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Nineteenth Century Theology Unit

Call for Proposals

In 2022 we will have three sessions (one co-sponsored with the Schleiermacher Unit). One of these sessions is an invited panel on Robert Norton’s recent book, The Crucible of German Democracy: Ernst Troeltsch and the First World War. For our other two sessions we are looking for paper proposals on the following themes.

Theodicy in Nineteenth-Century Religious Thought

As more areas of life came under human control, uncontrollability became a more acute problem. Human suffering, natural and human disasters evoked renewed interest in theodicy. Papers may address either the more theoretical discussions of theology and philosophy or the cultural manifestations of these concerns. They may, if they wish (but are not required to), take up the AAR presidential theme “Religion and Catastrophe.”

Theological System-Building: Doctrine, Method, and Context (co-sponsored with the Schleiermacher Unit)

Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Glaubenslehre, first published in 1821/22, was a turning point that ushered in the modern development of theological system-building, even among theologians who disagreed with his approach. As part of their efforts to expand on and engage with Schleiermacher’s method and work, theologians wrote systematic works on both sides of the Atlantic. Those texts also reflected the role of religious consciousness for scientific theology. 
Papers may cover any topic related to the theme of theological system-building in a global context from 1800 to 1914. We welcome submissions representing philosophical, theological, and historical approaches. For example, proposals might examine comparisons of thought systems or theology as a system or analyze specific issues such as theology as science, philosophical influences, the social contexts of theological systems, and syntheses of system-building processes.

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.