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.
You are here
Catholic Studies Unit
Call for Proposals for November Meeting
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 2024 meeting in San Diego, CA.
Sense of Brown Catholicisms
The Catholic Studies Unit requests proposals that explore the conceptual and ethnographic viability of “brown Catholicisms.” Here, the prompt for thinking is José Muñoz’ work Sense of Brown, an episodic exploration of feelings of brownness, that is a non-identitarian way of being (manera de ser) that he names “a brown commons.” While rooted in Chicano movements in the 1970s, Muñoz concept of the sense of brown is a being-with and being-in-difference that he extends beyond Latin American and Latinx communities to mark the existence of global diasporic communities as an already-existing brown commons. Is one “manner of being brown” shaped by Catholic rituals and practices? How does “brown-ness” shape Catholicism? What might a “brown” Catholicism look like? In what ways do brown Catholic aesthetics and performances invoke alternate futurities, or create modes of being that contest and exceed the structures of coloniality?
Building from David Tracy’s theology, Fr. Andrew Greeley’s notion of a “Catholic sacramental imagination” has remained a vital heuristic for the study and expression of Catholicism. Just to take one example, the Met Gala of 2018 operated under the theme “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” Greeley’s words graced the opening hallway and animated the entire exhibit. The Catholic Studies Unit seeks proposals that explore sacramentality, but with an eye on the ways queer sacramental forms transform, challenge, or augment traditional representations of the Catholic sacramental imagination.
South Asian Catholicisms
The Catholic Studies Unit requests proposals that address South Asian Catholicism. We are particularly interested in exploring both local and global dimensions of South Asian Catholicism in diaspora. Areas of interrogation include: Hindu-Catholic relations, both on the subcontinent and abroad; vernacular theologies that grapple with emplaced meaning-making and/or the experience of belonging to a minority religion; historical and ethnographic approaches to material mediation of Catholic/Hindu divinity in an interfaith contexts; challenges to the very category of "Catholic" versus/with/alongside/through practices and/categories of "Hindu," "Muslim," "Jain," "Sikh," etc. in South Asian contexts.
Women & Minoritized Creators and the New Catholic Horror
The Catholic Studies Unit requests proposals that address new developments at the intersection of Catholicism and the horror genre. In particular, we are interested in proposals that explore the work of women and minoritized directors and writers in this area and that consider the ways their works challenge or revise standard tropes. Roundtable proposals on a particular manifestation of this phenomenon--say, on the 2019 film St. Maud and its director Rose Glass--would be particularly compelling. Proposals in this vein that help answer the question "Why study Catholic horror?" are also particularly welcome.
We urge all paper and panel proposals actively to address questions of format and timing. It is the Catholic Studies Unit’s preference to have individual papers never exceed 12 minutes in length and for every panel to include a well-planned allotment of time for audience involvement. We strongly encourage proposals that include innovative, interactive, and dynamic formats.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Kristin Bloomer, Carleton College1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Mary Corley Dunn, Saint Louis University1/1/2024 - 12/31/2029
Jack Downey, University of Rochester1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Katherine Dugan, Springfield College1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Lily Stewart, Northwestern University1/1/2024 - 12/31/2029
Daisy Vargas, University of Arizona1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025