This Unit draws together scholars who utilize the methodological tools and theoretical perspectives of anthropology in the study of religion as a social and cultural phenomenon. Given the increasing importance of anthropology and ethnography for the academic study of religion, we serve the academy as an important forum for sustained discussion and critique of anthropological approaches that can connect scholars working on diverse traditions, regions, and eras who otherwise might not have the opportunity to learn from each other. Interested members are encouraged to join our (low volume) list-serv: https://aarlists.org/
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Anthropology of Religion Unit
Call for Proposals
We invite proposals from the full range of ethnographic theories and methods exploring diverse traditions, regions, topics, periods, and standpoints from across the disciplines of Anthropology and Religious Studies.
The following areas are of particular interest for individual and panel submissions for the 2023 meetings in San Antonio, Texas:
- Building Bodies of Knowledge. How we negotiate knowledge production in research, with particular attention to community-engaged scholarship, collaboration, and diversifying expertise.
- Critical Positionality. How we engage with the ethical dimensions of research praxis, with particular attention to relationality, processes of ethical compromise and being compromised.
- Failure. How we experience failure as scholars, in seeking research opportunities, in fieldwork, in theorizing and analysis, in writing, and in responding to the reception of our scholarship.
- Religion & Indigeneity. Explorations of the ways in which “indigeneity” as a category is made and negotiated in religious life, with particular attention to nationalism, racialization, and kinship.
- Teaching the Anthropology of Religion. Best practices for doing the ethnography of religion in undergraduate and graduate contexts, including the conceptual, pragmatic, and ethical challenges of students conducting fieldwork.
- We also have a preplanned and co-sponsored author meets respondents session on Rebekka King’s The New Heretics: Skepticism, Secularism, and Progressive Christianity for which we are not seeking proposals.
Further, we encourage panel proposals that use creative and alternative formats that elevate critical dialogue and engage multiple senses, for example:
- Flash Formats. An increased number of presenters are allotted ~5 minutes, followed by a robust, guided discussion.
- Sensory Props. Presenters engage with a material form that bears fieldwork significance, such as physical objects, food(s), visual images, and/or sound recordings.
- Author Meets Critics. Traditional and creative arrangements, including single authors, books from multiple authors on a related or contested theme, and prominent writers of religion in the public sphere.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Hanna Kim, Adelphi University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Lauren Leve, University of North Carolina1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Candace Lukasik, Mississippi State University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Alyson Prude, Georgia Southern University1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Brendan Jamal Thornton, University of North Carolina1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
Sarah Tobin, Christian Michelsen Institute1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026