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Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit

Call for Proposals

The Latina/o, Religion, Culture, and Society program unit solicits papers in the following 3 areas of study:

  • Forty Years of the Sanctuary Movement: Reflecting on the Past and Looking to the Future

Upon the 40th anniversary of the official declaration of the U.S. Sanctuary Movement in 1982, we invite proposals that offer new directions in the study of the U.S. Sanctuary Movement, that is, both the movement from the 1980s as well as the New Sanctuary Movement declared in 2007. We especially invite proposals centered on Latinx and Latin American experiences and praxis as well as proposals that de-center the more traditional tellings of the movements. The conference theme of “Religion and Catastrophe” calls for such examinations of “sanctuary” (a pre-modern practice resurrected by religious activists) precisely because of our present moment shaped by the United States’ catastrophic intervention in Central America, its lopsided NAFTA policies, and the state’s catastrophic failure to deal justly with Latin American immigration. In short: sanctuary is a religious response to catastrophe. Proposals for this panel should plan for shorter presentations (approximately 10 minutes each), as the Unit hopes to invite an interdisciplinary bench of scholars and activists.


(Co-sponsored between the Liberation Theology Unit, Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit, and Women and Religion Unit)
In the five years since hurricanes Irma and María struck the island of Puerto Rico - adding significantly to existing economic, environmental, political, energetic, and educational vulnerabilities - the island, its residents, and Puerto Ricans in the diaspora have resisted wave after wave of catastrophes. These include government malfeasance and misogyny in the recovery efforts after María (revealed in private chats leading to the protests of El Verano del ’19), the ongoing crises of feminicide and gender violence, the vise-like hold by the Fiscal Oversight Board on all levels of education, a string of earthquakes that revealed once again the deep socio-economic divide product of colonization, and the impact of the global Covid pandemic. Amidst these catastrophes, the last five years have been marked by resistance from diverse actors on the island including women’s collectives, student groups, and everyday citizens outraged at the handling of these catastrophes and the disrespect of the Fiscal Oversight Board; rebuilding by mutual aid societies among the most marginalized and collaborations of scholars offering their specialization toward community empowerment (such as energy and water independence); and visioning for a future free from the various forms of colonialism still felt on the island, gender violence, and political ineptitude, toward a future that opens spaces for authentic Puerto Rican responses to the many current challenges, and those on the horizon.


The Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit and the Bioethics and Religion Unit welcome proposals that examine the intersection of religion, healthcare and bioethics that focus on experiences of Latinx, Black, and indigenous persons/communities. Topics may include but are not limited to: effects of immigration and border policies on physical or mental health; histories of medical experimentation; bodily autonomy, threats to reproductive health including forced sterilization; disproportionate consequences of illness, fatalities, and economic loss related to Covid-19; racial disparities in healthcare access [delivery during the Southern Hemisphere trek northward. Various disciplinary approaches and methodologies are welcome.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit examines, through systematic study and reflection, the social locations, religious beliefs, and practices of the rich and diverse multicultural backgrounds of Latinas/os in the United States and Canada. The Unit recognizes that this is an interdisciplinary enterprise in view of the cultural and religious roots and sources of Latinos/as, including heritages from Europe, indigenous nations of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The traditions emerging out of the mixture of these cultures throughout the Americas continue to undergo further development and innovation in the North American context, producing the distinct phenomena of Latino/a theologies and religions. It is this rich and deep religious/theological-cultural-social-political complex that is the focus of this Unit.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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