Our Unit focuses on major themes, thinkers, and movements in nineteenth century religious thought and theology — from the French Revolution to World War I — and on the relation of religious thought to its historical, political, and cultural contexts. Each year the Unit selects two or three focused topics and predistributes papers before the AAR sessions.
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Nineteenth Century Theology Unit
Call for Proposals
Women Shaping Theology and Religion in the 19th-Century
We are seeking paper proposals on the following themes:
(1) Women's role in the development of the domains of theology and religion in the 19th century and how each has come to be conceived;
(2) How recognizing women's contributions to theological/religious discourse when these occurred outside the formal theological discipline, e.g., in literary works, makes us rethink cultural categories and disciplinary boundaries;
(3) Women whose contributions to or critiques of 19th century theology/religion have been insufficiently acknowledged;
(4) Reconceiving the canon of 19th-century religious thinkers in the light of the participation of women; and
(5) since we are in Boston, papers treating Margaret Fuller or New England women are particularly welcome.
Academic Rivalry in the Modern Age: Thinking with Girard and Beyond
For a joint session with the Colloquium on Violence & Religion, we invite proposals that explore academic rivalries in the nineteenth century. Almost no leading figure in the period was free from the entanglements of academic rivalry. Various social and political factors, e.g. war, territorial realignment, nationalism, the proliferation of learned journals, the restructuring of universities, and more, created a rich soil for rivalries to grow. The mimetic theory of René Girard offers an interesting interpretive lens for understanding rivalry. Girard not only identifies rivalry, but attempts to explain its roots through his mimetic theory: rivalry stems as much for similarity as from difference; if unchecked, it will escalate and often end in bloodshed. Proposals might:
(1) Revisit famous academic disputes by attending to similarity and mirroring between disputants;
(2) Analyze failed mentor-student relationships through a mimetic lens;
(3) Excavate forgotten rivalries; or
(4) Assess Girard’s theological readings of rivalries in his final book, Battling to the End (2009), among others.
We plan to convene a pre-arranged Author Meets Critics panel on Elizabeth A. Clark's latest groundbreaking book: The Fathers Refounded: Protestant Liberalism, Roman Catholic Modernism, and the Teaching of Ancient Christianity in Early Twentieth-Century America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019).
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Aubert, Annette G., Westminster Theological SeminaryMember Since: 2018
Dumler-Winckler, Emily, Saint Louis UniversityMember Since: 2018
Gockel, Matthias, University of BaselMember Since: 2019
Lockwood, Charles, Australian Catholic UniversityMember Since: 2019
Schwarz, Hans, University of RegensburgMember Since: 2017