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Secularism and Secularity Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

We welcome all types of proposals–including but not limited to individual papers, prearranged papers panels, roundtables, keyword sessions, and other creative and experimental formats.


Secular Economies – Socialism, Communism, Anarchy, Capitalism

We invite proposals that take up the intersection between formations of secularism and forms of economic organization, with a particular emphasis on socialist, communist, and/or anarchist modes. While much recent scholarship has probed the relationship between universalizing forms of neoliberal market secularism and Christianity, there has been comparatively less focus on other formations and intersections. From the legacies of Marxian critiques of religion for communist and socialist states, to instantiations of legal secularism in the context of trade and commerce, to mobilization of the secular in the context of worker movements, to the genealogies of the secular in specific geographies and political/economic systems, and beyond, we invite papers that complicate our collective understanding of economic secularism(s).


Secularisms in Latin America and the Caribbean

With the political upheavals of Javier Milei in Argentina and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil as stark evidence, the traditional boundaries of public and private, religious and secular are rapidly transforming across Latin America. To that end, the Secularism and Secularity and the Religions in the Latina/o Americas Units invite proposals for individual papers and pre-arranged panels that examine contemporary reconfigurations and historical particularities in the unique formations of secularism and secularity in the Spanish, Portuguese, and French-speaking Americas.


Transpacific Secularisms

The Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit and the Secularism and Secularity Unit seek paper and panel proposals that address APIA religions and religious communities in relationship to secularism. For example, how have APIA communities navigated competing systems of secular discourse and state power between Asia and North America? How have disparate cultural dynamics or state institutions across the Pacific shaped APIA religions? Are there ways that APIA religions shift our understanding of secularism(s)? We welcome analyses that explore how trans-Pacific religious communities encounter, contest, or conform to competing definitions of religion, race, science, nation, or liberty.


Temporalities and Technocracies of the Secular

As new and emerging technologies are rapidly transforming experiences of time, space, and the human, we also invite papers critically interrogating these technologies and the secular epistemics underlying them. From developments in artificial intelligence (AI) to global social media networks and the contemporary “space race” among technocrats, how do these technologies reflect, trouble, and/or reify particularized conceptions of space, time, and identity as well as experiences of community, embodiment, and presence? What do the ideologies, politics, economics, and projects underlying these technological forms indicate about the state of contemporary secularism and secular metaphysics? What contradictions might studying them illuminate, and how should we theorize and historicize the ontologies they generate?


A possible pre-arranged panel on An Yountae's forthcoming book The Coloniality of the Secular (cosponsored with the Religion, Colonialism, and Postcolonialism Unit and the Philosophy of Religion Unit)

Statement of Purpose

The Secularism and Secularity Unit explores a broad a set of questions associated with the secular, including its complex entanglements with religion and spirituality. This inquiry entails the study of political secularism and its role in the construction of religion, as well as the study of secular people, who can be described with a variety of labels including atheist, agnostic, humanist, and freethinker. It also includes an ongoing reappraisal of the historical transformations named by “secularization,” which signal the emergence of the modern and presuppose a break from the premodern. The group fosters new directions in secular studies by encouraging theoretically informed research that makes empirical contributions and engages with the subfield’s rapidly growing interdisciplinary literature.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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