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Religion, Sport, and Play Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

The Religion, Sport, and Play Unit seeks individual paper and complete panel proposals for two sessions at the 2024 annual conference.


Religion and Sports Fandom

Sports fandom has frequently been associated with religious ways of being, even if tongue-in-cheek. A religious-like devotion is often used to describe sports fans’ relationship to certain teams and athletes, and Durkheimian “collective effervescence” is frequently drawn upon to explain enduring tribalism amongst fans. These religious descriptors of sports fandom, however, do not capture the myriad ways in which religion and sports fandom can be theorized. To this end, the Religion, Sport, and Play Unit seeks papers offering analytical, methodological, or theoretical frameworks of religion and sport fandom.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Religion as a Type of Fandom
  • Religion, Violence, and Sports Fandom (in accordance with this year’s AAR theme)
  • Sports Fandom at Religious Universities
  • The Positionality of the Scholar/The Positionality of the Fan
  • Sport Fandom as Scholarly Motivation
  • Intersectionality and Sports Fandom
  • Religion and/or Spirituality of the Global East/South in relation to Sports Fandom
  • Sports Fandom and the Scholar-Activist
  • Technology and Sports Fan Agency
  • Materiality and Sports Fandom
  • Media Expressions of Sports Fandom


Paper proposals will be considered for a Fall 2024 special issue of The International Journal of Sport and Religion

For the second session, any proposals addressing the interaction of religion and sport; religion and play; or religion, sport, and play will be considered.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit provides an opportunity for scholars to engage in emerging research at the intersection of religion and sport, games, and play. We are interested in examining these topics across broad geographical areas, religious traditions, and historical eras. We encourage critical reflection regarding relationships of religious institutions to sport, play, and games; theological and spiritual experiences of participants and spectators invested in these activities; and the cross-cultural applicability of the received categories.


  • Kimberly Diaz, University of California, Riverside
    1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
  • Jeffrey Scholes, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
    1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025

Steering Committee Members


Review Process

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