This Unit examines, through systematic study and reflection, the social locations, religious beliefs, and practices of the rich and diverse multicultural backgrounds of Latinas/os in the United States and Canada. The Unit recognizes that this is an interdisciplinary enterprise in view of the cultural and religious roots and sources of Latinos/as, including heritages from Europe, indigenous nations of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The traditions emerging out of the mixture of these cultures throughout the Americas continue to undergo further development and innovation in the North American context, producing the distinct phenomena of Latino/a theologies and religions. It is this rich and deep religious/theological-cultural-social-political complex that is the focus of this Unit.
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Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit
Call for Proposals
Latinx Labor and Religion: Considering Latinx Cultural Production
In keeping with the 2023 theme La Labor de Nuestras Manos, our unit invites papers on the topic of Latinx labor and religion. Latinx history has long been based in labor history and a great deal of scholarly literature on Latinx populations account for the disproportionate representation of Latinx in various sectors of the U.S. workforce. Many Latinx communities constitute a labor diaspora. We therefore invite papers which help the academy understand what the cultural productions of Latinidad look like at the intersection of labor and religion? We encourage scholars to propose papers that examine these questions surrounding minoritized Latinx religious traditions.
In this co-sponsored session, the Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society and the Religion in the Americas program units invite proposals that explore the sociopolitical relevance of Brazilian Protestantism by engaging Protesting Poverty: Protestants, Social Ethics, and the Poor in Brazil by Raimundo Barreto (Baylor Press, 2022). In this watershed publication, Barreto contends that “progressive Evangélicx Christianity, a branch of Brazilian Christianity that combines charismatic spirituality and sociopolitical progressive action, offers valuable sources for Christian social ethics in contemporary Brazil” (publisher’s description). This session welcomes proposals that consider the implications of Protesting Poverty for our understanding of Latinx and Latin American religions. We seek submissions that explore the transnational dimensions and material implications of a progressive Brazilian Protestant social ethic. Panelists should seek to highlight how religious communities develop and deploy liberative practices, strategies or theories to contest global systems of exploitation.
The 2023 AAR presidential theme “La Labor de Nuestras Manos” and the conference’s geopolitical location offers us an opportunity to reflect anew on the communities that nourish scholarship in the religious academy, particularly Latinx communities and their experiences over time. The Spanish phrasing of the theme poses a challenge among those who do not speak the language and will struggle to grasp all that it communicates. This challenge reminds us of language’s power as a vehicle for (in)visibility.
In co-sponsorship with the World Christianity unit, we invite papers that consider how language in its broadest sense – that which foments culture and meaning-making – renders the labor of Latinx communities (in)visible. We urge scholars to consider this question from both the vantage point of Latinx communities and their (un)seen labor as well as from the perspective of the scholars of religion to whom they entrust their stories. Other considerations include: What are the languages (culture & meaning) that enhance or diminish the labor of Latinx communities? What obligations and ethical imperatives do scholars face, especially those doing ethnographic work, in representing the language (culture & meaning) of labor in Latinx communities?, What would it look like for scholars of religion in Latinx communities to utilize language to disrupt the hegemony of English as the lingua franca for the AAR?
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Wendy Arce, University of San Francisco1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
Lloyd Barba, Amherst College1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
Francisco Garcia, Vanderbilt University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Yara Gonzalez-Justiniano, Vanderbilt University1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Elaine Nogueira-Godsey, Drew University Theological School1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Grace Vargas, Texas Christian University1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024