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.
You are here
Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Unit
Call for Proposals
Religion & Politics Beyond Critique
In recent years, the study of religion and secularity has reached a point of saturation in terms of the critique of the operative categories of "religion" and "secular." Scholarship has focused extensively on deconstructing and demystifying political constructs. Our unit is interested in proposals that extend the reach of these studies by exploring the role of religion in constructive social transformations. We seek papers that both are versed in critical interventions in the field that confront colonial legacies and illuminate the existence of political projects to overcome coloniality, settle-colonialism, capitalism, dictatorships, and other oppressive systems.
We are excited to receive relevant proposals and the following issues and others deemed relevant:
- religion, economic justice, and democratic praxis
- transforming citizenship through broad-based social movement work
- peacebuilding, religion, and emancipatory political struggles
- religion, anti-democratic trends, and human rights
- religion and emancipatory politics in the global South
- religion, Native struggles Overcoming Settler Colonialisms
- religion and transnational and intersectional social justice activism
- other areas of exploration
We seek proposals that address religious thought and practice, and human rights concerns, in these areas:
- Violations of human rights during a catastrophe or “state of emergency,” or the wholesale setting aside of human rights norms in a (real or imagined) catastrophe or state of emergency
- Representation of apocalyptic or catastrophic settings, often with religious overtones or religiously-inflected, in media and popular culture (film, literature), and depictions of human rights protection (or lack thereof) in such settings
- The religious resonances of manufactured or imagined apocalypse, and the call to defend” a particular group or social order from an apocalyptic threat; examples might include conspiracy theories against immigrant or minority groups, such as the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory; and catastrophizing of the actions of oppressed groups in their search for equality, such as the characterization of largely peaceful racial justice protests as “burning down cities”
Religion, Ecocide, and Climate Catastrophe (Co-sponsored between Native Traditions in the Americas, Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence, Religion, Media, and Culture, Religion and Human Rights, and Religion and Politics, and Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Units)
We invite proposals that investigate how violence and religion intersect in the environmental injustice of climate catastrophe, including increased intensity of weather events, drought, fire, food insecurity, climate refugees, species extinctions and growing global gaps in access to resources needed for life and health. Specifically, we encourage papers that address:
- the “Anthropocene” as the age of climate catastrophe and violence, with focus on the ways in which religious ideas, practices, institutions, and rituals respond to the severe anthropogenic disruptions that distinguish the Anthropocene, and with a view to the differential quality of “the human” in light of environmental injustice.
- The Sixth Mass Extinction as an ongoing event that exemplifies, if not epitomizes, the violence of human-animal relations, human exceptionalism, and attitudes of supremacy, through the lens of religious views and practices, whether as purveyors and/or disruptors of anthropocentrism.
- Indigenous and non-Indigenous resistance to ecocidal violence (possible co-sponsored session with Native Traditions in the Americas Unit)
The role of religion in ecocidal violence embedded in the cultures, institutions and practices of militarism, militarization, war and colonialism.
the role of the study of religion in the time of climate violence, in light of the fact that, as the Presidential theme states, “It seems likely that climate catastrophes—the effects of which are exacerbated by and exacerbate social inequality—will continue to transform the worlds in which we live.”
So much has been examined in relation to social media’s role in transmitting hate and violent religious messaging. Often such bad messaging underpins exclusionary and racialized nationalist rhetoric, and often such hateful transmission is also attributed to religious illiteracy and flattening of identities into soundbites and memes. Is the inverse also correct, namely that “good” tweetable soundbites about religion also flatten religious traditions? We seek proposals that examine constructive and peace-promoting sites where religion participates constructively in social and political mobilization and justice-oriented change. Proposals may focus on any of the topics below or other further areas of relevant research and praxis:
- Religion and mobilization on social media platforms for human rights and democracy
- Religion and “Counter messaging” and the instrumentalization of “good religion” in the global war on terrorism
- Hermeneutical religiopolitical subversive and prophetic work in online platforms and alternative media
- Search engines and religious and political illiteracy at a time when all knowledge is googleable
- Religion and political protest online and offline
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Heather M. DuBois, Stonehill College1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
Zayn Kassam, Pomona College1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
Siti Sarah Muwahidah, Emory University1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
Wonchul Shin, Columbia Theological Seminary1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Jason Springs, University of Notre Dame1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026