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Religion and Cities Unit

Call for Proposals

The Religion and Cities Unit seeks papers that analyze the interactive relationship between religion and urban environments at the AAR’s Annual Meeting. As a scholarly guild, how does our collective study of religion engage and impact the cities where we meet? In what ways do we contribute to local economies and engage emplaced social justice issues? Alternatively, how does our guild’s carbon footprint contribute to local ecological issues and how do we ignore or complicity support structural injustices in the cities where we meet? What data, methods and theories might we draw on or develop to answer these questions. Given the AAR’s recent announcement that it will make an archive of past years’ programs publically available, how might this help and what other data do we draw on? Might we apply other quantitative and qualitative methods to survey local communities (e.g. local teachers, religious communities, transportation providers, city officials, etc.) about our impact? How do the cities where meet impact the members of the AAR and their work? What theoretical models, including that of mobile cities, could we draw upon to engage the infrastructure, activities, and culture of the AAR Annual Meeting? We thus invite papers or panels that engage the interactive relationship between religion and urban environments at the AAR’s annual meeting in any variety of ways.

We are also planning two co-sponsored sessions:

For a possible co-sponsored session with the Transformative Scholarship and Pedagogies Unit, we seek papers that focus on teaching religion with a focus on local cities and community engagement. We invite proposals that examine the intersections between the study of religion and cities and the ways we teach it. How does the study of religion in particular cities challenge and expand traditional academic epistemologies, methods, and boundaries? In what ways do our pedagogical approaches and strategies engage local communities, urban contexts, and the issues that religious communities encounter or address in cities (e.g. gentrification, violence, homelessness/housing crisis, immigration)? How are theory and practice brought together in the study of religion and cities and in course design?? What are our goals and aims for scholarship and pedagogies that examine religion and cities?

For a possible co-sponsored session with the Religion, Memory, History Unit, we invite paper or panel proposals on religion in Boston. We are particularly interested in the history and memories contained and/or evoked by the city's geography and built environment especially with regard to issues around justice.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit is focused on scholarship that explores the dynamics of religion in urban contexts. We draw largely, though not exclusively, from social research in looking at the ways in which the cultures, economies, space, and politics both shape and are shaped by the presence of an increasing diversity of faith traditions in cities.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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

Review Process Comments