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North American Religions Unit

Call for Proposals

This Unit advances the study of religions in North America, broadly conceived (Mexico, the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, etc.), as well as the study of historical, social, and structural links between North American religions and those beyond North American boundaries. We are committed to sponsoring sessions that explore fundamental questions that have shaped the field in the past or should shape it in the future.

The Unit sponsors roundtables, debates, workshops, performances, pre-circulated papers, and other creative formats. As always, this program unit also welcomes proposals for keyword panels based on important concepts in the field. We encourage the submission of both individual contributions and complete panels, though we may reconfigure proposed panels to place them on the conference program. For panel proposals, diversity of rank (including graduate student, post-doctorate, contingent faculty, and junior and senior participants), and gender, race, and ethnicity are strongly encouraged. We especially seek proposals from junior and contingent scholars. Presenters in any format should expect to give short presentations that maximize time for audience questions and comments. All presenters should explicitly relate research to ongoing discussions in the field and the wider academy. Please ensure that all submissions are anonymous.

In addition to the above, we seek proposals on the following topic for our 2022 meeting in Denver, CO:
We especially invite proposals for papers and panels that think with and around the 2022 presidential theme of Religion and Catastrophe and assess the uses and limitations of catastrophe and adjacent concepts as frameworks for the study of religion in North America. We encourage submissions that think broadly and creatively about the character of catastrophe, not only as a disastrous or damaging event, but also in ways that play upon the word’s etymological origins from the Greek “to overturn.” As such, we are interested in submissions that consider themes of abolition, revolution, regeneration, and other (past, present, and future) modes of overturning “the world as we know it,” all in relation to religion in North America. At the same time, and on different note, we also encourage submissions that consider slow violence and other means of talking about devastation that attention to catastrophe (and to the remarkable event as such) might occlude.

Related to the Religion and Catastrophe theme, we also seek:

  • Papers and panels that reconsider North American religion in ways that centers the religious lives of migrants, refugees, and/or other displaced people.
  • Papers and panels that approach North American religion relative to the temporality of the Anthropocene.
  • Papers and panels that consider scandal (political or otherwise), panic (moral or otherwise), or other categories that signal catastrophe within, or in relation to, North American religious communities.
  • Papers and panels that explore religion and carcerality, including beyond the walls of the prison.


In addition, our unit seeks:

  • Papers and panels that explore religion in relation to economic treaties and other political, legal, and/or economic structures that manage flows of work and labor across the Americas.
  • Papers and panels that consider religious fascisms, particularly in comparative context.
  • Papers and panels that consider the history and legacy of North American religions as a field of inquiry and assess its present purpose and/or function within the academic study of religion. We are also interested in submissions that explore changing ways in which scholarly positionality has informed, and informs, the study of North American religions.
  • Papers and panels that consider the intersections of empirical and normative scholarship and reflect on challenges and possibilities that emerge from conversations between empirical and normative approaches to thinking about religion in North America.

Honoring the Scholarship, Sisterhood, and Scholastic Legacy of Dianne M. Stewart and Tracey E. Hucks Hucks (Co-sponsored between the African Diaspora Religions Unit, African Religions Unit, Afro-American Religious History Unit, Black Theology Unit, Critical Theory and Discourse on Religion Unit, Liberation Theologies Unit, North American Religions Unit, Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Unit, Women and Religion Unit, Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Unit, and the Women’s Caucus)

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. 

Our unit is also co-sponsoring a pre-arranged panel honoring Al Raboteau (1943-2021). Co-sponsored between Afro-American Religious History, Eastern Orthodox Studies, African Diaspora Religions, and North American Religions.

Statement of Purpose


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection