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Open and Relational Theologies Unit

Call for Proposals

In responding to the 2020 Presidential Theme, "The AAR as a Scholarly Guild," we invite papers on two themes: one on the nature of our unit as a mini-guild, the other on creative intersections with themes that might be minimally explored in the absence of engagement through the AAR.

(1) From Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, and John Sanders to Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, and John Cobb, there exists a great diversity of viewpoints studied under the Open and Relational Theologies umbrella. Despite deep differences, in order to become a program unit of the AAR, Process Theists, Open Theists, and other Relational Theologians had to join forces. We invite papers that explore how the creation of an Open and Relational Theologies Unit has impacted research in open theism, process theology, and other strands of relational theologies.

(2) Vulnerability—of God and of creatures—is a distinctive feature of open, process, and relational theologies. We invite papers on “Vulnerability, Disability, and Moral Injury: Open & Relational Perspectives.” Potential questions to explore: How can open and relational cosmologies shape our experience of and response to disability or moral injury? How might open, process, and relational models challenge concepts of the “ideal” or the “perfect,” including romantic views of nature? How do insights from the fields of disability and/or moral injury challenge, complicate, or advance certain premises of open and relational theologies? To what extent can the natural sciences help shed light on the relevance of vulnerability, disability and/or moral injury in communal processes of cooperation versus competition?

Statement of Purpose

The Open and Relational Theologies Unit promotes academic research and discourse on open, relational, and process methods and perspectives (including those of open theism, process philosophy, and other relational and personalists traditions). These explorations tend to be constructive in nature--regularly involving theological and philosophical speculation about the nature of God, freedom, power, relationality, love, and more--as well as studying the implications of open-relational methods and perspectives on a wide range of social and scientific topics.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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

Review Process Comments

We've kept proposer names anonymous to steering committee members to make the review process as fair as possible. Interestingly, this has led to a higher percentage of papers from students and junior faculty being accepted. We've also kept proposer names visible to chairs in order to make decisions to enhance diversity (as needed).