This Unit aims to bring together scholars working on premodern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in order to create a venue in which religious phenomena can be considered comparatively. Individual papers may be embedded in a single tradition, but presenters should be interested in engaging this material comparatively during the discussion period.
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Religion in Premodern Europe and the Mediterranean Unit
Call for Proposals
We welcome proposals on all topics related to the Unit's subject matter, broadly conceived. Proposals that are themselves comparative in nature or that present novel approaches to the study of premodern religion are particularly welcome. We encourage the submission of preformed panel proposals suitable for 90-minute time slots. We also encourage the submission of individual paper proposals for panels on the following subjects:
Deconstructing Premodern Gender Roles and Binaries (potential co-sponsorship with Queer Studies in Religion)
Race in the Middle Ages (potential co-sponsorship with History of Christianity) -- We have witnessed in the past few years that symbols, texts, and ideas of the Middle Ages have been deployed by white nationalist groups to promote racist notions of superiority and purity. Recent books including Geraldine Heng’s The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages and M. Lindsey Kaplan’s Figuring Racism in Medieval Christianity are clear calls to critically examine the logics, political histories, and mobilizations of this era. We seek to organize an interdisciplinary panel to further this discussion.
The Place of the Premodern in Religious Studies -- Most religious studies departments can find a place for biblical scholars at one end and for a Reformation scholar at the other. The medievalist, however, seems a quaint figure easily dispensed with when funding is short, and is consequently underrepresented within the AAR as well. We seek to organize a roundtable discussion of the ways that this "middle" is understood and represented in departments and the AAR, focusing both on challenges specific to medievalists and on opportunities to engage with colleagues who work on other time periods.
The Place of Comparison/Comparativists in the AAR (potential co-sponsorship with Comparative Studies in Religion) -- If you are interested in joining this proposed roundtable, please contact Oliver Freiberger (firstname.lastname@example.org) and David Freidenreich (email@example.com).
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Wendy Love Anderson, Washington University in St. LouisMember Since: 2019
Nicole Archambeau, Colorado State UniversityMember Since: 2018
Claire Fanger, Rice UniversityMember Since: 2018
Fadi Ragheb, University of TorontoMember Since: 2019