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Eastern Orthodox Studies Unit

Call for Proposals

For 2023 we welcome proposals on the following topics:

Scripture and Mysticism in Orthodox Christianity

For this session we invite both paper and panel proposals that analyze any aspect of the relationship between Orthodox mysticism and scripture. We are open to a wide range of possible areas of focus that includes but is not limited to the relationship between mystical theology and biblical/patristic hermeneutics; the uses of scripture in the liturgical context and mystical practices, affect, and embodied experiences; the historical study of Orthodox mystical practice and spirituality in the past and present; and the uses of art, music, and creative expression as it relates Orthodox mysticism.

This session will be co-sponsored by the SBL Biblical Exegesis from Eastern Orthodox Perspectives unit. 


Orthodox Dissent (co-sponsored by the Ethics unit)

Often thought of as a stalwart pillar of the status quo, Orthodox Christianity has also served as a vehicle for oppositional politics and theologies in a variety of historical and social contexts. We invite both paper and panel proposals that analyze how Orthodox Christian thought and practice have manifested as principled opposition to prevailing modes of injustice, either political or ecclesiastical. Examples of this ethical approach include but are not limited to: Sts. Maria Skobtsova and Alexander Schmorell, who were martyred by the Nazis; Fr. Alexander Men, a prominent dissident in the Soviet Union; Ukrainian Orthodox resisting Russian invasion and occupation; Belarusian Orthodox resisting the Lukashenko regime; Russian Orthodox resisting Putin’s regime within Russia; and Orthodox human rights activists and thinkers concerned with gender justice and/or the rights of sexual or religious minorities in Orthodox contexts. We also welcome proposals addressing this topic from an historical perspective, including examples from Christian tradition, such as martyrdom and hagiography. This session is interested in, and open to, a wide range of methodological and disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to ethics, theology and religious thought, sociology and anthropology, history, political science, and international relations.


Queer Studies, LGBTQI+ Lives, and Orthodox Christianity (co-sponsored by the Queer Studies in Religion unit and the Gay Men and Religion unit)

Orthodox-majority contexts, communities, and leaders often cause terrible harm to LGBTQ+ persons through homophobic violence, discourse, and policy. Sexual diversity is perhaps the most polarizing issue facing the modern Orthodox world—from the ecclesial discourse surrounding Pride parades and the conflict in Ukraine, to the Orthodox Church in America’s statement against discussing sexuality—and its real-life effects cannot be understated. Yet, international initiatives over the past decade as well as recent publications (Orthodox Tradition and Human Sexuality (Fordham, 2022) and Gender Essentialism and Orthodoxy: Beyond Male and Female (Fordham, 2023)) have argued Orthodox tradition has resources within it to address issues of gender and sexuality with greater openness and theological consistency. This session will ask: what would a queering of Orthodoxy and an Orthodox engagement with Queer Studies look like? We welcome paper and pre-arranged panel proposals that accurately elucidate or constructively address any aspect of LGBTQ+ identity and Orthodox Christianity and its related topics (asceticism, celibacy, eunuchs, same-sex marriage, sexual ethics, queer theology, bodily agency, etc.) from any discipline (sociology, anthropology, history, theology, etc.). 


We also are planning a pre-arranged session on the academic and ecclesiological legacy of +Kallistos Ware (1935-2022). This session will be co-sponsored by the Ecclesiological Investigations unit and the Christian Systematic Theology unit.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit focuses on the critical study of the theology, culture, history, and practices of the many different Eastern Christian churches, including but not limited to Orthodox, Oriental, and Eastern Rite Catholic (numbering some 260-300 million worldwide), including their mutual interaction and engagement with Western Christian and non-Christian groups. 


Steering Committee Members




Please submit using PAPERS.

Review Process

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