[Skip to Content]

This Group provides an opportunity for scholars of North American Religions to think critically about how the concepts of religion and family are co-constituting terms, asking how religious rhetoric shapes understandings of the family and how families provide a primary context for religious experiences, identities, and rituals. We are seeking papers examining these topics across broad range of family configurations, religious traditions, and historical eras. We are particularly interested in papers that move beyond issues of motherhood to examine other familial relationships such as extended kinship networks, siblings, elder care, singleness in a religious world designed for families, divorce, queer families, and men in familial contexts. We also seeking papers that examine traditions apart from white Christianities, particularly religions of the African diaspora, African American Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Asian American Christian Communities, New Religious Movements, and others. Geographically, we are particularly interested in work from North American outside of the continental US. We are open to all historical periods.

Mission Statement:

The seminar insists on broad definitions of religion and pulls from as diverse a range of families as possible, in order to create generative conversations. To that end, we will think critically about how the concepts of religion and family are co-constituting terms, asking how religious rhetoric shapes understandings of the family and how families provide a primary context for religious experiences, identities, and rituals.

Family, as naturalized term that is anything but natural, is a very generative theme for scholars across the range of theoretical and methodological approaches in the AAR. Geographically, the Seminar is regionally focused on North America to provide a limited scope but intentionally includes Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, which is to say that we do not see North America as simple a stand in for the United States and intend a transnational and comparative conversation. Methodologically, the Seminar focuses on historical, ethnographic, and cultural studies explorations of family. Theoretically, the Seminar brings together scholars of religion working on questions of kinship, reproduction, gender, race, class, colonialism, ritual and practice, the nation-state, and sexuality in a richly comparative, yet helpfully bounded, conversation. The seminar allows for plenty of opportunity for scholars with very different theoretical orientations toward both the terms “religion” and “family” to find fruitful avenues for dialog between them.

Method of Submission:

INSPIRE

 

Co-Chairs:

Samira Mehta, smehta@post.harvard.edu

Susan Ridgely, susan.ridgely@wisc.edu

 

Steering Committee:

Seth Dowland, dowland@plu.edu

Mandy McMichael, mandy_mcmichael@baylor.edu

Laura McTighe, lmctighe@fsu.edu

Michal Raucher, michal.raucher@rutgers.edu

 

Session Allotment: Two 90-minute sessions (may be back-to-back)

Expiration: December 31, 2022