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Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

The Dangers of Interreligious Engagement and Interfaith Dialogue in a Shifting Landscape

We invite paper proposals, panel proposals, or alternative formats to explore the following theme:

While interreligious dialogue and engagement has many benefits, it also carries risks for the individuals involved. The volatility of the current political climate and quickly shifting social landscapes magnify the dangers—and some participants are more vulnerable than others depending on the intersections of their identities. Social media has been deployed to intimidate or punish participants through demonization and doxing. Social justice causes both unite and divide faith communities. “Cancel culture” leads to silencing and self-censorship, and the academy is particularly fraught in this regard. Other risks include the loss of personal relationships, alienation within one’s own community, and apprehension over identification. How do we understand and navigate these risks that those involved in interfaith engagement experience, including the intersectional complexities? What are the broader implications for Interreligious Studies?


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 submit it as a paper proposal and indicate in your text that you intend it for the workshop.


We will address 4-5 of the following topics:

  • Syllabus Design and Exchange: Share your own syllabus and/or those of others teaching in the field to examine various approaches.
  • Recent Publications in the Field: Discuss your own work or review significant new contributions
  • Engaging the Arts
  • Graduate Student Education in Interreligious Studies
  • Interfaith is Everywhere: Discuss interreligious encounter as it unfolds in the workplace, prisons, schools, or the public square
  • Building Interreligious Studies on Campus: Examine curricular, co-curricular, interdisciplinary, community partnership and/or other elements; strategies for developing a culture of active engagement, etc.
  • New Modes of Interreligious Engagement
  • The Different Questions We Might Be Asking: If interspirituality (multiple religious belonging) or dharmic traditions were centered in Interreligious Studies, what might be different about the field?

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


Co-sponsored with Religion in Europe:

Rising tides of Islamophobia & Antisemitism across Europe and North America

Antisemitism and Islamophobia have been rising dramatically across Europe and North America. While there are distinct underlying social structures, political dynamics, and cultural phenomena that have fueled the emergence and evolution of antisemitism and Islamophobia, especially from country to country, they are often intertwined in certain ways and echoed across contexts. In light of these troubling trends, we seek papers that explore the complex distinctions between and/or intertwinings of antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe or North America, or papers that offer a deeper perspective of either antisemitism or Islamophobia in comparative light between Europe and North America. We also welcome papers that problematize or contest these terms (antisemitism and Islamophobia), their conceptual formulations, their applicability, and their usefulness in certain contexts due to residual colonialism and ongoing intersections/confrontations with white supremacy. We encourage attention to how global events affect the rise of and relationship between antisemitism and Islamophobia and/or interreligious relations in either contemporary or historical contexts. 


Call for Proposals for Online June Meeting

The Impact of Social Media on Interreligious Engagement

We invite paper proposals, panel proposals, or alternative formats to explore the impact of social media on interreligious dialogue and other modes of engagement. This theme has several possible foci, including:

  • How does polarization on TikTok, X, Facebook and other platforms thwart the impact of interfaith initiatives?
  • Does social media hamper relationship-building and understanding? What is the impact on fostering nuance in dialogue when participants simultaneously wage a war of propositions on Facebook?
  • What new modalities or opportunities does social media enable for interreligious dialogue and engagement?
  • How is mediatization altering the understanding of interfaith dialogue itself?
  • How might social media help to reframe assumptions about ‘religion’ and the encounter of diverse lifestances?
  • How is social media shaping the interreligious landscape? What are the implications for the field of Interreligious Studies?

Statement of Purpose

“The field of Interreligious Studies (IRS) entails critical analysis of the dynamic encounters – historical and contemporary, intentional and unintentional, embodied and imagined, congenial and conflictual – of individuals and communities who orient around religion differently. It investigates the complex of personal, interpersonal, institutional, and societal implications” (Rachel Mikva, Interreligious Studies: An Introduction)

This Unit creates space for critical interdisciplinary engagement with interfaith and interreligious studies, examining the many modes of response to the reality of religious pluralism. We seek to:

• Foster rigorous analysis to establish the contours of this emerging field.

• Explore connections with diverse disciplines as they grapple with encounter of persons and traditions in our multi-faith contexts.

• Advance cutting-edge institutional and pedagogical innovation at the intersection of the academy and civic engagement.

Underrepresented scholars, practitioners, and activists are especially encouraged to submit proposals. The unit is committed to equity and inclusion; panel proposals should reflect religious, racial, and gender diversity to be considered.


Steering Committee Members


Review Process

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

Review Process Comments

We have had the Monday afternoon slot for several years now. Unfortunately, the number of participants on Monday afternoons are fewer and we hope that we might get a Monday morning slot instead for our next conference. Additionally, our agreement to do an online component to our unit is with the intent of facilitating accessibility. We are waiting for further clarification on how AAR will support the aim of accessibility by making the online component of the program affordable for those who may have limited institutional support.