This Unitʼs mission is to provide a venue for new and important research in the many religious cultures, texts, and histories of South Asia. Within the area of South Asia, all world religions exist in unique forms, from religions that originated in India — such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Tantra, and tribal religions — to religions that have taken on longstanding and distinctive forms in South Asia — such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. The focus of our work is thus on the religious, cultural, and intellectual traditions generated in South Asia, but not limited to that geographic region, and changes that have occurred in those traditions over several millennia. Scholars of South Asian religious traditions explore the distinctive manifestations of these traditions within and beyond the subcontinent, their interactions, and their movements to and expressions in other parts of the world. This Unit encourages contextualizing religion within debates on a broad array of parallel and intersecting issues, such as (but not limited to) politics, secularism, literature, philology, globalization, modernity, colonialism and postcolonialism, history, society, media, popular culture, material and visual culture, and economics. Our scholarship often emphasizes sessions and papers that look at more than one tradition and thus frequently entail some degree of comparative approach. Our website is https://sari.arizona.edu.We also have a listserv, which is essential to the work of our Unit. Information on joining the listserv can be found on our website.
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South Asian Religions Unit
Call for Proposals
The Steering Committee of the South Asian Religions (SARI) Unit invites colleagues to submit proposals for the 2023 AAR Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. SARIʼs mission is to provide a venue for new research on the many religious cultures, literatures, and histories of South Asia as they have developed in global contexts. We have a strong preference for sessions in which the papers cover a range of South Asian traditions, regions, and languages. Some themes already identiﬁed as potential papers sessions are listed below—please contact the associated colleagues for details about potential collaborations. Panels and papers are also encouraged that respond to the 2023 AAR Presidential Theme: "La Labor de Nuestras Manos."
The SARI Steering Committee encourages full panel submissions (i.e., papers Sessions rather than single papers) with the exception of papers for the New Directions panel (see below). For the 2023 Annual Meeting, SARI has a ﬂexible allotment of panel formats: three 2-hour sessions and three 90-minute sessions. SARI can also sponsor one additional paper session if it is co-sponsored with another Unit. In your proposal, you may specify your preferred panel format (120 or 90 minutes) but the time allotted for accepted panels varies based on the overall programming needs. We especially encourage roundtables as they tend to create more dynamic conversations between participants and audience members. If relevant, list any potential co-sponsoring Unit with your proposal.
All Papers Session Panel Proposals must be submitted through the PAPERS system on the AAR website. If you are looking for collaborators towards proposing a panel session, please feel free to reach out to colleagues on the SARI listservs and/or contact the SARI co-chairs Jenn Ortegren (firstname.lastname@example.org) and SherAli Tareen (SherAli.Tareen@fandm.edu) for assistance or to email the colleagues listed below if there is a topic that is interesting to you.
New Directions in South Asian Religions
The SARI Steering Committee accepts individual paper submissions for the “New Directions in South Asian Religions” to provide space for new scholarship in our ﬁeld. To be eligible, applicants must (1) be ABD doctoral students (or recent graduates) from a Ph.D. program in South Asian religions and (2) never have presented at the national AAR meeting. Accepted panelists will be mentored by a senior colleague with appropriately specialized expertise. To apply, email your proposal (and any other queries) to Bhakti Mamtora (email@example.com) and Arun Brahmbhatt (firstname.lastname@example.org) convenors of the panel for 2023 AND upload your individual paper proposal in the AARʼs PAPERS system, labeled as a "New Directions” submission.
The unit will also accept submissions on the following topics:
- Adivasi Religions: Traditions and Modernity: Maharshi Vyas, email@example.com
- Girlhood (and Boundary Crossing?) in South Asian Religions: Jenn Ortegren, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hindu and Christian Nationalisms: Tyler Williams, email@example.com
- Keywords: Translation Across European and South Asian Languages (roundtable): Francesca Chubb-Confer, firstname.lastname@example.org; Tyler Williams, email@example.com
- South Asian Religions on Social Media: Iva Patel, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Current crisis, longstanding difficulties Religion and politics in Sri Lanka: Jessica Albrecht, email@example.com
- Domesticity, Motherhood, Embodiment (co-sponsored with North American Hinduism): Aarti Patel, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Interreligious Interactions in South Asia: Arun Jones, email@example.com
- Teaching Caste (a pedagogy roundtable): Drishadwati Bargi, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Teaching Minority Religions in South Asia: Elaine Fisher, email@example.com
- Engaging With Texts from the Margins: Eric Steinschneider, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Animals, Rituals, and Power in South Asian Religions: Andrea Gutiérrez, email@example.com
- Digital Humanities and the Study of Hinduism (co-sponsored with Hinduism Unit): Ute Huesken, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Queering South Asian Religions (co-sponsored with North American Hinduism): Arun Brahmbhatt, email@example.com
- Transnational Connections between the Middle East and South Asia, (co-sponsored with the Middle Eastern Christianity Unit, but please note that the call is for all religious traditions, not only Christian traditions): Deanna Ferree Womack, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Trads": Masculinity Hate Politics in Transnational South Asian Contexts
Contact: Dheepa Sundaram (email@example.com)
Potential co-sponsorship between North American Hinduism, Men, Masculinities, and Religions, Hinduism, and South Asian Religions Unit
This panel explores the hate politics, purity discourses, and identitarian grounding of groups that describe themselves as “Trads” or Traditionalists which operate in transnational contexts. While members of this group reject the Indian Constitution as a Western construct, many of its symbols are imported from the West—the white supremacist Alt-Right in the United States.
Harnessing Our Scholarly Privilege and Power for Public Good: Reproductive Justice and Religion: Shana Sippy, firstname.lastname@example.org
With particular awareness of the AAR's presence in Texas (and wherever members may be), this session seeks to respond directly to the realities of a post-Dobbs America. Bringing together scholars who work on a range of different religious traditions and regions to share their knowledge and comparative perspectives, we hope to deepen our understanding of the issues surrounding reproductive justice. In the planning phase, we will gather together scholars and activists who want to think through and prepare some type of public programming on the issue of Reproductive Justice for the annual meeting. We anticipate this session will be jointly sponsored by a number of different units and, depending on the response, may involve multiple sessions or additional programming and actions.
Roundtable discussion of a recent book: Jenn Ortegren (email@example.com) or SherAli Tareen (firstname.lastname@example.org) We are hoping to make this a more common feature of SARI annual offerings, with the stipulation that the book to be discussed should touch on the diversity of South Asian religious traditions and/or the complexity of religion as a category in relation to South Asian religions.
Statement of Purpose
Jennifer Ortegren, Middlebury College1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
SherAli Tareen, Franklin and Marshall College1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Steering Committee Members
Arun Brahmbhatt, St. Lawrence University1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Seema Chauhan, University of Oxford1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Bhakti Mamtora, College of Wooster1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Prea Persaud, University of North Carolina, Charlotte1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Tulasi Srinivas, Emerson College1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Dheepa Sundaram, University of Denver1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Anand Taneja, Vanderbilt University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027