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For the American Academy of Religion’s Annual Meeting in 2021, the Theology and Religious Reflection unit of AAR invites proposals for individual papers and paper panels on:

1.      Religious and theoretical reflection on pandemics, especially SARS-CoV-2 and HIV/AIDS. We are also interested in papers that examine local epidemics (like cholera) or endemic challenges (like tuberculosis). Papers and panels examining questions of temporality, sociality, contagion, rituals, and borders are especially welcome.

2.      The significance of naming Blackness: as a name, as ontology or anti-ontology, as ground and horizon, as life, death in life, and life in death.

3.      Practices and theories of solidarity. If, as scholars like Janet Jakobsen and Ruth Wilson Gilmore have argued, solidarity emerges out of sociopolitical struggle rather than being the antecedent condition of such struggle, how do we learn what solidarity is? Does its scope change in different struggles? Is it still a useful organizing image, or does it too quickly elide the reality of differences within social struggles?

4.      Proposals for a panel on R. A. Judy’s Sentient Flesh: Thinking in Disorder, Poiesis in Black (Duke, 2020).

5.      Technologies of touch across religious traditions. How is touch thought? What are the works and affects of touch? (Engagements with Liane Carlson’s Contingency and the Limits of History [Columbia University Press, 2019] are also welcome.)

6.      For a co-sponsored session with the Religion and Disability Studies Unit, we seek presentations that use the lens of ‘disability’ either to interpret or to reimagine embodied religious practices such as meditation, yoga, prayer, dance, or other ritual performances.

7.      What are the potentials of genre and style for theological and religious reflection? What might an “unwieldy stylistics” (Michael Cobb) make possible as knowledge or scholarship?

8.      Violence, activism, and conflict, including the metaphorics of violence as well as ideas and representations of violence in the time of Black Lives Matter and SARS-CoV-2.

9.      Proposals for a panel on the significance of David Scott’s work for theology and religious reflection (including any of his edited work, Small Axe, and books: Stuart Hall’s Voice, Conscripts of Modernity, Refashioning Futures, Formations of Ritual).


Mission Statement:

The Theology and Religious Reflection Unit is committed to fostering broad, interdisciplinary conversations in the study of religion and theology. We aim to cultivate a site of intersection and engagement for scholars working in various religious contexts who also have interests in the wider aspects of mutual interest in our field (theological, theoretical, methodological, political, ethical). Our Unit promotes constructive work that typically includes an emphasis on critical engagement as well as conceptual and social transformation.

Method of Submission:




Rakesh Peter-Dass, rpeterdass@gmail.com

Linn Tonstad, linn.tonstad@yale.edu


Steering Committee:

Eleanor Craig, elcatcraig@gmail.com

Tamsin Jones, tamsin.jones@trincoll.edu

Nami Kim, nkim@spelman.edu

Haruka Umetsu Cho, haruka.umetsu@gmail.com


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

Next Review: 2022