This Unit focuses on the critical study of the theology, culture, history, and practices of the many different Eastern Christian churches (numbering some 260-300 million worldwide), including their mutual interaction and engagement with Western Christian and non-Christian groups.
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Eastern Orthodox Studies Unit
Call for Proposals
For 2022, we welcome proposals on the following three themes:
- Science and Orthodox Christian Thought and Practice
Some of the most urgent contemporary global debates take place at the intersection of religion and science, where deeply rooted conceptions of theological anthropology and religious identity interact with newly emergent data and knowledge about the physical world. We invite both paper and panel proposals that analyze how Orthodox Christian thought and practice have interacted with, and have shaped and in turn been shaped by, advances in empirical knowledge and their attendant ethical and political demands and controversies. In addition, and consonant with the 2022 AAR Presidential Theme- Religion and Catastrophe- the session is interested in proposals that address the broader theme of Orthodox Christianity and science within the context of specific scientific issues of contemporary concern, such as climate change, vaccination and public health, bioethics, and human sexuality and reproduction. This session is interested in, and open to, a wide range of methodological and disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to those grounded in scientific training and expertise, theology and religious thought, sociology and anthropology, and the history of science and related philosophical discourses in the Orthodox world.
- Orthodox Christian Hymns, Music, and Sound
Within Orthodox Christian communities past and present, there are numerous traditions of song and music. From liturgical chant and poetic hymns, to bells and talaton, Orthodox Christianity has many musical, vocal, and auditory expressions. For this session, we invite papers and panel proposals that focus on the hymnic and/or musical expressions of Orthodox Christianity. We welcome consideration of the sonic, aural, ritual, and performative aspects of liturgical music and para-liturgical musical traditions as well as the texts of hymns themselves. Submissions might attend to surrounding cultural or historical contexts of particular hymns or musical traditions, practical local adaptations, variations and development of texts and sounds, theological significance and debates, reflections on the religious practices of singing or hearing, or music as significant for shaping and reflecting religious identities.
- Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christianity in the Midst of Catastrophes (co-sponsored with the Middle East Christianity Unit)
The study of religion has long been concerned with the relationship between the global and the local, the specific and the universal. Global disruption and catastrophes, past and present, bring these relationships to the fore in particularly urgent and dramatic ways. In the spirit of the 2022 AAR Presidential Theme- Religion and Catastrophe- this session is interested in proposals that address the lived reality of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christianity in the midst of catastrophes, past or present. This session will consider how mass disruption and hardship affect the core elements of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox religious identity, hoping to shed light on the local and experiential reverberations of global cataclysmic forces within an Orthodox Christian context. The session is interested in papers that analyze these lived realities from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives (including political science, sociology and anthropology, history, theology, etc. ), with a special interest in the ways that COVID-19 or other contemporary and historical crises have affected the liturgy and the ways liturgical practice has responded to catastrophes.
Papers are invited from all disciplines employing any and all contemporary methodologies for a session bringing the influential early Christian giants, Origen and Augustine, into conversation. Papers need not always compare the two, but must address one of them in a way that is timely and invites conversation with the other. Papers will be considered that explore a wide variety of topics including Augustine’s evolving perspective on Origen and Origenism, Augustine and Origen’s respective methods, theological and philosophical orientations and topics, biblical interpretation, and social contexts and teachings.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Daniela C. Augustine, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Brian A. Butcher, McGill University1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
George Demacopoulos, Fordham University1/1/2017 - 12/31/2022
Paul Ladouceur, University of Toronto1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Vera Shevzov, Smith College1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
Erin Walsh, University of Chicago1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025