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Call Text:

The Body and Religion Unit aims to provide a forum for multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary conversations that theorize the contribution of the body and embodiment to religions. We invite proposals or panels presenting diverse methodologies and understandings of the body, as well as traditional and alternative presentation styles. When reviewing your paper proposals, we particularly appreciate proposals that do not simply discuss bodily activities but also explicitly reflect on the difference this focus makes to the academic study of religions. This year we are particularly interested in proposals on the following topics:

(1) porosity of bodies and/or flesh in various religious and ritual contexts, (2) inflected pain/religious experiences of pain, (3) immigrant and/or itinerant/migrant bodies, (4) the role of the body and/or embodied experiences at the intersection of race and religion, (5) embodied experiences of religion in pandemic contexts (co-sponsored with the Anthropology of Religion, and Religion, Memory, History, Unit (see full description below), (6) open call.

For further contextualization on our shared call for proposals on: Religion under Pandemics: Practices, Memories, and Affects
Co-sponsored by the Anthropology of Religion Unit, Religion, Memory, History Unit, and Body and Religion Unit

Our units invite proposals that investigate how pandemics as well as societies’ attempts to manage or mitigate their impact (e.g. quarantines, ways of treating the afflicted, memorializing the dead, etc.) intersect with people’s religious lives, narratives about the past or sites of memory, and embodied experiences by foreclosing certain established practices as well as by opening up new spaces for devotional experimentation and meaning-making. We are especially interested in papers that place contemporary ethnographic work on COVID-19 in conversation with historical cases (and vice-versa), and/or which foreground how different methodological and theoretical approaches might help us make better sense of the roles that religion plays under the extraordinary social circumstances of a pandemic.

If your proposal gets accepted and you agree to be on the program, we expect you to show up to participate in the annual meeting, barring unforeseeable exceptional circumstances. Please note that it is the policy of the Body and Religion Unit to refuse no-shows at the Annual Meeting from the program for up to the following two years.

Mission Statement:

This Unit aims to draw together scholars working with different methodologies who address body and embodiment as a fundamental category of analysis in the study of religion. The Unit provides a forum for sustained discussion and critique of diverse approaches to body and religion by scholars working on a wide range of traditions, regions, and eras.

The Body and Religion Unit maintains a listserv for announcements about conferences, new publications and other items relevant to the field. To subscribe (or for other listserv information) go to http://aarlists.org/bodyreligion and fill out the online form. Once subscribed you will be able to receive messages, control your subscription options, and access the archives.

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Steering Committee Membership
Those who take on the responsibilities of being steering committee members will participate in decision-making processes for the annual call for papers, respond to unit communication, and read, rank, and comment on submitted proposals in March. If a steering committee member finds that they are not able to fulfill these tasks in a given year, they should communicate with the co-chairs. If a steering committee member cannot participate in this work, the co-chairs may replace them.

Method of Submission:




Megan Adamson Sijapati, msijapat@gettysburg.edu

Katherine C. Zubko, kzubko@unca.edu


Steering Committee:

Wesley Barker, barker_wn@mercer.edu

Gwendolyn Gillson, gwendolyn.gillson@ic.edu

Yudit K. Greenberg, ygreenberg@rollins.edu

George Pati, george.pati@valpo.edu

Naomi Worth, naomi@virginia.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 2 – Two 2-hour sessions

Next Review: 2023