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Religion and Economy Unit

Call for Proposals

This Unit welcomes individual papers, paper sessions, and roundtable proposals related to the group's mission, including but not limited to the themes described below. We strongly encourage the submission of pre-arranged sessions, including and especially sessions with innovative formats and modes of presentation. Proposals for individual papers are most likely to be accepted if proposed in relation to one of the themes listed below. Please note that our Unit typically holds sessions that last 90 minutes.

Successful proposals not only will reflect theoretical and methodological rigor and clarity but also will engage existing scholarship around the study of religion and economy. A successful pre-arranged session also must incorporate gender and racial/ethnic diversity. Diversity of academic rank, theoretical method, and field also are encouraged.

  • Money and Justice. In 2020, our unit postponed a session that focused on the dynamic relationship between money and justice in Islam. To potentially expand upon the contributions to that session, we invite papers that consider ethical thought regarding money, wealth, or finance in other traditions of religious thought and ethics.

  • Religious Studies under the Shadow of Plague (potentially co-sponsored with Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion). The COVID-19 pandemic has followed existing patterns of inequality when traversing the social body. How has religion, broadly construed, mediated how persons and communities (including scholars and students of religion) have experienced and responded to the pandemic? What kinds of utopian thinking suddenly appear reasonable? What religious worlds are bound up in the matrices of power that institutionally determine who lives and who dies when worlds fall apart? Contributions to this session would form a roundtable of approximately 10 scholars from a variety of disciplinary vantage points and perspectives.

  • The Economics of Religious Spaces (co-sponsored with Space, Place, and Religion). How are religious spaces created or maintained based on economic models (e.g., corporate organization, practices of giving, marketing strategies, promotional schemes)? How can these varying economic models be compared across and within forms of religious life? How have fundraising needs and philanthropic support shaped varied sites? Alternatively, how have critiques of money and religion affected religious sites and spaces? Topics for this panel could also include how the economic realities of COVID-19 have led to the shuttering or reimagining of space by religious groups or religiously oriented charities. How, for example, has the pandemic exacerbated class-based differences in religious spaces?

  • Fifty Years of Teología de la Liberación: Examining Gustavo Gutiérrez’s influence and the task of the liberation of theology (co-sponsored by Black Theology Unit, Class, Religion, and Theology Unit, Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit, Religion and Economy Unity, Religion in the Latina/o Americas Unit). In 1971 Gustavo Gutiérrez published the article “Hacia Una Teología de la Liberación,” followed by one of the most influential books of the 20th century, Teología de la Liberación: Perspectivas. To mark this year of celebrations, reflections, and conversations on this important anniversary we invite proposals that creatively engage Gutiérrez’s work from a variety of interdisciplinary lenses and contexts. We especially invite proposals that bring Gutiérrez’s contributions in contact with current challenges and future visions of the liberation of theology and theologies that seek to liberate, including problematizing the meaning(s) and praxis of liberation across the theological disciplines.

  • Religion and Economy: The State of the Field. We invite proposals that grapple with the state of the field vis-a-vis the study of religion and economy. What new or influential books have opened up conversations in the field—among your colleagues, or students? What ideas and approaches are contributing to new ways of thinking about the intersections, overlaps, and entanglements between religious and economic worlds? In what ways do you encounter the field(s) of the study of religion reckoning with the political economies that contribute to political and social unrest/upheaval or structures of violence and inequality? We especially welcome proposals that consider the intersectional dynamics that structure the study of religion and economy.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit sponsors multidisciplinary conversations that explore intersections between religious and economic modes of social life. Religion and Economy cultivates scholarship that asks how economic systems and orientations have developed through fields of thought, practice, and resistance that come into view through attention to the "religious." Encouraging inquiry that cuts across religious traditions, geographic locations, methods, and historical time periods, this Unit's collaborative explorations not only address and explore capitalist and non-capitalist economic systems but also consider how broader systems of "exchange" produce social relations among varied actors—from humans to spirits to material objects. By interrogating the concepts of religion and economy, this Unit also encourages scholars to consider the stakes of other concepts with ongoing currency in the study of religion, including secularism, spirituality, affect, desire, ritual, agency, value, and subject formation.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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

Review Process Comments

We choose this option to enable the chairs to ensure that the sessions we organize from paper submissions are diverse with regard to gender, race, and rank. This may not be the appropriate place to mention this, but I believe the auto-generated figures on proposals does not take account of a large measure of our submissions, especially submissions presented to us as co-sponsorships.