Purpose, Practices & Procedures: Purpose of an AAR Program unit: The purpose of program units is twofold: to provide a forum for dialogue and exchange among differing approaches and projects in the field and to provide opportunities for the discussion of work that does not fall within the agendas that find other expressions in the Annual Meeting program. Program units should provide significant time for presenting research in the major subfields of religion. Purpose of the North American Religions Program unit: The North American Religions Program unit exists to sponsor conversations about the field at thematic, theoretical, definitional, experimental or historiographical levels, in order to ask where the study of North American religions is going or should be going. Such conversations embrace the diversity of scholars, disciplines, methods and traditions that make up the field. Routine functions: The Steering Committee composes the Call for Papers for NAR sessions for the AAR Annual Meeting; reviews, shapes and accepts proposals for those sessions; reviews and reports on sessions; and communicates with the NAR constituency. Composition: The Steering Committee is made up of ten members, two of whom are elected by the members to serve as co-chairs. A Steering Committee term is three years, renewable for a second three years if everyone is amenable. The terms are staggered, so that there are continuity and change on the committee. During a total of six possible years, a member might serve a co-chair term, which is three years. A member elected to serve as co-chair has at least one full year’s experience on the Steering Committee. The co-chair elections are staggered as well, so that each new co-chair serves with an experienced co-chair. Responsibilities: The co-chairs take care of the business of NAR and moderate communication of the Steering Committee. All members of the Steering Committee make decisions on substantive matters. All attend the Annual Meeting and reserve Friday dinner for Steering Committee socializing, envisioning and business. All attend the NAR Business Meeting. Succession: Members of the Steering Committee are replaced by the following procedure: when there is a vacancy, after the Annual Meeting the co-chairs ask the NAR constituency (via email) for nominations. From among the nominees, the Steering Committee votes to elect a new member. The co-chairs maintain this “NAR Purpose, Practices & Procedures” document, make it available to the Steering Committee and the NAR constituency, and revise it as needed by vote of the Steering Committee.
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North American Religions Unit
Call for Proposals
This Unit advances the study of religions in North America, broadly conceived (Mexico, the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, etc.), as well as the study of historical, social, and structural links between North American religions and those beyond North American boundaries. We are committed to sponsoring sessions that explore fundamental questions that have shaped the field in the past or should shape it in the future.
The Unit sponsors roundtables, debates, workshops, performances, pre-circulated papers, and other creative formats. As always, this program unit also welcomes proposals for keyword panels based on important concepts in the field. We encourage the submission of both individual contributions and complete panels, though we may reconfigure proposed panels to place them on the conference program. For panel proposals, diversity of rank (including graduate student, post-doctorate, contingent faculty, and junior and senior participants), and gender, race, and ethnicity are strongly encouraged. We especially seek proposals from junior and contingent scholars. Presenters in any format should expect to give short presentations that maximize time for audience questions and comments. All presenters should explicitly relate research to ongoing discussions in the field and the wider academy. Please ensure that all submissions are anonymous.
In addition to the above, we seek proposals on the following topics for our 2023 meeting in San Antonio:
- In keeping with the presidential theme of La Labor de Nuestras Manos, we are interested in the work we do as scholars of religion and therefore welcome papers on the techniques, impacts, responsibilities, and risks of public scholarship, broadly conceived –– be that through the public-facing sharing of our research (e.g. podcasting in American Religion and other forms of media engagement), or through ground-up work that is co-created with different publics and/or towards normative change (e.g. community-engaged research and scholar-activist methodologies).
- Thinking about religion and hands, we are also interested in submissions focusing on religion and material culture, including making in/of American religion, the creation of material religion, and the use of material culture in the study of religion; on religion and labor, with the latter category conceived broadly; and feeling religion, including attention to affect and the senses.
- We welcome proposals assessing the state of the field: What do we mean when we say “North American Religion?” How salient is that category in our disparate institutional and professional locations? How do we think of the field in light of the 50th anniversary of Sydney Ahlstrom’s A Religious History of the American People and the 25th anniversaries of Thomas Tweed’s Retelling U.S. Religious History and David Hall’s Lived Religion in America?
- For a possible co-sponsorship with the Afro-American Religious History Unit; In light of the 50th anniversary of Roe, the repeal of Roe, and our location in Texas, we welcome panels on Religion and Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Justice, for a possible co-sponsored session with Afro-American Religious History.
Religion and healing in the "North Pacific Intersystem": Roundtable discussion of Justin Stein's Alternate Currents (co-sponsored session between the Japanese Religions, Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society, North American Religions, and New Religious Movements Units)
Statement of Purpose
Samira Mehta, University of Colorado1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Isaac Weiner, Ohio State University1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Steering Committee Members
Zaid Adhami, Williams College1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Melissa Borja, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
Emily Clark, Gonzaga University1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Brett Esaki, University of Arizona1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Mélena Laudig, Princeton University1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Laura McTighe, Florida State University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
James Padilioni, Swarthmore College1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Barbara Sostaita, University of Illinois, Chicago1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026