San Antonio, Texas
November 19-22, 2016
Statement of Purpose:
The Sociology of Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion serves as a bridge between religious studies and the subdiscipline of sociology of religion. It functions as a two-way conduit not only to import sociological research into religious studies but also to export the research of religious studies into both the subdiscipline and the broader field of sociology. Only through a cross-fertilization transgressing departmental boundaries can there be breakthroughs in research in both fields. The group has a wide conception of sociology of religion. It is open to a multiplicity of paradigms and methodologies utilized in the subfield and sociology more broadly: theoretical as well as empirical, quantitative, qualitative, and comparative-historical. By liaising with other Program Units, the Sociology of Religion Group is able to bring the rich diversity of critical and analytical perspectives that are housed in the American Academy of Religion into mainstream sociology of religion. Conversely, it aims to provide scholars of the study of religion with a deeper understanding of the landscape of sociology of religion.
Theory, Method, and their Application:
Sociology of Religion as part of a larger discipline is marked by a canonization of its theory and its division by paradigms and methodologies–whether these be the classics (Weber and Durkheim), the old paradigm (functionalism and social constructionism), or the new paradigm (rational choice) on the one hand or quantitative, qualitative, or historical-comparative sociology on the other. As it intersects with sociology of religion, the study of religion has drawn from theories and methodologies in conversation with sociology, anthropology, critical theory, psychology, history, and other related disciplines. We are interested both in papers that utilize the methods and theories in the study of religion and bring them into the sociological canon as well as those that help religious studies gain a better grasp of the sociological theory of religion. We encourage papers that exploit both the theory and methodology of sociology of religion and religious studies and use them as frames for analysis of concrete cases. In particular, we request papers that touch upon social divisions examining race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, region, age, etc.
Internationalism and Diversity:
Critics of sociology of religion have pointed out that the field is dominated by North Americans scholars primarily interested in Protestantism. The discipline of religious studies provides a clear antidote to these perceived limitations. Therefore, we encourage contributions from academics who study the various religious traditions around the world as well as those studying North American religious communities. In particular, we would like submissions from scholars from all academic ranks across the lines of nationality, region, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
Call for Papers:
The Sociology of Religion Group (SOR) invites both panel and paper proposals across a wide range of topics of interest to both the sociology of religion and religious studies and are particularly interested in papers, which speak to both thereby encouraging increased dialogue between them. In particular, this year’s CFP expresses interest in the following topics:
• Following the theme of AAR’s 2016 annual meetings, the Sociology of Religion Group invites papers that address the multi-dimensions of “Revolutionary Love.” This includes but is not limited to love communism (or the communism of love), brotherly/sisterly love, or love as an impulse for social change. Conversely, it could include the inverse hypothesis – where love is not revolutionary at all but is egoistic or narcissistic (self-love), where revolutions are not based on love but on hate, where love is harmful and tears down dreams rather than build them up. Finally, papers could contain a synthesis addressing the contradictory impulses of revolutionary love – e.g. paradoxical reflections of the religious adage to love thy enemy.
• Social and Religious Movements and/or Social Movements Theory and Religious Movements Theory
• Competing Canons within the Sociology of Religion and Religious Studies
• Theory and Methodology including issues of reproducibility, validity, and empiricism
• Religion and the Public Sphere
• Religion and Education including but not limited to “Religion and Education in Pluralistic Societies” or “Religion and Education in the Postsecular Age.”
• In a co-sponsored paper session, the Quaker Studies Group and Sociology of Religion Group invite proposals on normative religious identity and notions of the ‘true Church.’ We are interested in papers that utilize sociological theories and methods in the analysis of this topic. We are particularly interested in the following questions: What mechanisms do religious groups use to establish normative identities, particularly against deviants or schismatics within their own group? How is ‘membership’ and ‘authenticity’ counted and measured? What types of authority are used to sustain particular identities and how are these operationalized within the group? How are notions of ‘the world’ constructed and sustained, and how are these notions adapted when they no longer serve their original purpose (for example during the processes of denominationalization or internal secularization)?
• The topics mentioned above are meant merely as suggestions. We encourage submissions of all papers that utilize sociological theories, methods, and questions in their analysis of religion. We are particularly interested in papers that address issues of inequalities of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or those that utilize critical paradigms including but not limited to critical theory, Marxism, feminism, queer theory, post-colonialism, post-structuralism, and environmentalism.
The Sociology of Religion Group of AAR regularly co-sponsors panels with the peer-reviewed print and online journal Critical Research on Religion (CRR) (http://crr.sagepub.com
). Published by SAGE Publications, over 2600 libraries worldwide have subscriptions to the journal. Presenters of promising papers in SOR panels will be invited to turn their papers into articles and submit them for peer review to CRR.