PAPERS Resources

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

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Pragmatism and Empiricism in American Religious Thought Group

Statement of Purpose: 

Our mission is to foster the advancement and understanding of the pragmatic and empiricist traditions in American religious thought, as well as the intersections of those traditions with other methodologies, intellectual figures, artistic movements, communities, and issues. This Group is concerned with critically interrogating, evaluating, and developing the insights and relevance of the pragmatic and empiricist traditions of American thought, broadly construed, for the study of religion and theology, with attention both to the historical interpretation of ideas and contemporary developments within this critical sphere of philosophical and theological reflection. Recent areas of interest include pragmatism and democracy, the continued relevance of empiricism to the revival of pragmatism, multidisciplinary aspects of the tradition (intersections with other fields of inquiry), overlaps with cultural criticism and analyses of gender and race, and the application of pragmatic and empiricist analyses to contemporary problems.

Call for Papers: 

Pragmatism and Genealogy

Pragmatist inquiry entails normative commitments. Nancy Frazier criticizes an unacknowledged and thus cryptonormativity in Foucauldian genealogy. If the charge of cryptonormativity is true (and even if it is not), how well does genealogy compare to pragmatist inquiry? Which gives a better account of the relationship among acting, claiming, and believing? We invite proposals that explore the comparative strengths and weaknesses of pragmatic and genealogical modes of inquiry: proposals that sort through the similarities and differences between Nietzschean and Foucauldian genealogies in relation to pragmatic inquiry, creative attempts to synthesize the best insights of pragmatism and genealogy, or proposals that insist on choosing between the two. How do Cornel West’s The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism (1989), Alasdair McIntyre’s Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition (1991), and Talal Asad’s Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (1993) bear on these questions?

Jane Addams Today: Immigration and Social Crisis

We invite proposals that reflect on the life and work of Jane Addams in light of the multiple challenges Americans face around issues of economic, gender, and racial inequality, immigration, and the persistent problem of militarism. Though we are especially interested in proposals that explore Addams within her own context, we also encourage proposals that address her social justice-oriented pragmatism in relation to contemporary issues such a climate change and figures such as Richard Bernstein and Cornel West.

Wayne Proudfoot: 30th Anniversary of Religious Experience

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Wayne Proudfoot’s Religious Experience. This study has influenced at least two generations of scholars. With an accent on this text, we propose a panel on the contributions Proudfoot to pragmatism and religious studies. Pragmatism developed distinctive notions of experience that bear on their conceptions of religious experience. But in the years after the publication of Religious Experience, some pragmatists began to the question the very utility of the concept of experience. We intend to invite a panel that includes Cornel West, Scott Davis, and Matthew Bagger. Given their diverse appropriations of the pragmatist tradition, each panelist brings a distinctive perspective to Proudfoot’s work and to the category of religious experience. We expect the panelists to bring the full range of their interests to bear both retrospectively and prospectively on Proudfoot’s legacy, pragmatism, and the category of religious experience.

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