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Religion and Sexuality Unit

Call for Proposals

This year we are particularly interested in papers addressing and analyzing the following themes:

  • Religion and sexuality on the border:  e.g. in terms of the geographic location (e.g. US-Mexico border, Israel-Palestine, Russia-Ukraine, other contested land areas); or in terms of other geographic, linguistic, political, epistemological, or disciplinary senses of ‘the border’.
  • The intersections of religion and sexuality in the work of Gloria Anzaldúa and Chicana feminist discourse.
  • Recruitment of religion and sexuality in specific public policy debates, including topics such as: sexuality and religion and gun violence; sexuality in white nationalism; sexual and moral panics under the guise of ‘religious freedom.’
  • Religion and sexuality as technologies and/or technologies of religion and/or sexuality.


For a possible co-sponsorship with the Teaching Religion Unit, we seek papers exploring “Stifled Pedagogy: Teaching Religion and Sexuality in an Era of Censorship.” We invite proposals that offer frameworks for understanding contemporary challenges within and outside the religious studies and theology classrooms, such as political challenges to reproductive rights, undermining of trans rights, debates about "divisive concepts" and "critical race theory," and academic freedom. How is teaching about religion informed by particular institutional, state-wide, or other restrictions or debates? What pedagogical and/or political strategies are worth considering in response to these realities? We especially welcome proposals that blend theoretical frameworks with practical or demonstrable cases.


For a possible co-sponsorship with the Afro-American Religious History Unit, we seek papers on African-American religion and so called “illicit” practices, specifically: 

  • Black religious communities, carceral systems, and the (de)criminalization of recreational substance use; 
  • Histories of African-American religion and narcotic use, broadly configured (ritual, recreational, medicinal, etc.); 
  • Black religious communities and religious activism in relation to the history of other practices criminalized or deemed illicit, especially sex work, pornography, and other practices related to religion and sexuality. 

We also invite proposals that approach the presidential theme and academic work in religious studies in places unlike the academy from the perspective of 'religion and sexuality’.

Other proposals for papers, sessions, panels and/or book sessions in keeping with the general mission of the Unit are always welcome.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit examines religion and sexuality, broadly conceptualized, and focuses on questions of why and how sex matters for particular religious persons, communities, or traditions. We welcome collaboration with other Program Units doing work in some area of sexuality. Distinguishing this Unit from other Program Units are an emphasis on empirical research and analysis and an intentionally multidisciplinary and comparative religious focus. We especially encourage interdisciplinary approaches, interest in gender (broadly defined), and strong attention to methodological issues. This unit is committed to diversity and inclusivity; pre-arranged panels should reflect gender and racial/ethnic diversity as well as diversity of field, method, context, and scholarly rank as appropriate.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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