AAR Call for Proposals 2022

Tara C. Trapani

The Call for Proposals for the American Academy of Religion's annual meeting in Denver is out, and the deadline to submit your paper or panel is March 1. So, we wanted to provide some details on the calls that relate to the intersection of religion and ecology. This year's theme is “Religion and Catastrophe.” General instructions on how to submit can be found here on the AAR site. 

The following are units/seminars whose call for proposals focus completely on the intersection of religion and ecology. For more information on all of these, see the AAR Call for Proposals.

Religion and Ecology Unit
The Religion and Ecology Unit seeks individual paper and complete panel proposals relating to a wide range of themes in religion and ecology, including proposals that resonate with the 2022 thematic emphasis on “Religion and Catastrophe” –what is the role of the study of religion and ecology in the times of climate catastrophe? We recognize that climate catastrophes—the effects of which are exacerbated by, and exacerbate, social inequality—will continue to transform the worlds in which we live. Given this, it is crucial for us to examine how the histories of colonialism, slavery, nationalism and migration have shaped the predominant visions of climate catastrophes and paved the way for the unequal distribution of environmental damage and resources for repair. Other questions to consider are: What distinct resources have specific traditions or particular communities developed to denounce or adapt to environmental changes in their communities? How are climate catastrophes changing religious traditions or even sparking the development of new ones? How does the present situation test traditional visions of a collective future? The Religion and Ecology Unit is also pursuing possible co-sponsored sessions with the following Units:

  • After Catastrophe (Co-sponsored with the Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit) While environmental catastrophes are often narrated as threats to dominant (i.e., white settler) social orders that need to be maintained, this session explores environmental catastrophe as de- and anti-colonialism. In other words, this session challenges the anxiety of rescuing settler futurity in decolonial projects by focusing on Indigenous scholarship of decolonization.
  • Sikh Responses to Catastrophe (Co-sponsored with the Sikh Studies Unit) This session invites presentations that connect Sikh faith with the environment and are open to any discipline or methodology (theological, sociological, ethnography, historical, etc.) 

See page 170 of the AAR Call for Proposals

Animals and Religion Unit
This Unit addresses the study of animals and religion and seeks to engage scholars of religion with the emergent field of animal studies. We welcome theoretically informed paper/panel proposals on all topics related to these themes. We value papers that attend to real animals alongside theoretical constructs, imagery, or representations pertaining to them, and papers that attend to intersectionality with race, gender, sexuality, disability, and other matters of justice. In addition to this open call for papers, the Animals and Religion Unit is interested in organizing sessions around the following topics, with an eye toward the 2022 Annual Meeting’s presidential theme: “Religion and Catastrophe.”
• Animals, Moral Injury, Trauma, and Catastrophes of Conscience
• Catastrophe and Life at Other Scales
• Christopher Carter, The Spirit of Soul Food: Race, Faith, and Food Justice
• Innovative Pedagogies around Animals and Religion
• Animals, Poison, & Religion (Co-sponsored with the Comparative Studies in Religion Unit)

See page 21 of the AAR Call for Proposals

Comparative Religious Ethics Unit
Reflecting this year’s presidential theme of “Religion and Catastrophe,” our call for papers focuses on the potential contributions of comparative religious ethics on understanding the catastrophes of the past and present and its role in analyzing, historicizing, and envisioning alternative forms of life in the context of climate change. Themes especially welcome this year include the following:
• Climate Change and Economic Justice
• Faith-Based Environmental Activism
• Defining “Nature” and Its Normative Implications
• Redemption, Repair, Restitution
• Disaster Displacement and Climate Refugees (Co-sponsored with the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit)
See page 60 of the AAR Call for Proposals.

Energy, Extraction, and Religion Seminar
The Energy, Extraction, and Religion Seminar (EER) solicits paper proposals that provide insights at the intersection of religion, extraction, energy, and catastrophe. An emerging body of postcolonial, critical race, and environmental humanities scholarship takes extractivism as a functioning paradigm of modernity and frames the current climate crisis in this scope. As indigenous environmental humanities scholar Max Liboiron argues, “pollution is colonialism” (2021). In this vein, the EER is eager for papers that consider the religious contexts of climate catastrophe as a materialization of entwined extractive projects of colonization, racialization, and exploitation
See page 275 of the AAR Call for Proposals.

The following list contains units/seminars whose call for proposals has one area of focus related to the intersection of religion and ecology. This list is not exhaustive, by any means. Due to this year's theme of “Religion and Catastrophe,” the majority of calls at least mention climate change. But the following are some of the ones that articulate a more conscious connection or appear to focus more substantively on the topic. For more information on all of these, see the AAR Call for Proposals.

African Religions Unit
Fire & Water: Religion, Resilience & Resistance in the face of Natural Disasters (CoSponsored Panel with Religions, Medicines, and Healing Unit) 
See page 17

Afro-American Religious History Unit
African-American Religion and climate catastrophe
See page 19

Anthropology of Religion Unit
Religion and the Environment. Engaging environmental concerns as part of religious identity and practice (e.g., pollution, sustainability, preservation); landscape and materiality; inequalities related to consumption, extraction, and/or climate change
See page 24

Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit
Asian American Settler Colonialism and Climate Change (Co-sponsored session with Religion, Colonialism, and Postcolonialism Unit)
See page 28

Baha'i Studies Unit
Papers on practices and beliefs related to food, drink, fasting, food production, food insecurity and/or sovereignty, food and social/economic development, the climate and environmental impacts of food, the ethics of food production and consumption, or any aspect of religiously influenced practices concerning food. The Baha’i community is concerned about these issues and grapples with them in different ways in communities around the world. Papers can address Baha’i contributions to these questions or highlight other religious groups. Co-sponsored with the Religion and Food Unit. 
See page 32

Bioethics and Religion Unit
Bioethics, Religion, and Catastrophe
See page 33

Black Theology Unit
Black Theology, land, geography, spatiality, and climate catastrophe
See page 34

Body and Religion Unit
Politicized, surveilled and/or bodies in conflict–especially, but not limited to climate change
See page 36

Buddhist Critical-Constructive Reflection Unit
Response to catastrophes-2: climate emergency and the pandemic.
See page 43

Buddhist Philosophy Unit
“Buddhist Perspectives on the Climate and Ecological crisis” 
See page 44

Childhood Studies and Religion Unit
The State of the World and Childhood Identity: The Impact of Pandemic, Isolation, Racial Tension and Climate Catastrophe on Child Development and Wellness (Co-Sponsored with the Psychology, Culture, and Religion Unit)
See page 47

Christian Spirituality Unit
1922 Colorado River Compact, Climate Change, and Ecological Catastrophe
See page 51

Christian Systematic Theology Unit
Theology and Ecology
See page 53

Class, Religion, and Theology Unit
Anthropocene or Capitalocene?
See page 53

Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Unit
Religion, Ecocide, and Climate Catastrophe (Co-sponsorship between Native Traditions in the Americas, Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence, Religion, Media, and Culture, Religion and Human Rights, and Religion and Politics, and Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Units)
See page 59

Comparative Studies in Religion Unit
Climate Change and Religious Transformation
See page 63

Contemplative Studies Unit
Contemplative approaches to addressing the climate crisis
See page 68

Contemporary Islam Unit
Climate and environment
See page 70

Cultural History of the Study of Religion Unit
“Nature” and the “Natural” in the Study of Religion
See page 76

Evangelical Studies Unit
We especially welcome new research related to Evangelicalism and the environmental crisis: the spectrum of evangelical actions––from stewardship to exploitation––toward natural resources, theological justifications in the pursuit of crude, divergent understandings of climate change, activism related to environmental justice and the exacerbation of social inequality, and other proffered remedies practical, theological, and theoretical
See page 88

Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Unit
In response to AAR’s 2022 presidential theme, focused on climate catastrophe, we seek proposals related to feminist approaches to climate change
See page 90

Hinduism Unit
Hinduism and Climate
See page 97

History of Christianity Unit
Christian Reflections on the Climate and Catastrophe
See page 100

Human Enhancement and Transhumanisms Unit
Climate change, enhancement, and transhumanisms
See page 102

Mysticism Unit
Relational Cosmologies and Mystical Practices for Ecological Repair (co-sponsorship with the Open and Relational Theologies Unit)
See page 140

New Religious Movements Unit
In light of the spate of wildfire, hurricanes, and other weather-related or geological events, we are soliciting papers on new religions and environmental catastrophe, weather, or climate
See page 144

Philosophy of Religion Unit
Philosophy of religion’s contributions to environmental humanities
See page 154

Platonism and Neoplatonism Unit
Christianity and the Environment: Reflections on the Publication of the Cambridge Companion to Christianity and the Environment (eds. Alexander J.B. Hampton & D. Hedley, Cambridge, 2022) (Co-Sponsored by the Religion in Europe Unit and the Platonism and Neoplatonism Unit)
• Nature and the Platonic Tradition
See page 155

Psychology, Culture, and Religion Unit
Climate Catastrophe, Eco-Anxiety and Climate Grief: Psychological and Religious Perspectives
See page 160

Religion and Economy Unit
Economy and ecology. How has the study of economy and ecology as systems and values contributed to current conditions and future visions? What is the place of religion and its study therein?
See page 173

Religion and Human Rights Unit
In light of the presidential theme “Religion and Catastrophe,” we invite papers for a joint session with the Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit, tentatively titled “The Rights of Nature and the Non-Human.”
See page 176

Religion and the Social Sciences Unit
Environmental Catastrophe: We invite papers that address adaptive practices and responses of religious, spiritual, and indigenous communities to catastrophic environmental events inclusive of natural disasters related to climate change, as well as ecological disruption and devastation due to human intervention in natural environments.
See page 189

Religion in Premodern Europe and the Mediterranean
Premodern Ecologies
See page 193

Religions, Medicine, and Healing Unit
Food Insecurity, Water Crises, and Justice
See page 209

Sociology of Religion Unit
Topics related to the AAR presidential theme of “Religion and Catastrophe” including religion and climate change, religion and the environment, inequality and climate change, migration and the environment, migration and violence, racial violence, religion, and economic inequality, apocalypticism
See page 227

Women and Religion Unit
Religion and Catastrophe: UN COP26, Ecowomanism, and Ecofeminism
See page 259

World Christianity Unit
The relationship between climate catastrophe and local expressions of Christianity in the Global South or diasporic communities, with special attention to how Christians around the world understand, construct theologies, and act upon issues related to the environment and (global) interdependence
See page 264