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Religion, Affect, and Emotion Unit

Call for Proposals

The Religion, Affect, and Emotion program unit is hosting a “shadow conference”: several sessions which highlight the below-the-grid content of the AAR’s usual formal presentations and content. We are interested in proposals on the following topics that lean into the personal/subjective/anecdotal, especially as it relates to the experiences and conditions of academic life -- and potentially as it is entwined with the content of presenters’ expertise. Proposals should be focused on the affective dimensions of the following topics and themes, but do not need to speak explicitly to formal theories of affect.

We welcome the playful bending of usual presentation norms and forms. In particular, we hope to build one or more “Lightning Sessions” made up of 5-8-minute papers. Please indicate in your proposal if you are open to being included for consideration in this format.



What does academic labor feel like right now?

Prompts/suggestions: Wild, extended metaphors; grainy sociological or anthropological descriptions; structural affective diagnoses with deep particularity; explorations of contingency and precarity; consideration of institutional contexts of labor.



We are all very tired. 

Prompts/suggestions: Phenomenologies of “tired.” The particular exhaustions of illness, impairment, disablement, and debilitations. Ruminations on energy and sleep. Ruminations on stagnation and stuckness. Affective dimensions of crip time.

Note: Given sufficient interest, this topic would be co-sponsored with the Religion and Disability unit.



What is your creative life right now? Or where has it gone? 

Prompts/suggestions: the tensions and overlaps between labor and creativity; creativity in late capitalist academic life; dreams, craft, and academic life; creativity and aliveness/eros; creativity and resistance; creativity in/from debility; creativity as care work/care work as creative work. 


Separately, we are interested in proposals which explore the *limits* of affect theories as they have been articulated and imagined thus far. What epistemological, ethical, philosophical, other conundrums have emerged in relationship to the theorizing on affect? What are some constructive re-imaginations, revisions, or expansions might be possible?

Statement of Purpose

This Unit provides space for theoretically-informed discussion of the relationship between religion, affect, and emotion. The Unit serves as a meeting point for conversations on the affective, noncognitive, and passional dimensions of religion coming from diverse fields, including anthropology, comparative religion, psychology, decolonial theory, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, philosophy, and theology. Proposals drawing on these theoretical resources to examine specific religious traditions, shifting historical understandings of religion and affect/emotion, comparative work that looks at affective forms across traditions, and broader theoretical reflections are all welcome.


Steering Committee Members


E-mail with Attachment (proposal is in attachment, not in body of e-mail)

Review Process

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