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Religion and Politics Unit

Call for Proposals

The Religion and Politics Unit is seeking proposals related to the following topics:

(Co-sponsored session with the Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Unit)

We seek papers that consider climate change and its relation to violence and conflict, including human-induced climate change as a form of violence. We welcome papers that examine this problem in theory and/or in practice. Comparative approaches and examinations across different sites of violence are particularly encouraged as well as papers focusing on Colorado and the surrounding region.

 

Lessons and Legacies of America’s 21st Century Wars (Co-sponsored session with Ethics Unit)

What have we learned from the multiple US-led wars and combat operations that consumed the first two decades of the twenty-first century? The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in 2021 closed a significant chapter that included the longest war in US history (Afghanistan), the most controversial war in the last 50 years (Iraq), and numerous other military operations around the world (Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and others). While the use of force continues in various parts of the world, we have yet to grapple fully with the moral lessons and legacies of the “war decades” in the early twenty-first century. This call seeks papers examining the religious, ethical, and political implications of these wars for the following: US foreign policy; the future of just war thought; military strategy and tactics; the moral injuries of veterans of these wars; the authorization of military force; and the future of the all-volunteer force.

 

We seek papers on any topic at the intersection of religion and politics in national, international, and especially comparative perspective. This year, our call focuses on:

  • Guns, Gun Culture, and Gun Violence, especially school shootings
  • Abortion, Reproductive Rights, and its impact on Religion and Politics
  • Ideas, Meanings, Articulations, and Pursuits of Freedom. While many people equate freedom with individual rights, civil liberties, and religious exemptions, we invite reflection on consider how other accounts of freedom (positive/negative; individual/communal; religious/political; liberal/republican) speak to the moral challenges of our time.
  • Water: scarcity, rationing, conflicts, sacred spaces, etc. Interested in topics related to the Colorado River, or other vital water sources.
  • Democracy under Siege: Rebellion, Insurrection, voter suppression, and other threats to democracy (in the US and globally) as well as religious efforts to defend democracy.
  • Vaccine Mandates
  • Colorado and the Religious Right: Movements, media outlets, organizations, and events that have shaped the Right in the United States.
  • Religious Critics of Liberalism: Critiques of liberal democracy--and proposals for potentials alternatives--by populist, nationalist, orthodox, and other religious voices on the Right.

 

Religion, Ecocide, and Climate Catastrophe (Co-sponsorship between Native Traditions in the Americas, Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence, Religion, Media, and Culture, Religion and Human Rights, and Religion and Politics, and Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Units)

We invite proposals that investigate how violence and religion intersect in the environmental injustice of climate catastrophe, including increased intensity of weather events, drought, fire, food insecurity, climate refugees, species extinctions and growing global gaps in access to resources needed for life and health. Specifically, we encourage papers that address:

  • the “Anthropocene” as the age of climate catastrophe and violence, with focus on the ways in which religious ideas, practices, institutions, and rituals respond to the severe anthropogenic disruptions that distinguish the Anthropocene, and with a view to the differential quality of “the human” in light of environmental injustice.
  • The Sixth Mass Extinction as an ongoing event that exemplifies, if not epitomizes, the violence of human-animal relations, human exceptionalism, and attitudes of supremacy, through the lens of religious views and practices, whether as purveyors and/or disruptors of anthropocentrism.
  • Indigenous and non-Indigenous resistance to ecocidal violence (possible co-sponsored session with Native Traditions in the Americas Unit)
    The role of religion in ecocidal violence embedded in the cultures, institutions and practices of militarism, militarization, war and colonialism.
    the role of the study of religion in the time of climate violence, in light of the fact that, as the Presidential theme states, “It seems likely that climate catastrophes—the effects of which are exacerbated by and exacerbate social inequality—will continue to transform the worlds in which we live.”

Statement of Purpose

This Unit provides a forum for scholars and professionals interested in the relationships among religion, the state, and political life, both in the United States and around the world. Our members focus on the interaction between religious and political values, movements, and commitments, and the role of religious individuals and communities in bodies politic. This focus includes attention to the ways in which religion and religious actors participate in public discourse, contribute to debates over public values and social policy, and affect — and are affected by — activity in the political sphere. We welcome members doing both normative and descriptive work from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, including religious studies, political science, philosophy, social ethics, law (including church–state studies), history (as it relates to contemporary understandings), and theology. We seek to advance scholarly inquiry on religion and politics and we seek also to speak to broad and diverse publics about areas falling under the Unit’s purview. We also maintain a year-round Religion and Politics Google group, which is open to all AAR members here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/aar-religionandpolitics

Chairs

Steering Committee Members

Method

PAPERS

Review Process

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