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Ritual Studies Unit

Call for Proposals

The Ritual Studies Unit invites individual papers and full panel proposals from a variety of religious and cultural traditions exploring ritual in various local and transnational contexts. We are interested in sessions that experiment with new formats favoring increased interaction and discussion and we particularly encourage papers/presentations that involve actually doing ritual practices.

Whenever possible, our sessions will be formatted to encourage interaction and group discussion on the basis of concise, pre-circulated papers of no more than five pages submitted for The Ritual Studies Unit invites individual papers and full panel proposals from a variety of religious and cultural traditions exploring ritual in various local and transnational contexts. Proposals should engage with ritual theory in some way. We are interested in sessions that experiment with new formats favoring increased interaction and discussion and we particularly encourage papers/presentations that involve actually doing ritual practices.
Whenever possible, our sessions will be formatted to encourage interaction and group discussion on the basis of concise, pre-circulated papers of no more than five pages submitted for circulation by October 15, 2021. Because at least 30 minutes of every session will be reserved for discussion, presentation times will vary in accordance with the number of speakers in the session.
Rites of shared affliction. We invite papers documenting and analyzing ritual practices in response to hardship, misfortune and loss brought about by terrorist attacks, pandemics, natural disasters or environmental disorders.
Getting past the sacred/secular binary. We invite papers that draw on ritual theory and/or ritual practices to suggest ways of getting beyond the tenacious dichotomy between “sacred”, “ritual”, “spiritual”, etc. on the one hand, and “secular”, “everyday”, “profane”, “mundane”, etc. on the other.
Everyday acts of divination in the contemporary West. We are interested in exploring the (often unrecognized) divinatory dimensions of current Western practices relating, among others, to healing, work, education, and online or face-to-face recreative activities.
What political difference do rituals make? We invite papers dealing with rituals in the political arena, ones that may be seen as either upholding existing power structures or as challenging them, such as protests and/or counter-protests, with particular emphasis on issues of effectiveness.
Ritual Theory: We invite papers that engage with the “ritual theory canon.” Relevant papers may be purely theoretical or inspired by particular case studies; they may offer new approaches to understanding and utilizing “canonical” ritual theorists or propose new theoretical resources for ritual studies scholarship. We are particularly interested in the theme of sacrifice as a core element of ritual theory, and in pedagogical strategies and experiences as they relate to issues of ritual theory.
Embodied Rituals: Mantra, Tantra and Yoga. A pre-arranged co-sponsored “show and tell” session with the Yoga in Theory and Practice Unit. Panelists will present the rituals and practices of mantra, tantra and yoga in both a theoretical and practical way will be followed by two ritual studies respondents. Each panelist will look at performance as a paradigm of ritual action through the demonstration of three particular embodied spiritual traditions.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit provides a unique venue for the interdisciplinary exploration of ritual — broadly understood to include rites, ceremonies, religious and secular performances, and other ritual processes — in their many and varied contexts, and from a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives.

Chairs

Steering Committee Members

Method

PAPERS

Review Process

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection

Review Process Comments

Our committee felt this choice would best help us make sessions and participation more diverse.