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The 2018 Annual Conference for the Western Region of the American Academy of Religion will be held at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. This year's conference theme is Religion and Kindness. The deadline for submitting proposals has been extended to October 20, 2017—via email to unit chairs. Visit www.aarwr.com/call-for-papers.html for details. Contact Prof. Abdullahi Gallab, Program Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The overall theme for the 2018 Conference is Religion and Kindness. We are using this idea in its broadest terms; sometimes admiring, sometimes damning, and may be some of the times authoritative, while in all other times passionate. We are hoping to encompass difference, racism, feminism, womanism, eco-justice, gender justice, sexual orientation, classism, colonialism, neocolonialism and all other ISIMs, seen through the eyes of religious studies scholars. Within the spiral of violence, fury, public anxieties and fears overflowing our contemporary world, it might be appropriate to tweak Pablo Neruda's famous poem: "Democracy where are you?" to read “Kindness where are you?” The pursuit for kindness, and its unbridled quest for attention, is not only an individual attribute but it has weaved together a diversity of human strands and continuous conversations. It is a core dimension of religion as it reveals itself in our sensitivities and insensitivities to all sufferings of others: as there is nothing trivial about human suffering. If we consider God, or nature, or the Universal, or spirit, or dharma, and so on, as not only compassionate but compassion in itself and for itself then ‘religions are us’ and kindness is a key issue for our progress towards all aspects of the pervasive power of being human. That is the main reason we never get tired of preaching, advocating and teaching kindness with all languages through time and trying to creatively live it? As scholars of Religious Studies we would like to explore the vision and the outcome of religion and kindness, and to put that forward within human cultivation, habitation into the highest ideals in the turmoil of human life.