The Religion and Human Rights Unit seeks to enhance both scholarly and public conversation around the intersection of religion and human rights ideas and practices. We solicit papers in any area of religion and human rights studies. Topics we engage include: how particular religious actors and traditions articulate the compatibility or incompatibility of religion and human rights; how human rights serve to complicate or enhance our understanding of categories such as “religion” and “secularity”; how religious and human rights approaches address particular cases and social issues; and how the intersection of religion and human rights implicates issues of race, gender, law, politics, etc. We recognize that both human rights and religious ideologies can inspire thought and action that benefits the vulnerable and promotes the common good; at the same time, both can serve the interests of power, oppression, and colonialist hegemony. Thus it is vitally important to evaluate and critique both. Participants in the unit approach these topics, and others, from diverse areas of study, methodologies, and perspectives. The unit also prioritizes the public understanding of religion in conversation with human rights ideas. Human rights is a much-discussed topic in the media and political circles, yet much public dialogue assumes that religion and human rights are either straightforwardly congruent with each other, or straightforwardly opposed to each other. The unit welcomes papers that critique, nuance, and enhance public understanding of the intersection of religion and human rights.
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Religion and Human Rights Unit
Call for Proposals
We seek papers that explore the topics of religion and human rights from a breadth of scholarly perspectives. We seek analyses of the way in which particular religious actors and traditions articulate the compatibility or incompatibility of religion and human rights; how human rights serve to complicate or enhance our understanding of categories such as “religion” and “secularity”; and how the intersection of religion and human rights implicates issues of race, gender, law, politics, ecology etc.
Proposals on any topic related to religion and human rights are welcome.
In keeping with this year’s presidential theme of La Labor de Nuestras Manos, we are particularly interested in proposals on the following topics:
- religion and human rights “on the ground”: explorations of the conversation and practice of human rights within grassroots communities, especially in dialogue with religious thought and scholarship of religious studies
- the co-creation of “sacred spaces” in the community-engaged work of scholars, laborers, and activists. How do practices of rest and resistance foster such spaces?
- ecology and resilience: How might faith traditions and practices that emphasize relations with the natural world bolster our capacity to build just and flourishing communities and ecosystems? How does the “work of our hands” for climate justice bolster our capacity to build just and flourishing communities and ecosystems?
- intersectional approaches to climate change and environmental justice. We are especially interested in considering intersectional vulnerabilities; centering survival for people of color and the global South in climate justice efforts
For a possible co-sponsorship with the Practical Theology Program Unit, we invite proposals focused on religion, labor/work, and human rights. Here again we will explore the conversation and practice of human rights within grassroots communities, especially in dialogue with religious thought and scholarship of religious studies.
We also invite proposals that consider religious, theological, and philosophical approaches to human rights ideas. In keeping with the presidential theme, we especially welcome proposals on Islamic thought and human rights.
Finally, we invite proposals in areas related to: human rights and religious freedom; environmental rights and the “rights of nature”; human rights in marginalized communities; the limits of human rights in cases of oppression; human rights, religion, and immigration; history of human rights thought and practice; and human rights thought and practice as understood from diverse methodological perspectives.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Luke Beck Kreider, University of Virginia1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Curtis Hutt, University of Nebraska, Omaha1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
D. Brendan Johnson, Duke University1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Kyle Nicholas, University of Virginia1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Irene Oh, George Washington University1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Miray Philips, University of Minnesota1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Christophe D. Ringer, Chicago Theological Seminary1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025