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Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit

Call for Proposals

“The Changing Landscape of Black, Latinx, and Asian American Buddhisms”

We seek papers that work at the intersection of Black, Latinx, and Asian American Buddhisms, from a variety of methodological perspectives and ranging from topics such as: 1) the construction of interracial Buddhist solidarities, tensions, and dialogue; 2) the critique of white Buddhism and white Christianity; 3) the use of Buddhist practices to address racial, gendered, and sexualized trauma; 4) critical evaluations of the US state’s surveillance tactics at the intersection of religion and race; 5) empire and transnational connections between Buddhism in the US and abroad; 6) race, religion, and neoliberalism. 


Embodied Pedagogies: Teaching Asian American Religions w/ Transformative Scholarship and Pedagogy Program Unit 

The Transformative Scholarship and Pedagogy and Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society (ANARCS) units are seeking panel or roundtable proposals that highlight creative pedagogies in teaching Asian American religions. What learning outcomes result when we step outside of the expected lecture format? How can active learning activities engage a diverse group of students or address specific challenges that might arise in teaching Asian American religions? Conversely, are there instances when embodied pedagogies may not be appropriate or effective? Moreover, how do we bridge the theoretical with the practical, the academic with the political through embodied pedagogies? We would especially welcome analyses and presentations that invite audience engagement and response as “students” in the classroom.


Rituals Across Asian American Religions w/ Ritual Studies Program Unit

In line with the 2023 Presidential Theme, “La Labor de Los Manos,” the Ritual Studies and Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society (ANARCS) program units are seeking papers or panel sessions focused on analyses of rituals in Asian American religions, or Asian American communities. We invite papers dealing with rituals in Asian American diasporic communities from a variety of possible perspectives, such as the ways certain religious rituals have been adapted for non-religious settings, the processes whereby rituals reinforce or challenge gender, class, generational, sexual, or racial hierarchies, the potentially divisive qualities of certain ceremonial practices, etc. 


Asian Religions in North America w/ Religion and Migration Program Unit

Focusing on communities that have been historically underrepresented, including South Asian, Southeast Asian, East Asian, Pacific Islander, and non-Christian communities. How or in which ways have religious traditions been constructed, reconstructed or represented in North America by immigrant/migrant/refugee communities? What emphases, innovations, or concerns do we see in Asian-American diaspora communities? What if anything has been lost or gained in transition? Engagement with recent publications, such as Melissa Borja’s  Follow the New Way: American Refugee Resettlement Policy and Hmong Religious Change are also welcome.


Possible co-sponsorship with the Buddhism in the West Unit

19th Century Chinese Buddhism in North America


Religion and healing in the "North Pacific Intersystem": Roundtable discussion of Justin Stein's Alternate Currents (co-sponsored session between the Japanese Religions, Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society, North American Religions, and New Religious Movements Units) 

Responding to this year’s conference theme in a literal way, this author-meets-critics roundtable focuses on a brand-new book about Reiki, the therapeutic practice that involves transmitting energy from the hands to heal self and others. Just as Reiki channels flows of energy, Justin B. Stein’s Alternate Currents (forthcoming from University of Hawai`i Press, 2023) tracks transnational flows of people, ideas, and ritual practice throughout the “North Pacific Intersystem.” Emerging at the overlapping boundaries of the Japanese, United States, and British empires and drawing on Buddhist and Native American wisdom, the practice of Reiki has been as malleable as the currents of energy its practitioners purport to channel. Matching the expansive scope of Stein’s wide-ranging and creative book, this panel will bring together specialists in Japanese, Asian American, and North American religions to discuss how a Japanese American woman turned Reiki into a global therapeutic practice.  

Statement of Purpose

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.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection