Call for Papers – Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group: AAR, 2014


Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group

The AAR and SBL Meeting San Diego California, November 22-25

Deadline: Monday, March 3, 2014, 5:00 PM EST, through

Statement of Purpose:

This Group seeks to provide a forum in which scholars of religion from a wide range of disciplines can examine and question their disciplinary presuppositions. The work of this Group can be placed under three main rubrics:

* Critical investigation of the categories generated and employed by the discourses on religion, such as experience, the sacred, ritual, and the various other ‘isms’ that can be found in classic and contemporary studies of religion

* Analysis of new and neglected theorists and works central to the critical study of religion, including those produced in cognate fields such as anthropology, political science, or literary theory

* Theoretically-informed examination of elided and often neglected themes in religious studies, including class, race, gender, violence, legitimation, and the material basis of religion

Call for Papers

The CTDR Group offers an interdisciplinary and international forum for analytical scholars of religion to engage the intersection of critical theory and methodology with a focus on concrete ethnographic and historical case studies. Critical theory draws on methods employed in the fields of sociology, anthropology, history, literary criticism, and political theory in order to bring into scrutiny all kinds of discourses on religion, spanning from academic to nonacademic and from religious to nonreligious.

This year, the CTDR Group invites proposals on the following topics:

* Discursive formation of categories in the study of religion, e.g., magic, ritual, the secular, and belief.

* Foundational scholarship in critical theory relevant to the study of religion: proposals that either rethink foundational approaches (Marcuse, Althusser, Horkheimer, Adorno, Gramsci, Hall, Gilroy, McRobbie, etc.; Frankfurt and Birmingham Schools) or address the enduring resonance of early social theory on current religion scholarship.

* Anniversaries in French social theory: 2014 marks the thirty- and forty-year anniversaries of several key works. We especially invite proposals considering:

Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction (30th anniversary) as a lens through which to examine class and economics in the study of religion.

The French feminists: rethinking psychoanalysis, gender, and heteronormativity, with reference to Luce Irigaray’s Speculum of the Other Woman (40th anniversary) and An Ethics of Sexual Difference (30th anniversary), and/or Julia Kristeva’s Revolution in Poetic Language (40th anniversary in French, 30th in English).

The death of Michel Foucault: Thirty years later, what is Foucault’s impact on the study of social order and power? How does Foucault’s work inform our analysis of the intersection of religion and the social, political and cultural? (Please note: We expect papers that use Foucault’s work and critically explore the boundaries of its utility and applicability.)

* Religion and narration as discursive traditions: storytelling and affirmative genres of speech in the social formation of religion, e.g., with reference to Ricoeur, de Certeau, Bender, or other theorists.


Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection.



David Walker, [email protected]

William E. Arnal, [email protected]

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