Mid-Atlantic Region

2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting

March 7–9, 2014
Mount Saint Mary College
Newburgh, New York

Call for Papers

Submission Deadline: December 9, 2013 (extended from December 2)
Conference Theme: Religion and Lived Experience

We encourage you to submit proposals for the 2014 AAR Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting on March 7–9, 2014, to be held jointly with the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Society for Biblical Literature (MAR-SBL). Our conference theme this year is "Religion and Lived Experience." The program includes a dynamic plenary from Craig Hovey of Ashland University regarding his current research on a Christian witness to global violence, religious martyrdom, and the effect that those phenomena have on lived experience; and, several networking events for all members of the region from senior scholars to graduate students. 

The conference will be hosted by Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York. Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) is located on the Hudson River and is easily accessible by car, plane, and train. We will have a shuttle to transport those who travel by train to and from the campus. Our meetings will be held in state of the art classrooms, each of which is equipped with audio-visual presentation stations, enabling all presenters to utilize presentation modes of their choice. Our meeting will include most meals, beginning with dinner on Friday evening. Following a reception on Saturday evening, members may elect to enjoy dinner offsite on the Riverfront. Most importantly, by shifting to a campus as opposed to a hotel for our meeting we will enjoy, among other things, significantly reduced costs for hosting the conference. In the short and long term, this will help ensure the stability and growth of our region’s finances. Additional information about MSMC may be found at www.msmc.edu.

This year, we invite members to explore individuals’ and communities’ lived experiences of religious traditions, practices, and texts. As religious communities and contexts reshape and are (de)constructed, this year’s conference theme seeks to explore the dialectic and mutually-informing relationship among institutions of faith, their adherents, and “the other.” Think broadly about the ways in which your particular area of research may serve as a lens for examining these relationships or illuminating lived religion in our postmodern context. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged.

For the most up to date conference information please consult our website.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Awards

As has become our custom, MAR-AAR will award the Kate Connolly-Weinert Prize of $200 to the most innovative proposal for a group session (or panel) dealing with peace issues or women's studies; the deadline for submission is December 9, 2013 (extended from December 2). You must indicate in your proposal submission if you’d like to be considered for this award. To help foster graduate student participation, the Executive Committee of the MAR-AAR will again award the Robert F. Streetman Prize of $200 for the best student paper presented by an AAR regional member. Those interested in the Streetman Prize should submit their entire paper by February 10, 2014, and clearly indicate they are submitting the paper for prize consideration.


Online registration will be available in January. You will be notified by email when our online registration is live. Please utilize the online website for registration, as it saves paper and helps the region fulfill our national AAR mandate to promote environmentally sustainable gatherings.

Registration Fees

Before February 10:

Students Conference registration & all meals (Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast) Two-nights campus lodging, Double Occupancy $165
Students Conference registration & all meals (Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast) Two-nights campus lodging, Single Occupancy $185
Students Conference Only Registration   $85
Non-students Conference registration & all meals (Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast) Two-nights campus lodging, Double Occupancy $195
Non-students Conference registration & all meals (Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast) Two-nights campus lodging, Single Occupancy $215
Non-students Conference Only Registration   $100

Between February 11–March 1:

Students Conference registration & all meals (Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast) Two-nights campus lodging, Double Occupancy $185
Students Conference registration & all meals (Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast) Two-nights campus lodging, Single Occupancy $205
Students Conference Only Registration   $100
Non-students Conference registration & all meals (Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast) Two-nights campus lodging, Double Occupancy $215
Non-students Conference registration & all meals (Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast) Two-nights campus lodging, Single Occupancy $235
Non-students Conference Only Registration   $115

After March 11th/on-site, conference-only registration: $125; Lodging as available: $250.

Off-Campus Lodging

There are numerous hotels within five miles of the campus for individuals who elect not to take advantage of campus lodging. Transportation and reduced rates for hotel accommodations are not available.


As part of the American Academy of Religion’s commitment to host environmentally-sustainable meetings, we are asking participants to consider bringing reusable beverage containers and name badge holders from previous conferences in order to cut down on waste at the conference. 

Proposal Submission

Please review the various sections accepting proposals below. Submit your 500-word proposal and 150-word abstract by email attachment to all chairs/contacts identified in the section to which you’re submitting. Members may only submit one proposal to a section, and a total of two proposals. If you have questions about which section to submit to or need additional information about submitting a proposal please contact Jill Snodgrass at jlsnodgrass@loyola.edu.

Section Calls

Christian History and Theology

This section invites proposals relating to this year’s regional conference theme, which explores the relationship among institutions of faith, their adherents, and “the other.”  The Call for Papers (above) dramatically highlights events occurring over the past year, and invites many different rich applications in the study of Christian history and theology. Proposals may address the conference theme in a variety of ways, including but not limited to the following questions:

  • How have constructions of “others” informed Christian communities, practices, texts, and/or discourses?
  • How have constructions of “the other” supported models of divine and/or human subjectivity, personhood, or relationships?
  • How have Christian tropes in popular culture influenced various reactions to momentous and tragic events?
  • From Christian historical or theological perspectives, what relations can be discovered between momentous or tragic events, on the one hand, and everyday patterns of thought, speech, or action, on the other hand?
  • How have Christian communities contributed to the creation of “the other” by mourning some events and not others? What counts as tragic?  Who is permitted to speak about it?  Who is able to determine what is considered lost?

We welcome a variety of approaches—including focused historical study, critical textual analysis, and constructive theology.  Interdisciplinary projects drawing on anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, or other fields are encouraged. Paper proposals on other topics relating to Christian history and theology are also encouraged.

Submit proposals to ALL:
Shannon McAlister – smcalister@fordham.edu
Jennifer Wade – wadejf@bc.edu
Faye Bodley-Dangelo – fsb760@mail.harvard.edu

Contemporary Theology

This section invites proposals from scholars reflecting on systematic or moral theology in the contemporary context, loosely defined as the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Especially welcome are any papers with an emphasis on theologies of religion, soteriology, ecclesiology, hermeneutics and critical theory, interreligious exchange, or other cross-disciplinary conversations. Focusing on this year’s theme, “Religion and Lived Experience,” will without question bolster one’s candidacy in the submission process, but outstanding pieces subsumed under the Section’s general aegis are always considered.

Submit proposals to ALL:
Michael Canaris – MichaelMCanaris@gmail.com
Patrick Clark – patrick.clark@scranton.edu
Philip Porter – pporter1@loyola.edu

East Asian Religion

This section invites proposals on East Asian religious perspectives on and approaches to civic virtue and civil society.  We are especially interested in presentations that address the following issues: East Asian religions’ contributions to or perspectives on civic virtue and social justice, their textual and spiritual resources for the formation of a civility, multicultural acceptance and conflict resolution, and their interaction with secular communities. Proposal ideas that extend beyond these themes will also be welcomed if under the general focus of this section.

Submit proposals to ALL:
Hyun Choo – bhyunchoo@gmail.com
Song-Chong Lee – lee@findlay.edu
Patrick M. Beldio – pbeldio@reunionstudios.com

Global Religion and Pluralism

This section seeks papers that comment on non-Christian approaches to theology and religion that address the conference theme of lived experiences. In particular, the section invites submissions that consider diverse experiences in the lives of practitioners or those influenced by religion, including experiences of violence, persecution, and abuse, as well as innovative peace-making efforts, reconciliation, ritual, and other embodied or lived traditions. Interdisciplinary research is welcomed.

Submit Proposals to ALL:
Amy Milligan – milligana@etown.edu
Leah Comeau – lecomeau@gmail.com
Brooks Barber – brooks.barber@gmail.com

Philosophy of Religion

This section invites proposals relating to this year’s regional conference topic of “Religion and Lived Experience,” especially as the theme relates to the philosophy of religion. Paper proposals on other topics relating to philosophy of religion will also be considered.

Submit proposals to ALL:
Matthew Tennant – matthew.tennant@regents.ox.ac.uk
Kevin Hart – kjh9u@virginia.edu
Chad Pecknold – pecknold@cua.edu

Religion and Ethics

This section invites proposals that respond to the conference theme of “Religion and Lived Experience.” Using contemporary world events as a guide to asking morally dubious questions, proposals should explore the relationships described in the Mid-Atlantic Regional theme. Various methodologies and sources of analysis are encouraged.

This section also invites proposals related to ethics and peace building to fill one full session during the 2014 meeting. 

Submit proposals to:
Jennifer Lancaster – jennifertlancaster@gmail.com

Religion and Leadership

This section seeks proposals that address the role of spirituality, religion, and faith in leadership behaviors and decision making within the broader contexts raised by pluralism in society and the workplace. We seek proposals for papers and panels that address this year’s conference theme, “Religion and Lived Experience,” by exploring the mutually informing relationships among institutions of faith, their adherents, and “the other.” We invite you to think broadly about leadership in religion in both crisis and triumph and to examine relationships or lived religion in our postmodern context. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged.

Submit proposals to ALL:
Gerald S. Vigna – jerry.vigna@alvernia.edu
Deborah Evans – deborah.evans@alvernia.edu

Religion, Gender, and Sexuality

This section explores the intersection between religion and perspectives on gender and sexuality. Papers on the theme “Gender Justice, Sexuality Justice” are invited, but quality papers on all topics in religion, gender, and sexuality are welcome. We are particularly interested in proposals that are related to one of the following themes:

  • Issues of gender and sexuality in interreligious dialogue
  • Feminist approaches in comparative theology
  • Postcolonial and poststructural issues in gender studies
  • Gender issues and multiple religious identities or religious hybridity
  • Sexuality, nonhuman nature, and religion from interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches, including “othering” and eco-theological perspectives, especially focused on “sexual violence.”

We encourage submissions by scholars of all sexual identities (including those who are heterosexually identified), multiple disciplines, religious traditions, and perspectives.

Submit proposals to ALL:
Jea Sophia Oh – sophiajs5@gmail.com
Aimee Upjohn Light – lighta@duq.edu
Kyung-Sun Hong – khong@drew.edu

Religion in America

This section invites papers from various disciplinary perspectives on the study of the lived experience of religion and theology in North America. We are particularly interested in the following themes and topics:

  • Uses of theology and religious practices as responses to tragedies such as war, racism, violence, extortion, and abuse: In what ways has religion in North America fostered a culture where these events not only exist, but are abundant? What is the responsibility, if any, of religious groups and their practitioners to confront such issues?
  • Investigations into the study of practical theology as manifested in both the historical and contemporary cultures of North America: What roles do religion and theology play in our contemporary moment? How do the expressions of lived and material cultures of U.S. society reflect the current state of religious traditions in North America? How do the current religious and theological climates of the United States shape the academic study and practice of religion and theology globally?
  • Roles of religious and theological virtue in North America: Many religious texts and traditions promote the practice and adherence of virtues for their practitioners so that they may emulate them in their everyday existence. What is the state of virtue in North American society? How has the presence of virtue, or lack thereof, influenced religious movements and their teachings?
  • Responses to “the other”: How does religion bind or divide populations? While the aftermaths of various destructive and retributive acts often inspire individuals to unite out of both necessity and compassion, others are simultaneously ostracized from the community. How does the religious climate of North America address the other through the use practical theology? What implications does this have for the state of our society and our social responsibility to one another?
  • The role of academia in the context of religious and theological education: As one scholar of American religion has recently asked, “Do our professional responsibilities include not only classrooms, conferences, and publishing but also how our communities define and encounter ‘religion’ in public spaces?” Perhaps more importantly, “How do we meet these stories in contexts that are relevant to those who are telling them? What measures must we take to engage stories in which we claim expertise without falling into quagmires of pedantry or, worse, paternalism?”

Submit proposals to ALL:
L. Benjamin Rolsky – lrosky@drew.edu
Ben Horgan – bhorgan@loyola.edu

Religion, Media, and Pop Culture

In light of this year’s conference theme, the Religion, Media, and Pop-Culture Section calls for papers exploring how popular culture both reflects and shapes lived religion in a range of cultural contexts. Popular culture and media arts of all kinds both inform and transform societal norms and everyday behaviors when it comes to engagement with “the other” in lived experience. We encourage papers which take seriously the role of popular culture in negotiating the complicated process through which humans express themselves and engage with their world and the persons around them.

Papers could range broadly through any of the following: 

  • Internet – virtual worlds, online communities, multi-player games, etc.
  • Social Media – YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc
  • Print – blogs, comic books, graphic novels, manga, fiction, memoir, etc.
  • Cinema and Television – auteur theory, drama, sitcom, science fiction, fantasy, etc.
  • Games and Toys – video, board, role playing, etc.
  • Music – cover art, lyrics, videos, websites, etc.
  • The relationship between any of the above.

We will also consider other related areas. We encourage interdisciplinary work and a thoughtful engagement between theory and interpretation.

Submit proposals to ALL:
Rebecca Cecala – rkc139@psu.edu
Holly Gorman – holly.gorman@temple.edu
Airen Hall – aehall01@gmail.com
James Siburt - james.siburt@alvernia.edu

Scriptural Reasoning

This section gathers Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers for the study of scriptural texts that speak to themes of contemporary importance. Papers should examine brief scriptural passages (drawing on both textual scholarship and reception history) and suggest how they address contemporary readers' concerns. Participants will be asked to circulate drafts in advance and revise their papers in conversation with each other. At least one session will include textual study in small groups. We invite papers or panel proposals concerning the arts and scriptural interpretation, how studying traditionally sacred texts leads to different conceptions of “social justice,” and the role of “the other” within the practice of scriptural reasoning.  We welcome proposals on other topics as well and particularly encourage complete panel proposals, especially text-based panel proposals that require scriptural study.

Submit proposals to ALL:
Jacob Goodson – jlgoodson@wm.edu
Anna Moreland – anna.moreland@villanova.edu
Nauman Faizi – faizi@virginia.edu

Theology, Aesthetics, and Art

In keeping with the general theme of this year’s meeting—“Religion and Lived Experience”—the Theological Aesthetics Section invites proposals for papers for two special panels.

The first panel will treat the relationship of art and aesthetics to violence and lament. Particularly, we invite proposals that explore the aesthetic dimensions of theological lament as a theological response to the disruption of order and peace through acts of violence. Papers that move beyond the theoretical to a “lived” theological aesthetic are preferred, but theoretical considerations are also welcomed.

The second panel will respond to John Panteleimon Manoussakkis's book, God After Metaphysics: A Theological Aesthetics (Indiana University Press, 2007). Proposals that examine and respond to the configuration of theological aesthetics, along with the metaphysical dimension, are welcomed. Papers that seek to focus more on either the aesthetic or metaphysical dimensions will also be considered. Proposals are encouraged that engage with both Manoussakkis's thought and the sources with which he is engaged.

General proposals pertaining to the section theme of art and theological aesthetics will also be considered.

Submit proposals to ALL:
Daniel McClain – dwmcclain@loyola.edu
Brendan Sammon – brandosam@yahoo.com
Matthew Moser – mamoser@loyola.edu

Undergraduate Section

This section offers current undergraduates the opportunity to present recent work or work in progress in the field of religious studies or theology. All submissions should encompass this year’s conference theme on "Religion and Lived Experience." Conferences are a crucial part of graduate life in academia. Thus, MAR-AAR urges all undergraduates interested in graduate school or seminary to submit to this section. Undergraduates will have the chance to meet graduate students and seasoned religious studies and theology professors who will offer substantial critique to help undergraduates move forward in academia. Submissions should include the following information:

  • Name
  • Undergraduate institution
  • Advisor
  • Email address
  • 150-word abstract
  • 500-word proposal

Submit proposals to ALL:
Sabrina MisirHiralall – MisirHiralall.S@gmail.com
James Siburt – james.siburt@alvernia.edu

Please feel free to email Sabrina MisirHiralall and James Siburt with any questions regarding the submission process.