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Bioethics and Religion Unit

Call for Proposals

Inclusion, Intersections, and Intersectionalties
Bioethics crosses the concerns of many patient and people groups, various healthcare experiences from medical research to clinical care from birth to death, as well as diverse definitions of religion, religious experience, and religious activity. Nearly twenty years ago, Catherine Myser challenged scholars in the field in her argument that “there has been inadequate attention to and questioning of the dominance and normativity of whiteness in the cultural construction of bioethics in the United States. Therefore we risk reproducing white privilege and white supremacy in its theory, method, and practices.” Consistent with the President's 2020 theme that asks for attention to matters in the guild such as "changes in the religions we study; the methods we use to study them; the demographics of our membership; the way we teach; [and] the mediums through which we disseminate our research, this call invites papers that intentionally seek to extend the scope of the field of bioethics and religion by demonstrating its diversities in theorists, methodologies, topics, and practices. Diverse approaches to the call include, but are not limited to: moving beyond principlism, pedagogy of bioethics through the creative arts, bioethics and immigration, and communicating bioethical topics through a short film.

Co-sponsored Session with Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Unit and Religion and the Social Sciences Unit
Religion, Race, and the Embodied Health and Well-Being of Black Women: Bioethics and Womanist Perspectives
From their arrival in the New World, the bodies of African diasporan women have been an embattled space of abuse, disrespect, and egregious experimentation often perpetrated by socio-economics, from colonial enslavement through contemporary mass incarceration; giving birth in the fields and working moments later, with infants ripped from their hands and simultaneously forced to be wet nurses for white babies. Such behavior, steeped in exploitative economics that totally disregarded black women’s personhood had a significant impact on moral, ethical, legal, medical, religious, sociopolitical, scientific, and sociological systems in the United States. The impact on African American women’s embodied lives is vast, from issues of physical and mental health; reproductive justice (forced hysterectomies, sterilization, maternal and infant mortality) to stigmatized health care, biased health and health care policies, technology, body enhancement; environmental injustice, to inequitable health, regardless of class including lesser access to health care and health insurance. Much conversation is emerging around the intersectionalities of Black women’s lived experiences, and our scholarship, including topics of interests and methodologies. This session invites papers addressing any of these topics and areas related to all aspects of Black women’s embodied health. Social scientific theories and methods in religious studies and applied ethics are welcome.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit offers a unique venue within the AAR for addressing the intersections of religion, bioethics, and health/healthcare related matters. It encourages creative and scholarly examinations of these intersections, drawing on such disciplines as religious and philosophical ethical theory, theology, ethnography, clinical ethics, history, and law. It seeks to undertake this scholarly work by drawing on a variety of perspectives (e.g., Feminist/Womanist/Mujerista, cross-cultural, and interreligious) and to demonstrate the contributions that religious and ethical scholarship can offer to the critical exploration of contemporary bioethical issues.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection

Review Process Comments

The selection process worked well with timely input from most steering committee members.