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Ethics Unit

Call for Proposals

This year the Ethics Unit welcomes proposals on the following themes: 

Aesthetics and Religious Ethics

Although aesthetics and ethics both centrally involve value, their relationship remains diverse and disputed.  This session invites paper and paper session proposals concerning the relationships between aesthetics and religious ethics.  We are particularly interested in proposals that explore how aesthetics may inform, promote, or contravene religious ethics and / or how religious ethics may affect aesthetic perception or production.  


Climate Change and Religious Ethics

Among its many challenges, climate change poses a range of ethical and religious questions.  This session invites paper or paper session proposals examining how religious ethics may address climate change and / or how climate change may affect religious ethics.


Unpaid Labor and Religious Ethics

Unpaid labor is a prominent feature of many economic sectors:  agriculture, hospitality and entertainment, dependent care, the creative industries, religious work, and even academia. The effects of unpaid labor in these contexts differ, but they are especially pernicious in situations of economic vulnerability. This session invites paper or paper session proposals on various dimensions of unpaid labor.  We welcome proposals that discuss these dimensions in an array of industries and cases, and that employ a range of ethical methods and religious traditions.


Orthodox Dissent (co-sponsored with Eastern Orthodox Studies 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.


Social Scientific Research on Religion as Ethical Practice (co-sponsored with Religion and Social Sciences Unit)

We invite papers that explore intersections between social scientific research on religion and activism, solidarity, and social ethics. We are particularly interested in papers that analyze or use methods that challenge the researcher/subject relational frame, disrupt knowledge hierarchies, center the agency and epistemologies of communities outside of the academy, and/or explore how ethnographic methods influence ethical inquiry pursued in normative and/or descriptive modes. Examples of methods examined might include, but are not limited to, collaborative ethnography, participatory action research, and community-based participatory research.


Labor Union Organizing in San Antonio and Beyond (co-sponsored with Liberation Theologies, Class, Religion, and Theology, Religion and Economy, and Ethics Units)

The Liberation Theologies; Class, Religion, and Theology; Ethics; and Religion and Economy units call for proposals regarding labor issues and worker organizing in general, in San Antonio or Texas, and/or in the hotel/convention center/hospitality industry. We hope to convene both a pre-conference workshop and a panel on these topics, and encourage submissions from labor organizers, activists, and scholars. For a number of years it was a priority of the AAR to take into account the labor situation on the ground in its host cities. This session and possible pre-conference workshop, therefore, offer an opportunity to reflect on that commitment, understand the labor situation in our host city, and hopefully re-energize the AAR's commitment to solidarity with all those the labor of whose hands makes the annual meeting possible at all.

Statement of Purpose

The Ethics Unit seeks to serve the AAR by providing a forum for scholarly engagement with the ethical dimensions, interests, and implications of religious traditions.


Steering Committee Members


Review Process

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