This year’s conference will also feature two thematic modules. Several panels will be devoted to each of the following themes:
“Constructions of Autonomy in Early Modern and Modern Contexts"
This module will focus on both theological and philosophical discourses about the individual, rational, and/or autonomous subject in early modern and modern contexts, spanning from the Reformation to the post-Enlightenment period. Claims about autonomous subjectivity and its emergence in this period often appear in discussions of religious modes of subjectivity. Are claims to autonomy compatible with religious subjectivity? To what extent does autonomous subjectivity entail the ability of subjects to construct their own commitments–epistemological, moral, religious–and how have conceptions of autonomy themselves been constructed? In short, we invite proposals that explore the relationship between autonomy and religious subjectivity. Panels will examine discourses and constructions of autonomy in their historical formations in the early modern and modern periods, while also allowing for consideration of how such discourses have functioned more broadly within the study of religion. This module is especially concerned with the European context–given its pervasive influence in these discussions–but also welcomes contributions from scholars working on similar issues of autonomy and religious subjectivity in non-European contexts and in non-Christian traditions.
“Ritual as a Category of Religious Experience”
This module will focus on the material, embodied, spatial, stylized, and/or performative character of religious activity. We welcome a variety of methodological approaches including those informed by ethnographic and field-based research. Themes might, for example, include the relationship between ritual and identity, agency, social protest, violence, text-production, narratives, liturgies, or creeds. We are interested in the exploration of religious ritual in a variety of contexts, including psychotherapeutic, biomedical, political, medial-technological, or athletic contexts, and we are open to proposals from a diversity of religious traditions and historical periods. We also invite theoretically oriented proposals on the field of ritual studies, its theorists and methodologies.