You are here

Catholic Studies Unit

Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals

The Catholic Studies Unit invites submissions on diverse subjects in the study of Catholics and Catholicism across time and place. We are interested in proposals that are attentive to the ways in which history and theory relate to one another within the field of Catholic Studies. Co-chairs are happy to consult with those who are developing individual papers, paper sessions, roundtable proposals, or other creative formats.

The Unit encourages proposals on the following topics for the 2022 meeting in Denver, Colorado:

Is Catholicism Still Global?
Does the idea of the “global” still animate Catholic action in our contemporary world? Currently, scholars of Catholicism who study the early modern world focus on transregional connectedness and colonization as part of the story about the emergence of a global Catholicism. Broadly speaking, the study of modern Catholicism emphasizes the local, or the national, with attention to borderlands. This call seeks to explore these different modes of scholarly attention. Does it reflect a shift or difference in the understanding of what Catholicism “is” for practitioners, past and present?

Psychedelics and Catholicism
By popular vote in May of 2019, Denver, Colorado became the first U.S. city to decriminalize the use of psilocybin, the psychoactive substance in “magic mushrooms.” Eight U.S. cities and the state of Oregon soon followed suit. Psilocybin has also been given a “breakthrough therapy” designation by the F.D.A., which is expediting its use in clinical trials for the treatment of depression. This represents a shift from the 1970s, when psilocybin was associated with the “counterculture” and designated a Schedule I drug under the Nixon administration. But it may represent as well a wider renaissance of the pursuit of what might be called “mystical experiences” through the use of entheogens. We seek proposals that open up the relationships--in history, in current practice, in literature, and in ritual--between Catholicism, (neo)mysticism, and mind-altering psychedelic drugs.

Catholic Horror
We seek proposals on the theme of Catholic Horror, broadly conceived.

Queer Catholicism
We seek proposals on the theme of queer Catholicism from the vantage point of cultural and social history (rather than strictly ethics) particularly in early or pre-modern settings or contexts outside of Europe and North America.

Catholics, Taste, and Ingestion
Building on two consecutive years of successful Catholic Studies panels dealing with the senses (“What Does Catholicism Sound Like?” and “Catholicism in 10 Objects”), this call seeks proposals in the arena of the sense of taste and/or the experience or feel of ingestion. We invite scholars not to general reflection on these themes, but toward the identification of a single taste or particular ingestive moment as an entry point into Catholic ways of being in the world. How is the taste or ingestive moment particularly Catholic? Our unit is open to novel and interactive modes of engaging this topic (soup party anyone?), but will seek to create a roundtable with individual presentations of no more than 3-5 minutes each. Taken together, the presentations are meant to foster a larger discussion about the sensory nature of Catholicism and the diversity (gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, nationality) of Catholic experiences and perspectives as witnessed in the form of taste and ingestion.

We urge all paper and panel proposals actively to address questions of format and timing. It is the Roman Catholic Studies Unit’s preference to have individual papers never exceed 12 minutes in length and for every panel to include well-planned allotment of time for audience involvement. We strongly encourage proposals that include innovative, interactive, and dynamic formats.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit provides a scholarly forum to study the global Catholic community. We welcome critical studies, cultural, ethical, historical, and theological perspectives. We seek to mirror the subject community’s diversity in pursuing equally diverse methods to study that community.


Steering Committee Members





Review Process

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection

Review Process Comments

In an effort to guide the selection process toward maximum diversity, chairs do review proposers' names prior to final acceptance or rejection.