Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association Conference 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Religion and Popular Culture area

Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association
2013 Conference, Nov. 7 – 9, 2013, Atlantic City, NJ
Religion and Popular Culture Area
Submission deadline: June 14, 2013

The Religion and Popular Culture area seeks presentations on the following topics:

Choosing the Leader: This past year Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen to become Pope Francis, the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. During the conclave that elected the new pope, the popular news media predicted that the Church would, and should, take into consideration the political ramifications of the selection. Would the new pope come from Africa? Would the new pope modify the Church's stance on abortion or gay/lesbian rights? The opposing perspective from those within the Church claims that although the pope is elected by the College of Cardinals, the Holy Spirit intervenes within the election process so that the chosen candidate will be the expression of God's will, which subsumes all other political concerns.

The area seeks abstracts and panels that explore how leaders of religious institutions are selected. Within the selection process, how do the human, political interests interact with spiritual doctrine? How does the selection of a new leader influence the religious institution? How does one identify the traits and characteristics of leadership within a religious context, and are those traits similar or different when compared with leaders of various secular institutions? How are religious leaders, religious leadership, or the selection of a new leader portrayed in popular media (literature, television, film, and so on)? Proposals can explore these issues; however, proposals can also engage with any aspect of religious leadership or the selection of leaders. Proposals about any religious tradition from any point in history will be considered.

Weather as a Spiritual Event: In 2012 Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and, more recently, in May 2013, Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City, was destroyed by a tornado. When interviewed, survivors often interpret these weather events in religious terms. In the midst of chaotic destruction, people express a faith in God; in the aftermath, people who have lost their homes, property and, in some cases, loved ones explain that the help they have received from others is a spiritual blessing.

The area seeks abstracts and panels that explore the interpretation of weather events as spiritual acts. Weather phenomena—like hurricanes and tornadoes—are ripe for religiously allegorical interpretations (this is blessing from God, this is a warning from God, this is God's punishment, and so on). What factors determine how a weather event will be interpreted? Ancient religious texts describe and interpret weather phenomena; how do those ancient accounts compare and contrast to current portrayals of weather events? Does contemporary, popular media forums influence how weather is interpreted? How are weather events symbolically utilized and explained in contemporary, popular media (literature, television, film, and so on)? How do secular explanations of the weather compare and contrast to religious interpretations? Proposals can explore the aforementioned questions; however, proposals can also engage with any aspect of weather and its possible connection to religious understanding. Proposals about any religious tradition from any point in history will be considered.

We also welcome other panel or paper proposals on other themes relevant to Religion and Popular Culture.

Panels of 3 presenters, single papers, roundtables, or alternative formats are encouraged. Students (both graduate and undergraduate) are encouraged to submit proposals and sliding scale registration fees are available. The deadline for proposals is June 14, 2013.

To submit a proposal, please log in at the MAPACA website before submitting your proposal. The address is http://mapaca.net. If you do not already have an account on the website, you will need to create one. Full instructions on logging in, creating an account, and submitting can be found at http://mapaca.net/help/conference/submitting-abstracts-conference. Please review the instructions before submitting to prevent errors that may disqualify your proposal.

If there any questions please contact the area co-chairs, Anthony Zias and Pam Detrixhe, by clicking the "Contract area chairs" button on the Religion and Popular Culture page on the MAPACA website. Do not email your proposals directly to the area chairs; MAPACA will only accept proposals submitted through the association's website.