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History of Christianity Unit

Call for Proposals

The History of Christianity Unit invites papers that offer new interpretations of and findings in Christian history. We especially welcome chronological diversity with a special call to pre-modern issues. We stay open to full panel proposals on new approaches (e.g., material culture) and locations for pre-modern Christianities. While we are open to other panel proposals and roundtable sessions, we are especially interested in the following:

  • 75 Years since the Modern Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi Library Reflecting on 75 years since the (re)discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi library, we invite papers that discuss any of the following: the impact of the discovery upon public perceptions of Christian origins and development; the historical politics of showcasing and exhibiting the manuscripts (and fragments thereof); a public history of the dead sea scrolls; material historical analysis of the impact of the manuscript and fragment; the political uses of the past.


  • Rhetoric of Persecution and Martyrdom

We are especially interested in how Christian communities mobilized the rhetoric of persecution to call attention to their causes; what are the politics of deploying persecution narratives. 450 years since “St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre” calls us to critically examine the language and deployment of the term “massacre” Christian history.


  • Christian Reflections on the Climate and Catastrophe

We invite proposals that examine Christian reflections on climate and catastrophe. We welcome proposals that consider Christian reflection on the impact of climate change on the global south/non-industrial societies. Attention to the development/reception of eco-theology in light of Western Christian responsibility would be welcome. We also invite (though not exclusively) proposals situated in non-Western Christian traditions.


  • Refuge in the Christian Tradition

We are interested in the interplay of refuge and refugee in Christian communities. We would invite papers that explore either historical or contemporary refuge/refugee dynamics (of offering and taking refuge) in Christian communities as well as Christian self-conceptualizations as refugees (spiritually, politically, culturally). More broadly we welcome papers on Christianity and Humanitarianism. We also invite (though not exclusively) proposals situated in non-Western Christian traditions.


  • White Supremacy’s Use of Christian Texts and History

We invite proposals that explore the use of Christian texts and history in white supremacy. We would particularly welcome proposals that explore the (re)use/appropriation of pre-modern Christian symbols, texts, and rituals in contemporary White Supremacist or nationalist movements.


  • Christianity in the American West

We invite proposals that examine the history of Christianity in the American West; we especially encourage panels/papers that examine Christianity in the Intermountain West and/or Denver.


In 1622, Pope Gregory XV canonized four major figures of the Catholic Reformation: Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier, Filippo Neri, and Teresa of Avila. Founders, missionaries, mystics, and exemplars of clerical reform, the making of these four saints represented the conjuncture of popular and official holiness in early modern Catholicism. Each was the focus of an emerging devotional cult, but held up as exemplary, each could likewise serve the larger theological and political goals of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The four-hundredth anniversary of this moment of "Counter-Reformation" saint-making offers an opportunity to assess the many ways in which sanctity has been constructed in European religions. We seek chronologically and geographically diverse proposals for a panel on saint-making as a historical process that may address the following: political and social boundary construction; space and place; race and ethnicity in constructions of holiness; gender and sexuality; relationships between centers and peripheries/regional identities; social discipline; saints and popular culture; and innovation and dissent. Proposals need not focus on a single figure, location, or tradition. Comparative proposals and those that examine sanctity beyond Christian traditions are particularly welcome.

Statement of Purpose


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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