The 2014 AAR/WR conference will be held at Loyola University
Marymount on March 7-9. The Call for Proposals will be posted
Information on the 2013 program, hosted by Arizona
State University, is available through the links below:
2013 AAR Western Region Annual Conference
Religion in Public Life
for the 2013 Conference Program
For this year's conference theme we take a cue from the 2008
AAR publication, "The Religion Major and Liberal Education."
That white paper tied its vision of a robust future for
religious studies to the recognition on many fronts that
religion is "an inescapable part" of public life around the
globe. How do we in the discipline of religious studies
represent that public dimension of religion?
The calls for papers from the 20+ units making up the western
regional AAR take up this question in a variety of ways. Some
focus on controversies related to religion and politics in the
western United States (e.g. same sex marriage or immigration
reform), others turn to other regions of the world (e.g. the
"Arab Spring") or to historical antecedents (e.g. the Jesuits'
entry into China). Topics raised are richly diverse, including
ecology, pluralism, the current "Mormon moment," terrorism,
popular culture, among others.
The units are asking scholars and teachers of religion to
reflect on how we frame questions and analyses about the ways
religion plays out in various public settings. Do we, for
instance, tend to privilege particular public expressions of
religion as normative or paradigmatic, or even problematic?
How is our work shaped by the institutions in which we teach
and their calls to, for example, cultivate a critical
tolerance of diverse religions or to help students form a
religiously informed public voice? By what criteria
do we select among traditions, texts, histories, institutions,
events, and figures to develop analyses of religion's
intersection with politics? And perhaps location does matter;
how do distinctive features of our region (California,
Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands) inform how
we approach this theme, and how should it be different from
the approach developed by colleagues in other parts
of this country and/or other regions in the world?