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Afro-American Religious History Unit

Call for Proposals

The Afro-American Religious History Unit invites proposals that explore the religiosity of African-descended people within the geographical and geo-cultural boundaries of the United States. For our 2020 Annual Meeting in Boston, we are especially interested in proposals that engage one or more of the following topics:

Intellectual Trajectories in the Study of African-American Religion: Highlighting Graduate Student Work
• Potential presenters should create proposals for five to seven minute presentations to enable ample time for discussion

African-American Religion and the Arts, specifically:
• Music, dance, and other performing arts

Retheorizations of the geographical and cultural boundaries of African-American Religion, specifically:
• African-Americans and Native American Religions/Afro-Native Religious Histories
• African-Americans in Anglophone, Hispanophone, and Francophone “America”
• African-American religion in the colonies and Early National Period

Theory and Method in the Study of African-American Religion, specifically:
• Black Religion and the Archive
• Redressing the historiographical dearth of women’s and LGBTQI+ religious histories

For a possible co-sponsorship with the Afro-American Religious History Unit/New Religious Movements Unit engaging alternative religious movements/cultures, including but not limited to:
• the anniversary of Daddy Grace and the United House of Prayer for All People (1919)
• African-Americans and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
• African-American and Unitarianism/Transcendentalism

African-American Secularism and Freethinkers, including but not limited to:
• Black Humanism

For a possible co-sponsorship with the North American Religions Unit, Witchcraft, Conjure, and/or Magic as comparative and exclusionary categories

The unit is also exploring the possibility of a roundtable discussion among panelists invited by a diverse group of units to respond to the 2020 US election. Persons interested in being considered for this panel should contact the unit's co-chairs.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this Unit is to recover the sources and histories related to the religious experiences of African-descended people in the United States; challenge, nuance, and expand theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of African-American religions; and create forums for critical, creative, and collaborative engagement with new scholarship in the field. The Unit is committed to the historical investigation of the diversity of U.S. African-Americans' religious experiences across chronological periods.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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

Review Process Comments

The program chairs use the ratings of the committee to create sessions and, if necessary, invite respondents and presiders to ensure adequate gender, racial, and intellectual diversity on the panel.