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Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Unit

Call for Proposals

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.

Decolonizing and Resetting the Interfaith Table
We invite individual papers or panel proposals to continue last year’s productive discussions around decolonization as an ongoing practice. How have historically dominant agents and understandings of religion predetermined the composition and experiences of the interfaith “table”? Who sits, and to what effect, at decolonized interfaith tables? How might queer theory and other liberative approaches be used to interrogate the categories of religion and the effects of marginalization?

The interdisciplinary nature of this program Unit provides an opportunity to inspect particular cognitive and religious frameworks – past and present – and their tendency to colonize space and marginalize persons. This includes, among other possibilities:
· well-worn liberal and conservative dichotomies
· pluralist/inclusivist/exclusivist categories
· the nature of boundaries
· views of what qualifies as religion, power, and authority

We invite papers which decolonize interfaith spaces and experiences, and reset interfaith tables.

Interactive Workshop
We invite brief presentations (10 minutes) designed to stimulate substantive conversation on critical issues in Interreligious and Interfaith Studies and engagement. Based on the success of last year’s interactive workshop model, we specifically encourage proposals that address:
• Techniques in teaching case studies
• Interdisciplinary approaches to Interreligious Studies
• Teaching interreligious Studies in homogenous contexts
• Co-curricular strategies
• Comparative studies in Interreligious Studies courses
• Competencies in the field, including suggested course sequences and learning outcomes
• Decolonizing the Interreligious Studies classroom
• Mistakes in the classroom and what we learn from them
• Addressing child vulnerability and well-being
• “Productive discomfort” in interreligious engagement
• Recent publications in the field

Presentations unfold at separate tables, with attendees selecting the conversations in which they would like to participate. There will also be opportunities for networking with colleagues who teach in similar contexts (liberal arts college, university, seminary, etc.).

Co-Sponsored Session: Issues in Chaplaincy
In partnership with the Innovations in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care unit, we invite individual papers and panel proposals that address intersections of chaplaincy and interreligious studies. We are particularly interested in the following questions:
How can we decolonize the historical Christian hegemony in chaplaincy education and CPE? How can chaplaincy training become more inclusive of diverse spiritual lifestances—learning not only about different religious and secular traditions but also from them? How can we also productively engage the broad range of communities in which chaplains may be working, and give greater consideration to the ways chaplains are received?
What are the particular functions of chaplains in multifaith environments? How have frameworks rooted in Christian models of faith and practice shaped the roles of chaplains and spiritual caregivers in these spaces? With the dynamic interrelationship of theory and praxis, how might various contexts of multifaith chaplaincy help reimagine the field?

Statement of Purpose

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 (theological, philosophical, historical, scriptural, ethical, praxiological, and institutional). 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.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection