Religion and Resistance
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF RELIGION WESTERN REGION (AARWR)
2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE | CALL FOR PAPERS
The overall focus of the 2019 conference is Religion and Resistance. In several senses, all religion and religious expression contain forms of resistance, whether having to do with faith and particular beliefs (e.g., the very claim of revelation, or the transcendent) or their prescriptions for conduct. Beyond the theological and ethical, however, while simultaneously being artifacts of culture, religious material expression is also countercultural.
We invite our colleagues to consider how might resistance best be understood within religious traditions. Where might underexplored figures, movements, and ideas be found for better understanding how resistance has worked historically and in the contemporary moment? Resistance may relate to particular acts (e.g., resistance to particular sins via violent/non-violent action), or resistance to other operative powers and principalities, or to other normative orders in relation to dominant social structures.
Religion has also expressed alternative public and private forms of political resistance. Calvin explained to the King of France that “we must not only resist, but boldly attack prevailing evils.” Buddhism came about through a realization of the need to oppose and remove suffering from the world’s normal order. Judaism and Islam were birthed amid cultural decadence and idolatry, responding to their cultures by creating new orders and ways of living in the world. And various radical dissenting groups have defined themselves by outright nonconformity.
But how is this done? What does resistance look like and how is it facilitated and strengthened? How does it “rock the nation” and lead to demands like, “freedom now,” as Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of? What is resistance ultimately for? How does religion enable its participants to overcome through resistance? What role does religion play? And should religion always be defined in forms of resistance to dominant power structures? Or is religion better-oriented in its enabling and informing of these structures? How may religion function as resistance in both contexts? How also does internal resistance (reform, disruption, redevelopment) take place within traditions?
Beyond the traditional, what does religious resistance look like today? What are various cultural norms and wider external prescriptions that various religious traditions provide antibody (or alternatives) to? And how do these work when various traditions (and their theologies) are co-opted for other ends, be they nationalistic, political, or otherwise foreign to the ontologies and close readings of a tradition’s more radical features? How do religious traditions bring together visions of collaboration with other traditions for collective resistance to larger structures that may threaten ideas of religion, or freedom of religion, and what sort of ontologies and anthropologies are these affirming in order to work? What is lost or gained in these questions of religion and resistance?
Please see the individual unit call for proposals below. Interested scholars and students should consult the general directions on the AARWR website (http://www.aarwr.com/call-for-papers.html) and e-mail proposals and participant forms as an attachment to respective unit chairs.
DEADLINE FOR PAPERS PROPOSALS: 1 OCTOBER 2018, MIDNIGHT PST.