This Unit focuses on theoretical, methodological, and conceptual issues in the study of indigenous religious traditions the world over. Though particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of indigenous religions, we are primarily grounded in the “history of religions” approach as it concerns the analysis of indigenous traditions. This Unit also emphasizes Indigenous Methodologies among other Humanities and Social Sciences approaches. The Unit is also concerned with the interface of indigenous religious traditions and modernity, colonial and postcolonial conditions, and local and global forces that shape the practice of indigenous traditions and their categorizations.
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Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit
Call for Proposals
CO-SPONSORED SESSION: African Diaspora Religions Unit, Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit, Native Traditions in the Americas Unit, and Teaching Religion Unit
How to Teach Indigenous Religious Traditions
Heeding Linda Tuhiwai Smith's call to center contemporary Indigenous politics, spiritual protocols and authorship within research methodologies, this co-sponsored session will feature papers and demonstrations on teaching Indigenous religious traditions. Presenters will pre-circulate their pedagogical papers prior to the AAR meeting. Their written approach will be in close conversation with contemporary Indigenous methodologies, teachers, activists, writers, and intellectuals. At the 2020 AAR Boston session, panelists will speak for five minutes and then briefly demonstrate their approach to teaching specific Indigenous religious traditions.
CO-SPONSORED SESSION: Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit and Religion and Ecology Unit
Indigenous Ecologies: Indigenous Nature Relationships, Rights, and Climate Change
In contrast with settler colonial modes of consumption and objectification, Indigenous Peoples often hold relationships with the natural world as integrated into kinship, reciprocal, and spiritual networks. In a global context, what are ways that Indigenous Peoples conceive of and maintain these natural relationships? How do Indigenous authors, intellectuals, and languages shape of these relationships? In light of climate change, what are political, legal and spiritual evolutions to these Indigenous ecologies? Successful papers will integrate Indigenous language, philosophies and ecological activism.
Indigenous Reproductive Rights, Pregnancy, Birthing, and Child-Rearing Practices
This call asks for papers that explores the Indigenous community and women's traditions of pregnancy, birthing, child-rearing practices and reproductive rights.
Contemplative Indigenous science and practice
The emergent field of contemplative studies—and its manifestation as the mindfulness movement—draws inspiration mostly from Buddhist-derived meditation practices, texts, and principles. These practices have been largely adopted in the West as a popular source for health-related benefits. While these practices have been pertinent and effective, they only represent a selected variety of practices across religious traditions. Moreover, the benefits of these practices for only physical and psychological well-being do not represent the higher resolve of realization of spiritual goals. Indigenous religious traditions have likewise engaged in a diversity of contemplative practices with similar spiritual impact, and physical and psychological benefits. This panel invites proposals that engage with Indigenous contemplative practices (pilgrimage, ceremony, ritual, story, etc.) to advance the range of contemplative studies that includes Indigenous wisdom traditions. Moreover, we seek to bring contemplative traditions in dialogue for particularities and common ground.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Gregory D. Alles, McDaniel CollegeMember Since: 2020
Mary Churchill, Sonoma State UniversityMember Since: 2019
Elana Jefferson-Tatum, Tufts UniversityMember Since: 2016
Dana Lloyd, Washington University, St. LouisMember Since: 2020
Danoye Oguntola-Laguda, Lagos State UniversityMember Since: 2016
Meaghan Weatherdon, University of TorontoMember Since: 2020