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Native Traditions in the Americas Unit

Call for Proposals

We invite individual paper and group proposals on any aspect of Native Traditions in the Americas (North, Central and South). In particular, we invite papers on the following topics:

In light of this year's theme "La Labor de Nuestros Manos" we invite proposals for papers or panels that reflect on the contributions of Native traditions in the Americas to addressing the work we do, and the ways our work can be brought to bear for the public good. This might include:

  • The additional expectations/burdens placed upon BIPOC faculty (particularly pre-tenure faculty) regarding student mentoring, advising, community engagement, and activism and how to navigate these challenges in ways that honor our commitments while also ensuring our own well-being.
  • Work within the public understanding of Indigenous traditions and ways scholars can become further involved in the application of Indigenous scholarship to law, public policy, and other arenas outside of academia.
  • The blessings and challenges of working within community–which may not always lead to traditional scholarly outcomes (such as conference papers or academic journal articles) but nonetheless is reflective of Indigenous methodologies.

We also invite papers on the following topics:

  • Proposals for a roundtable discussion or workshop around the future of the subfield, the role of Native American religious studies within the academy, and innovative ways to make our conversations more inclusive and diverse. This may also include proposals reflecting upon the history of the field and of the Society for Study of Native American Religious Traditions.
  • In light of the 200th year anniversary of Johnson vs. M’Intosh, we invite proposals that reflect on the impact of this case and the broader import of the Doctrine of Discovery.
  • The history of Native American protest, and the battle for civil rights, treaty rights, and tribal sovereignty–and how these protests are shaped by religious sensibilities, motivations, and power.
  • Guiding principles for, and examples of decolonizing methodologies in practice. 
  • What does it look like to do engaged scholarship that is community-based and/ or driven? How do we navigate both advocacy and scholarship in the subfield of Native American and Indigenous religious traditions?
  • For a possible co-sponsored session with Indigenous Religious Traditions group: a panel on pedagogy and the newly published volume, Indigenous Religious Traditions in 5 Minutes.
  • For a possible co-sponsored session with the Religion and Ecology group: we invite papers considering climate justice for Indigenous communities, and how traditional ecological knowledge can inform climate policy, green energy expansion, and moves toward climate resiliency. We are interested in engaging academics, activists, and scholar-practitioners working on these issues in the academy and on the ground.
  • For a possible co-sponsored session with the Religion and Popular Culture Group: We invite papers on the role of Indigenous religious and spiritual traditions within popular works by contemporary Native American and First Nations creators. How have religious and spiritual traditions oriented or emerged within recent creative works (i.e. films such as Blood Quantum, music by artists such as Crown Lands, streaming series such as Reservation Dogs, or other forms such as comic books, novels, or video games)? How have these works mobilized, or chafed against, the conventions of popular genres?
  • Co-sponsored with the Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit, Native Traditions in the Americas Unit, and Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit. We seek proposals that address the genocidal aspects of European colonialism by historically linking or comparing the genocide of Indigenous Peoples, US Slavery, and the Holocaust. This approach may include an explicit assessment of or engagement with Raoul Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes—which he describes as tracing the origins of white supremacy through historically linking the genocide of Native Americans, US Slavery, and the Holocaust—or any comparative historical or conceptual analysis between any of these two atrocities. A comparison that includes a case of a genocide of Indigenous Peoples is of particular interest.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit sees its mission as the promotion of the study of Native American religious traditions and thereby the enrichment of the academic study of religion generally, by engaging in discourse about culturally-centered theories and encouraging multiple dialogues at the margins of Western and non-Western cultures and scholarship. The Unit is committed to fostering dialogue involving Native and non-Native voices in the study of North, Central, and South American Native religious traditions and to engaging religious studies scholarship in robust conversation with scholarship on other facets of Native cultures and societies.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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