PAPERS Resources

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

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Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Group

Statement of Purpose: 

This Group creates a space for critical interdisciplinary engagement with interfaith and interreligious studies, which examines the many modes of response to the reality of religious pluralism (theological, philosophical, historical, scriptural, ethical, praxological, and institutional). This Group will:

Expand and enrich the modalities of interreligious and interfaith discourse in a diverse set of academic disciplines that have grappled with religious pluralism

Give voice to what has already been happening for years at the cutting-edge of institutional and pedagogical innovation and at the intersection of the academy and civic engagement in many disciplines
Our intention is that this Group will encourage the rigorous analysis necessary to establish the contours of this emerging field. A crucial first step involves systematic attention to common terminology (interfaith, interreligious, engaged pluralism, multifaith, multireligious) and the intersection of these terms with the disciplinary approaches that are increasingly using this language (interfaith just peacemaking, comparative theology, and scriptural reasoning). Similarly, we will encourage critical analysis of both national and international interfaith organizational models and other praxis-oriented responses to religious pluralism.

Call for Papers: 

The Interreligious and Interfaith Studies group invites paper and panel proposals that critically examine modes of response to religious pluralism from multiple disciplinary perspectives. We welcome proposals that are interdisciplinary, incorporate alternative pedagogies of presentation, make use of new media, and reflect the dialogical nature of this field.

We invite papers in the following areas:

Historical models of interreligious engagement Interreligious engagement is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history we find examples of individuals encountering each other across religious lines in formal and informal ways. What are the possibilities and limitations of drawing on historical models of engagement for contemporary contexts?

Mapping the discourse of interreligious studies (with critical examination of the use of terms such as interfaith, interreligious, multifaith).

Religious pluralism and feminist theologies

Interreligious studies and ritual (interreligious learning through ritual, interreligious dialogue as ritual).

The politics of representation in interreligious engagement To put it simply, who’s at the table and how did they get there? Many models of interreligious engagement, particularly dialogical models, are based on implicit or explicit ideas about religious representation and authority. We recognize that the concerns of white male Christians have historically dominated interreligious dialogue. We are interested in broadening participation in interreligious conversations, and exposing and critiquing the structural inequities that arise in this space. We particularly invite proposals from scholars working in critical gender studies, race and ethnicity studies, post-colonial studies, or in any disciplinary space that involves consciousness-raising around questions of systemic discrimination. What can interreligous studies, as an emerging area, learn from the concerns and methodologies of these disciplines? And are there insights from interreligious studies that would be relevant to the concerns of scholars working in these spaces?

Quakers and interreligious dialogue (co-sponsored with Quaker Studies Group) We seek papers that examine Quaker frameworks for interreligious and interfaith dialogue, and that address how Quaker ethics inform these practices. From their inception in the mid-seventeenth century, Quakers have interacted with people of other faiths, and have been formed by the resulting insights. Though the cultural context and rationales have changed over time, Quakers of all traditions continue to have dialogue across religious boundaries. This panel invites paper proposals from a wide range of disciplines that examine this facet of Quaker spirituality and practice.

Nostra Aetate and Interreligious Dialogue (quad-sponsored with The Vatican II Studies Group, the Ecclesiological Investigations Group, and the Jewish-Christian Dialogue and Sacred Texts Group (SBL), with the support of the Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish relations).

The Second Vatican Council represents a shift in the attitude of the Catholic Church towards non-Christian religions at both the theological and existential level. This was manifest in the declaration entitled Nostra Aetate, approved and promulgated on October 28, 1965.

Along with the Ecclesiological Investigations Group, the Vatican II Studies Group, and the Jewish-Christian Dialogue and Sacred Texts Group (SBL), the Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Group welcomes proposals that address the role and reception of Nostra Aetate in the theology of religions, in comparative theology, and in inter-religious dialogue today. Proposals might address the following topics related to the declaration of Vatican II Nostra Aetate on non-Christian religions:

• The appreciation of the importance of the Jewish people and their covenant for Christians in Nostra Aetate paragraph 4.
• The role of the Buddhism and Hinduism as religiones antiquae (paragraph 2), and of Muslims (paragraph 3) in relationship to Judaism in the history of the text of Nostra Aetate.
• The role of the Shoah in placing the "Jewish question" on the conciliar agenda and the political and religious history of the Middle East as the background of the theological debates on inter-religious dialogue in the (Catholic) Church(es) in the 1960 and at Vatican II.
• The intervention of political-diplomatic tensions between Israel and Arab countries in the agenda of Vatican II about inter-religious dialogue.
• The reception of Nostra Aetate in its intertwining with the history of religious coexistence in these last 50 years.
• The role of Nostra Aetate and its reception in the theology of religions, in comparative theology and in inter-religious dialogue today.

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