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Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Unit

Call for Proposals

We invite individual paper and panel proposals for one of our 3 sessions. The Interreligious and Interfaith Studies unit is committed to equity. If you are submitting a panel proposal, diversity of spiritual lifestances (aka religions) is of primary importance. We also consider gender, ethnic and racial diversity to be significant, and value voices from scholars at various points in their careers. 

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Scholars and practitioners of interfaith engagement have begun to emphasize how any meeting between those who orient around religion differently should also reckon with other identity markers. Like other elements in DEI work, religious identity is a social construct which affects people's positionality in society. Unfortunately, it appears that diversity efforts aimed at inclusion in the workplace or on campus still struggle to address religion. Even as such projects broaden beyond gender and ethnic diversity to include ability, age, and sexual orientation—religion/lifestance tends to be left out. 

This panel calls for paper or panel proposals which 

  • Explore why it is important for interfaith initiatives to adopt an intersectional approach to identities and avoid focusing solely on 'religious difference’ 
  • Probe reasons why diversity and inclusion initiatives often do not include religion/lifestance 
  • Elaborate on theories and practices that help defuse situations in which religious commitments conflict with the goals of inclusion and equity 
  • Examine ways in which the language of inclusion may at times be weaponized as a means of exclusion 
  • Analyze and deconstruct normative assumptions that exclude religion from diversity initiatives and even discriminate against people of faith 

We would like to offer the opportunity for deep analysis and conversation so, while we welcome all proposals, we would love to see a panel proposal with 3 papers in deliberate conversation with one another, leaving time for conversation among the presenters and with attendees. 

  • Interactive Workshop

    Based on the success of our previous interactive workshops, we invite brief presentations (10 minutes) designed to stimulate substantive conversation on critical issues in Interreligious and Interfaith Studies and engagement. Please indicate in your proposal that you intend it for the workshop. 

One round will address 4-5 of the following topics: 

  • White Christian Supremacy: What is the role of Interreligious Studies and Engagement in challenging White Christian Supremacy? 
  • Pandemic of Polarization: What can Interreligious Studies and Engagement do to rebuild democracy and reconstruct civic discourse? 
  • Recent Publications in the Field 
  • Assessment Processes: Determining best practices and evaluating impact 
  • Building Resilient Communities: Religious and interreligious efforts to build more resilient communities amidst the climate crisis--current experiments and future models 
  • Outside the Box: Valuing/Integrating different ways of doing/teaching Interreligious Studies 
  • Beyond Religious Studies: How Interreligious Studies can impact diverse fields of study and work in the world 
  • Language of Interreligious Studies: Using a Communications/Linguistics lens to examine how we talk about and among religious difference 

A second round will address particular contexts and projects, some of which may also have a brief presentation. Feel free to suggest a frame for your proposal. For example: 

  • Teaching Interreligious Studies in homogeneous contexts 
  • Entering the field as a PhD student 
  • Pitching a cohort-based project or edited volume 

Presentations unfold at separate tables, with attendees selecting the conversations in which they would like to participate. 

  • Agile Boundaries

    The Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion unit and the Interreligious Studies and Interfaith Studies Unit invite papers or panel proposals that explore intersections of gender, sexuality, and interreligious methodologies. Both units consistently engage the confluences of identity and boundaries in a diverse, pluralistic world. The boundaries of religious traditions and the contours of sexual identities shape the ways we construct similarity and difference. These constructions, in turn, shape cultural and religious norms that discipline how we relate to ourselves and others. 

Issues of interest include: 

  • Theoretical synergies. What might lesbian-feminist theologies, or the turn to queer theory, mean for the emerging field of interreligious studies--and vice versa? 
  • How do gender and sexuality impact interreligious engagement? 
  • Methodologies and theologies of relationality. Claims of particularity, historical norms, and the desire to fashion an equitable discourse and space of encounter complicate the work of both Gender Studies and Interreligious Studies. For example, how can particular identity claims (lesbian, feminist, religious, spiritual, etc.) create important boundaries for relationships and activism, while avoiding trans-exclusion or other forms of erasure and violence? How do we continue to "decolonize the interfaith table" while also challenging historical privilege for the Abrahamic traditions, heterosexual family structures, and patriarchal leadership? How could these interrelated dialectical tensions be generative for theories and theologies that create agile boundaries for identity and relationality, both on individual and collective levels? 

Underrepresented scholars, practitioners, and activists are especially encouraged to submit. 

Statement of Purpose

Chairs

Steering Committee Members

Method

PAPERS

Review Process

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