AMERICAN ACADEMY OF RELIGION WESTERN REGION (AAR/WR)
2023 ANNUAL CONFERENCE | CALL FOR PAPERS (UPDATED: 8.29.22)
In-Person| March 24-26, 2023
Click here to download the program participant form.
The successful organization of our 2022 conference, which the AAR/WR was 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 three years in 2023. We are further encouraged by the amazing team of academics and administrators at University of California, Davis 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 2023 conference.
This year, our conference will be in-person at UC Davis, with limited availability for presenters to present through Zoom. Due to limited tech capacity, not all sessions will be available for online viewing. Because of this, those that need or wish to present virtually must indicate at the time of paper submission. If online capacity is full or a presenter is unable to attend, the panel moderator can read the paper as an alternative.
The deadline for submissions is October 31, 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
In recent years, we have seen how Asian Americans’ civil rights continue to be threatened. Such events include the resurgence of Asian American hate since the pandemic, as well as the ongoing court case against affirmative action: “Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard.” It is a mistake to assume, however, that Asians have been passive agents in these events. Many Asian Americans have taken part in activism—but have their voices been loud enough to be heard or have they been muffled amidst the magnitude of Asian American hate that renders racism against them invisible? Adding more layers to these issues is the way that the civil rights struggle creates solidarity within the Asian American community and other minoritized communities, but at the same time it has also fostered divisiveness both within Asian American communities and outside. How have ideas about immigration, stereotypes, and boundaries been both embraced and challenged by Asian Americans?
Needless to say, the problem of defending the civil rights of Asian Americans is a complex matter, one in which religion struggles to find its place. For this year’s conference, we ask what role religion holds in communicating and addressing these social and political issues? How do religious discourses, rituals, doctrines, and teachings serve Asian Americans in terms of defending their civil rights, as well as fostering group solidarity amidst the plurality of Asian American religious traditions? As scholars of Asian American religion, what is our part in this political discourse? How do we see Asian American civil rights movements and scholarship moving forward?
Scholars of all levels are invited to participate in this dialogue. Interested parties may send abstracts (250words) to Shannon Toribio (firstname.lastname@example.org) or LauraSnell (email@example.com). The deadline for submission is October 31, 2022.
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 at aarweb.org.
CFP: BUDDHIST STUDIES UNIT
“Buddhist” Communities: Power, Knowledge, and Violence
The Buddhist Studies Unit invites papers related to Buddhism within the framework of the 2023 conference theme, “Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond?” Studies that explore inclusions and exclusions of marginalized communities within and beyond “Buddhist” communities and Buddhist Studies as a field of study are welcome; proposals may relate to:
● Women in Buddhist Traditions: teachers, disciples, lineages
● Interpretations of the tales of Buddha Sakyamuni and his disciples relating to the noble eight-fold path and social responsibility
● Studies exploring Buddhist notions of “nobility” and caste
● Invoking Buddhist ideals in violent and non-violent acts, past, present, future
● Rise of Buddhist monastic militancy in Sri Lanka and Myanmar
● Phenomenological studies of Buddhist practices and how they help us define, re-define, or refine our understanding of “violence” in experience
● Interpretations of Buddhist notions of “liberation” and “freedom”
● Karma and equality
● The role of the ‘intellect’ as a faculty within Buddhist soteriology
● Epistemic Violence within and beyond Buddhist Studies
● Building a decolonial praxis for Buddhist Studies
As always, topics of interest yet unrelated to the conference theme will also be considered as space permits. The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 14, 2022. 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 length of abstracts is typically 250 words.
CFP: CATHOLIC STUDIES UNIT
This year, the Catholic Studies unit invites papers related to the AAR/WR’s 2023 conference theme: Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond? We are open to papers from all methodological and disciplinary standpoints (including religious studies, anthropology, history, philosophy, and theology), and are particularly interested in papers examining the tension between either contemplation and action, conscience and authority, or modernity and tradition throughout the history of Catholicism.
Please submit 250 word abstracts and a Program Participant Form (available at this page) to Samantha Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Nathan McWeeney (email@example.com)
CFP: CHRISTIANITY UNIT
Scholars such as Giorgio Agamben and Carl Raschke have detected the origins of Christian social justice in Jesus’ proclamation of the “kingdom of God.” The Kingdom takes the form of an articulation between the unconditioned divine sovereignty and the limitless mutual obligations that individuals have to each other, a form of a household reaching well beyond the limits of blood and kinship. It was under the influence of Christianity and the writings of Saint Paul that the classical notion of dike (the Greek goddess of justice) evolved into the wider, “cosmopolitan” ideal of what nowadays we term “social justice.”
Papers dealing with the theological, biblical, social, and historical side of social justice and civil rights in Christianity in the United States and anywhere in the world 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. Thank you.
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts is October 31, 2022. 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 2023 Regional Conference is proud to host panels for the 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 2023 Western Regional Conference. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form which can be found on the Western Region website https://www.aarwr.com/
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 14, 2022. Please submit proposal and participation form to both unit chairs: Anjeanette LeBoeuf (Saint Louis University) firstname.lastname@example.org and Elizabeth Staszak (Independent Scholar) email@example.com.
Please see below the two sessions we are seeking papers for:
- The First Call for Papers will address the larger 2023 Conference Theme of “Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond?” For our session, we are pursuing papers which address questions that engage with Civil Rights and Disability Studies.
- On what civil rights has the disability community come to depend, and how does/does not religion factor into supporting or denying such civil rights?
- Is religion or are religious communities responsible for upholding disability civil rights? Is there a “civic religion,” in the United States responsible for upholding disability civil rights?
- Does religious discourse help or harm disability civil rights?
- Other topics include, but are not limited to:
- Disability Justice
- Society’s tendency towards treating people with disabilities as being invisible
- Disability and Race
- Disability, Gender, and Sexual Identity
- Disability Trauma
- Disability, the Pandemic, and its After-Effects.
- The Second Call for Papers will be a Joint Session with the Philosophy of Religion Unit. This Session will explore concepts of Posthumanist critiques, Philosophy, and Disability Studies.
- We invite the use of post-humanist critiques to reflect on the transhuman ambitions of many traditional religions, ranging from forms of Asian and Western esotericisms to more mainstream hopes of someday, after death or after many more incarnations, participating fully in divine nature, realizing Buddha-nature, etc. Disability Studies in particular has much to say regarding how transhumanist visions of the trans-, super-, and otherwise more-than-human might be critiqued, not only from a posthumanist perspective, but also through the disability studies lens and by using crip theory to question often-implicit and sometimes explicit transhumanist assumptions of a stable and universal human nature (e.g., in contrast to other species, silicon intelligences, deities and demons, and so on), of supposedly obvious human "defects" and "disabilities" to be overcome, of disdain for the merely- and all-too-human as fundamentally deficient relative to, for example, posited unfallen or transcended "humans" of the past or future, superior AIs, etc. The co-chairs of the Philosophy of Religion are Dane Sawyer (University of La Verne) at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nathan Frederickson (University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law) at Nathan.Fredrickson@law.unh.edu. Please email all four chairs your proposal for this joint session.
CFP: Religion, Spirituality, and the Rights of Nature
In tandem to this year’s broader conference theme, the Ecology and Religion Unit isasking applicants to consider the relationship between recent discourse surrounding civil rights and that of the rights of nature. Perhaps most famously, in 2017, the Whanganui River in New Zealand received the status of legal personhood. The UK recently ascribed sentience to multiple species – such as octopi – which has had implications for animal welfare legislation. And various countries throughout the world have given rights to rivers, mountains, and other-than-human entities in the interest of combating environmental degradation. But how does this relationship, between civil rights and the rights of nature, relate to our religiosity or spirituality? Put another way, how do our world religions and the spiritual aspects of our cultures help – or hurt – mediate the variety of our environmental engagement when tasked with the investigation of our legal responsibility to nature? At present, there is a broad orientation to this category of discourse. It is a sensitive and very urgent task. Some potential papers may detail certain case studies whereby
independent entities are given environmental rights which have had a positive impact.
The Ecology and Religion Unit also welcomes proposals that explore situations that have more complex legal ramifications, such as with designations like environmental personhood. Submissions that address any number of broader issues and themes relating to religion and the environment will also be considered. Please submit a participant form and 250-word proposal by Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 to section unit chair
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 Education and Pedagogy unit will be interested in receiving proposals that reflect on how you are focusing your pedagogy on the intersectionality of civil rights and freedom of religion, in particular around issues in which freedom of religion seems to violate civil rights. Is there a way that teaching and learning in your classroom searches for common ground in this contentious and volatile area? How do you practice or model civic engagement and open political discourse in the classroom related to religion? What pedagogical tools do you use in the classroom when faced with polarization around religion and discourse about civil rights? What pedagogical tools do you use when teaching students who perhaps believe that freedom of religion is more important than civil rights? What is the role of the instructor in tracking the ever shifting separation of church and state and in helping our students make sense of the impact of the First Amendment on our classrooms, students, and communities?
In addition to this focus, we also welcome papers on pedagogy in Religious Studies that relate directly to the broader call of the conference which is Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond?
Please note that the deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 31, 2022. Submissions should be sent to Unit Co-Chairs Sarita and Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and include an abstract of 250 words and a Program Participant Form: participation_form_aar_wr.doc. 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: Ecology and Religion Unit
Religion, Spirituality, and the Rights of Nature
In tandem to this year’s broader conference theme, the Ecology and Religion Unit is asking applicants to consider the relationship between recent discourse surrounding civil rights and that of the rights of nature. Perhaps most famously, in 2017, the Whanganui River in New Zealand received the status of legal personhood. The UK recently ascribed sentience to multiple species – such as octopi – which has had implications for animal welfare legislation. And various countries throughout the world have given rights to rivers, mountains, and other-than-human entities in the interest of combating environmental degradation. But how does this relationship, between civil rights and the rights of nature, relate to our religiosity or spirituality? Put another way, how do our world religions and the spiritual aspects of our cultures help – or hurt – mediate the variety of our environmental engagement when tasked with the investigation of our legal responsibility to nature?
At present, there is a broad orientation to this category of discourse. It is a sensitive and very urgent task. Some potential papers may detail certain case studies whereby independent entities are given environmental rights which have had a positive impact. The Ecology and Religion Unit also welcomes proposals that explore situations that have more complex legal ramifications, such as with designations like environmental personhood. Submissions that address any number of broader issues and themes relating to religion and the environment will also be considered. Please submit a participant form and 250-word proposal by Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 to section unit chair Charles Forbes (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note: participants of the AARWR must be AAR members.
CFP: ETHICS UNIT
Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: Ethical Frameworks for Justice
The field of social ethics has long articulated the need for focused engagement between various intersecting social (and ecological) injustices and the ethical frameworks that arise in various religious and spiritual traditions. At this moment, many of those social injustices remain highly pertinent and are increasingly critical to address. As this year's AAR Western Region conference theme directly engages numerous issues of an ethical nature, we are simply re-stating a shortened version of this year's Call for Papers and are inviting papers that engage any of these topics.
Please submit a 250-word abstract to Ethics Unit Co-Chairs Sheryl Johnson (email@example.com) and Mahjabeen Dhala (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CFP: GODDESS STUDIES UNIT
This year, the Goddess Studies unit invites papers related to the AAR/WR’s 2023 conference theme: Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond? Of special interest is a look at the Divine Feminine and its relationship to civil rights and religion. How have goddesses across religious traditions intersected with the role of religion and civil rights historically and into our 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 a 250 word abstract and your Program Participant Form (downloadable through this page near the top of page under “Program Participant Form”) as email attachments to Anna Hennessey email@example.com and Angela Dane firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to receiving your proposals.
CFP: GRADUATE STUDENT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Recent threats to civil rights, such as the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade, not only reverberate threats of civil rights in the past, but continually transpire on various levels that gravely impact graduate students. Considering normative constructions of professional development, are there important roles that graduate student professional development plays in current civil rights efforts? If so, what roles? Does professional development exist beyond a mode of functionality? How can harmful normative constructs of professional development not only be challenged but transformed into more diverse and inclusive understandings of professional development? Who is responsible for these transformations and how can the longevity of these transformations be secured beyond civil rights efforts in the present moment? What are the responsibilities of religious studies scholars in these discussions?
The deadline for proposals and participant forms to unit chairs is October 31, 2022. 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 prior to their presentation. Please submit abstracts to the attention of the unit co-chairs, Kimberly Diaz (email@example.com), James Berry (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Casey Crosbie (email@example.com). We look forward to receiving your proposals.
CFP: INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS
This year, the Indigenous Religions unit invites papers related to the AAR/WR’s 2023 conference theme: Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022and Beyond? Of special interest is a look at Indigenous resurgence, rematriation, and reclamation and their relationship to civil rights and religion. How have Indigenous religious traditions and activism intersected with the role of religion and civil rights historically, now, and potentially in the future? We encourage the submission of papers that utilize interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and nontraditional (aka hermaneutically just) approaches to research. Other topics and themes of interest to the Indigenous Religions unit include religion and representations of Indigenous religious traditions in art, music, culture, and education; and sacred spaces; invisible communities, gender and religion; reclamation of language, testimonios, storytelling, and/or oral traditions. Please send a 250 word abstract and your Program Participant Form (downloadable through this page near the top of page under “Program Participant Form”) as email attachments to Delores Mondragón at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 2023 conference. This year’s theme focuses on Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond? “Religion plays a major part in contemporary US discourse—should it? Whether we like it or not, as religious scholars, our thoughts, actions, words and deeds play a part in the political discourse of our time. How do we hope to frame this discussion as we move forward?”
We invite papers and panels focusing on the main theme of the conference within the broader as well as specific contexts of Islamic Studies and the issue of Civil Rights, Human Rights. What is the role Islam can play in Civil Rights discourses? 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 Civil Rights 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 at Sophia.Pandya@csulb.edu
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 14, 2022. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form available on the AAR/WR website Participants at AAR/WR must be members of the AAR national.
CFP: JEWISH FEMINIST STUDIES UNIT
The is the founding year of our new unit. Our unit investigates the history, ritual practices, and writings of Jewish women from Biblical times to the present. We examine the work and lives of Mizrachi, Sephardi, Askenazi and Jewish women of color. We look at everything from ancient Israelite Hebrew Goddess practices to contemporary Kohenet Hebrew Priestess’ reclaiming Hebrew women and Netivot spiritual paths. We also are interested in women in the Rabbinate and Jewish Spiritual leadership, ranging from being a Kohenet to women leadership in the Jewish community. Any form of study of Jewish women is included under Jewish Feminist Studies.
Similar to Womanist and Mujerista studies, Jewish women have developed their own feminist practices and theologies.
This year we are having a joint session with Queer studies and looking for papers on Jewish Feminist Lesbians and their work in civil rights and queer liberation. We also seek papers on Jewish Rituals to celebrate marriage equality and transgender issues. For our sessions this year, we are looking for papers on the theme of the role of Jewish women in any form of civil rights from feminist liberation, eco-feminism, abortion movement, climate change, Black Lives Matter, women workers’ lives, Israel/Palestine Peace movement, anti-nuclear, suffragettes and antisemitism. We are also interested in Jewish feminist and Muslim feminist dialogue. We will accept any papers on the topic of Jewish Feminist Studies. Please send your paper proposal to Kohenet, Dr. Emily Leah Silverman at email@example.com
CFP: JEWISH STUDIES UNIT
Rights and Responsibility in Jewish Tradition
This year, the Western Region conference of the American Academy of Religion is examining present-day civil rights discourses, and the roles that religious groups, religious organizations, and scholars of religion can play in these conversations. Recent years had seen expansions, contractions, and redefinitions of civil rights, with significant real-world effects for women, marginalized ethnic groups, sexual minorities, religious minorities, and people with disabilities, among others. Civil rights issues also speak to who we are as communities on the local, state, and international level, touching on fundamental questions of freedom and responsibility, sometimes calling for careful adjudication between conflicting claims and values.
● What lessons can be drawn from Jewish history and present-day dynamics?
● Where might Jewish tradition and Jewish thought offer unique insights?
● Where do American Jews fit within the broader conversations taking place among and between different faith communities in the United States?
● What are the most difficult aspects of this conversation for Jews and Jewish Studies scholars?
● How can we, as Jewish Studies scholars, bring our unique perspectives to bear on these topics?
The Jewish Studies Unit of the AAR-WR welcomes papers responding to any aspects of the above topics and questions, from all disciplines pertaining to the study of Jews and Judaism.
The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2022.
Submissions should be sent to the Jewish Studies chairs – Roberta Sabbath (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alexander Marcus (email@example.com) – and should include an abstract of 250 words as well as a Program Participant Form.
CFP: LATINX RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUALITIES UNIT
The Latinx Religions and Spiritualities Unit welcomes paper proposals related to the conference theme Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility. We encourage an intersectional and interdisciplinary approach as well as a broad range of methodologies.
- How can values and instruments of human rights, such as international treaties and texts, come together to foment movements aimed to create and protect rights (eg. the struggle against free trade and planetary life).
- What understandings and definitions of human rights might challenge Eurocentric and Western discourses on human rights?
- Explorations of formational spiritualities and religions informing movements such as the United Farm Workers, El Movimiento, the Sanctuary Movement, the Young Lords Party, and Zapatismo.
- Challenges to the heterosexual masculine subjects and heroes at the center of El Movimento (eg. Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherrie Moraga, Anna Nieto-Gómez, Chela Sandoval, Emma Perez, Carla Trujillo and others.)
- Why should we struggle for civil rights? Are these erosion of rights and threats to our civil liberties a necessary dismantling and self-destruction of the United States? What value and/or wisdom might arise from imaging a dystopian future?
- How can notions of the body, constructions of gender, theological anthropology, and spiritual practice influence or shape or subvert discourses on civil rights?
- Inherent in the phrase “civil rights” are presumptions of citizenship, social [read equitable] contracts, and hierarchy. The word “human” paired with “rights” further narrows liberatory imaginations. In what ways do ecofeminism and the traditions of queer liberation theology transgress what is essentialized and offer a vision flourishing for all creatures?
- We also welcome historical-focused papers that examine the movements, theological wrestlings, and activism of liberation theology.
Jacob Perez, MTS [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Marlene Ferreras, PhD [email@example.com]
CFP: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION UNIT
Given this year's thematic focus on civil rights, the Philosophy of Religion Unit invites scholars to think along politico-theological lines regarding the religious sources of "rights," but we will also accept proposals related to themes and issues in philosophy of religion that extend beyond topics related to the sources and origins of “rights,” including the following:
- We are interested in what philosophical insights can be gleaned from moving beyond genealogical tracing of how the discourses and legal establishments of "rights"—in various secularized contexts (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox Christianity, the vast diversity of the Muslim world, Judaism, Buddhism, Indigenous, etc.)—emerge from and are still characterized by specific religious backgrounds. What should we do in the light of such knowledge? How can philosophy of religion actively advance specific civil rights in various contexts (for example, how their “cash value” can vary based on factors like race, class, sexuality, dominant religious or secular regimes, and so on)? How can close or comparative analysis of civil rights and their varying relationships to religious traditions do more than "raise awareness"? How do insights into the nature of "rights"—as happily tinted or problematically tainted by the characteristic flavors of various religious and economic contexts of emergence—help us appreciate (in substantive, action-oriented ways) what is good in our societies and what could be improved (for instance, one might note the different forms the secular or state-affirmed rights take in predominantly capitalist, social-democratic, and communist settings)?
- At this point there exist a vast abundance of texts related to philosophy and pop-culture of the Philosophy and ... sort [Philosophy and Lord of the Rings, Philosophy and The Good Place, Philosophy and Buffy, Philosophy and Battlestar Galactica, and so on], and our discipline is certainly in a position to start meta-reflecting on them. For example, how is "religion" treated and understood in the context of such texts? What does "philosophy" mean therein? What is productive about pumping such texts through the philosophy-of-religion lens or lenses? What problematic trends or practices might authors within the genre do well to guard against? Alternatively, how does popular culture impact the philosophy of religion directly or indirectly, and how can philosophers of religion utilize new mediums of communication and “unserious” genres to uncover philosophical and religious insights? In what ways are these new mediums and genres transforming what counts as “religion”?
- We invite experts on non-Western philosophies of “religion” (Native American, African, and other Indigenous and First Nations worldviews) to identify, on the one hand, ways that such systems address fundamentally different questions, categories, or problems than those typically attended to in "philosophy of religion." On the other hand, we would also love to see scholars engage in attempts, in spite of such disconnects and biases, to translate them into terms that might make sense relative to Western philosophical categories in the form of philosophical dialogue.
- Finally, what new, ignored, or disregarded topics, issues, or subjects deserve attention from those in the field of philosophy of religion today? 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.
- Joint Session with Disability Studies:
Please email proposals and participant forms to the unit co-chairs: Dane Sawyer (University of La Verne) at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nathan Frederickson (University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law) at Nathan.Fredrickson@law.unh.edu. For more information, please visit: www.aarwr.com/annual-meetings.html. For any proposed panel, we would appreciate if authors coordinate beforehand and submit full panels together, which dramatically increases likelihood of selection. The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 14, 2022. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form. Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words.
CFP: PSYCHOLOGY, CULTURE, AND RELIGION UNIT
Keeping with the annual theme of "Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility," the Psychology, Culture, and Religion Section welcomes proposals that explore the complex relationship between macro-level rights discourse and individual psychological states of being. Themes here include but are not limited to:
- How do virtues and aims that typically guide therapeutic practice (self-awareness, autonomy, nonmaleficence, self-actualization, etc.) relate to broader conversations about universal human rights? Where do they come into conflict?
- Similarly, how do psychological concepts of "disorder" relate to rights? How do we as a society determine what constitutes a disorder, and when does that disorder necessitate the removal of other inherent rights?
- How does one separate a particular group's "right to culture" from broader, normative definitions of human rights and welfare?
- How do individuals/groups negotiate differing definitions of "nonnegotiable" rights?
- What can broader society learn from cultures that have suffered through a history of human rights violations? Can one culture's lessons about resiliency, hope, and strength be applied more universally to create a more equitable and just society?
The deadline for proposals and participant forms is October 14, 2022. 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, Kevin Whitesides (email@example.com) and Casey Crosbie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
CFP: QUEER STUDIES IN RELIGION UNIT
"Queerness and the Civil Rights: Identity, Discourse, and the Role of Trauma"
The 2023 Call for the Queer Caucus is centering on topics surrounding queerness and the continual erosion of civil rights. This call for papers asks the question: how has queerness been threatened during the continual eroding of civil rights? What role do LGBTQ individuals have to both witness and experience trauma in multiple forms while also fighting for future rights and liberties given the uncertainty of the livelihoods in the future?
The call wants to ask questions like "How has the queer community experience the devastating and last effects that have arisen out of pandemics and destruction of civil rights?" "What happens with the lost of queer geography and identity?" 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 threatened. How do you find community, other queer bodies?
Please send a 250-word abstract alongside the Program Participant Form by October 31, 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: Religions of Asia
Promoting inclusivity, interdisciplinarity, 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 2023 theme: “Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond?” https://www.aarwr.com/conference-themes.html In keeping with this theme, proposed papers might consider the intersections of religions of Asia with politics, power, rights and responsibilities in Asian contexts as well as the USA, in the past, present and future. Scholars are invited to consider religion(s)’ roles in relation to “civil rights” and the pursuit of social justice, both in terms of what it is and what it might or should be. Papers could look not only to the future but also to the “beyond” of the past as religious texts, figures, and institutions are reinterpreted, reimagined, and contested by scholars and others in the present day. Specific issues of civil rights might also be engaged, such as freedom of religion and conversion, religious responses to reproductive rights and abortion, religion and disability, LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, racism, religious and ethnic persecution, etc. Further, papers might consider what role we play as scholars in the present moment--even if studying religion in the past--in advocating the rights of the marginalized or subaltern and in responding to curtailed liberties or totalitarian and nationalistic political discourse.
The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2022. Please send 250 word abstracts as email attachments to Nancy Martin email@example.com and Adam Tyson firstname.lastname@example.org along with completed program participant forms, available at https://www.aarwr.com/call-for-papers.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: 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, social, 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 “Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility,” we encourage proposals including but not limited to the interplay of the sciences, religious traditions, and civil issues of abortion, sexuality, gender identity, racial justice, and climate justice. What dynamic patterns can be observed of public perceptions of scientific and/or religious expertise in relation to these issues? How may specific methods, insights, or roles of the sciences contribute to justice in a globalizing, digitalizing, and religious public sphere?
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 14, 2022. Please email abstracts to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words.
CFP: RELIGION IN AMERICA
"The Religion in America Unit seeks papers concerning the role of religion within civil rights discourse in the United States, both historically and today. One cannot narrate the story of civil rights in the United States without acknowledging the multireligious context and characters of the story. The nation’s Declaration of Independence even holds it is a self-evident truth that people are endowed with unalienable rights by their “Creator.” The struggle for the protection of rights has been supported and resisted by religious communities at various times and places. Our Unit invites papers that locate particular rights and religious communities within broader discourse on civil rights. Who has which rights, when do they have them, and where do these rights come from? Such questions concern the place of religion in the protection of civil rights and the place of civil rights in the religious imagination. The Unit is interested in papers and panels that resist the Mainline Protestant–Evangelical binary that dominates religio-political discourse despite the fact that these two communities combined are less than half the national population. The theme is especially pertinent to historic violations of the religious liberty of non-Christian communities, including the suppression of indigenous traditions, anti-Muslim violence, and similar instances.
Those interested in presenting a paper or panel on the theme are invited to submit a 250 word abstract along with a Program Participant Form by the deadline of October 31, 2022."
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
We are delighted to announce that the University of California, Davis, will host the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Western Region (AAR/WR) from March 24-26.
Our 2023 Conference Theme is: Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond? Please see this page https://www.aarwr.com/conference-themes.html for a complete description of the theme.
This year we have witnessed several threats to civil rights as we have known them. For example, the recent Supreme Court leak has threatened the fifty years of "settled law" of Roe v. Wade. But this is not new. The erosion of civil rights most seriously began before the 2016 election when we witnessed, for the first time since 1965, an election without the Voting Rights Act in place.
What are the civil rights that marginalized communities have come to depend on? The list is long but certainly includes women's rights and their right to choose. Free and fair elections. Voter's rights. Immigration rights. Gay marriage. LGBTQ+ job rights. Sexual harassment laws. And more. Are these rights ones we can depend on? What place does religion hold in the discourse surrounding these rights?
How central are these questions to religious discourse? What will we try to influence/not influence as religious scholars? And finally- what is the world that we are helping to create? What is the table we are setting? Religion plays a significant part in contemporary US discourse—should it? Whether we like it or not, as religious scholars, our thoughts, actions, words, and deeds play a part in the political discourse of our time. How do we hope to frame this discussion as we move forward?
This year the Religion, Literature, and Film (RLF) unit invites papers and presentations that explore the role that films, literature, and art play in facilitating public discourse around the rapidly evolving relationship between Civil Rights and Religion in our society's present moment. Artists are often referred to as the mirrors of their society, using artistic mediums of expression to bring attention to the social reality of diverse communities across the globe. In the past years, humanity has witnessed the rapidly evolving relationship between religion and Civil Rights in the United States and worldwide. In North America, this evolution has been particularly devasting for communities still (and increasingly) marginalized due to their racial, ethnic, social, economic, and religious identities. How have artists, filmmakers, and writers responded to this evolution, and how are contemporary artists using their "mirrors" to encourage practical public discourse amongst societies that appear increasingly divided.
The Religion, Literature, and Film (RLF) unit welcomes proposals addressing various religions or themes related to religious ethics, practices, principles, psychology, and philosophy as presented in contemporary literature or films. We are open to proposals that explore fictional and non-fictional representations of religion and 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 team welcomes submissions that explore the relevance or non-relevance vitality, or breakdown of religion as reflected in the cultural or social zeitgeist.
Please send a maximum 250-word proposal to RLF unit chairs Chantal Noa Forbes at email@example.com by October 31, 2022.
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:
CFP: Religion and the Social Sciences
Religion has frequently served as a means to make sense of the world around us, playing a crucial role in past and contemporary social justice movements, and has helped people cope in times of uncertainty. Religion is also a community-building tool in which people discuss and grapple with ethical, moral, and political dilemmas. Still, religious differences in religious affiliation and interpretations among groups in societies worldwide have caused tensions and debates. How, then, can we illuminate religion's role in civil and political discourse? How do people make meaning through religion and community? And what role does religion play in everyday life in precarious and uncertain 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. In recent years we have seen the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the decrying of Critical Race Theory, the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, an uptick in violence against Asian Americans and Muslims, and frequent antisemitic attacks. We have also seen ongoing police brutality against Black Americans. And while we have seen protests calling for racial and social justice, the now two-and-a-half-year-long global Covid 19 pandemic has left far too many people jobless, homeless, permanently ill, or dead. In this situation, what is the role of religious traditions, religious institutions, and religious practices concerning civil rights and inequalities of justice? 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 of American Civil Religious discourse and 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 do not strictly focus on the United States as a case for analysis. Please send paper proposals by October 31, 2022 to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CFP: Sikh Studies
The Sikh Studies Unit invites papers related to the theme of this year’s conference "Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond?"
Please submit your paper proposal of 250 words or less. If your paper is accepted, you will need to ensure you are a member of AAR and register for the 2023 Western Regional Conference. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form which can be found on the Western Region website https://www.aarwr.com/
Deadline for submission of paper proposals to unit co-chairs email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org is October 14, 2022.
We invite papers from diverse fields, methodologies and disciplines related to Sikh Studies (including but not limited to religious studies, area studies, anthropology, history, philosophy, theology, sociology, political science, law). Sikh activists and advocacy groups have been on the front-lines responding to hate crimes and civil rights violations. Sikhs have been organizing around: post-9/11 hate crimes, Farmers Protests, legal battles around articles of faith, LGBTQ+ Rights, Women's Rights, and Freedom of Religion. With the variety of themes, some questions to consider are:
- What role do Sikh values and religiosity play within the work of Sikh activists and advocacy organizations (SALDEF, Sikh Coalition, United Sikhs, etc)?
- How might Sikh Studies discourse help to navigate the tensions inherent in rights-based conversations within ‘secular’ nation-states embedded within ethno-religio-nationalisms and settler-colonialisms?
- How might Sikhs navigate the tensions between activism, advocacy, and assimilation within these spheres?
- activism, advocacy, organizing
- violence and non-violence
- sovereignty, liberation, freedom
- rights, law, justice
- settler-colonialism, nationalism, imperialism, neo-liberalism
- oppression, marginalization, securitization
- religion, faith, culture
- identity-politics, secularism
- racism, white-supremacy, patriarchy
CFP: Women and Religion
Rosemary Radford Ruether, a pioneering theologian who brought feminist, antiracist and environmental perspectives to bear on the traditional teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, died on May 21, 2022. Rosemary’s teachings impacted the lives of so many individuals from all walks of life and this panel is dedicated to both remembering her work, impact, and importance in the scholarship of religion and specifically women and religion.
This call for papers is aimed at any paper wanting to discuss Rosemary’s work and impact on women and religion. Please send a maximum 250-word proposal to interim unit chairs to Kohenet, Dr. Emily Leah Silverman at email@example.com and Dr. John M. Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org by October 31, 2022.
All participants must submit a Program Participant Form (available on the AAR/WR website). Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR.
CFP: Pagan Studies
Tyranny and law, rebellion and duty: Witches are born out of the true hungers of their time
Witchcraft is inherently an act of rebellion. In myth, in historical narratives, in the images between the covers of books of fairies and magic, the witch is the misunderstood revolutionary, the troublemaker, the provocateur, the maverick, the outsider, the misfit, the outlaw, and the powerful figure of change that stands on boundaries between the cultivated and the wild, in the margin, an edge-walker exiling old ways of doing the work of the world and ushering in new ways of being. Dysfunctional edifices crumble while new structures rise. She pulls weeds and births possibilities. The activism of the witch appears to have grown with the decline of matrilineal culture and the rise of patrilineal culture as hierarchy developed, slowly curtailing the rights of women and working classes. Contemporary Paganisms have arisen in opposition to this largely masculine hegemony of western patrilineal culture and regards the feminine as sacred and women as priestesses. Ray Bradbury writes, in Long After Midnight, that “A Witch is born out of the true hungers of her time.” Now, with the revocation of women’s rights to the sovereignty of their bodies, attacks on LGBTQIA+ rights, and a general war against what is “woke”—noting that the opposite of being woke would be to be unconscious—what rebellion will arise as a true hunger of our time.
Please send a maximum 250-word proposal to interim unit chair Dorothea Viale at email@example.com by October 31, 2022.
CFP: Womanist/Pan African Unit
This group provides a forum for religious scholarship to engage 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 diasporic 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 2023 AARWR conference, the Womanist / Pan African unit offers two sessions inspired by the conference theme.
After the overturn of Roe v Wade, exponential increases in state laws local ordinances moved to restrict women’s bodily rights and decisions, as public justice response to mobilize protests revealed a demographic divide along social and religious spheres. Women were labeled as a marginalized community, regardless of racial ethnicity, class, culture, or gender identity, which ignore disparities by pre-supposing a shared reality of oppressive experiences.
Consider to what degree the presumptions of marginalization place a particular onus of victimization on poor or working class Black women rather than shift the lens to critique and change the systemic structural oppressions that disproportionately endanger them. In what ways can womanist sensibilities inform public action and sociocritical voices? Discuss ethical and theological challenges to unveil the oppressive disparities that fostered the overturn of Roe v Wade.
Pan African Session
Religion plays a major part in contemporary US discourse to argue for or against the wielding of power in domestic civic roles and in the global roles. Per the theme: “What does equity mean – as “one nation ‘under God,’ and who defines who this God is, and how much power He, She, or They have?” Who sets a moral rubric to favor one group or nation or people over another? In this session, we aim to examine global concerns when oppressive roles, civic inequity, and social injustice are theologized under the guise of religion.
Consider how might diasporic and indigenous people direct their collaborative actions in an age of human and global upheaval amid documented lived experiences of life in peril socially, politically, and environmentally. (a) What can the Africanist voice offer in crafting theological and praxeological imperatives in contemporary times with ramifications for the future? (b) What role can religion, faith practices, and socially informed activism play? (c) What does future engagement look like for the next generation of Black activists and religious practitioners?
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, 2022.
Proposal Submission Note:
- Individuals whose proposals are accepted must be dues current members of the AAR before the March 2023 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 2022.
- Further questions? Please contact either Unit Co-Chair