Call for Papers: Philosophy of Religion Unit, AARWR 2023
Given this year's thematic focus on civil rights, the Philosophy of Religion Unit invites scholars to think along politico-theological lines regarding the religious sources of "rights," but we will also accept proposals related to themes and issues in philosophy of religion that extend beyond topics related to the sources and origins of “rights,” including the following:
- We are interested in what philosophical insights can be gleaned from moving beyond genealogical tracing of how the discourses and legal establishments of "rights"—in various secularized contexts (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox Christianity, the vast diversity of the Muslim world, Judaism, Buddhism, Indigenous, etc.)—emerge from and are still characterized by specific religious backgrounds. What should we do in the light of such knowledge? How can philosophy of religion actively advance specific civil rights in various contexts (for example, how their “cash value” can vary based on factors like race, class, sexuality, dominant religious or secular regimes, and so on)? How can close or comparative analysis of civil rights and their varying relationships to religious traditions do more than "raise awareness"? How do insights into the nature of "rights"—as happily tinted or problematically tainted by the characteristic flavors of various religious and economic contexts of emergence—help us appreciate (in substantive, action-oriented ways) what is good in our societies and what could be improved (for instance, one might note the different forms the secular or state-affirmed rights take in predominantly capitalist, social-democratic, and communist settings)?
- At this point there exist a vast abundance of texts related to philosophy and pop-culture of the Philosophy and ... sort [Philosophy and Lord of the Rings, Philosophy and The Good Place, Philosophy and Buffy, Philosophy and Battlestar Galactica, and so on], and our discipline is certainly in a position to start meta-reflecting on them. For example, how is "religion" treated and understood in the context of such texts? What does "philosophy" mean therein? What is productive about pumping such texts through the philosophy-of-religion lens or lenses? What problematic trends or practices might authors within the genre do well to guard against? Alternatively, how does popular culture impact the philosophy of religion directly or indirectly, and how can philosophers of religion utilize new mediums of communication and “unserious” genres to uncover philosophical and religious insights? In what ways are these new mediums and genres transforming what counts as “religion”?
- We invite experts on non-Western philosophies of “religion” (Native American, African, and other Indigenous and First Nations worldviews) to identify, on the one hand, ways that such systems address fundamentally different questions, categories, or problems than those typically attended to in "philosophy of religion." On the other hand, we would also love to see scholars engage in attempts, in spite of such disconnects and biases, to translate them into terms that might make sense relative to Western philosophical categories in the form of philosophical dialogue.
- Finally, what new, ignored, or disregarded topics, issues, or subjects deserve attention from those in the field of philosophy of religion today? We also welcome proposals that investigate particular or individual philosophers, religious thinkers, theologians, or prominent social or political figures in terms of their insights, reflections, or ideas that contribute to the study of religion, or topics within the field of philosophy of religion.
- Joint Session with Disability Studies:
We invite the use of posthumanist critiques to reflect on the transhuman ambitions of many traditional religions, ranging from forms of Asian and Western esotericisms to more mainstream hopes of someday, after death or after many more incarnations, participating fully in divine nature, realizing Buddha-nature, etc. Disability studies in particular has much to say regarding how transhumanist visions of the trans-, super-, and otherwise more-than-human might be critiqued, not only from a posthumanist perspective, but also through the disability studies lens and by using crip theory to question often-implicit and sometimes explicit transhumanist assumptions of a stable and universal human nature (e.g., in contrast to other species, silicone intelligences, deities and demons, and so on), of supposedly obvious human "defects" and "disabilities" to be overcome, of disdain for the merely- and all-too-human as fundamentally deficient relative to, for example, posited unfallen or transcended "humans" of the past or future, superior AIs, etc. The co-chairs of the Disability Studies Unit are Anjeanette LeBoeuf (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Elizabeth Staszak (email@example.com).
Please email proposals and participant forms to the unit co-chairs: Dane Sawyer (University of La Verne) at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nathan Frederickson (University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law) at Nathan.Fredrickson@law.unh.edu. For more information, please visit: www.aarwr.com/annual-meetings.html. For any proposed panel, we would appreciate if authors coordinate beforehand and submit full panels together, which dramatically increases likelihood of selection. The deadline for submission of paper abstracts to unit chairs is October 31, 2022. All participants must submit a Program Participant Form. Participants at AARWR must be members of the AAR. The length of abstracts is typically 250 words.