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Nineteenth Century Theology Unit

Call for Proposals

We postponed two of the sessions, originally planned for the 2020 meeting in Boston, until the 2021 annual meeting in San Antonio. They are:

Author Meets Critics: Elizabeth A. Clark, The Fathers Refounded: Protestant Liberalism, Roman
Catholic Modernism, and the Teaching of Ancient Christianity in Early Twentieth-Century America
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). This is an invited panel of scholars.

Academic Rivalry in the Modern Age: Thinking with Girard and Beyond (a co-sponsored session with the Colloquium on Violence & Religion). The papers for this session were selected last year.

Our new call for proposals takes up the AAR 2021 presidential theme (Religion, Poverty and Inequality: Contemplating Our Collective Futures).

Theological Responses to Poverty and Inequality in the 19th Century
Papers that address this topic can cover any theological tradition or geographical area. They will consider such questions as: How have religious doctrines shaped the perception of poverty and inequality? And, what doctrinal shifts occurred in response to social phenomena like the conditions of labor for the new industrial poor and the struggles to extend the franchise? We also welcome papers that cover critiques of religion that arose out of engagement with poverty and inequality. We will accept papers on socially and politically oriented religious movements and programs as long as the focus is on the theological positions underpinning them.

Statement of Purpose

Our Unit focuses on major themes, thinkers, and movements in nineteenth century religious thought and theology — from the French Revolution to World War I — and on the relation of religious thought to its historical, political, and cultural contexts. Each year the Unit selects two or three focused topics and predistributes papers before the AAR sessions.


Steering Committee Members


E-mail without Attachment (proposal appears in body of e-mail)


We ask that all accepted papers be submitted to the AAR's Full-Paper Submission program by November 1. We have found that pre-circulated papers improve the quality of our sessions. Our regular attendees expect to read the papers before the meeting. Presenters will give 15-20-minute summaries of their papers during their session.

Review Process

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

Review Process Comments

All paper proposals that we receive through the PAPERS system are ranked by steering committee members according to their merits in relation to the wording of our call for papers, and without the authors being identified. These rankings constitute one of several factors taken into consideration in determining the composition of our sessions. Others include thematic compatibility and potential for illuminating discussion of the papers selected, as well as diversity with respect both to ethnicity and gender, and to the career stages of scholars presenting at our sessions. This is a genuine working group with a long tradition of pre-distributing papers presented at our sessions to allow for the highest possible quality of discussion. In recent years, more often than not, those presenting at our sessions have done so for the first time. We actively seek the participation of scholars committed to the collaborative ethos of academic excellence that our group has historically sought to cultivate, and who are likely to keep the focus of our group attuned to cutting-edge research in the study of religion.