PAPERS Resources

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

AAR Sessions (PDF)

Additional Meeting Sessions (PDF)

Session Index (PDF)

Participant Index (PDF)

Session Locations (PDF)

Exhibitor Index and Exhibit Hall Maps (PDF)

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Religion in South Asia Section

Statement of Purpose: 

This Section’s mission is to provide a venue for new and important research in the many religious cultures, texts, and histories of South Asia. Within the area of South Asia, all world religions exist in unique forms, from religions that originated in India — such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Tantra, and tribal religions — to religions that have taken on longstanding and distinctive forms in South Asia — such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. The focus of our work is thus on a geographical area, the religious, cultural, and intellectual traditions of that area, and changes that have occurred in those traditions over several millennia. Scholars of South Asia explore the distinctive manifestations of religious traditions in the subcontinent, their interactions, and their movements to and expressions in other parts of the world. This Section encourages contextualizing religion within debates on a broad array of parallel and intersecting issues, such as (but not limited to) politics, secularism, literature, philology, globalization, modernity, colonialism and postcolonialism, history, society, media, popular culture, material and visual culture, and economics. Our scholarship often emphasizes sessions and papers that look at more than one tradition and thus frequently entail some degree of comparative approach. Our Website is We also have a listserv, which is essential to the work of our Section. Information on joining the listserv can be found on our Website.

Call for Papers: 

This Section gives strong preference to papers sessions (not roundtable sessions). Proposals for papers sessions should include specific titles and proposals for each paper included in the session. There is a maximum of 4 presenters plus a discussant per papers session. RISA does not consider papers that are submitted individually; they must be part of a papers session organized around a given topic. If you are looking for other presenters to contribute to a papers session, you are welcome to use the RISA listserv to advertise your topic or to contact the RISA Co-Chairs and ask for their assistance. Some of the themes already identified as potential papers sessions are listed below. Please contact the listed organizers if you wish to contribute to the following themes (where no organizer is identified, we welcome someone to take on that role):

• Transnational Dimensions of Religions of Modern India (Jon Keune,
• Tomb and Mortuary Relic Worship in South Asia (Mark McLaughlin
• Materiality and Texts in Hindu Traditions (Mugdha Yeolekar
• Vaishnavism: Textual Sources and Practice of Krishna Worship (Lavanya Vemsani
•New Directions in the Study of Religion in South Asia

The RISA steering committee is committed to having one of the paper sessions at the 2015 annual meeting in Atlanta be dedicated to the work of rising young scholars. This session will be entitled “New Directions in the Study of Religion in South Asia.” There will be four papers, and the RISA steering committee will recruit one senior colleague to serve as a respondent. We therefore are actively seeking paper proposals from scholars who are either finishing their dissertations or who have finished their dissertations in the past several years. We are specifically looking for papers that are either part of or otherwise integrally related to the scholar¹s dissertation. We are not looking for papers originally written for courses or seminars. Please send a proposal of no more than 1,000 words for your paper, as well as a 150-word abstract, to RISA Steering Committee Member, Harshita Kamath

Other things to keep in mind as you formulate possible paper sessions:

• The theme of the 2015 AAR is religion and public life. As part of this, AAR plans to craft a statement of best practices in the field. Perhaps a panel on this matter as it implicates South Asianists might be in order.
• One RISA papers session at the 2015 AAR is going to consist of pre-distributed papers. AAR is looking to move to this model for all panels in the near future. We are currently experimenting with different formats. Pre-distributed papers will be made available on-line to AAR members for a period of 2 weeks prior to the meeting. The session at the meeting will consist of brief presentations (7-10 minutes) by the authors, followed by prepared comments from one or more panelists, followed by a discussion of the papers. If you feel you have a topic that works well in this format, please say so in your proposal.
• One RISA papers session must be 90 minutes long. (The standard length is 2 hours, 30 minutes.) If you feel the papers in your session work well for a shorter format, please say so in your proposal.

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