The American West is an imagined place that is often idealized as new, dynamic, a tabula rasa ripe with possibility. Or, it is the destination of the down and out, the economic migrant and immigrant, the last chance. Or, it is the ancient home of native peoples as well as Spanish haciendas and missions. Finally, perhaps it is also where people depart from, a point of disembarkation to other regions, other lands, carrying with them some ineffable sense of being “Western.” Early histories of the West focused on pioneers and settlement as well on displacement while more contemporary analyses of the West address issues of cultural contact, environmental concerns, transnational flows, and economic growth.
Drawing on this ideational context of mobility, we solicit paper and panel proposals on the myriad intersections of religion with migration into and out of the American West. How have religious homes been made in the West? How have westerners brought their religions with them when they leave the region? How have racial, ethnic, gender, and religious identities been co-constituted in this space of continual migratory cultural flows?
We are interested in all patterns of religion and migration, and also are particularly interested in papers contributing to a co-sponsored session with the Native Traditions in the Americas, on indigenous pilgrimages, forced migrations, and commemorative rides in the Western United States.
Please note that the format for the session will feature pre-circulated papers as is the long custom of this group.