You are here

Native Traditions in the Americas Unit

Call for Proposals

We invite individual paper and group proposals on any aspect of Native Traditions in the Americas (North, Central and South). In particular, we invite papers on the following topics:

• In light of this year's theme on institutional self-reflection, we seek proposals for a panel considering the work of Professor Inés Talamantez, and her influence on the study of Native American religious traditions within the academy.
• Indigenous pedagogies and their application in the Native American Religious Studies classroom.
• The intersection of Native American religious traditions and music, for a joint session with the Music and Religion Unit.
• The impacts of climate change on Native American religious traditions, and/or how Native American traditions provide means of responding to the climate crisis.
• Native American religions and cultures after the Trump era.
• "Decolonization and the law," for a joint session with Law and Religion. Papers might consider issues such as the implications of "sincerely held religious beliefs," and the colonial legacies of the legal system.
• The challenges of the insider/outsider binary: our responsibilities to communities, and/or the intersection of work in community and work in the academy.

• For a joint session, How to Teach Indigenous Religious Traditions, with African Diaspora Religions Unit, Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit, and Teaching Religion Unit. 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 applying Indigenous pedagogies within the teaching of specific Indigenous religious traditions.

•For a possible co-sponsorship with the Native Traditions of the Americas Unit, the Women and Religion Unit, the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit, and the North American Religions Unit, we invite proposals that interrogate the role of both religious history and myth in producing and sustaining Indigenous erasure and genocide. We particularly encourage proposals that consider history and myth of the Mayflower, including commemorations like Mayflower 400, in relation to the destruction of the Native Wampanoag Peoples, and the disruption of the Wampanoag matrilineal line. We also invite proposals that further explore the impact of settler colonialism in and beyond the United States, especially those that analyze religion in relation to the genocide of indigenous peoples from a gender perspective in the North American context, including North America in relation to other contexts affected by European settler colonialism (i.e., Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands). Proposals that interrogate the widespread killings and disappearance of indigenous women and girls as a form of genocide (e.g., the June 2019 Canadian National Inquiry) are welcome."

Statement of Purpose

This Unit sees its mission as the promotion of the study of Native American religious traditions and thereby the enrichment of the academic study of religion generally, by engaging in discourse about culturally-centered theories and encouraging multiple dialogues at the margins of Western and non-Western cultures and scholarship. The Unit is committed to fostering dialogue involving Native and non-Native voices in the study of North, Central, and South American Native religious traditions and to engaging religious studies scholarship in robust conversation with scholarship on other facets of Native cultures and societies.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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

Review Process Comments

We allow chairs to see names so that we consider giving more weight to colleagues who have not presented in recent years, and so ensure greater distribution of engagement.