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Liberation Theologies Unit

Call for Proposals

  • Mapping Catastrophes: Vulnerability, Exclusion, and Hope for Liberation

Conscious of the theme of the 2022 AAR meeting, “Religion and Catastrophe,” the Liberation Theologies Unit invites proposals with a general focus on Mapping Catastrophes: Vulnerability, Exclusion, and Hope for Liberation. Catastrophes on a local, regional, and global scale are not new phenomena, especially for the most vulnerable, the impoverished, and the excluded by those who benefit greatly from the status quo and the systems they support and participate in. New to this time is the rapidly increasing impact of climate change, the rise of governments and political leaders that continue to pursue policies that are extractive of natural resources, exclusivist of peoples on the move and peoples on the margins, and the continued manufacturing of untruth at the service of nationalistic power and market progress. All of this makes it difficult to hear the voices of the excluded and marginalized as they identify sources and places for liberation and hope.

With these questions in mind, proposals are encouraged that consider (among other possible topics):

  • Social movements and builders of alternative visions for progress amidst catastrophes
  • The difference between hoping for a return to “normalcy” and hope for liberation
  • Liberation as tool for mitigating or avoiding catastrophe
  • Defining liberation in the midst of human-made catastrophe
  • The fabrication of certainty and uncertainty (and the value systems this might favor)
  • Catastrophized lives and human suffering
  • Geographies of current and future catastrophes and resistance
  • Technology, technocracy, space travel, the metaverse and liberation
  • Reestablishing hope, identity, and direction amidst and after disasters
  • Militarization of responses to catastrophes/militarization as catalyst for catastrophes
  • The impact of catastrophes in our understanding of history, and expectations for the future.


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 handling recovery efforts after María revealed in private chats leading to the protests of El Verano del ’19, to the ongoing crises of feminicide, to 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. The last five years have been marked by resistance, from diverse actors on the island including women’s collectives, various denominations and religious organizations, 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. We welcome proposals that address any dimension of this topic.


Closed to Submissions. Dianne M. Stewart and Tracey E. Hucks are not only two of the most prominent Africana religious studies scholars, their friendship, their colleague-sisterhood, and their marasa-ibeji consciousness (Clark 1991) truly embody their transdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the Africana religious world (Stewart and Hucks 2013, p. 31). Having been informed by and influenced a range of fields including Womanist and Black theologies, African American religious history, African religious studies and philosophy, African diaspora religious studies, and history of religions, this session will examine either collectively and/or comparatively their theoretical and methodological approach to the study of religion, and their contributions to the field of Africana religious studies more specifically. This session will focus on not only the legacy of their collective work and collaborations but also their forthcoming two volume collaborative project, Obeah, Orisa, and Religious Identity in Trinidad, which will be published with Duke University Press in 2022. We hope this session will also offer space to explore their scholar-sisterhood and how it not only has informed and fostered their collaborative research and writing but also how Africana religious practices, theologies, methodologies (e.g., ethnography, historical analysis, etc.) and onto-epistemologies have influenced their collegiality and their mentorship of proceeding generations in the field. 


The Theologies of Asian Americans and Pacific Peoples: A Reader (1976)—also known as the “PACTS Reader”—represents some of the earliest Asian Pacific American theological writings. Compiled by Roy Sano, Director of Pacific and Asian American Center for Theology and Strategies (PACTS) at the Graduate Theological Union, this collection displays the burgeoning Asian Pacific American theological subjectivity–stimulated by the Third World Liberation Front protests–as well as the beginnings of the Asian American movement and ethnic studies. While some of the analytic concepts differ, the liberative struggles of these Asian Pacific American Christian mainline denominational leaders continue today. Despite its historical significance, the PACTS Reader was never formally published, but photocopied, roughly bound, and disseminated, known to only a small academic circle. To make this important work more widely accessible, Daniel Lee of Fuller Seminary’s Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry has prepared and edited its forthcoming publication, including additional introductory essays. This roundtable session will revisit the reader’s significance, including its broader historical, social, and political contributions to US and global theological discourse and praxis.

Statement of Purpose


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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