AMERICAN ACADEMY OF RELIGION WESTERN REGION (AAR/WR)
2023 ANNUAL CONFERENCE | CALL FOR PAPERS FORTHCOMING
In-Personl| March 24-26, 2023
Click here to download the program participant form.
The successful organization of our 2021 conference, which the AAR/WR organized as a virtual event due to the continued spread and threat of COVID-19, brings us confidence that our unit chairs and members will work together to create our first in-person conference in two years in 2022. We are further encouraged by the amazing team of academics and administrators at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with whom we are working to bring forth the conference. Our conference organizers are especially working on issues of inclusivity and accessibility for our members, and we expect to provide unique sessions that highlight our region's diversity and creativity. We also expect to provide all of our members with special networking opportunities at our 2022 conference.
The overall theme for AAR/WR's 2023 conference is: Grace, Mercy, and Atonement: Exploring Artistic, Ritual, and Social Action through Forgiveness
The deadline for submissions is October 14, 2022. Submissions should be sent to the relevant unit chairs and include an abstract of 250 words and a Program Participant Form: participation_form_aar_wr.doc. Please refer to all individual Calls For Papers (CFP) below, which are listed in chronological order according to unit name and include all Unit Chair contact information.
CFP: ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES UNIT
The year 2020 has been a difficult year for many Americans due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as some significant events that captured intense moments of racial, social, political, and economic injustices. The Asian American community is no exception to these sufferings due to strong feelings of animosity against them. Asian American hate is not new in the US but the recent pandemic, compounded by Trump’s explicit racialization of the virus, has reignited anti-Asian sentiments causing an upsurge of incidents. Many Asian immigrants came to the US with the hopes for better lives, yet they feel unwelcome and are blamed for the pandemic including the many deaths that came with it. Experiences of violence caused many Asian Americans to feel threatened. In addition, Asian American businesses have been hit especially hard during the pandemic, giving rise to economic hardship. However, the year 2021 promises renewed hope: vaccinations against the coronavirus and a new administration which includes the first Asian US Vice President, Kamala Harris.
This year’s conference theme pays attention to healing and atonement, and the role that religion and religious studies play in helping us to better understand the creative, ritualistic, and social action demonstrated by Asian American religious communities through unity, compassion, reconciliation, and forgiveness. By examining how these concepts are related to Asian American religious traditions and communities, we will develop a deeper understanding of how Asian Americans will be able to move forward with a unified front.
As people become more aware of racial injustice and Asian American hate during these past months, how has this affected Asian American communities? Does it draw them closer to forgiveness? What role do religious traditions and institutions play in moving towards forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation? What does religion teach about forgiveness and how is this essential to religious discourse? A common understanding of forgiveness is that it calls for the renouncement of particular negative emotions towards the wrongdoer, as well as the restraint for retaliation against the wrongdoer, and sometimes even mending the relationship with the wrongdoer.
Please submit abstracts (250 words) to Shannon_toribio@ucsb.edu. The deadline for submission is on October 15, 2021. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (attached and also available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew.
When is one in a position to forgive a wrongdoer? What norms govern forgiveness?
If hate and injustice have long been part of Asian American history, would forgiveness (and/or forgetting) be possible? What follows forgiveness once it has been attained– where do we go from there? How is forgiveness a performative ritual and how does it affect one’s spirituality?
CFP: BUDDHIST STUDIES UNIT
The Buddhist Studies Unit invites papers related to Buddhism within the framework of the 2022 conference theme, “Grace, Mercy, and Atonement: Exploring Artistic, Ritual, and Social Action through Forgiveness.” Studies involving Buddhist merit, dana, and philanthropy are welcome, as are proposals related to
· Engaged Buddhism in contemporary contexts
· Interpretations of traditional tales of Buddha Sakyamuni and his disciples (in practice, philosophy, etc.)
· Connections between Buddhism and indigenous religions (ex.: Mogallana) and the role of forgiveness/making merit in specific cultural contexts
· Differences between Buddhist karma and other religions’ understandings of forgiveness
As always, topics of interest yet unrelated to the conference theme will also be considered as space permits.
Please send an abstract of 250 words as well as a completed participant form to Buddhist Studies co-chairs: Alison Jameson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jake Nagasawa (email@example.com) and Alison Pokhrel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
CFP: CATHOLIC STUDIES UNIT
The Catholic Studies unit invites papers that explore artistic, ritual, and/or social actions that relate to the themes of grace, mercy, atonement, and/or forgiveness within Catholic traditions, or are responding to them from without.
The unit welcomes critical, cultural, ethical, historical, and theological perspectives.
Please send an abstract of 250 words as well as a completed participant form to Eva Braunstein at email@example.com
CFP: CHRISTIANITY UNIT
The cultural magazine The Atlantic has recently labelled the British prime minister “The Minister of Chaos,” not in the sense that Johnson produces chaos, but rather that he is a perfect fit for these days of disorder. And we surely live in days of disorder, at any level, including local and global. The Christian idea of order is different than the liberal one: the latter affirms that order is the natural state of social and human affairs, and disorder is the exception. Christianity assumes, instead, that order and disorder follow each other. When the order falls into disorder, an action is required to repristinate order: this action is forgiveness. Forgiveness is a human act toward one’s neighbor, although in Christian doctrine it is primarily an act of God, releasing sinners from judgment and freeing them from the divine penalty of their sin. Hence forgiveness is a uniquely Christian doctrine. Historically, forgiveness has been rare. Papers dealing with the theological, biblical, and historical side of forgiveness in Christianity are welcome. Please send submissions as an attachment to Dyron Daughrity at firstname.lastname@example.org and Enrico Beltramini at email@example.com. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words.
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts is October 15, 2021. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (attached and also available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew.
CFP: DISABILITY STUDIES UNIT
The Western Region of American Academy of Religion and the 2022 Regional Conference is proud to host the inaugural panels for the newly formed Disability Studies Unit. We are seeking paper proposals for two different panels. We are open to all religious traditions and groups to be represented in our papers and panels. The Paper Proposal must be 250 words or less. If your paper is accepted, you must be an active member of AAR AND register for the 2022 Western Regional Conference.
- The first theme the Disability Studies is asking for paper proposals will be focused on questions and investigations surrounding “What is Disability Studies and how does it intersect with religion?” For this panel, we are seeking proposals that address some of the following questions:
- Why does Disability Studies matter, especially in our current time period, culture, and for religious groups?
- How can we better incorporate Disability Studies into the mainstream society and the academy?
- How do we talk about disabilities and why does rhetoric matter?
- How do religions talk about disabilities?
- What can be the future trajectories of Disability Studies for society, religious groups, and academia?
- The second theme will address the larger 2022 Conference Theme of “Grace, Mercy, and Atonement: Exploring Artistic, Ritual, and Social Action Through Forgiveness.” For the Disabilities Studies Panel we are looking for papers to address one/or a combination of the following themes below:
- Disability Justice
- Society’s tendency towards treating people with disabilities as being invisible
- Disability and Race
- Disability, Gender, and Sexual Identity
- Disability Trauma
- Disability and Rhetorics of Theologies and Religious Communities – both harmful and healing
- Disability, the Pandemic, and its After-Effects.
Paper Proposal Deadline October 15. Please email both Unit Chairs your paper proposal: Anjeanette LeBoeuf, firstname.lastname@example.org and Elizabeth Staszak, Elizabeth.email@example.com.
CFP: ECOLOGY AND RELIGION UNIT
Exploring the Role of Religion in Facilitating Forgiveness, Mercy, and Grace between Human and Earth Communities
Over the past two years, religious communities around the world have experienced various types of disturbance due to an ongoing pandemic, growing social and environmental crises, and mass global disruption. These interrelated crises have drawn attention to deep racial injustices, economic and social inequalities, and the alarming reality of climate change—both in American society and abroad. While these traumas are not solely experienced by human communities, they also disproportionately impact a whole spectrum of other-than-human earth communities, such as: land animals, sacred sites, bodies of water, and other animate and inanimate beings. For the 2022 AARWR meeting, the Ecology & Religion unit encourages proposals that seek to understand how religion—through the mediums of art, ritual, and social action—help us to facilitate a healing reconciliation between human and other-than-human beings. Specifically, we seek proposals that consider the role of forgiveness, mercy, and grace in reconciling our often broken relationship to the land and other earth beings. Some potential guiding questions might be: How can religion speak to the trauma(s) of these realities, which are not equally experienced? How might religion inform narratives of loss and grief in responding to ecological crises, and how might religious traditions generatively offer—or problematically impose—discourses of mercy and forgiveness? What might it look like to engage discourses around both activist art and religious ritual in responding to climate trauma, and can such an embracement offer new ways of thinking about and addressing climate crisis? These are just a few possible questions among many to consider when formulating a proposal.
The Ecology & Religion unit also welcomes submissions that address any number of broader issues and themes relating to religion and the environment. Please submit a participant form and 250-word proposal by Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 to section co-chairs Matthew Hartman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Charles Forbes (email@example.com). Please note: participants of the AARWR must be AAR members.
CFP: EDUCATION AND PEDAGOGY UNIT
The call for papers for the Pedagogy unit will be interested in receiving proposals that reflect on how you are focusing your pedagogy on how religions, spiritualities, and Religious Studies help us all better understand the artistic, ritualistic, and social action experienced by many through the act of forgiveness across religions and spiritualities. Is there a way that teaching and learning in your classroom involves forgiveness? How do you practice or model forgiveness or sympathy in the classroom? In the realm of religion and politics for example, how does your teaching focus on the intersectionality of forgiveness and tolerance and the intersectionality of a lack of forgiveness and intolerance? What is the role of the instructor in supporting our students in self-transformation in relation to learning about sympathy, compassion, mercy and atonement?
In addition to this focus, we also welcome papers on pedagogy in Religious Studies that relate directly to the broader call of the conference.
Please note that the deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October
15, 2021. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (attached and also available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words. Please email abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
CFP: ETHICS UNIT
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have and continue to experience political and social tumultuousness which has further exacerbated the challenges of marginalized communities such as BIPOC, women, LGBTQI persons, and the disabled in the U.S. and throughout the world. Local and global events have brought us in direct confrontation with the pain, trauma, and injustice inflicted by generational, structuralized, and systemic racism and oppression. In the backdrop of the hurt and horrors of the past year’s events, this year’s AARWR conference theme focuses on the role of religion and religious studies in understanding and mobilizing the concepts of grace, mercy, and atonement to move on from pain, struggle, and hurt through artistic, ritualistic, and social action brought about by the act of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a complex concept in relation to ethics. Who has the power to define what forgiveness means and requires? From an ethical standpoint, is forgiveness always possible or even appropriate to pursue? How do we engage authentically and deeply with complex histories of oppression, persecution, colonialism, racism - and the role of religion in these systems and others? How do our religious traditions understand and perhaps challenge concepts like grace, mercy, atonement, and forgiveness? And, given the harmful role of religions in perpetuating many social harms, how can we engage these religious understandings in dialogue with those of diverse others who may understand them differently? What is the role of arrangements like reparations and truth and reconciliation in embodying transformative social action?
We welcome papers that engage these topics, those that relate in some other way to the general conference theme, as well as those that address more general aspects of ethics —theoretical or applied, classical or contemporary —utilizing historical, literary, theological, or philosophical methods. Advanced graduate students and early career scholars are encouraged to submit proposals for papers. All submissions must include a title and a 250-word abstract and must be sent to the unit co-chairs Dr. Mahjabeen Dhala (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Sheryl Johnson (email@example.com).
CFP: GODDESS STUDIES UNIT
This year, the Goddess Studies unit invites papers related to AAR/WR’s 2022 conference theme: Grace, Mercy, and Atonement: Exploring Artistic, Ritual, and Social Action through Forgiveness. Of special interest is a look at the Divine Feminine and its relationship to forgiveness in the contexts of ecological consciousness, economic equity, and social justice. How are goddesses across religious traditions around the world integral to the ways in which a wide variety of communities have sought support, relief, or compassion during difficult moments of the past or in the precarious times of the contemporary age? We encourage the submission of papers that utilize interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and nontraditional approaches to research. Other topics and themes of interest to the Goddess Studies unit include: religion and representations of goddesses in art, music, material culture, and ideology; goddesses and sacred spaces; goddesses, gender and religion; goddesses and storytelling or oral traditions.
Please send abstracts as email attachments to Goddess Studies Unit Chairs: Angela Dane firstname.lastname@example.org and Anna Hennessey email@example.com. We look forward to receiving your proposals. Deadline for submission: October 31, 2020. Abstracts should be 250 words and submissions must also include AAR/WR’s Program Participant Form.
CFP: GRADUATE STUDENT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Throughout the pandemic, we as scholars have endured a range of turmoils inside and outside academia. We must balance challenges to the study of religion – virtual classrooms and restricted access to research, etc., with external traumas on both the personal and national levels. These include political crises – such as the attack on the US Capitol; and psychological, monetary, and physiological turmoil – such as attending family members sick from COVID while also taking care of one’s own mental and physical health.
In times of so much unrest and confusion, the upcoming AARWR conference theme concentrates on the concepts of grace, mercy, and atonement to explore possibilities of healing from turmoils through different types of actions guided by forgiveness.
Potential topics include:
● How does forgiveness play a role in the classroom? Do the traumas of the pandemic affect grading/deadlines in the future?
● How can grace be built into syllabus creation?
● How can grace be applied to the life of the graduate student in terms of self-compassion?
● How does forgiveness extend to the graduate professor/grad student relationship? What should graduate students be forgiven for? What should professors be forgiven for, especially given their privileged position?
● In a (seemingly) merciless job market, does mercy exist? How does grace affect the often tense relationship between institutions and grad students/adjunct faculty?
● More broadly, who is responsible for forgiveness? Can it be an unjust imposition? When ought atonement or reparations come into play?
We welcome papers that directly address these questions, relate to relevant topics in some way, and papers that engage with the general qualities of graduate student and professional development. The deadline for proposals and participant forms to unit chairs is [XXXX]. Proposals should be no more than 500 words. Presenters must be members in good standing of the American Academy of Religion and register for the conference before their presentation. Please submit abstracts to the attention of the unit co-chairs, James Berry (firstname.lastname@example.org), Casey Crosbie (email@example.com), and Kimberly Diaz (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We look forward to receiving your proposals.
CFP: INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS
Presenters must be members in good standing of the American Academy of Religion and register for the conference prior to their presentation. This will be a wildcard session. Also, if you're interested in serving as a Chair/Co-Chair for this section, please let us know.
Please submit abstracts (250 words) and Program Participant Forms to the attention of the President Emily Silverman (email@example.com) and Vice President John Erickson (firstname.lastname@example.org). See the link at the top of this page in pink bold to download the Program Participant Form.
We look forward to receiving your proposals!
CFP: ISLAMIC STUDIES UNIT
The AAR's Western Region Islamic Studies Unit encourages papers and panel proposals in all areas of our field of study for the upcoming 2022 conference. This year’s theme focuses on “the role of grace, mercy, and atonement and the role religious and religious studies plays to help us all better understand the artistic, ritualistic, and social action experienced by many through the act of forgiveness. The theme is a ways to analyze the relationships between religions and the concept of forgiveness, especially after not only a tumultuousness year both politically and socially, but also understand how we can chart a path forward, together, with grace and mercy.”
We invite papers and panels focusing on the main theme of the conference within the broader as well as specific context of Islamic Studies that is quite rich with concepts of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and atonement spiritually, artistically, and ritualistically. We also encourage papers and panel proposals in all areas of Islamic Studies. In the context of the overall conference theme, we hope that your paper proposals will position and offer insight into the concept of social action experienced by many through the act of forgiveness and other aspects of the conference theme. We encourage individual papers as well as panel proposals.
Proposals or abstracts should be sent to: Dr. Souad T. Ali, Arizona State University at Taj_1234@msn.com and Dr. Sophia Pandya, California State University, Long Beach email@example.com. The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 15, 2021. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (attached and also available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words.
CFP: JEWISH STUDIES UNIT
Forgiveness and Compassion from a Jewish Perspective
This year’s AAR-WR theme is centered around the timely - and timeless - topics of “Grace, Mercy, and Atonement.” We are asked to consider what different religious groups have to say about forgiveness, compassion, and other responses to suffering, perhaps in terms of ritual or sacred activities or processes, or in terms of personal, communal, and organizational responses.
What lessons do Jewish traditions, Jewish communities, and Jewish Studies as a discipline have to offer in this conversation? In what ways are these lessons tied to the specifics of Jewish thought and experience, and in what ways are they universal? How do the varied, complex experiences of Jews as powerless and powerful shape these discussions in Jewish contexts? How might Jews and scholars of Judaism approach interreligious and inter-disciplinary dialogue on these topics? What can we learn from others?
The Jewish Studies Unit of the AAR-WR invites paper proposals addressing any aspect of the issues outlined above. Possible topics include:
- How do forgiveness and compassion differ from an interpersonal, communal, or divine perspective?
- What are the insights to be gained from Jewish law, Jewish literature, Jewish art, Jewish practice, Jewish ritual, and Jewish thought?
- What can the varied experiences of Jewish individuals and communities throughout the world, and throughout history, teach us about forgiveness and compassion?
- What is the role of ethics in this conversation?
- What is the role of justice in this conversation?
- Is forgiveness an act? A process? An understanding? An exchange?
- Are all transgressions forgivable?
- What are the necessary prerequisites for forgiveness?
- Who can ask for forgiveness and who can grant it?
- In what ways are these questions applicable to modern history and current events?
We are planning two traditional panels as well as a round-table forum with the broader AAR-WR.
Please send completed proposals and participation forms to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 15, 2021.
All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words.
CFP: LATINX RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUALITIES UNIT
Healing Across Our Bodies, Our Communities, Our Traditions, and Our Generations
The Latinx Religions & Spiritualities Unit welcomes papers that explore how notions of grace, mercy, and/or atonement are expressed or nurtured within Latinx or Hispanic communities, rituals, and traditions. Because individual experiences of grace vary greatly and the theological contours of forgiveness are endless, we are particularly interested in papers that challenge the casualness in which grace imagery is appropriated within popular Western culture, paying careful attention to the ways in which ancestral and communal voices are sources of healing and grace internally within Latinx groups (religious or otherwise).
Some potential areas for presentations include, but are certainly not limited to:
● Anthropological explorations of theologies, rituals, and milestones of Latinx faith and spiritual communities around the principles of atonement.
● Theological discussions of grace, specifically centered from a Latinx perspective.
● Grace at the borders, and the im/possibilities of offering forgiveness from cages.
● Avoiding shame and the co-opting of grace.
● Blasphemy and the boundaries of transgression.
● Eternal life and the wisdom of our ancestors.
We gladly welcome any papers that venture into other topics that contribute to our ongoing understandings and experiences of Latinx Religions & Spiritualities.
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 15, 2021.
All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (attached and also available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew.
The length of abstracts is typically 250 words.
CFP: PAGAN STUDIES UNIT
Although Contemporary Pagan Communities do not usually subscribe to concepts of sin that revolve around pleasing the divine and gaining entrance to heaven, they do cultivate a strong ethic of right action and create reciprocal relationships based in mutual trust and understanding. They understand the need to work together, and value human and non-human communities and ecosystems. These Contemporary Pagan ethics intersect with monotheistic notions of sin when transgressions are committed against social, natural, and divine balances, creating imbalances that must then be addressed lest they sow chaos in as they spread.
How do Contemporary Pagan communities utilize art, ritual, and commitment to social action in creating or re-establishing balances between man, nature, and the divine, between the living and the dead, and between the human and the other than human?
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 15, 2021. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words. Please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org and JeffreyKAlbaugh@gmail.com
CFP: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION UNIT
We are interested in discussing what “Grace, Mercy, and Atonement: Exploring Artistic, Ritual, and Social Action through Forgiveness,” means for philosophy of religion today. Some topics include, but not limited to the following:
- Who, really, is the one in need of “grace, mercy, and atonement?” Does philosophy of religion have anything meaningful to say outside the confines of academic publishing, conferences, and post-secondary education? Can we provide for a porosity between academic silos and the daily lives of our students, friends, and family? What place does forgiveness play in the academic study of philosophy of religion?
- What can philosophy of religion say – or do – for the marginalized and oppressed people in our world? Conversely, what would it do to our practice of philosophy/theology if we were to listen, embrace, or adopt the perspectives of the marginalized and oppressed of the world? How might this shift change the nature of the age-old debates in the field of philosophy of religion?
- Is there a possibility for the earth to forgive us our sins against it? What would be an ecological atonement theory? What meaningful contributions currently exist or can be considered in philosophy of religion to confront the climate disasters we are facing and will continue to face at an ever-greater pace? Are there any philosophers or philosophies from history that may have something to meaningfully contribute to confronting ecological/environmental problems through the lens of philosophy of religion?
- Are there any contemporary philosophers who may have a contribution to confronting the environmental issues, especially from marginalized communities? What do Native American, Asian American, Latinx, or African American philosophies have to say in confronting issues of religion and ecology?
- Is philosophy of religion too “white”, Eurocentric, or Christian? What problems does racism pose to and for the field of philosophy of religion? Is there a difference in how philosophers, theologians, or religious scholars of different colors uphold these issues? What is it we do not hear? How do “black lives matter” in philosophy of religion? What would a decolonized philosophy of religion look like?
- Is philosophy of religion gendered, and is it, in its social standing, biased towards gender? How do these issues affect scholarship and/or social narrative in our discipline?
- What new, ignored, or disregarded topics, issues, or subjects deserve attention from those in the field of philosophy of religion today? Explore one of these topics, issues, or subjects.
- We also welcome proposals that investigate particular or individual philosophers, religious thinkers, theologians, or prominent social or political figures in terms of their insights, reflections, or ideas that contribute to the study of religion, or topics within the field of philosophy of religion.
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 15, 2021. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words.
Please submit to:
- Dane Sawyer, email@example.com
- Olga Louchakova-Schwartz, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jay Potter, email@example.com
CFP: PSYCHOLOGY, CULTURE, AND RELIGION UNIT
Keeping with the annual theme of "Religious Studies after COVID" the Psychology, Culture and Religion Section welcomes proposals that explore the psychological, cultural, and religious intersections involved with forgiveness, grace, and atonement.
Topics for exploration include:
● What is the relationship between personal/psychological feelings of remorse and the reality of structural/historical wrongdoing?
● What does forgiveness look like for marginalized groups, when they are still experiencing the effects of structural prejudice? Is it possible to “love” one’s oppressors, while still continuing a fight for equality?
● How do those who have grown used to privilege learn to transcend selfish impulses and surrender power to the marginalized? What is the relationship between self-actualization and power-sharing?
● Feelings of shock, anger, and hurt come before forgiveness. What can the psychology of anger teach the act of mercy and atonement?
● The religious concept of the reparation of sin is based on deep inner work to let go of the past and step into the present, but feelings of revenge and punishment cannot just be ignored or denied. What is the role of religious rituals in the process of forgiveness?
In addition, we also welcome interesting submissions that connect with the intersections of psychology, culture, and religion, even if they do not directly interface with this year’s theme.
The deadline for proposals and participant forms to unit chairs is October 15, 2021. Proposals should be no more than 250 words. Presenters must be members in good standing of the American Academy of Religion and register for the conference prior to their presentation. Please submit abstracts to the attention of the section co-chairs, Hester Oberman (firstname.lastname@example.org), Kevin Whitesides, (email@example.com) and Casey Crosbie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We look forward to receiving your proposals.
CFP: QUEER STUDIES IN RELIGION UNIT
"Queerness and the body: the effects of Pandemic"
The 2022 Call for the Queer Caucus is centering on topics surrounding queerness and the body: the effects of the Pandemic. The call wants to ask questions like "How has the queer community experience the devastating and last effects that have arisen out of pandemics?" "What happens with the lost of queer geography?" This call also seeks papers that explore how the queer community has continued to find creative ways to maintain communities, connections, and support when their physical spaces, their livelihoods, and their health have been threathened. How do you find community, other queer bodies? The recent closure of gay bars has also taken a toll and what does this mean for the future? This call is open to papers that engage with the current COVID19 Pandemic as well as other pandemic throughout the course of history including the AIDS crisis.
Please send a 250-word abstract alongside the Program Participant Form by October 15, 2021 to Queer Studies in Religion Co-Chairs Dr. John Erickson (email@example.com) and Dr. Marie Cartier (firstname.lastname@example.org). See the link at the top of this page in pink bold to download the Program Participant Form.
CFP: RELIGION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIT
This unit features scholarship that explores the relationship of religion, theology, technology, and the sciences. We support research that attempts to bridge the gap between religious and scientific approaches to reality and encourage constructive proposals that engage the sciences along with a critical assessment of the meaning and impact of technologies for the human condition and the natural world.
The need to reconcile religious and scientific approaches to reality is exacerbated in our time of public health and climate crises. Units like ours have a clear responsibility to leverage our work for the common good. Accordingly, in coordination with the conference theme “Grace, Mercy, and Atonement,” we encourage proposals including but not limited to the following topics:
- What is the role of trust in public perceptions of the sciences, technology, and religions? How does that trust vary depending on with which religion, or which science, the public interacts?
- What repentance is needed of scientists and religious leaders in our era of suspicion and authoritarianism?
- How has the historic interplay of science and religion contributed to our individualistic cultural ethos? How does the history of this interplay differ depending on which religious tradition is interacting with science?
- How can we understand God’s hand in the widespread suffering incurred by COVID-19, the climate crisis, or rising nationalism? How can science and religion help us find peace with God?
- What psychological, sociological, or other scientific insights may help guide public reckoning of injustices, especially in the frame of our digital, globalized contexts?
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 15, 2021. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (attached and also available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words. Please send proposals to Dr. Greg Cootsona (email@example.com) and Melanie Dzugan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
CFP: RELIGION AND SOCIAL SCIENCES UNIT
Religion has frequently served as a means to make sense of the world around us, playing a crucial role in past and contemporary social movements, and has helped people cope in times of uncertainty and move on through mercy and forgiveness. Despite this historical role religion has played, religion has also been the source of contention and tensions between different groups in societies throughout the world. How, then, can we make sense of religious practices and symbols in unsettling times? What do religious meanings offer? And how are they used in everyday life, especially during tumultuous times?
The Religion and the Social Sciences Section of the American Academy of Religion, Western Region, invites the submission of abstracts that address the role of religion in the contemporary political and social landscape, both in the United States and internationally. After more than a year of social upheaval, we are in urgent need for a reassessment of the role of religious traditions and religious ideas, feelings, sentiments, artifacts, in providing repertoires of meaning to make sense of these tumultuous times. We have witnessed protestors in the streets of most American cities demanding racial justice from a system whose racism is deeply embedded in its social and political institutions. We have watched the attack on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6th and the undeniable role of Christian nationalism in spurring that attack. We have read of the killing of Muslims, the hate crimes against Asian Americans, and the recent increase in anti-Semitic assaults. We are dealing with one of the worst unemployment rates in American history. We are struggling with the increase in poverty, homelessness, and the class inequalities that the pandemic has exacerbated and unveiled. In this situation, what is the role of religious traditions, religious institutions, and religious practices? And how do social actors use religion to cope with the present challenges? And what role do different religious traditions play in unsettling times characterized by exacerbating inequalities?
We welcome all papers that address the theme of the conference and encourage papers from a variety of social science disciplines. We welcome papers that address the role fo Christianity, but we aim to create panels that could include a variety of religious traditions and different approaches to the study of religion. All methodological and epistemological approaches are encouraged. We particularly appreciate diversity in methodological approaches, from comparative-historical to ethnographic and quantitative. We also welcome contributions that address the theme of the conference from a global perspective or not strictly focusing on the United States as a case for analysis. Please send paper proposals by October 15, 2021, to: email@example.com.
CFP: RELIGION AND THE ARTS
We welcome a wide variety of papers, workshops, and/or fully developed panels (3-4 persons) that relate to the intersection of Religion and the arts. Art and religion are used in the broad sense of the words. For example, art includes folk, iconography, animation, performance, comedy, photography, videos, television, graffiti, and music. We welcome all religious and spiritual expressions. Successful proposals will articulate the thesis and evidence as well as offer a preliminary discussion on how the proposal contributes to the academic study of religion. We welcome all topics with special attention to this year’s theme:
AAR-WR 2022 Theme: Grace, Mercy, and Atonement: Exploring Artistic, Ritual, and Social Action through Forgiveness. This theme seeks to address the role of forgiveness considering a post-COVID world. What role does artistic and creative expression and ritual play in the ways we now must relate to one another?
Please send paper proposals (250 words) and participant forms by DATE to: Tamisha Tyler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CFP: RELIGION IN AMERICA
The year 2020 was a unique year in American religious history, where religions have responded to a global pandemic and its politicization, the national racial reckoning with the murder of George Floyd, a rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Asian hate crimes, together with extreme weather patterns such as California's forest fires that have disrupted the lives of many. With this year's broader themes of forgiveness, grace, and mercy, this panel looks at how religion has played a role in responding to natural and manmade disasters, on personal, social, and national levels. In an extremely polarized society (political, cultural, ideological, etc), how has religion engaged these and other similar dilemmas? Religions have played the role of alleviating suffering and bringing forth unity, but they have also played a large role in creating and fostering division and hate. This panel on Religion in America is looking for papers that address the role of religion in American society, both on a local level as well as that of a broader national one.
Papers that are loosely related to these themes are welcomed, but we will also consider papers dealing with the topic of religion in America more broadly.
Please send abstracts to committee members Konden Smith Hansen (email@example.com); Joey Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org); Cristina Rosetti (email@example.com); Michel Sun Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CFP: RELIGION, LITERATURE, AND FILM
The 2022 Religion, Literature, and Film (RLF) Theme is: Exploring the Role of Ritual in Fostering Healing, Reconciliation, and Community Resilience.
The Religion, Literature, and Film (RLF) unit welcomes proposals addressing various religions or themes related to religious spirituality, practices, principles, psychology, and philosophy as presented in contemporary literature or contemporary films. We are open to proposals that explore fictional and non-fictional representations of religion and/or religious themes as represented through literature and film. Specific interests of the unit are proposals of an interdisciplinary studies approach to examining religion, literature, and film. In addition, the unit welcomes proposals that explore the relevance or non-relevance vitality or breakdown of religion as reflected in cultural or social zeitgeist.
In support of the broader conference theme, this year the Religion, Literature, and Film unit invites papers and presentations that look at the role that ritual plays in facilitating healing and reconciliation as a means to foster community resilience. The RLF unit is specifically looking for films, documentaries, novels, short-stories, poetry, or graphic novels presentations that illustrate ways in which communities are increasing their resilience through engagement with ritual practice as a means to facilitate healing and reconciliation.
Please send a maximum 250-word proposal to RLF unit chair Chantal Noa Forbes at email@example.com by October 15, 2021. Upon receipt of your proposal a 2022 program participation form will be emailed to you to complete and submit. Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew.
CFP: RELIGIONS OF ASIA
Promoting inclusivity and excellence in scholarship, this section invites individual papers from a variety of religious and cultural traditions that explore all aspects of Religions of Asia. This year, we are especially interested in papers related to the conference’s 2022 theme: “Grace, Mercy, and Atonement: Exploring Artistic, Ritual and Social Action through Forgiveness.” https://www.aarwr.com/conference-themes.html. For example, how have religions/religious people/religious leaders responded or how are they responding to the tumultuous social and political circumstances of their own times and ours? How have religions of Asia addressed issues of social and economic justice in the past and fostered forgiveness and reconciliation and how might they fruitfully do so in our time? In what ways do religions of Asia and marginalization (whether based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or other characteristics) intersect, both positively and negatively? How do religions of Asia employ notions related to forgiveness, grace, mercy, and/or atonement and their relationship to social action? What is or might be the role of religions of Asia in addressing social and/or economic inequality and mutual flourishing? We encourage the submission of papers that utilize interdisciplinary and nontraditional approaches to research. Other topics and themes of interest to the Religions of Asia group include: ways in which Asian religions interacts with art, music, material culture, and ideology; the nature of religious experience; gender and religion; climate change and sustainability; and storytelling and oral tradition. The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2021.
Please send 250 word abstracts as email attachments to Nancy Martin firstname.lastname@example.org and Adam Tyson email@example.com along with completed program participant forms, available at https://www.aarwr.com/units.html Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. AAR membership information can be found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew. We look forward to receiving your proposals.
CFP: SIKH STUDIES UNIT
Promoting inclusivity, excellence in scholarship, and community, this section invites individual papers that explores all aspects of the Sikh faith – in Punjab and abroad. Although we invite any paper which explores the Sikh faith, we are especially interested in papers related to the conference’s 2022 theme: “Grace, Mercy, and Atonement: Exploring Artistic, Ritual, and Social Action through Forgiveness” https://www.aarwr.com/conference-themes.html. Following a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial, social, and economic injustice and awakening, and the election of a new United States President, how did the Sikh community respond or what does the faith teach about grace, mercy, and atonement? What is the relationship between Sikhi (or Sikhism) and forgiveness? After so much injustice and pain has been inflicted – including the murder of Sikhs at the FedEx facility in Indiana, can we just forgive, forget, and move on? Do those individuals who inflicted such pain deserve forgiveness? How can we connect recent traumas from the past few years to historical events in Sikh history? In addition, we encourage the submission of papers that utilize interdisciplinary and nontraditional approaches to research. Other topics and themes of interest to the Sikh Studies Unit include: ways in which the Sikh faith interacts with art, music, material culture, and ideology; the body as location for religious experience; gender and religion; sacred spaces and texts; or storytelling and oral tradition.
The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2021. Please send 250 word abstracts as email attachments to Nirinjan Khalsa firstname.lastname@example.org and Tejpaul Singh Bainiwal email@example.com, along with completed program participant forms, available at https://www.aarwr.com/annual-meetings.html. We look forward to receiving your proposals.
CFP: WOMANIST/PAN AFRICAN UNIT
This group provides a forum for religious scholarship that engages theoretically and methodologically 1) the four-part definition of a Womanist as coined by Alice Walker, and 2) the worldwide movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all indigenous and diasporan ethnic groups of African descent. We nurture interdisciplinary scholarship, encourage interfaith dialogue, and seek to engage scholars and practitioners in fields outside the study of religion. We are particularly concerned with fostering scholarship that bridges theory and practice and addresses issues of public policy in church and society. For our 2022 AARWR conference, the Womanist / Pan African unit offers two sessions inspired by the conference theme.
Womanism and Collective Meaning-Making of Faith, Freedom Fighting, and Forgiveness: What ethical imperatives arise from the contemporary storytelling of Black women? What roles and contributions do the literary, visual, and performing arts have to enrich the justice discourse and propel actions?
Drs. Katie Geneva Cannon and Emile M. Townes urged that barriers of what Townes referred to as “the fantastic hegemonic imagination” must be challenged. Both inspired other womanist ethicists, biblical scholars, and practical theologians to expose injustice by exposing the ways that multiple oppressions marginalize the diversely intersectional identities of Black women and people in cultural communities of color. Storytelling, both nonfiction and fiction yield truths to inspire public awareness, healing rituals, and active justice witness. Consider how to raise these sociocritical voices; discuss why collective engagement with keen listening to the realities of our shared narratives is urgent.
Pan African Session
Is Afrofuturism A Balm in the Global Gilead?
In this session, we are exploring what does it mean in 2022 to “Do the work your soul must have,” particularly in the global context of impoverishment and underdevelopment. We aim to examine the roles Afrofuturism and the imaginary of the soul can offer to this generation and beyond. Thinking continentally and diasporaically, Afrofuturism provides different perspectives to common ground issues of grace, mercy, and atonement in the face of abject injustice and the persistence of epistemic ignorance. In an age of human and global upheaval and the search for a sustainable future, the Black imaginary comes alive to address the very real and concretized lived experiences of life in peril socially, politically, and environmentally. We then suggest that Afrofuturism also is an operative force of liberation and reconciliation for human relations and institutions.
Papers could consider (but are not limited to) questions, such as: (a) How can the hermeneutic of a futurist aesthetic guide and address the pressing issues of the human condition? (b) What can the Africanist voice offer in crafting theological and praxeological imperatives in contemporary times? (c) What role can religion, faith practices, and socially informed activism play? (d) Discuss what voice and agency intergenerational women have in determining new possibilities or offering sage wisdom? (e) What modalities of engagement and methodologies can Afrofuturism offer in the face of institutional and structural brutality?
We are eager and excited to embark on another transforming year in Womanist and Pan African scholarship at AAR in the Western Region. We invite papers that align with the broader AARWR call while retaining a particular focus on either Womanism, Pan Africanism, or both. Please submit a 250-word proposal along with the Program Participant form found at the AARWR website,
(https://www.aarwr.com/call-for-papers.html), to both Womanist/Pan African Unit Co-Chairs: Rev. Dr. Valerie Miles-Tribble (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to Rev. Dr. Sakena Young Scaggs (email@example.com) by October 15, 2021.
Proposal Submission Note:
- Individuals whose proposals are accepted must be dues current members of the AAR before the conference date in order to present.
- Process: Proposals are anonymous to steering committee during the review, but visible to Chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection
- Notification: You will receive notification regarding the status of your proposal in December 2021.
- Further questions? Please contact either Unit Co-Chair
We are eager and excited to embark on another transforming year in Womanist and Pan African scholarship in the Western Region. We invite papers that align with broader AARWR call having a particular focus on either Womanism, Pan Africanism or both. Please submit both a 250-word proposal and the Program Participant form found at the AARWR website (https://www.aarwr.com/call-for-papers.html), to both Womanist/Pan African Unit Chair: Rev. Valerie Miles-Tribble, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org).
CFP: WOMEN AND RELIGION UNIT
The AAR/WR 2022 Conference Theme, Grace, Mercy, and Atonement: Exploring Artistic, Ritual, and Social Action through Forgiveness, raises many questions about what it means to move forward through and with strife, the nature of community, the praxis of change and healing, and the way in which religions shape these meanings.
- Is forgiveness a gift, a grace or a weapon? How has it been used in women’s religious lives, communities and experiences? (How) can it be used today?
- How do we achieve agonism rather than antagonism? What are the metaphors and rituals than can help us to do so?
- How is atonement connected to pain, to suffering? How have these connections hurt social action? How have they helped?
- Where is women’s art and ritual being used to negotiate the meaning of grace, mercy and/or atonement? What new meanings do these creations generate?
- What brings hope? And what concrete praxis (co)creates change?
The Women and Religion Unit is interested these questions, and your own questions and responses to this year’s conference theme, be they critical, hopeful or creative.
We welcome all proposals engaging “Grace, Mercy, and Atonement,” as these concepts intersect with women’s lived experiences in religion(s), communities, identities and creations. Proposals directly engaging the conference theme, broadly considered, are preferred, though the Unit will also review proposals on any topic related to women in religion(s).
Please send your 250-word proposal and Program Participant Form (available on the AAR/WR website) to unit chairs: Sara Frykenberg Sara.email@example.com and Brooke Nelson BrookeJuliaNelson@gmail.com by October 15, 2021.
Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The AAR membership information is found here: https://www.aarweb.org/membership/join-or-renew.
Thank you; and we look forward to receiving your proposal.