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Religion and Memory Unit

Call for Proposals

This unit provides an opportunity for scholars to engage in the intersection of religion and memory. We are interested in examining this topic across broad geographical areas, methodologies, religious traditions, and historical eras.

This year, we invite for papers, panels, and roundtables that explore the following themes:

What are the methods of studying religion and memory? As the study of religion and memory continues to develop, scholars use a wide range of tools and methods to investigate it. We invite proposals that interrogate and reflect upon archival research, oral history, the study of material and digital cultures, ethnography and interviews, or other methods, tools, and tactics employed in the study of religion and memory.

In keeping with the 2022 AAR presidential theme, we also invite proposals that reflect on religion, memory, and catastrophe. How have religious communities remembered catastrophes and how have commemorations of catastrophes functioned as religion? Conversely, who or what is serving as a memory keeper today, documenting religion in the midst of our overlapping political, social, medical, or environmental disasters?

We also welcome papers, panels, and roundtables on other issues of religion and memory in any time period and any geographic context.

Co-sponsored with the Study of Judaism Unit:
2022 will be the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi's Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory. It remains a foundational book in Jewish memory studies—and has poignant comments on the role of Jewish historians—but studies of Jewish memory have also developed considerably in the last four decades, both building upon and pushing back against Yerushalmi’s conceptions of Jewish history and Jewish memory. We invite proposals of papers, panels, or roundtables that reevaluate Zakhor in our present moment.

Statement of Purpose

This unit considers memory’s role in the making of religions and the ways in which religions make memories. It explores the construction and representation of narratives of the past as memory in relation to religious practices, ideologies, and experiences. We encourage critical reflection on religion in relation to ideas of memory, heritage, and public history. We are interested in examining these topics across broad geographical areas, religious traditions, methodological practices, and historical eras.


  • Christopher Cantwell, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
    1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
  • Rachel Gross, San Francisco State University
    1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024

Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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