PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Boston, MA
November 18-21, 2017

2017 Annual Meeting Program (PDF)

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Preliminary 2017 Annual Meeting Program (MS Word)

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Online Program Book

Colloquium on Violence and Religion
Theme: Girard's Legacy: Continuing the Conversation
Brian Robinette, Boston College, Presiding
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Westin Copley Place-Defender (Seventh Level)


Stewart Clem, University of Notre Dame
Nonviolent Grammar of Sacrifice


Anthony William Bartlett, Bethany House
Between Girard and Heidegger: A New Ontology


Chris Haw, University of Notre Dame
Girard at Intersection of Analogy and Dialectic


  • Books under Discussion
Colloquium on Violence and Religion
Theme: Book Review: Does Religion Cause Violence? Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Violence and Religion in the Modern World
Jeremiah Alberg, Sophia University, Presiding
Sunday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton Boston Back Bay-Adams (Third Level)


Scott Cowdell, Charles Stuart University
Joel Hodge, Australian Catholic University
Introduction to the Volume Does Religion Cause Violence? (Bloomsbury, 2017)


William T. Cavanaugh, DePaul University
Girard and the Myth of Religious Violence


Joel Hodge, Australian Catholic University
Why is God Part of Human Violence? The Idolatrous Nature of Modern Religious Extremism


Wolfgang Palaver, University of Innsbruck
Religious Extremism, Terrorism, and Islam: A Mimetic Perspective


Asma Afsaruddin, Indiana University
Islam and Violence: Debunking the Myths


James W. Jones, Rutgers University
Review of the Volume: Does Religion Cause Violence?


  • Exploratory Sessions
Exploratory Sessions
Theme: Religion and War
Joshua Jeffery, University of Tennessee, Presiding
Monday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hynes Convention Center-203 (Second Level)

The subject of “Religion and War” has become an increasingly studied area in recent years, especially in the subfields of religious history, ethics, and theology. The substantial increase in the output of monographs and articles on this topic, coupled with the ever-increasing risk of localized, regional, and even global war and the role religion plays in these conflicts, warrants the creation of a permanent unit that studies the relationship between religion and war. This exploratory panel announces our intention to create a new “Religion and War Unit” in the AAR, by focusing on the relationship between these two human phenomena in the context of World War I, in this year which commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the United States entering the conflict. Papers will interrogate how religion supported, challenged, sustained, and disrupted war between state and non-state polities in the context of the Great War and its aftermath, 1916-1921.

Joshua Canzona, Georgetown University
Mysticism at the Front: The Significance of Wartime Service in the Thought of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ (1881-1955) was called up for service by the French Army in December 1914, just a few months after trenches were dug in the Battle of the Marne. Teilhard asked to serve on the front and was assigned as a stretcher-bearer to the 8th regiment of Moroccan light infantry, which became the 4th Mixed Regiment of Zouaves and Tirailleurs comprised of Tunisians, Moroccans, and European settlers in North Africa during the following year. Rejecting attempts to promote him away from his men, Teilhard served with distinction as a corporal until the end of the war. He produced a considerable amount of scholarship during his wartime service and many of his later ideas were inchoate in short essays written within or around trenches and sent off to Études for potential publication. Here he developed his distinctive mystical vision informed by evolutionary science and his experiences as a soldier. Against all odds, Teilhard saw the energy of troop movements and battle as a hopeful phenomenon and described his service as “an almost mystical experience.” This presentation will both assess Teilhard’s descriptions of this battlefield mysticism and explore connections between his service and the later development of his thought. Drawing on published works and unpublished archival materials, it will be demonstrated that Teilhard’s theology was as shaped by World War I as any other experience in his life. From this, we arrive at two conclusions: (1) Parts of Teilhard’s work can and ought to be read as a particularly insightful example of theological reflection on religious experience in a time of war and (2) the relationship between wartime service and theology deserves sustained scholarly attention.

John Chappo, Pennsylvania College of Technology
From The Shade of the Trees to "No Man’s Land": Alfred Joyce Kilmer as Poet, Lecturer, and Soldier

“The Great War” has rightfully been remembered for the wreckage it wrought, as well as the hope that emerged in its wake. Over the past 100 years, historians, political scientists, poets, and painters have helped shape present understanding of the war and its impact. A search for “World War I History” within reveals 23,554 books. The titles reflect the focus of researchers many aspects of the war: cultural, economic, military, political, or social. Yet despite all of the innovation and erudition, there remains a relative dearth of information on the impact of religion on causes or combatants of World War One. Given the importance of religion, especially in relation to global and international history, it makes such continued neglect untenable. This paper will help fill this gap in the historiography by focusing on the role religion played during World War One both on and beyond the battlefield.

John Laaman, Auburn University
All That Is Unfit to Print: Churches of Christ Editors in the Great War

When the twentieth century began, the Churches of Christ already had a long tradition of pacifism. This continued into the years of the Great War. However, once the U.S. entered the war in 1917, the church experienced more conflict over pacifism than ever before. Ultimately, church leaders abandoned pacifism, first by dropping advocacy for pacifism, and later by overtly supporting the war effort. Although this transition appeared abrupt, the roots of these actions can be traced back to the nineteenth century. From this perspective, the church’s actions mirrored a shift already occurring throughout the South, which finally manifested itself during the war. This paper evaluates two periodicals that were influential at the time: the Gospel Advocate and Word and Work, and focuses on changes in editorial policy and the topics covered throughout the war years. By following these developments, larger shifts in the denomination’s view on war can be seen.

Unregistered Participant
The Internal Front and "Religious War"

Following establishment of the Portuguese republic in 1910, revolutionaries in power persecuted the Catholic Church, holding it responsible for the cultural backwardness of the country. In 1911, the Law of Separation of the Church and the State was published, which proclaimed: "The Republic recognizes and guarantees full freedom of conscience." In practice, this resulted in an expulsion of religious from government, and nationalization of Church assets. As far as the Army was concerned, chaplains were expelled, and when the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps was sent to France to fight against Germany, there was no Religious Service in the CEP. It was at great cost that the Catholic Church obtained the necessary authorization to send chaplains. At the end of the war the chaplains received numerous praises and medals. This recognition of their actions, as Catholic chaplains serving the state, contributed to an improvement in relations between the Church and the State. 

William E. Kooi, Oklahoma Christian University