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We invite papers sessions, individual papers, and roundtables that address all aspects of Japanese religious practice and thought. Priority is given to paper sessions and roundtables. All time periods welcome. To facilitate exchange within and beyond Japanese religions, we prefer proposals that include explicit reflection on the study of religion. Creative formats are encouraged (film screenings and discussion, pre-circulated papers/texts, workshops, etc.).

Our Unit is committed to diversity and inclusion. We strongly encourage considering balance in terms of gender, and areas of specialization and time periods, as well as balance between graduate students, junior scholars, and senior scholars. Showing little or no regard for such diversity will exercise an adverse effect on the likelihood that your proposal will be accepted.

In submitting proposals, please follow the AAR guidelines carefully. First-timers are encouraged to contact the co-chairs for additional advice (Levi McLaughlin at lmclaug2@ncsu.edu and Jessica Starling at jstarling@lclark.edu).

This year's AAR theme is "Religion, Poverty and Inequality: Contemplating Our Collective Futures.” Proposals need not be limited to this theme.

The Japanese Religions Unit is allotted three 90 Minute Sessions and one 2 Hour Session. This includes any accepted sessions in co-sponsored program units. Please keep this in mind as you compose your proposal.

We would like to remind you about the Women in the Study of Asian Religions website (http://libblogs.luc.edu/wisar/find-scholars/). This website was created to facilitate greater representation of women in scholarly activities by providing a crowdsourced list of female scholars working in Asian Religions. We encourage everybody to use this website to go beyond old networks to seek new ones to help us further strengthen our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Below are possible topics proposed by our members this year. We welcome proposals on other topics as well. Please contact these proposers if you are interested in developing a proposal with them:

Japanese religion in service of the state (Abigail McBain, Columbia, aim2121@columbia.edu)

Mountains in relation to death rituals and traditions (Abigail McBain, Columbia, aim2121@columbia.edu)

Archaeology of Japanese religions (Jonathan Thumas, Harvard, jthumas@g.harvard.edu)

Open discussion sessions / pre-circulated paper discussions (Tim Smith, UNC-Chapel Hill, tjwsmith@live.unc.edu)

Remoteness, alternative communication, patchwork ethnography (Kaitlyn Ugoretz, UCSB, kugoretz@ucsb.edu)

Intra-Asian comparison (Barbara Ambros, UNC-Chapel Hill, bambros@email.unc.edu)

Religion, poverty, and inequality (2021 conference theme) (Bryan Lowe, Princeton, bdlowe@princeton.edu)

Sacred music in Japan (Michaela Mross, Stanford, michaelamross@hotmail.com)

The role of the grotesque/ugliness and demons in the study of Japanese religions (Emily Simpson, Dartmouth, Emily.B.Simpson@dartmouth.edu)



Mission Statement:

This Unit is a forum for scholars of different disciplines — including textual, historical, anthropological, sociological, ritual, artistic, and other areas of study using different approaches — to present their research findings on various theories and forms of Japanese religious life in the past and in the contemporary setting, within Japan and other areas of the world.

Method of Submission:




Levi McLaughlin, lmclaug2@ncsu.edu

Jessica Starling, jessie.starling@gmail.com


Steering Committee:

Anna Andreeva, andreeva@hcts.uni-heidelberg.de

Abigail Ironside McBain, aimacbain@gmail.com

Takashi Miura, tmiura@email.arizona.edu

Michaela Mross, mmross@stanford.edu

Eric Swanson, eric.swanson@lmu.edu

Jolyon Thomas, jolyon@sas.upenn.edu

Pamela D. Winfield, pwinfield@elon.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 2 – Two 2-hour sessions

Next Review: 2022