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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, etc.

Though proposals on any topic related to religion and human rights are welcome, we are particularly interested in proposals on the following topics:

In light of the presidential theme “Religion, Poverty and Inequality: Contemplating Our Collective Futures,” the unit invites papers that examine the intersection of religion and human rights with issues of poverty and inequality. Papers might consider:
· Religious engagement with the articulation of economic and social rights in human rights documents, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights;
· The role of the concept of rights in addressing poverty, in relation to religious discourses that address poverty and inequality in terms of obligations, responsibilities, justice, or charity;
· The history of religious thought and practice related to poverty and inequality and its possible impact on thought about human rights;
· The tension between commonly-recognized human rights like the right to private property and the right to life in a community in which basic needs are met, often through some mechanism of property redistribution; or
· The origins of contemporary rights thought in a modern, Western-influenced and colonialist system in which individualistic notions of property and wealth influence attitudes about rights.
· Papers on other topics related to poverty, inequality, religion, and human rights are welcome.

We invite papers for a joint session with the Native Traditions in the Americas and the Indigenous Religious Traditions Units, titled "Indigenous Religions, Rights, and Borders." This session will particularly concern Indigenous rights across borders, land repatriation, religious freedom, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Any papers on these topics will be considered. Given the location of the Annual Meeting in San Antonio, we especially encourage papers that explore the southern border of the U.S., rights and critique of rights from Native American perspectives, and mythologies about colonial expansion in the Southwest.

We invite papers for a possible joint session with the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit on the seventieth anniversary of the 1951 We Charge Genocide petition, submitted to the United Nations for relief against U.S. abuses of Black citizens. Topics may include but are not limited to the legacy and significance of the petition's anniversary, activism under the We Charge Genocide Chicago organization and their report presented to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in 2014, and other related issues and concerns.

Statement of Purpose

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.

Chairs

Steering Committee Members

Method

PAPERS

Review Process

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