This Unit (hereafter referred to as ANARCS) is one of the primary vehicles for the advancement of the study of the religions and practices of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States and Canada. As an integral player in the development of the emerging field of Asian American religious studies, ANARCS has cultivated the work of junior and senior scholars from an impressive array of disciplines, including the history of religion, sociology, theology, philosophy, ethics, anthropology, psychology, education, and American and ethnic studies. ANARCS encourages new perspectives on Asian North American religious practices and faith communities, as well as innovative theoretical work that extends the concepts of empires, diaspora, transnationalism, globalization, im/migration, orientalism, adaptation, acculturation, race, ethnicity, marginalization, oppression, and resistance. In addition to this list of concepts, ANARCS will explore theoretical, philosophical, and theological concepts, such as aesthetics, beauty, and love. ANARCS seeks to foster and mentor scholars (junior, senior, and nontraditional) through preconference sessions, gathering for meals, and maintaining a robust listserv.
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Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit
Call for Proposals
Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit
2021 Call for Proposals
Diversity is a core value of the ANARCS unit. For this reason, we encourage organizers of pre-formed panels to invite participants that are diverse in regard to ethnicity, religion, gender, and professional status. In addition, we especially welcome proposals that focus on communities that have been historically underrepresented, including Southeast Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander, and non-Christian communities.
For 2021, the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit invites papers that address the following themes:
1) Asian American and Pacific Islander Religion in Art and Popular Culture
The Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit invites proposals on Asian American and Pacific Islander Religions in Art and Popular Culture, including but not limited to fashion, fiction, television, movies, music, social media, video games and food culture. We especially welcome paper proposals that engage Jane Iwamura’s work, Virtual Orientalism: Asian Religions and American Popular Culture (OUP, 2011), which celebrates the tenth anniversary of its publication in 2021. For instance, ten years later, what new historical and theoretical directions does Iwamura’s work compel us to investigate, with regard to the category of religion, Orientalism and popular culture? How has ubiquitous use of social media and apps, in the hyperconnected twenty-first century, expanded our understanding of what Iwamura calls the “Oriental Monk”?
2) Asian American and Pacific Islander Religious Life During Times of Crisis
The Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit invites proposals on Asian American Pacific Islander Religions During Times of Crisis, including but not limited to democracy and political polarization; poverty, class and economic inequality; public health and electoral politics; racial injustice, protest and coalition building; gender, sexuality and reproductive politics; climate change and science. We welcome interdisciplinary approaches—historical and/or close readings of textual, digital, material and visual culture, ethnographic and sociological analyses of communities as well as theological, philosophical and ethical critiques—that shed new light on the relationship between crisis, Asian American and Pacific Islander life, religions and the religious.
Any other topic related to Asian American and Pacific Islander religions.
In addition, we invite submissions in response to the following co-sponsored calls:
Reformed Theology and History Unit and Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit
Reformed Tradition and Ecclesial Life in Asian America
RTHU and ANARCS invite proposals for papers that examine the Reformed tradition and ecclesial life focusing on the Asian North American context. Interdisciplinary papers engaging with current or historical issues in theology, immigration, race and politics, gender, sex and sexuality, transnational relations with diasporic communities, theological formation of church leaders, and tensions with and receptions of Reformed theologians and models of Reformed faith would all be suitable topics for inquiry. Historical, theological, intercultural, missiological, sociological, ethnographic, postcolonial, and other methodological approaches are welcome, especially constructive retrievals, and imaginings. We especially welcome proposals that focus on communities that have been historically underrepresented with the Asian North American community, including Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander, and communities, as well as interracial dynamics with other BIPOC communities.
Sikh Studies Unit and Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit Co-Sponsored Session
Sikhs and Sikhism in North America
The Sikh Studies Unit and the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit invite papers on Sikhs and Sikhism in North America. While proposals must include a North American component, we welcome proposals that explore Sikh experience across geographical boundaries, and encourage proposals from a wide range of methodological and disciplinary approaches. In their consideration of the development and transformation of Sikhism in North American diasporic contexts, proposals may address a variety of themes, including gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, space, politics, activism, literature, arts, education and practices. How has transnationalism shaped the production of Sikh beliefs, practices, and institutions or conceptions of Sikhism in North America? How do Sikhs and Sikhism engage with liberal ideologies (e.g. secularism) or public policies (e.g. multiculturalism) in the North American diaspora? In what ways has Sikh self-understanding and engagement been informed by their North American contexts?
Chinese Christianities Unit and Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit
Race, Religion, and the “China Virus”
The Chinese Christianities Unit and the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit invite papers on the themes of health, healing, and religion that take into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other issues that have a!ected both Asian American and global Sinophone communities, such as SARS, MSG Syndrome, and Mad Cow Disease. For instance, how are local, transnational and global communities interconnected amid the resurgence of anti-Asian racism in the age of COVID-19? While anti-Chinese sentiment is a historical phenomenon, what new connections do we see between religion, politics, race, health, healing and medicine, with the use of slurs such as “China virus” and digital recordings of hate crimes in the social media age? We welcome paper proposals that include a variety of religions and traditions as well as analyses of a range of anti-Asian, intra-Asian and interracial dynamics. We welcome engagement with “democratic” versus “totalitarian” approaches to pandemic life as well as examination of medical practices ranging from traditional Chinese medicine to charismatic healing.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Dusty Hoesly, University of California, Santa Barbara1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Daniel Lee, Fuller Theological Seminary1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
Jesse Lee, Florida State University1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Rupa Pillai, University of Pennsylvania1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025