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Religion and the Social Sciences Unit

Call for Proposals

The Religion and Social Sciences Unit (RSS) invites proposals for papers and research projects that address the introspective turn to the theme of the 2020 conference: To the guilds of Religious Studies and Theology and to how we research, write, and think about religion. We welcome proposals that address the following:

1.) How religion is conceptualized and measured within social scientific studies

2.) The utility of surveys and what they do for our scholarly understanding of religion, as well as the larger public’s understanding of religion

3.) The current and future status of social scientific approaches to the study of religion within Religious Studies

4.) How social scientific methods can help elucidate trends in immigration and transnationalism.

We welcome proposals that are related to Boston and the surrounding geographies. We encourage proposals to be creative and to not be bound by the traditional read-aloud paper, rather to offer mixed methodology presentation styles such as Prezi, visual imagery, and sound.

For a Co-sponsored Session with the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Unit and Bioethics and Religion Unit
Religion, Race, and the Embodied Health and Well-Being of Black Women: Bioethics and Womanist Perspectives
From their arrival in the New World, the bodies of African diasporan women have been an embattled space of abuse, disrespect, and egregious experimentation often perpetrated by socio-economics, from colonial enslavement through contemporary mass incarceration; giving birth in the fields and working moments later, with infants ripped from their hands and simultaneously forced to be wet nurses for white babies. Such behavior, steeped in exploitative economics that totally disregarded black women’s personhood had a significant impact on moral, ethical, legal, medical, religious, sociopolitical, scientific, and sociological systems in the United States. The impact on African American women’s embodied lives is vast, from issues of physical and mental health; reproductive justice (forced hysterectomies, sterilization, maternal and infant mortality) to stigmatized health care, biased health and health care policies, technology, body enhancement; environmental injustice, to inequitable health, regardless of class including lesser access to health care and health insurance. Much conversation is emerging around the intersectionalities of Black women’s lived experiences, and our scholarship, including topics of interests and methodologies. This session invites papers addressing any of these topics and areas related to all aspects of Black women’s embodied health. Social scientific theories and methods in religious studies and applied ethics are welcome.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit supports scholarship at the intersection of the social sciences — including psychology, ethnography, sociology, political sciences, economics, and cultural studies — and religious or theological studies. Topic areas include the study of religious and theological questions through specific social scientific methodologies, the contribution of religious and theological approaches to the work of social scientific disciplines, and comparative assessments of current issues by humanities-based and social scientific methods.


Steering Committee Members




Anonymity of Review Process: Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection. Please do not include any identifying information in the body of your proposal.

Review Process

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection

Review Process Comments

The co-chairs of this unit, along with members of the Steering Committee, are in constant communication during the selections process. We have a blind-review process. Because we are a group of individuals who work well together and who respect each others’ expertise, we encourage all members of the Steering Committee to give feedback and to rank proposals.