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Ritual Studies Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

The Ritual Studies Unit invites individual papers and full panel proposals from a variety of religious and cultural traditions exploring ritual in various local and transnational contexts. Proposals should engage with ritual theory in some way. We are interested in sessions that experiment with new formats favoring increased interaction and discussion and we particularly encourage papers/presentations that involve actually doing ritual practices.

This year, for the in-person conference in November we especially invite individual papers and full panel proposals that explore the following themes:

  • Ritual temporalities - We are looking for papers relating to the distinctive temporalities ritual performances put into effect: cyclical reiterations, ordered progressions, momentary accelerations, seemingly endless or unmeasurable states, events that embody unalterable traditions, temporal juxtapositions, and so forth.
  • Political rituals - We are also interested in papers pertaining to the political or social uses of ritual as an aspect of political campaigning, protest activities, social movements, nationalism, the implementation of strategic initiatives, and so forth.
  • Reevaluating seminal theorists - We welcome papers that propose new theoretical resources for ritual studies scholarship, and/or re-evaluate the work of a seminal ritual theorist.
  • Drugs, ritual, and religion - We invite papers for a potential co-sponsored session with the Drugs and Religion Unit on the use of drugs in the context of ritual practices.

Whenever possible, our sessions will be formatted to encourage interaction and group discussion on the basis of concise, pre-circulated papers of no more than five pages submitted for circulation by October 15, 2024. Because at least 30 minutes of every session will be reserved for discussion, presentation times will vary in accordance with the number of speakers in the session.



Call for Proposals for Online June Meeting

For the June 2024 online conference, we invite papers that interrogate ritual practice or theory. We are particularly interested in:

Papers on the practice of an open table in Christian Eucharist for a possible co-sponsored session between Open and Relational Theology and the Ritual Studies Unit. We seek papers that examine a wide range of communion practices, with a particular interest in papers that connect to the presidential theme's emphasis on marginality and/or that consider communion practices through the lens of ritual theory.

The internet/online space as a medium for ritual, requesting papers that can somehow incorporate the medium of delivery (virtual) as a form of ritual expression or experience.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit provides a unique venue for the interdisciplinary exploration of ritual — broadly understood to include rites, ceremonies, religious and secular performances, and other ritual processes — in their many and varied contexts, and from a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives.


Steering Committee Members


Review Process

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