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Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Unit

Call for Proposals

The Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Unit is seeking proposals on:  

  • Teaching or using in scholarship Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project 

  • Theory making in religious studies and indigenous critique (and other critiques) as possible constructive forces 

  • The seeming reinsertion of positivism in Religious Studies via postmodernism 

  • The work and field effect of Talal Asad as we approach 30 years after Genealogies of Religion 

  • 50 years after God is Red, readings of Vine Deloria, Jr. 

  • We also have a preplanned “authors meet” roundtable session set on neoliberal spiritualities, conspiracies, race, and class with Susannah Crockford, Andrea Jain, Dennis LoRusso, Amanda Lucia, and Sean McCloud 


Honoring the Scholarship, Sisterhood, and Scholastic Legacy of Dianne M. Stewart and Tracey E. Hucks Hucks (Co-sponsored between the African Diaspora Religions Unit, African Religions Unit, Afro-American Religious History Unit, Black Theology Unit, Critical Theory and Discourse on Religion Unit, Liberation Theologies Unit, North American Religions Unit, Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Unit, Women and Religion Unit, Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Unit, and the Women’s Caucus)

Closed to Submissions. Dianne M. Stewart and Tracey E. Hucks are not only two of the most prominent Africana religious studies scholars, their friendship, their colleague-sisterhood, and their marasa-ibeji consciousness (Clark 1991) truly embody their transdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the Africana religious world (Stewart and Hucks 2013, p. 31). Having been informed by and influenced a range of fields including Womanist and Black theologies, African American religious history, African religious studies and philosophy, African diaspora religious studies, and history of religions, this session will examine either collectively and/or comparatively their theoretical and methodological approach to the study of religion, and their contributions to the field of Africana religious studies more specifically. This session will focus on not only the legacy of their collective work and collaborations but also their forthcoming two volume collaborative project, Obeah, Orisa, and Religious Identity in Trinidad, which will be published with Duke University Press in 2022. We hope this session will also offer space to explore their scholar-sisterhood and how it not only has informed and fostered their collaborative research and writing but also how Africana religious practices, theologies, methodologies (e.g., ethnography, historical analysis, etc.) and onto-epistemologies have influenced their collegiality and their mentorship of proceeding generations in the field. 

Statement of Purpose

The Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion (CTDR) Unit offers an interdisciplinary and international forum for analytical scholars of religion to engage the intersection of critical theory and methodology with a focus on concrete ethnographic and historical case studies. Critical theory draws on methods employed in the fields of sociology, anthropology, history, literary criticism, and political theory in order to bring into scrutiny all kinds of discourses on religion, spanning from academic to nonacademic and from religious to nonreligious. This Unit seeks to provide a forum in which scholars of religion from a wide range of disciplines can examine and question their disciplinary presuppositions. The work of this Unit can be placed under three main rubrics: • Critical investigation of the categories generated and employed by the discourses on religion, such as experience, the sacred, ritual, and the various ‘isms’ that can be found in classic and contemporary studies of religion • Analysis of new and neglected theorists and works central to the critical study of religion, including those produced in cognate fields such as anthropology, political science, or literary theory • Theoretically-informed examination of elided and often neglected themes in religious studies, including class, race, gender, violence, legitimation, and the material basis of religion


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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