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NAASR 2023 Annual Meeting: Call for Papers

NAASR 2023 Annual Meeting


Exploring the Transdisciplinary “Ecology” of scholarship in the study of religion 

The North American Association for the Study of Religion describes itself as an organization committed to “the historical, comparative, structural, theoretical, and cognitive approaches to the study of religion.” Since its inception, NAASR has welcomed an assorted group of scholars to work across these entrenched disciplinary boundaries and wide-ranging areas of expertise. This synergy cultivates a level of transdisciplinary inquiry into the very idea of the category of “religion” that otherwise might be unattainable. Yet, this emphasis on transdisciplinary engagement mutes the profound impact of this underlying scholarly diversity on the intellectual exchanges and disputes that arise in the so-called critical study of religion. 

It is crucial to also acknowledge that many factors shape the scholar’s capacity to create, curate, and ultimately critique “religion” as an object of study. What are the unique paths that individual scholars travel to arrive at this shared endeavor? How do these differences matter? In what ways do their specific educational, institutional, and broader social locations inform their perspectives on religion and the contours of scholarly debate? Examining the elements that comprise the ecology of the field provides opportunities to sharpen our scholarly pursuits.  

The 2023 NAASR Annual Meeting will explore the “ecologies” in which scholars imagine religion.  Specifically, NAASR invites proposals for papers that target one of the following “niches,” each of which establishes parameters for the scholarly process: 

(1)  The Research Environment—how do specific types of research spaces (ex., archival, digital, ethnographic, etc.) determine the range or type of choices that scholars can make? How do different physical spaces (ex., home office, a local coffee shop) impact the creative processes of scholarly production? 

(2) Dissemination Platform—how do specific platforms for disseminating research (ex., peer-review journals, publishers, mass media, podcasts, etc.) shape the substance, form, and purpose of scholarship?

(3) Institutional Climate—how do institutions (ex., graduate training, rank/position of the scholar, administrations, public vs. private institutions, the state, markets, etc.)  play a role in framing scholarship on religion?  

(4)  Socio-cultural lLocation—how does the embeddedness of the scholar in wider social structures  (e.g., those related to race, gender, class, religious background, occupational history, etc.) inform their scholarly practices and pursuits?  

NAASR is especially interested in sessions that can represent the breadth of the field in terms of rank (graduate students, senior scholars), areas of expertise and disciplinary training, and socio-cultural backgrounds. Paper proposals can emphasize the individual’s personal/anecdotal experiences or more general observations in relation to one of these “niches” as long as the substance of the presentations isare grounded in robust scholarly or empirical support.

Submissions for proposals should each:

1.         Identify the area (one of the four immediately above) on which they will focus

2.         Provide a brief (500-word max) statement that outlines the basic elements of their response to the identified theme.

The sessions for the annual meeting will follow a roundtable format exploring each of these four (4) themes. Participants will submit full papers that apply their expertise to the designated topic one month prior to the meeting (approximately early October 2023). Each session will feature a “Pre-spondent,” an invited scholar who will introduce the panelists and offer substantive remarks on the topic. Participants will have 8-10 minutes to summarize their papers and will be followed by informal discussion between panelists and the general audience for roughly one hour. 

Ultimately the aim is to publish these sessions as an edited volume under the NAASR Working Papers series with Equinox publishing. Therefore, by submitting a proposal for the annual meeting, you are agreeing to eventually publish a version of this paper as a chapter in an edited volume in the NAASR working papers series. 

Please submit your proposals Monday, March 13, 2023 at 5pm ET to the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdGT7xXH3Y_0wbQ3nfXKr_xMrwpwgH8m3mPuJJFMqg4J4nGDA/viewform?usp=sf_link

Direct any questions or concerns about this process to dennislorusso@gmail.com 

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