Friday, January 23, 2009

Pagan Studies at AAR 2009

For lack of an original post today, here are the "calls" for the sessions at next November's American Academy of Religion meeting in Montreal that involve Pagan Studies.

At some time I want to discuss here where our little sub-discipline might be going, but it won't be today -- I just have too much on my desk.

Given disciplinary boundaries, getting the joint session with Indigenous Religious Traditions was a bit of a coup. It meant overcoming some people's resistance to the "P-word."

Contemporary Pagan Studies Group

This Group invites proposals that address the issue of idolatry, namely, examining the roles that material objects have played in religious life - in particular, the inventive strategies that people and/or cultures have used in their attempts to create images of and for worship. For a second session, we request papers that investigate the influence of literature, especially science fiction/fantasy, on contemporary paganisms. Papers that stress mutually interdependent relations are also welcome. In addition, a joint session of the Indigenous Religious Traditions Group and this Group will consider papers that explore common or shared perspectives in sacred practices. Each tradition has a heritage of employing tangible material in activities of reverence, ritual, worship, etc. We invite papers that help us understand where, how, and if the overlaps are truly shared perspectives.

Indigenous Religious Traditions Group

This Group continues to be interested in the utility or difficulties of Western conceptual categories - sacred, cosmology, possession, and others. We are also interested in the conceptualization of "indigenous;" including the invention/production of new indigenous religions. We invite paper submissions that engage the idea of "encounters" between indigenous cultural communities and groups of/from Western civilization, between indigenous communities and other non-Western cultures. In these broad perspectives, we will receive research-based papers focused on cultural and religious exchanges between encountering groups. Special preference will be given to papers that highlight exchanges that have occurred in Canada. In a joint session with the Contemporary Pagan Studies Group, we invite abstracts on tangible sacrality in the performance of ritual or worship. This proposed joint session seeks to explore perspectives on whether contemporary paganism and indigenous religious traditions could or should share a mutual discourse.

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