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Call Text:

We invite papers on the topics below. Submissions for panels or roundtables not listed here are also welcome.

• "Troubling Topics, Sacred Texts": Sacred texts continue to inspire a diversity of scholarship that seeks to transform the ancient into the contemporary, the remote into the immediate, and the distant into the visceral experience. At the same time, the texts confront a plethora of troubling topics. Reflecting the spirit of comparative studies in religion seriously engaging two or more religious traditions around a common topic and the recent publication of Troubling Topics, Sacred Texts: Readings in Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Qur’an (De Gruyter 2021), this panel focuses attention on how not only sacred texts themselves but their religious inflections function to manage, signify, and negotiate the most troubling of topics. Veering towards a cultural studies lens, the panel seeks to remove the auratic nature of texts and recognize the profound cultural consequences of their receptions, cooption, and polemic power. In addition to a polymorophous array of troubling topics, a variety of discursive methodologies is also invited. All are ways to better appreciate the rich landscape that inspired the many voices, often hidden in plain sight, of these texts. Invitations will be made but submissions by those inspired by the topic are invited. Please contact Roberta Sabbath, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Email: roberta.sabbath@unlv.edu.

• "Poison, Poisoners, & Religion": This comparative panel aims to bring together scholars whose research engages relationships between religion and poison or poisoners, broadly defined. In particular, as we aim for the panel to be comparative in terms of method, papers would ideally themselves contain elements of a comparative project. That said, “poison,” herein, can refer to all sorts of phenomena, from the metaphoric to the literal, from the creation and casting of poison to the religious elements of antidotes, from the venom of sacred animals to religion as poison. Please contact Eric Mortensen. Professor of Religious Studies at Guilford College. Email: emortens@guilford.edu.

• "Colors in Religion": This call seeks papers that deal with color (hue) as a religious category. Possible topics might relate to philosophies of optics and perception, color semiotics in visual and material culture, the sacrality of pigments, or any other aspect of color that fits within the scope of religious studies. Papers with a comparative approach are particularly welcome. Please contact Eric Huntington. Email: erhuntington@gmail.com.

Women and Revelation in India, China, and Tibet

We would like to organize a panel that explores the central role of narrative (especially hagiography) in the process of building a community, and the key role of women (divine, human, and everything in between) play in the writing, transmission, and alteration of revelatory literature. The focus will be on the historical literature of China, India, and Tibet, and compare the shared modes of textual production in these regions. Please contact Jue Liang (liangj@denison.edu) or Jonathan Pettit (jeep@hawaii.edu) if you are interested in contributing or have any questions. (Possible co-sponsorship with Arts, Literature, and Religion Unit, Comparative Studies in Religion Unit, and Women and Religion Unit.)


Mission Statement:

This Unit provides the opportunity for significant cross-traditional and cross-cultural inquiry. We traditionally solicit paper sessions that provide occasions for comparative inquiry seriously engaging two or more religious traditions around a common topic and we ensure that critical reflection is given to the conceptual tools therein employed. We welcome co-sponsorship opportunities with other AAR units.

This Unit has a listserv (CompRel), which is used primarily for announcements, calls for papers, and discussions about panel proposals. If you wish to subscribe, please send a request to of@austin.utexas.edu.

Method of Submission:


We do not consider individual paper submissions, only roundtables or panels.



Oliver Freiberger, of@austin.utexas.edu

Massimo Rondolino, mrondoli@carrollu.edu


Steering Committee:

Yudit K. Greenberg, ygreenberg@rollins.edu

Eric Huntington, erhuntington@gmail.com

Ruqayya Yasmine Khan, ruqayya.khan@cgu.edu

Roberta Sabbath, roberta.sabbath@unlv.edu

Thomas Seat, thomas.seat@ptsem.edu

Ivette Vargas-O'Bryan, ivargas@austincollege.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 5 – Three 2-hour sessions and three 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2021