PAPERS Resources

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

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Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group

Statement of Purpose: 

This Group seeks to provide a forum in which scholars of religion from a wide range of disciplines can examine and question their disciplinary presuppositions. The work of this Group can be placed under three main rubrics:

Critical investigation of the categories generated and employed by the discourses on religion, such as experience, the sacred, ritual, and the various other ‘isms’ that can be found in classic and contemporary studies of religion

Analysis of new and neglected theorists and works central to the critical study of religion, including those produced in cognate fields such as anthropology, political science, or literary theory

Theoretically-informed examination of elided and often neglected themes in religious studies, including class, race, gender, violence, legitimation, and the material basis of religion

Call for Papers: 

The CTDR group offers an interdisciplinary and international forum for analytical scholars of religion to engage the intersection of critical theory and methodology with a focus on concrete ethnographic and historical case studies. Critical theory draws on methods employed in the fields of sociology, anthropology, history, literary criticism, and political theory in order to bring into scrutiny all kinds of discourses on religion, spanning from academic to nonacademic and from religious to nonreligious.

This year, the CTDR Group invites proposals on the following topics:

  • In the wake of Stuart Hall's death, we'd like to provoke conversation about his legacy in the study of religion, as well as the effects more generally of the Birmingham School. Papers on a variety of topics connected to critical race theory in the present study of religion are welcome.

  • On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Bourdieu and Haacke's Free Exchange and the 60th anniversary of Adorno’s Prisms, we invite proposals that use these works -- or the writings of Bourdieu, Adorno, and Haacke more broadly -- as lenses through which to examine (e.g.) economics, class distinctions, taste, and art in the study of religion.

  • Reflections on recent studies of religion and empire: David Chidester's Empire of Religion and Peter Gottschalk's Religion, Science, and Empire. (For possible co-sponsorship with the Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group and the Religion, Colonialism, and Postcolonialism Group.)

  • Discursive formation of categories in the study of religion, e.g., spirituality, possession, and revitalization. We especially invite proposals treating categories developed/used in History of Religions scholarship on Africa (e.g., “fetish”). (For possible co-sponsorship with the Indigenous Religious Traditions Group.)

  • Genealogies of Cognitive Science. We hope for papers that examine either the specific intellectual and cultural antecedents of this approach (in religion or other fields) or a history of the more general phenomenon of the medicalization of religion (For possible co-sponsorship with the Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group.)

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee