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Body and Religion Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

The Body and Religion Unit aims to provide a forum for multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary conversations that theorize the contribution of the body and embodiment to religions.

This year, we invite proposals as follows:

  • For a possible co-sponsored session, the Body and Religion Unit, Women and Religion, and Class, Religion, and Theology units invite proposals addressing reproductive labor broadly defined (including the many labors of social reproduction, such as caring labor and emotional labor). We are particularly interested in understanding such labors as embodied practices/experiences within gendered, classed, and racialized structures of inequality and religious traditions. We are open to individual paper proposals, panel/roundtable proposals, or innovative interactive formats.
  • Lightning Sessions: We invite short presentations of 6-8 minutes on the following two topics. If you are interested in participating in a session utilizing these short presentations, please include it in your proposal.
  • The violence of academic labor. As part of this year’s theme “Violence, Non-Violence, and the Margin,” we invite short presentations of 6-8 minutes considering the impacts of academic labor on our bodies. Some questions to consider: What does our labor do to us? How do we embody the academic experience? What does violence or non-violence mean in academia?
  • Words of the body. Many words are commonly used to describe the religious body, but we would like to explore new and different interpretations of those words as ways to stretch and transform our theoretical and methodological considerations of the body. We invite scholars to consider words of the body that can help move forward religious considerations of the body. Some words to consider: heart, pain, flesh, joy, touch
  • Roundtables: We invite roundtable proposals on diverse methodologies and understandings of the body within various religious contexts. For roundtable proposals, we would like to see a focus on discussion rather than presentation of prepared papers (e.g. each panelist is given five-seven minutes at the beginning to discuss their work and then the rest of the time is devoted to discussion).
  • Papers: We invite paper panels and individual papers. When reviewing your paper proposals, we particularly appreciate proposals that do not simply discuss bodily activities but also explicitly reflect on the difference this focus makes to the academic study of religions. This year we are interested in proposals on body/bodies and religion in relation to the following themes: virtual bodies, future bodies, embodied pedagogy


*Please note that we are issuing an open call for roundtables but not an open call for papers. Papers must focus on the themes outlined above.

If your proposal gets accepted and you agree to be on the program, we expect you to show up to participate in the annual meeting, barring unforeseeable exceptional circumstances. Please note that it is the policy of the Body and Religion Unit to refuse no-shows at the Annual Meeting from the program for up to the following two years.



Call for Proposals for Online June Meeting

In anticipation of the American Academy of Religion’s June 2024 virtual conference, the Body and Religion Unit is seeking proposals for a joint session with the Contemporary Pagan Studies Unit on, “Divine Bodies.” Bodies presenting and re-presenting sacrality in both ancient and modern contexts are ripe for analysis. Topics may include but are not limited to shaping, sizing, theriomorphism, hierophanics, kratophanics, iconographic stratifications/layering, planar extension, absence/concealment, accessorizing, co-location, tellurism, chthonics, gendering, and substance/makeup. Diachronic and synchronic approaches are both encouraged, along with artifactual/material culture, discursive and hermeneutical analysis. We especially welcome panels/presentations using innovative formats that will enhance discussion and collaboration in an online environment.

Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose

This Unit aims to draw together scholars working with different methodologies who address body and embodiment as a fundamental category of analysis in the study of religion. The Unit provides a forum for sustained discussion and critique of diverse approaches to body and religion by scholars working on a wide range of traditions, regions, and eras. 

The Body and Religion Unit launched the peer-reviewed journal, Body and Religion, through Equinox, in 2017. We invite papers for submission on a rolling basis, including papers presented on panels hosted by, but not limited to, the Body and Religion Unit. Journal Homepage: 

Steering Committee Membership 
Those who take on the responsibilities of being steering committee members will participate in decision-making processes for the annual call for papers, respond to unit communication, and read, rank, and comment on submitted proposals in March. If a steering committee member finds that they are not able to fulfill these tasks in a given year, they should communicate with the co-chairs. If a steering committee member cannot participate in this work, the co-chairs may replace them. 


Steering Committee Members


Review Process

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