As co-chair of the Emerging Technologies group at AAR I am very excited to share our call for papers for this year’s conference.

There are a few extra things to be aware of since we are still working towards program unit status. First, we do have a fairly tight deadline and ask that paper proposals for this year’s panel please be submitted no later than Friday, February 17th. Also, we are not yet able to accept proposals through AAR’s PAPERS system, so please e-mail your paper to Co-Chair Christopher Senn at


Emerging Technologies 

Call for Proposals 

Theme: Religion and Emerging Technologies of the Self 

Foucault spoke of technologies of the self as technologies that “permit individuals to effect by their own means, or with the help of others, a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct and way of being, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection or immortality.”  

How might scholars of religion theorize the way people use emerging technologies to rebel against and reinforce the intersecting imperatives to thrive and find meaning while navigating the economic and legal restriction of the tools they rely on to foster their life worlds? 

The Religion and Emerging Technologies Group welcomes papers that examine how new, experimental, and theoretical electronic or digital technologies are being used to reshape our bodies, souls, or thoughts – through materiality, cultures, and discourse.  

Examples of new technologies of the self could include, but are not limited to: 

  • Pleasure technologies, e.g., teledildonics, virtual companions, romancing NPCs (both AI enabled and not) 
  • Ascetical technologies, e.g., methods of self-perfection and self-improvement, dietary and exercise gamification technologies, moral and spiritual enhancement applications 
  • Spaces of identity self-creation: AR, VR, proto-Metaverses, MMORPGs, games 
  • Technologies for getting rid of the self, and/or for reconceptualizing the self 
  • Conversations about ChatGPT5, a theoretical, coming technology 
  • Vaporware and technology-based scams, and startups 
  • Others not included in this list are also possible subjects 

We also recognize the need to examine technologies of the self that involve emerging technologies. Emerging technologies may be those that we think we currently understand, those that are so nascent we do not yet fully comprehend their abilities, affordances, limitations, and possibilities, and those we think that we never will fully understand. 

Submission Method 

Please e-mail to Chris Senn at 


February 17, 2023 at 11:59 PM 

Review Process 

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members. 


Chris Senn, Rice University, USA 

Beth Singler, University of Zurich, Switzerland  

Steering Committee Members 

Jacob Boss, Indiana University, USA  

Jordan Loewen-Colón, Queen’s University, Canada  

Sarah Gallant, University of Toronto, Canada  

Sharday Mosurinjohn, Queen’s University, Canada 

Victoria Lorrimar, University of Notre Dame, Australia 


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