Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group Program: AAR Annual Conference, San Diego, 2014


AAR Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group

November 21-25, 2014, San Diego, CA – AAR

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.

CTDR is sponsoring or co-sponsoring six sessions at the San Diego AAR with a workshop on the role of comparison in research on religion and panels on violence and alterity, Foucault, The Frankfurt School, French Feminisms and a re-examination of key terms in the study of religion.

CTDR’s Program with abstracts for the Annual Meeting is available for download as a PDF. (recommended for smart phones)


Friday, November 21, 2014    

Comparison and the Analytical Study of Religion     Program PDF

Location disclosed to those registered. To register place “SORAAAD – 2014 – Registration” in the subject line of an email addressed to [email protected].

A22-222    Religion and Constructions of Violent Alterity

Saturday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Hilton Bayfront-Indigo B

Co-Sponsored by the Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Group

Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group

This panel explores the ways that religious discourse may promote the conceptualization of alterity and, in some instances, how that discourse may be a catalyst for violence. Papers rely on methods such as textual analysis, ethnography, and statistics, and draw examples from Biblical, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu traditions.

Jamel Velji, Haverford College, Presiding

Margo Kitts, Hawaii Pacific University, Responding

Chipamong Chowdhury, University of Toronto

Genocidal Violence, Conflict, and Communalism: Anti-Buddhist Violence in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh) 

Nathan French, Miami University

An American Takfīr? Jihādī-Salafism, the US Drone Campaign, and the Implications of a Comparative Negotiation of Permissible Violence

Ipsita Chatterjea, Vanderbilt University

Durkheim’s Dual Stream Violence Hypothesis and Communal Violence

Sean McCloud, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Fighting Demons in the United States: Third Wave Spiritual Warfare and the Construction of the Non-Evangelical Other

Brian Doak, George Fox University

Monster Violence in the Book of Job as Moral Disorientation and Reorientation

A22-302    Applying Foucault

Saturday – 4:00 PM-6:00 PM

Convention Center-5A

Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group, Business Meeting 5:50

Thirty years after his death, what is Foucault’s lasting impact on the study of social order and power? How does Foucault’s work inform analyses of the intersections of religion and the social, political, and cultural? And how might we (continue to) think differently? The papers in this session take up key Foucauldian texts, themes, and theories in conversation with specific empirical data and case studies. Topics include: confession rituals, genetic science, and memorials at Newtown, CT.

Kati Curts, Yale University, Presiding

Ann M. Burlein, Hofstra University, Responding

Daniel Moseson, Syracuse University

Foucault, Science, and Power after Thirty Years

Benjamin Fong, University of Chicago

To Judge and To Be Judged: Michel Foucault on Confession

M. Gail Hamner, Syracuse University

Foucault, Kant, and the Affective Reception of Dramatic Discourse

Business Meeting:

William E. Arnal, University of Regina

David Walker, University of California, Santa Barbara

A23-219    The Frankfurt School: Foundations and Fixations

Sunday – 1:00 PM-2:30 PM

Convention Center-28C

Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group

In a session that re-examines the foundations of critical theory and explores it’s contemporary uses, one paper looks at the ways in which Weberian theory was used – selectively – by members of the Frankfurt School; while another looks at the ways in which Habermasian theory uses the Frankfurt School: again, selectively. The two other papers explore relations between Adorno and Benjamin, and between Benjamin and Agamben.

Katja Rakow, Heidelberg University, Presiding

Devin Singh, Yale University, Responding

Joel Harrison, Northwestern University

Routinization, Rationalization, Renunciation: Weber’s Account of Christian Asceticism and its Relation to the History of Critical Theory

Agata Bielik-Robson, University of Nottingham

“Pulling the Brake”: Benjamin, Agamben, and the Anti-Progressive Messianism

Bryan Wagoner, Davis & Elkins College

The “Imaginary Witness”: Adorno’s Inverse Theology

Matt Sheedy, University of Manitoba

Discourses on “Postsecularism” in the Web of the Religion/Secular Binary

A24-209 Feminism and Subjectivity in the Study of Religion

Monday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM                                      

Convention Center-9

Co-sponsored by Sociology of Religion Group,

Critical Theories and Discourses on Religion Group and

Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group,

or STAR (the Social Theory and Religion Cluster).

STAR Business Meeting, 3:20 pm

2014 marks the thirty- and forty-year anniversaries of key works in French social theory, including Julia Kristeva’s Revolution in Poetic Language (40th anniversary) and Luce Irigaray’s Speculum of the Other Woman (40th) and An Ethics of Sexual Difference (30th). In honor of their legacies, the panelists in this session explore related questions of feminism and subjectivity in the study of religion. With reference not only to Irigaray and Kristeva, but also to Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood, they treat critical turns in affect theory and speech act theory, the ethics of alterity, and the discursive formation of subjectivity as a crucial category in the study of religion.

Morny Joy, University of Calgary, Respondent

Abigail Kluchin, Ursinus College

An Alternative Lineage for Affect Theory: Returning to Irigaray’s Speculum de l’Autre Femme and Kristeva’s Revolution du Langage Poétique

Wesley Barker, Mercer University

Signifying Flesh: The Ambiguity of Desire and the Possibility of Alterity in Irigaray’s Ethics of Sexual Difference

Samantha Langsdale, University of London

Framing Historical Women’s Agency: A Critical Reading of Speech Act Theories

Constance Furey, Indiana University

Hermeneutics of Intersubjectivity: Foucault, Butler, and Limit Experiences

Business Meeting:

William E. Arnal, University of Regina;

Randall Styers, University of North Carolina;

Ipsita Chatterjea, Vanderbilt University

A25-120    Key Concepts in the Study of Religion

Tuesday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM

Convention Center-22

The panelists in this session explore the discursive formation of key concepts in the study of religion, as well as the historiographic legacy of genealogical methods themselves. Under consideration are: human ‘agency’; ancient ‘magic’; American ‘secularism’ and ‘humanism’; and Beninese ‘religion.’ Not content merely to condemn these categories on account of labored or confused applications, the authors here explore also the possibilities of disciplined reclamation.

David Walker, University of California, Santa Barbara, Presiding

Jason C. Bivins, North Carolina State University, Responding

Shaily Patel, University of North Carolina

Many Marvels: Variations of Magical Discourse in Early Christian Traditions

Joseph Blankholm, Columbia University

The Interwoven Genealogies of Secularism and Humanism

Sonia Hazard, Duke University

The Construction of Agency as a Category in the Study of Religion

Elana Jefferson, Emory University

“Religion” and the Politics of Materiality: Confronting Immaterial Religion through Reflections on Vodoun Materialist Orientations


This entry was posted in Announcements, Politics and Religion, Religion and Society, Religion and Theory, Theory and Method, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *