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Music and Religion Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

The Music and Religion section is perpetually interested in panels that combine performance and scholarly reflection, and/or book panel discussions that help to advance the field. These ideas can be incorporated into any of the other ideas below.

  • Music as a tool of religious violence and/or music as a tool of religious healing
  • Indigenous religious musics from around the World
  • Religious Music at the Borderlands and/or Religious Music and Immigration
  • Musical representations of religion in children's media (e.g. Disney films)
  • Music in American Buddhism (esp. related to Buddhist Churches of America)
  • Anniversary-themed presentations surrounding musical works and music scene


We are also soliciting submissions for a session to be cosponsored by the Music and Religion and the Sikh Studies units:

This panel focuses on the role of words and music in Sikh activism. It seeks to explore the multifaceted nature of musical agency as a catalyst for social change within the Sikh community and the Sikh tradition. Papers are invited at the intersection of language, music and activism to include, but not limited to historical perspectives, linguistic and musical analysis, socio-cultural impact and interdisciplinary approaches including musicology, linguistics, sociology, and other disciplines.

Call for Proposals for Online June Meeting

We are also soliciting submissions for a session to be offered during the pilot AAR Zoom session in June cosponsored by the Music and Religion and the Contemporary Pagan Studies units:

With the continuing re-alignment of nationalistic and ethnic identities in the globalizing early 21st century, the Contemporary Pagan Studies unit and Music and Religion unit seek proposals for a joint session on musical Paganisms and their relationships to various nationalisms, ethnic identities and/or imagined communities. We encourage proposals that address pre-colonial ideologies and textual traditions, heritage construction, figurations of an "other," appropriations of national iconography and folk song in a variety of cultural contexts. This session is proposed for the pilot AAR Zoom session in June 2024. Accepted proposals should if possible propose tracks for a streaming playlist to be listened and engaged by all panelists before the session.

Statement of Purpose

The discipline of religious studies has expanded beyond linguistic rationality to include the importance of musical phenomena in the development of religious communities and religious consciousness. Meanwhile, theological aesthetics is moving beyond the textual to include music as a resource in its own right for constructive and transformative meaning-making. Music, religiously speaking, is no mere adjunct to the study of sacred space, ritual, visual art, liturgy, or philosophical aesthetics; rather, it is a distinct field in its own right — with its own particular content, methods, and norms. By placing the relationship between music and religion at the center of our endeavor, this Unit seeks to serve scholars who operate out of this ubiquitous, but ironically unrepresented, realm of academic pursuit within the guild.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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