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Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Unit

Call for Proposals

1) The Religion, Social Conflicts, and Peace Unit invites papers to focus on religion, right wing populism, and nationalism from global and transnational perspectives. We also welcome papers that address the realities and questions around nationalism and religion from a decolonial and intersectional prisms.

2) With the Liberation Theologies Unit, the Comparative Theologies Unit, and the Religions in the Latina/o Americas Unit, we will co-sponsor a session titled “Land, Revolutions, and the Religious Being: in Search of Political Theologies of Liberation
We invite proposals for a co-sponsored session that consider the setting of the 2020 meeting in Boston by examining the relationship between revolutions and land (i.e., Hong Kong, Chile, Paris, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, etc.) in different ways. Possible areas include post-colonial and decolonial critiques of comparative theology and theologies of peace and conflict resolution; theology intersecting at the borders of geography and confessionalism; learning and activism across those same borders; comparative theologies as praxis/therapy for overcoming the impact of tolerance, hate, and conflict; political theologies of liberation in relation to conflict, land and various industrial-complexes (prison, ecological, technological, military, etc.).

3) We also invite proposals for the following co-sponsored session:
Settler Colonialism as an Ecological Structure” as a collaboration with the Religion and Ecology Unit. This session is intended to explore the historical and contemporary contours of coloniality (understood as the logic, culture and structure of our Eurocentric modern world-system) and settler colonialism and their impact on land, resources, environments, and religious/cultural practices and traditions.

4) The Unit is also exploring the possibility of a round-table discussion among panelists invited by a diverse group of units to respond to the 2020 US election. [Persons interested in being considered for this panel should contact the Unit's co-chairs.]

5) Possible co-sponsored panel between International Development and Religion Unit and Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Unit:
Faith in the humanitarianism-development-peace nexus
An outcome from the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) was the 'New Way of Working' (NWoW), which means that humanitarian, development and peace actors are recommended to work together (the 'triple nexus') ‘to capitalize on the comparative advantages of each sector to reduce need, risk and vulnerability…in accordance with the 2030 SDG agenda’ (Relief Web, no date). The NWoW recognises that although humanitarian, development and peacebuilding are different activities, they are fundamentally linked and organisations focusing on one or more of these should adopt a combined approach to programming (Oxfam 2019). While this is gaining traction in practice and academia, to date the role that religion and faith actors play has been largely overlooked. There is little focus on religion and faith actors in literature on the NWoW despite evidence that local peacebuilding, development and humanitarian actors, including those that are faith-based, often naturally adopt an integrated approach, but are hampered by a siloed approach to these activities, bolstered by conventions around how donor funds can be used. This panel is interested in papers that explore the ways that faith actors, from international faith-based organisations to local faith actors, approach the humanitarianism-development-peace nexus, the barriers they face and what needs to be done in order to overcome them.

Statement of Purpose

Relationships between religions and the causes and resolution of social conflict are complex. On the one hand, religion is a major source of discord in our world, but on the other, religious agents have often played a central role in developing and encouraging nonviolent means of conflict resolution and sustainable peace. While religion as a factor in conflicts is often misunderstood by military and political leaders, it is also the case that the popular call for an end to injustice is quite often a religious voice. We seek to add a critical dimension to the understanding of how religion influences and resolves social conflict. We want to develop and expand the traditional categories of moral reflection and response to war and also to investigate kindred conflicts — terrorism, humanitarian armed intervention, cultural and governmental repression, ecological degradation, and all of the factors that inhibit human flourishing. We also hope to encourage theoretical and practical reflection on religious peace-building by examining the discourses, practices, and community and institutional structures that promote just peace. Through our work, we hope to promote understanding of the relationships between social conflict and religions in ways that are theoretically sophisticated and practically applicable in diverse cultural contexts.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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