PAPERS Resources

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

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Religion in the American West Group

Statement of Purpose: 

The Religion in the American West Group is a forum for graduate students, independent scholars, and faculty who situate their work regionally in the North American West, broadly conceived. The study of religion in this region allows scholars to use a broad array of methodologies (historical, anthropological, literary, sociological, and others) to explore the most pressing questions in the field of American religion and in Religious Studies more generally. These include, but are not limited to: the history of empire and colonialism; the connections between religion and violence; the construction and deployment of racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identities; transnational movement of people and ideas; religion and the natural and built environments; myth-making and its role in the construction and critique of nationalist ideologies; and the development of the category of religion. The purpose of this subfield is not to remain in the American West, to define the West, or to argue that religion in the West is unique. Instead, by situating scholarship regionally, scholars of the American West are able to develop theories and methods that can be useful interpretive lenses for other regions defined by land, transnationalism, migrations, diversity, and colonialism. Moreover, the Group supports the development of a rigorous intellectual community by pre-circulating papers in advance of the national meeting and maintaining a blog.

Call for Papers: 

Proposals for individual papers or a full session are solicited on the following topics:

• The wielding and negotiation of power and authority in religious contexts in the North American West. Specifically, we seek papers that critically interrogate the various and distinctive forms religious authority has taken in the American West, and the consequences of the exercise of that authority. Possible areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, discussions of power in relation to land disputes, religious groups and governmental entities, institutional vs. popular religious practices, and the establishment and maintenance of religious authority in the West. Topics for papers should not only be situated in the North American West but should also deal significantly with unique aspects of the region or novel analytical approaches. Papers for this session will be precirculated.

• The post-1965 religious and ethnic demographic changes and realities in the North American West (for a possible co-sponsored session).

• The history and impact of Asian religions and the religions of Asian Americans in the Pacific Rim and the North American West (for possible quad-sponsorship with the Buddhism in the West Group, the Japanese Religions Group, and the North American Hinduism Group).

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