PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Atlanta, GA
November 21-24, 2015

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African Religions Group

Statement of Purpose: 

This Group provides a forum for the discussion of research on the multiple religious traditions of Africa, methodological issues in the study of the religions of Africa, and African religious responses to ethical and social issues affecting the continent. The Group encourages the participation of African and non-African scholars in the leadership of the Group and in participation in its programs.

Call for Papers: 

This Group encourages critical inquiry about religions originating in Africa as well as all those practiced there. Proposals should go beyond description; they should analyze the conceptual tools and methods employed. We invite individual papers, paper sessions, and roundtable proposals on the following five themes relevant to any region of the African continent (North, West, East, Central, Southern, and the Horn):

• African Values and Ethics on the Global Stage: As interest in ethical responses to global crises grows, what role can African values play? How can the application of such values help solve practical problems both within and beyond Africa? And how do we define certain values as "African?" We invite papers that respond to these questions by examining the content of African forms of ethical reflection and the contributions they can make in responding to a range of global challenges, including economic dislocation, health disparities, global warming, human rights, intellectual property rights, military conflict, resource depletion, etc. We also invite papers that explore the scholarly methods for examining such topics in African ethical contexts. How can we identify and best appreciate such values, for instance, and what are the ethics involved in classifying and examining them?

• For a co-sponsored session with the Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Group; the Lesbian-Feminist Issues and Religion Group: we ask for papers for a session entitled “Gendered Violence in Africa: The Place of Ritual and Ethics in Justification, Protest, and Adjudication”. We seek papers on all forms of gendered violence in Africa, whether against women, girls, boys, or men, and/or LGBTIQ persons. Among these forms we include domestic abuse, rape, pimping, sexual harassment, sex-trafficking, stalking, wartime violence, and violence against sexual minorities, whether in prisons or public, in church or secular contexts, for ritual or judicial purposes, etc. We invite proposals that explore distinctions and connections between institutional and interpersonal violence and address a broad range of instances in which gender and violence intertwine. In all cases, we seek some tie to religious or ethical reflection in African contexts.

• Masculinities and Religion in Africa: The study of gender and religion in Africa has so far focused mostly on women. Yet in recent years, men and masculinities have emerged as a new field in African Studies, raising a number of issues. On the one hand, scholars have problematized and interrogated dominant forms of African masculinity for their role in issues such as HIV and AIDS, violence, and the oppression of women. On the other hand, this focus has exposed ways that men, too, are affected by patriarchal norms and struggle with the expectations of modernity. We welcome papers that address constructions and transformations of masculinity in African cultural, social, and political contexts, examining the complex ways in which religious discourses, practices, and politics intersect with the diverse modalities of masculinity in contemporary Africa. (For a possible co-sponsorship with the Men, Masculinities and Religion Group)

Pre-Arranged Panel:
• The African Religions Group will also quint-sponsor a panel on Birgit Meyer's forthcoming book, Sensational Movies: Video, Vision and Christianity in Ghana (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015), in collaboration with the World Christianity Group; the Religion, Film, and Visual Culture Group; the Anthropology of Religion Group; and Religion, the Colonialism and Postcolonialism Group. Selection of panelists will be pre-arranged so that they may read Meyer's book as provided by the press in advance of the meetings in order to comment on it. Prof. Meyer will summarize her book's argument, and at least one panelist will comment on the methodological aspects of Prof. Meyer's book. We are soliciting no papers for this session but encouraging our members and other interested parties to attend for what will be a truly multi-disciplinary discussion focused on religion and Africa.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee