*AARWR annual meeting at Loyola Marymount University on Friday-Sunday, March 10-12, 2017.
Religion, Race, and Racism
For this year, we invite everyone to get comfortable and uncomfortable with the theme of Religion, Race, and Racism. The study of “race” has moved from theological, false biological, and natural discourses and employs a critical social-historical constructionist perspective that argues that racial categories are a human invention. Although we hope that all individuals in contemporary societies “understand” race as a historical development, racial classifications, categories, and logic are deeply nested in structures of power, privilege, and knowledge. From the 15th to mid-20th centuries, European colonialists legitimated their conquest by imposing their notions of “religion” and “race” on Asians, Africans, and the indigenous people of the Americas. Race, from this perspective, is inherently biologically determined, and determined by God. The gravest danger of “race” is that it has become “common” or rather “common sense.” Racial classification and racial meaning are not questioned, but rather taken for granted as “natural” or universally accepted means to make sense of human diversity. Critical scholarship articulate this process as “racial formation” and define “race” as a way of “making up people.” Race and religion are both socially constructed, anthropological historical categories. Both are implicated in colonialist projects, whose ideas and practices are the foundational building blocks of a racial hierarchy and apparatus that limits power, privilege, and knowledge of racialized minority communities, both historically and in contemporary society. For this year, we invite you to (re)consider, (re)think, (re)introduce, (re)mind, and (re)explore the intersections of religion, race, and racism. Are the historical linkages between religion and race dead, or do they simmer, in institutions, phantomlike, or boldly (re)purposed, (re)fashioned, (re)imagined, and (re)defined in our political, economic, social, cultural, national, international, and quotidian lives and bodies? How is religion simultaneously employed—historically and today—as an instrument of and for oppression, and resistance to marginalization and social, political, and economic domination and inequality based on “race.” We wish to excavate, expand, and examine the intersections of religion and race in other arenas of oppression and inequality, and invite scholars, students, activists, artists, and others to join us in this critically important dialogue.
-Specific to Goddess Studies:
Goddess Studies seeks to retrieve the narrative importance of female figures in mythology and religion and works to infuse equity into the nature of exclusion. How does this year’s theme, “Religion, Race, and Racism,” intersect with female (cis/LGBTQ/inclusive) figures and the study of women in narrative and in culture? Are there goddesses, goddess scholarship, or goddess-centric worship that subvert racialization and/or colonization? Are there figures that have subverted demonization due to race or gender or who have been claimed to combat such “Othering”? Contrarily, are there figures that have been suppressed or marginalized due to race and/or gender that are currently being reclaimed, reinterpreted, or re-discovered? How? We invite proposals from scholars and artists from across the disciplines. Possible lenses of critique: Psychology, mythology and religion, musicology, history, critical race theory, gender studies, sociology, anthropology.
Submit Proposals to Co-Chairs: Drs. Angela Sells and Lauri Ramey; see below:
For more information on registration and to submit, visit http://www.aarwr.com