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Buddhism in the West Unit

Call for Proposals

The Buddhism in the West Unit seeks to provide a venue for new scholarship on Buddhisms in non-Asian locations and to explore critical methodologies in such studies. The Unit invites individual papers or panel proposals on the following topics (but is open to other possibilities):

Western Buddhism as Scholarly Field:
Inspired by the 2020 AAR Theme (“The AAR as a Scholarly Guild”), the Unit invites proposals reflecting on the development of studies on Buddhism outside Asia. In particular, we encourage panel proposals considering theories and methods in the field, and the contributions that studies of Buddhism outside Asia have made to Buddhist studies or religious studies more broadly.

Reclaiming Voices:
The Unit invites proposals that foreground under-studied forms of Buddhism in the West; we are particularly interested in papers examining marginalized communities (e.g., refugees) or groups, as well as underutilized theories or frames, such as class analysis; urban studies; feminist, womanist, and/or queer theories, etc.

Deconstructing Dichotomies:
The Unit invites proposals that would theorize or deconstruct existing dichotomies and assumptions in the field, such as the distinctions between east/west, north/south, national/transnational, and so forth.

Western Buddhism and Land Use:
How are Buddhist communities reacting to climate change, especially in relation to devastating wildfires in California and Australia?

Buddhism and xenophobia:
For possible co-sponsorship with the Buddhism Unit, an exploration of how Buddhism is being used in xenophobic discourses globally.

Books Under Discussion:
The Unit will accept proposals for author-meets-critic panels or roundtables on new titles in the field.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit seeks to:

• Provide a venue for new studies on Buddhism in non-Asian locales
• Facilitate communication and exchange between scholars working on Buddhism outside of Asia
• Offer a forum within which to collectively clarify the intellectual and methodological underpinnings of research on Buddhism in the West, and consider new possibilities in methods and approaches


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members