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Catholic Studies Unit and Cultural History of the Study of Religion Unit

Call for Proposals

Real Lives, Real Presence: A Roundtable on Robert Orsi’s Contributions to the Study of Religion (not accepting submissions)

Robert Orsi began his first book by declaring, “It is the central assumption of this history that the [annual festa of the Madonna of 115th Street] cannot be understood apart from an understanding of the lives of the people who took part in it.” He insisted that religion must be studied amidst the joys, sorrows, sufferings, and idiosyncrasies of ordinary life. When viewed from this vantage point, it became impossible to ignore the real presence of special suprahuman beings in people’s lives. This emphasis on real lives and real presence raises critical methodological, theoretical, and ethical considerations for religious studies writ large. In a conversation spanning subfields—from cultural history and Catholic studies to African American studies, Chinese philosophy, environmentalism, the study of secularism, and more—this roundtable will reflect on key questions and central assumptions that define Orsi’s work as both scholar and teacher. They will do so with an eye to the future of the field and consider the implications his work holds for their own—both its limits and possibilities.  



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