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Religion, Sport, and Play Unit

Call for Proposals

Sport, play, and exercise provide many individuals and communities across the globe with rhythms to mark time; ways to manage physical, mental and spiritual health; opportunities for community-building and collective identity construction; and ritualized diversion. The precarity of life during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the focus on sport, play, and exercise from any number of angles. This call for papers invites consideration of sport, play and exercise in relation to:

•             their function in terms of establishing "normalcy"

•             their role in the ongoing public discourse of the body, rights, the common good

•             their role in promoting physical, mental and spiritual health

•             their intersection with religious impulse or religion especially in life-threatening times

•             their exploitation in terms of economic gain (think Peloton), signaling socio-economic disparity, appropriating practices without attention to their religious or cultural dimensions, etc.

•             their expression of spirituality(s)

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.


  • Carmen Marie Nanko-Fernandez, Catholic Theological Union
    1/1/2017 - 12/31/2022
  • 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