This Unit fosters interdisciplinary and theoretically innovative analyses of Latina/o and Latin American religiosities and spiritualities in the Americas. We explore the richness and diversity of religious traditions in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, highlighting the complex and often explosive relations between religion and politics in the region, the centrality of religion in the Americas since pre-Conquest times, and the global significance of religious events and lived religion in the region. Our goal is to advance knowledge and ways of knowing that expand traditional areas of religious studies throughout the Americas, mindful of transnational and global realities. Thus, we encourage studies that explore non-Western beliefs and practices, including the indigenous, the African diasporic, Buddhist, and Islamic, as well as those that advance more complex understanding of culturally hybrid Christianities. We encourage feminist- and queer-centered perspectives as well as thought rooted in community experience. Diverse disciplinary and methodological perspectives are highlighted in presentation of this scholarship.
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Religions in the Latina/o Americas Unit
Call for Proposals
As always, we are interested in individual paper and pre-arranged panel proposals that advance interdisciplinary and theoretically innovative analyses of Latina/o/x and Latin American religiosities and spiritualities in the Americas. In addition, we are interested in paper and panel proposals related to the list of topics below, as well book panels, “new format sessions,” and emerging scholarship panels. We also seek individual paper proposals for our two co-sponsored sessions.
Please note: When submitting your proposal, please identify the proposal as either an INDIVIDUAL or PANEL proposal, and please indicate whether you would like to be considered for one of the co-sponsored panels.
This year, we are especially interested in papers and panels that address the following topics:
• Religious dimensions of recent unrest and revolts in Latin America, including the religious significance of the revolts for Latina/o/x communities in the US
• Indigenous spirituality and the religious significance of place within Indigenous communities.
• Latinx and Latin American queer studies.
• Latin American and/or Latina/o/x queer communities in the U.S
• Theoretical approaches to religion as a category of analysis in the Latino/a/x Americas. In particular, we are interested in papers that explore the co-constitutive nature of race, religion, sexuality, and gender in colonial and post-colonial histories.
• Critical discussions of the limits and possibilities of thinking hemispherically for the study of religion in Latin America and Latina/o/x communities in the US. What does doing so allow for? What and who may get left out?
• The place of Caribbean communities and religiosity in our scholarly and community concepts of “Latinidad,” particularly in relationship to the French and English speaking Caribbean.
• Religion and religiosity in Brazil and Brazilian communities throughout the Americas.
• African diasporic religion in Latin America and Latino/a/x communities in the U.S.
• Religion and healing in Latin America and the Latin American diaspora in the United States.
Prearranged Panel Sessions
In addition to accepting INDIVIDUAL paper proposals, our unit will also consider PANEL proposals, which usually consist of 3-4 presenters, along with a moderator and a respondent. In addition to prearranged panel proposals related to our general call and areas of particular interest this year, we also encourage proposals for book panel sessions and emerging scholarship sessions.
Book Panel Sessions
These sessions work best when 2-3 authors work together to propose a panel with a single, overarching theme. Each panelist should submit an individual proposal that makes reference to the larger theme, and the panel as a whole should determine ahead of time who the respondent(s) will be. These "New Book" sessions are meant not merely to highlight the merits of each book, but, more substantially, to serve as springboards for a larger group discussion (i.e,. What broader issues are raised by placing the books in conversation with one another?)
Emerging Scholarship Session
We encourage 1) doctoral students and recent Ph.D. graduates working in the area of the Latina/o Americas who 2) have never presented at the national AAR meeting to submit papers. To apply, upload your individual paper proposal in the AAR’s PAPERS system, explicitly labeling it as an "Emerging Scholarship” submission.
New Format Sessions
We are interested in exploring alternative panel formats to encourage new modes of discussion. For the upcoming conference in Boston, we are considering panels in which 5-7 participants respond to a single question, each speaking for 6-7 minutes. This will then be followed by an open discussion. In this vein, we invite responses that are no more than 900 words to the following questions:
• What are the implications of using the terms Latinx, Latino/a, Latin@, Latine for the hemispheric study of religion the Americas?
• What are your naming practices and why? What would be an appropriate designation for this unit in particular, given that our unit deals with realities pertaining to both Latin American and U.S. Latinx communities?
• How do you resolve/approach the most difficult ethical dilemmas of doing religious studies in your particular field and discipline?
• How do you reconcile the (ethnographic, historical, literary, philosophical) demands of your work in relation to violence, mourning, vulnerability, suffering, exploitation, and power relations among other painful and fraught areas of inquiry?
Please note that your 900-word submission will be your presentation (i.e., no need to write another presentation once you submit to this CFP!)
For a possible co-sponsored session with the Class, Religion, and Theology unit, the Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society unit, and the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society unit, we welcome proposals on the topic of "the Labor of Black, Brown, Yellow, and Indigenous Racialized Bodies in/and U.S. Religious Traditions."
Proposals for this co-sponsored session may address the following or related questions: How does the concept of labor, with its multiple connotations of both economic production and social reproduction, offer a useful way to make sense of black, brown, yellow, and indigenous racialized bodies' participation in U.S. religious traditions? What distinct kinds of labor have brown, indigenous, yellow, or black racialized people been expected to perform in our own religious communities and/or in predominantly white religious communities? How has labor (productive and/or reproductive) been a site for religious expression and/or resistance to oppression by indigenous, yellow, black, or brown racialized bodies? How have labor hierarchies and the labor of subordinated racial groups been sacralized? How is the religious labor of yellow, black, indigenous or brown racialized people further unequalized by hierarchies of gender and sexuality? Historical, ethnographic, sociological, theological, and critical theory methods are all welcome.
For a possible co-sponsored session with the Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit and the Religions in the Latina/o Americas Unit, we invite paper proposals for a panel provisionally titled, "Tracing Religion in Chicanx/Latinx Studies - Genealogies, Contributions, Interlocutors, Omissions.”
This session will aim to analyze and assess histories and contemporary trends in the study of religion within the fields of Chicanx and Latinx Studies. Proposals may address the following or related questions: How have contributions from “major figures” and approaches within Chicanx/Latinx Studies shaped the study of religion over the past five decades? What, if any, “schools of thought” have developed in the study of religion within Chicanx/Latinx Studies? What influences and asymmetries exist in engagements between Chicanx/Latinx Studies scholars and scholars doing work in Constructive Theologies? How has Chicanx/Latinx Studies been shaped by the disciplines of theological and religious studies? What are recent trends and emerging approaches to the study of religion within Chicanx/Latinx Studies? What thematic and disciplinary possibilities remain underdeveloped or ignored in the study of religion within Chicanx/Latinx Studies?
For a possible co-sponsored session with the Liberation Theologies Unit; the Comparative Theology Unit; the Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Unit; and the Religions in the Latina/o Americas Unit, we invite proposals for a panel provisionally titled, “Land, Revolutions, and the Religious Being: in Search of Political Theologies of Liberation.”
For this session, we invite proposals that consider the setting of the 2020 meeting in Boston by examining the relationship between revolutions and land (i.e., Hong Kong, Chile, Paris, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, etc.) in different ways. Possible areas include post-colonial and decolonial critiques of comparative theology and theologies of peace and conflict resolution; theology intersecting at the borders of geography and confessionalism; learning and activism across those same borders; comparative theologies as praxis/therapy for overcoming the impact of tolerance, hate, and conflict; political theologies of liberation in relation to conflict, land and various industrial-complexes (prison, ecological, technological, military, etc.).
Membership is not required to submit a proposal in response to the Call for Papers. However, all participants accepted to the program must be current AAR members and registered for the Annual Meeting by June 15, 2018. Membership waivers are available to participants working outside the field of the study of religion or participants from developing nations. Contact the program Unit chair for more details on how to arrange a waiver.
Questions may be directed to the group's co-chairs.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Casey, Matthew Peter, Arizona State UniversityMember Since: 2018
Doran, Justin, Middlebury CollegeMember Since: 2019
Escalante, Alejandro, University of North CarolinaMember Since: 2020
Hughes, Jennifer Scheper, University of California, RiversideMember Since: 2018
Morales, Harold, Morgan State UniversityMember Since: 2018
Padilla, Elaine, University of La VerneMember Since: 2015
Pea, Elaine, George Washington UniversityMember Since: 2015
Tirres, Chris, DePaul UniversityMember Since: 2020
Titizano, Cecilia, Graduate Theological UnionMember Since: 2019