

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (Virtual)

This panel using the book by Gerald Beyer, Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Education (2021)  as a starting point will discuss the contemporary University as a site for the conversion or transformation of society or a site for the failure to transform due to a competitive corporate model of work force training which has been operationalized in the past two or three decades. Without conversion to its social mission, the University will be the casualty of economic forces and will fail in its mission to promote the common good of the whole of society. At this same time, this will entail a religious conversion of those in administration to a world view which entails some risks in order to be an institution which promotes the common good of all in society in a logic of solidarity. Catholic Social Teaching is a sophisticated body of doctrine which contains within it a critique both of Capitalism and of Marxism, wherein individuals  reject impoverishment and precarity as a given and part of the way things are.  A University which takes this teaching as a compass will not emulate a corporations for-profit logic

A20-112

Theme: Memory, Memorials, and Materials

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (In Person)

Convention Center-006A

This session will critically examine the role of memorials and memory across various locations and times. This interdisciplinary conversation will bring to light the processes that undergird the material and textual dimensions of religious memory. Studies on memories and memorials in this session will show how national and immigrant identity, textual traditions, and icons shed new light on the history of Christianity in their respective contexts.

  • Abstract

    The National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, near Niagara Falls, NY, was built in the mid 1950s during the peak of the Cold War. It is a strikingly retro-futuristic structure, a half dome of plexiglass and steel imprinted with the outline of the northern hemisphere, atop which is perched a 13 foot statue of Our Lady of Fatima, whose protection against nuclear annihilation by Communist Russia was sought by the Polish and Italian Catholic immigrants who once frequented this site. These visitors are no more, but their names remain, on plastic and metal plaques affixed to nearly every available surface, walkway, and bench. The shrine grounds are also filled with hundreds of life sized marble saints, purchased by these same Polish and Italian families to show their ongoing devotion to favorite saints from home, and to ask for their intercession. In recent years, the basilica has fallen into disrepair, but a reading of the memorial plaques and statues tells an evolving story as newer Syrian and Laotian immigrant names find their way onto new benches and plaques, and new statues of hometown saints are commissioned and installed. A close reading of this site reveals it to be a crowded "sacred neighborhood" of sorts where the children and grandchildren of shifting immigrants continue to find ways to engage in dynamic relationships with powerful divine figures and with each other.

  • Abstract

    In late ancient Neoplatonic circles, a number of handbooks, biographies, and other introductory materials were used to orient and socialize beginning philosophy students, each undergoing a personal transformation into a new community, identity, and way of life. In this paper, centered around pedagogical textual usage of the fourth and fifth centuries C.E. in Athens and Alexandria, I focus on one aspect of this larger process: the construction and transmission of historical narrative to train new community members and introduce them to new practices and ways of thinking by couching them in terms of tradition and an identity linked to the past. I investigate what this means for the beginning students whose identities are shaped by these practices, and whose transformed way of life is informed by the particular communal history constructed in these sources.

  • Abstract

    In recent decades, there has been a movement in philosophy of religion toward an understanding of iconity that understands icons as “windows to heaven.” In the work of writers such as Florensky, Ouspensky, and Jean-Luc Marion, an icon can illuminate the mind and soul via the overwhelming experience of the transcendent that accompanies the consideration of a truly iconic image. Evan Freeman has argued recently that the spiritualized 20th century understanding of icons came about paradoxically because of the rejection of developments in icon style: the return to pre-modern icon style accompanied a new emphasis on the spiritualized (pre-naturalist) appearance over and against the historically incarnational emphasis of Byzantine icons. That is, traditionally speaking, it is not first the overwhelming experience of the transcendent that conveys knowledge of goodness and love and justice to the contemplative, but memory.Following directly from the words of John of Damascus, icons invoke memory first of all. In speaking of the saints, he writes that images are “made for the remembrance of past events… in order that […] eternal memory maybe given to those who have struggled valiantly.” In a similar manner, Bonaventure looks upon creation as “vestiges” and “imprints” of God who has left this trace, and we contemplatives as following these footsteps, in “desire of the heavenly things straining ahead for what is still to come.” I contend that, while contemporary philosophical approaches to icons as “windows to heaven” have yielded very interesting studies of the phenomenality of revelation, in the wake of contemporary discourse on representation, it is incumbent also to examine how the material vestiges of God in creation, in their various degrees of iconicity, impact and are impacted by memory. That is, if icons are initially remembrances, laden with the possibilities of anamnesis, we must then ask, “what habits of collective memory do these things induce?” As a preliminary response to this question, this paper draws upon the divine ideas tradition and the mystical itineraries of Bonaventure and Nicholas of Cusa to demonstrate the role of spiritual pedagogy in forming an “incarnational” or “material” memory that has relevance both to our understanding of medieval practices of mystical contemplation and contemporary practices of Christian pedagogy.

  • Abstract

    The paper analyzes the histories of Catholic material culture in revolutionary Cuba. It illustrates and discusses how the Cuban Church and individual Catholics have navigated the revolutionary everyday with practices of material religion. Moving from the first years of the Cuban revolution (1959–) to the late 1970s, the paper presents and analyses street processions as specific examples of the ways in which material religion has intersected with the state ideology, politics, and the performance of the revolution in Cuba. Additionally, the paper discusses the meanings given to processions as material representations in the revolutionary reality by Cuban Catholics themselves. Through this perspective, the paper shows that religious material culture has constituted a means for Catholics to navigate the juxtaposition of religious worldviews and the socialist state power.

AV20-113

Theme: (Re)Conceptualizing the Field: Scholarship at the Margins of Islam and Gender

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (Virtual)

This workshop focuses on reconceptualizing the field of Islam and gender and Islamic studies more broadly through scholarship at or about the margins of these fields. The session is organized around 5 pre-circulated articles and chapters. Each table will focus on one paper and bring together the author, a facilitator, and interested readers. A broader discussion among all participants will finish the session. Attendees should choose and sign up for one of the five tables in advance and read the paper for discussion at that table prior to the session (accessible through the AAR website). Please contact Justine Howe (justine.howe@case.edu) to obtain access to the sign-up web form.

  • Abstract

    This paper focuses on a particular aspect of applying gender and queer theory to pre-modern hadith collections and biographical works--how to read figures who do not fit into "our" cisnormative and heteronormative assumptions about the past, and what the implications for historically accurate understandings of the ways that gender operates in such texts are. Such figures are typically treated as a specialized and minor topic which can be ignored when discussing gender in general terms in pre-modern Muslim texts. An unfortunate result is that the erroneous impression that these sources present what Fatima Seedat aptly terms a "straightened tradition" is perpetuated. Through the use of several examples, this paper demonstrates that in fact, references to or depictions of gender minority as well as gender nonnormative figures can perform important types of cultural labour. Gender minority and gender nonnormative figures play noteworthy roles in these textual constructions of other genders and claims to hegemonic masculinity, as well as of ritual spaces, household order, social status, intracommunal boundaries, and religious authority.

  • Abstract

    To contextualize the idea of shari‘ah-based arbitration, I begin the chapter by discussing the term “shari‘ah” and different scholars’ views about formulating Islamic law. I then analyze the ways opponents and proponents inadequately engaged shari‘ah, albeit for different reasons. I examine critics’ resistance to actually engaging shari‘ah and its consequences for those women who would employ shari‘ah-based arbitration to settle their family disputes. In a similar vein, I note how supporters neither adequately delineated how they would employ the proposed shari‘ah tribunals nor sufficiently worked to allay critics’ concerns or give adequate information about their own stances on certain questions, especially as the public debates heightened. Because of this, it remains difficult to fully examine their position. To advance an independent analysis concerning divorce and inheritance issues—precisely those that the shari‘ah tribunals were intended to undertake—I articulate a Qur’ānic perspective that might chart out a possible alternative (another “missed opportunity” in these debates). In the last section, I discuss why it is important that Muslims continue to summon shari‘ah law.

  • Abstract

    As the study of Islam and Islam and Gender steadily grow, key methodological questions continue to challenge the ?eld. A foundational question is to what extent should methods in Islamic Studies that return to Orientalist and colonial traditions of knowledge production and power continue to remain dominant in the ?eld? Another is how should scholars of the classical period approach texts, scholars and interpretations that are explicitly or implicitly patriarchal? More recently, added to these questions are new foundational questions about normativity, the place of lived Muslim communities in the study of Islam, and the importance of incorporating methodologies from other disciplines such as Gender Studies, Anthropology and Sociology. Some of these inquiries and challenges have been highlighted recently in an article by Ayesha Chaudhry entitled, 'Islamic Legal Studies: A Critical Historiography.' In it, she challenges dominant methodologies in the ?eld and suggests a new form of Islamic Studies, Intersectional Islamic Studies. In a response article by Sohaira Siddiqui entitled, 'Good Scholarship/Bad Scholarship: The Consequences of the Heuristic of Intersectional Islamic Studies,' she critiques Chaudhry's article and argues that instead of solving the problem of power and hegemony, Chaudhry's suggestion threatens to usher in a new form of it. Both articles engage in these foundational debates but seem to point towards a growing cleavage within the ?eld of Islamic Studies and Islam and Gender that merits further focused discussion. The aim of this roundtable will be to read these two articles alongside one another and discuss their interventions and consequences for the larger ?eld.

  • Abstract

    This article brings an anthropology of ethics to bear on a case of forced migration and displacement among Syrian refugee women in Jordan. This case reveals how projects of Islamic self-making in displacement become “emplacement” processes within the new state-mediated context. This case reveals that Syrian women in Jordan engage in Islamic self-making as part of their wider emplacement practices in two primary ways: first, operating more publicly in the material world through Islamically-inspired actions and rituals than in Syria. Second, utilizing narratives of Islamic histories to establish dignity in conditions of precarity in exile. Using two focus groups in urban Jordan and participant observation in two religion classes in a refugee camp, this paper focuses on these practices of Islamic self-making that serve an important role in the projects of moral emplacement for Syrian women in the Jordanian context.

  • Abstract

    Book workshop: Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects in Muslim South Asia (University of California Press). The book challenges the prevailing common sense associated with calls for women’s and girls’ education and argues that such advocacy is not simply about access to education but, more crucially, concerned with producing ideal Muslim woman-/girl-subjects with specific relationships to the patriarchal family, paid work, Islam, and the nation-state. Thus, discourses on girls’/ women’s education are sites for the construction of not only gender but also class relations, religion, and the nation. The book is a genealogy of the figure of the educated girl which centers on three moments in the history of colonial India and Pakistan. For this workshop I am proposing the chapter that examines Urdu periodicals and policy documents published during the early decades after the political independence of Pakistan in 1947. The ideal educated girl in this chapter appears as a ‘future-mother’ who fulfils her responsibility to the nation as a biological and cultural producer of the next generation of citizens.

AV20-114

Theme: Revisiting the Borderlands: Anzaldua’s Contribution to Queer Theory and Latinx Religion

Saturday, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (Virtual)

In this co-sponsored session between the Latina/a Religion, Culture, and Society and the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion program units invite proposals that constructively engage the legacy of the queer Chicana scholar Gloria Anzalda (1942-2004). Anzaldas work grapples with the legacies of colonial violence and seeks to deconstruct oppressive gender norms. She invites readers to explore these critical questions by tapping into their body as a source of sacred knowledge. Drawing from various fields, Anzaldas scholarship represents an intersectional approach that, we believe, can guide our cross-disciplinary conversations and critical interventions as scholars of religion.

  • Abstract

    The so-called memory boom caused by the unprecedented violence of the 20th century not only produced a rush of memorials and museums; it also produced a new kind of subalternity that essentially, and paradoxically, fulfills the same telos as the state-sponsored memorial. As such, and because of the dehumanization that the subaltern experiences by being in the margins of power, the trauma they embody constitutes the ambiguous platform on which societies will ultimately have to negotiate their capacity for a humane future amid a past full of atrocities. To show this, we will stand on the other side of subalternity as introduced by Gareth Williams, and by looking into the parallel between the memory process in the biblical account of the Flood in Genesis, and that of Gloria Anzaldùa living as a Chicana in the US-Mexico borderlands. This analysis proposes that the body of the subaltern has been the ancient forerunner of memorials by functioning as a "human memorial" or the objectified vessels of living trauma, and as such, their experience speaks directly to the struggle of the “memory boom” to humanize objects in order to humanize the Other.

  • Abstract

    Trauma permeates our worlds and marks those it touches with deep blues, greens, and purples that remain long after any physical bruises and breaks have healed. The individuals who survive this violence undergo a transformation, and such a metamorphosis is deeply personal – looking, tasting, smelling, sounding, feeling different and unique for each person. In her work Borderlands La Frontera / The New Mestiza, Gloria Anzaldúa names the experience of straddling multiple identies and speaks to the challenges and compensations that such an existence has on individuals who survive these borderlands. This paper draws on Anzaldúa as a guiding star, and juxtaposes her borderlands theory with other voices who consider the struggles that accompany survival, including the painful realities of death, and the inevitable burden of mourning as someone who remains behind. Through intimate conversations and interviews with queer survivors, trans activists and drag performers, I seek to reveal ways in which spirituality and community manifest outside religious institutions while critically and empathetically considering survival substance use and sex (some work) as sacred.

  • Abstract

    When reflecting on the injustices of the world, Gloria Anzaldúa writes: “I can only speculate, try to integrate the experiences that I’ve had or have been witness to and try to make some sense of why we do violence to each other. In short, I’m trying to create a religion not out there somewhere, but in my gut. I am trying to make peace between what has happened to me, what the world is, and what it should be.” She emphasizes making religious sense out of a chaotic world, not just for the sake of peace of mind but also for reconciling and repairing the harm done to interpersonal relationships, a harm pointedly caused by the ever-present insidiousness of coloniality.This paper focuses on the Anzaldúan concept of El Mundo Zurdo and its potential for establishing and cultivating networks which self-empower and heal colonial wounds. These relationships and networks of healing may provide spaces for generative, responsible theory and practice within the field of religious studies. Additionally, this paper will examine the potential for the internet (as nepantla) to engender meaningful relationships and the benefits of affirmatively critiquing Anzaldúa’s oeuvre.

  • Abstract

    Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s efforts to integrate the self establish a healing pathway for colonized and marginalized people amid the U.S. Southwest borderlands. Her theory and development of a decolonial language, rooted in the experiences of life amid a region influenced by Roman Catholicism and indigenous spirituality, strives to unveil the shadow self as a method of reconstructing a non-dual existence. This paper will examine how the intersectionality between M. Shawn Copeland’s theological framework of narratives and Anzaldúa’s borderland literature: (1) provide a viable path for understanding narratives as a form of truth-telling, (2) strengthen a position of nonduality in the integration of self for colonized peoples, and (3) establishes an urgent need for enhancing the scholars’ theological imagination / facultad as a key element in enacting networks of belonging. This analysis will contribute to the work still needed to consciously reconstruct the self through creative platforms and resist the dehumanizing White-Eurocentric- heteronormative-male bias by systematically promoting the narratives of people that society disempowers.