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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.

We invite individual paper and panel proposals that address the following range of topics:

The politicization of Interfaith work has become increasingly prevalent in the past decades. This year we seek to explore how interfaith work may be weaponized by governments and similar groups to promote security interests, capitalist or corporatist agendas, and/or political objectives. Paper or panel submissions may also explore questions along these lines:
• How is pluralism sometimes weaponized to suppress religious diversity, distinctiveness, and/or impose homogeneity?
• What are some of the political factors that motivate various interfaith organizations?
• How have efforts such as Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), Prevent in the UK, the language of “moderation,” and the use of interfaith work to promote government security interests impacted peace and justice work among grassroots organizations?
• How has the rhetoric of toleration and assimilation been used to target vulnerable communities in parts of North America and Europe?
• What are some of the ways that interfaith work has been used for surveillance or the promotion of state sanctioned religious practice imposed on minority populations?

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 our previous interactive workshop model, we specifically encourage proposals that address:
• Utilizing history in teaching Interreligious Studies
• Cautionary tales and success stories
• What does it mean to be an emerging field, and what are the new growing edges?
• Secularisms and interreligious encounter
• The changing nature of religious identity
• Interreligious Studies and public health--welfare of children, spiritual and existential care of our students, pandemic responses, health inequities, etc.
• Interreligious Studies and race
• Interreligious Studies and masculinities
• Pedagogies of CPE, chaplaincy training, and other roles in which interreligious competencies are of central importance
• Teaching Interreligious Studies in homogenous contexts
• Competencies in the field, including suggested course sequences and learning outcomes
• 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 or who are working on related issues.

Co-Sponsored Session with Religion and Ecology:
In partnership with the Religion and Ecology program unit, we invite individual paper and panel proposals that address religion in the public square and its impact on the climate crisis. Interested in the meeting of individuals and communities who orient around religion differently (not simply comparative theology), we encourage more than an exploration of ways in which diverse religious teachings, traditions, and communities both resist and catalyze action related to the climate crisis. Ultimately, we seek to explore how we collectively navigate these questions in the public square.

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