The Sociology of Religion Unit of the American Academy of Religion serves as a bridge between religious studies and the subdiscipline of sociology of religion. It functions as a two-way conduit not only to import sociological research into religious studies but also to export the research of religious studies into both the subdiscipline and the broader field of sociology. Only through a cross-fertilization transgressing departmental boundaries can there be breakthroughs in research in both fields. The unit has a wide conception of sociology of religion. It is open to a multiplicity of paradigms and methodologies utilized in the subfield and sociology more broadly: theoretical as well as empirical, quantitative, qualitative, and historical. By liaising with other Program Units, the Sociology of Religion Unit is able to bring the rich diversity of critical and analytical perspectives that are housed in the American Academy of Religion into mainstream sociology of religion. Conversely, it aims to provide scholars of the study of religion with a deeper understanding of the landscape of sociology of religion.
You are here
Sociology of Religion Unit
Call for Proposals for November Meeting
The purpose of the Sociology of Religion Unit of the American Academy of Religion is to generate cross-fertilization between the Sociology of Religion and Religious Studies. We are open to papers in all areas and therefore encourage submissions of any topic relevant to the sociology of religion. This year, we are particularly interested in the following topics:
Topics related to the AAR presidential theme of “Violence, Nonviolence, and the Margin”
Including the sociology of violence within traditions and between traditions, religious nationalism, colonialism and nation states, symbolic violence, sexual abuse, discrimination, Israel-Palestine, the role of social media in religious violence and nonviolence, and sociological considerations of the conditions under which religions can lead to violence or nonviolence.
For this session, we invite scholarship examining shifting religious affiliations, new developments within existing traditions, and the emergence of new religious movements among Latinx/a/os. We encourage proposals giving attention to trends such as, but not limited to, the following: shifting religious affiliations among Latinxs broadly; the rise of Latinx nones; the growth of Latinx spiritual communities outside of traditional Catholic, Mainline, and Evangelical Christianity; Latinx involvement in, or responses to, the January 6 insurrection (and related politics) and its implications for Latinx religion and politics; emerging political discourses among Latinx religious communities.
Global and Transnational Religions
Including sociological research across nation-states within continents and across continents, such as Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and more.
Including research on lived religion and everyday religion, genealogies of lived religion, critical analysis of the category of lived religion, comparison with folk religion, and more.
Including sociological research on atheists, agnostics, and other religiously unaffiliated people or groups, historical or contemporary, anywhere in the world.
Women Leaders and Gender in Religious Organizations
Including sociological research on women leaders of or within religious organizations, analyses of gender and leadership, intersectional analyses of women leaders, and more.
Race, Ethnicity, and Religion
Including sociological research on intersectional identities, religio-racial or religio-ethnic identifications, biracial or multiracial people and spaces, multiracial/multireligious social movements, and more.
Quantitative and Computational Research
Any research relying on quantitative or computational methods, including original mixed-methods research. Results must be complete and analyzed by the time the annual meeting begins.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are core values of the Sociology of Religion Unit. For this reason, we encourage organizers of pre-formed panels to invite participants that are diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, age, religion, region, discipline, methodology, professional status, and type of institution. In addition, we especially welcome proposals that focus on communities that have been historically underrepresented, including African, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and non-Christian communities, as well as on regions outside North America and Europe. In panel and paper proposals, we also welcome a diversity of methodologies, including quantitative, qualitative, historical, and theoretical. When preparing your panel or roundtable proposal, please include the demographic data you provide to the AAR and explain how your panel’s participants instantiate diversity.
All proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria: a descriptive title; a clearly formulated argument; clearly identified methodology and sources; engagement with relevant secondary literature; explicit articulation of an original contribution to the field; relevance to our unit’s CFP; potential for co-sponsorships with other units. Further suggestions for AAR proposal writers can be found in Kecia Ali’s “Writing a Successful Annual Meeting Proposal.” Anonymity: Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during initial review, but visible prior to final acceptance or rejection.
The Sociology of Religion Unit regularly co-sponsors panels with the peer-reviewed journal Critical Research on Religion (http://crr.sagepub.com), published by SAGE Publications. Presenters of promising papers in Sociology of Religion Unit panels may be invited to turn their papers into articles and submit them for peer review to Critical Research on Religion.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Jonathan Calvillo, Candler School of Theology1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Rebecca Catto, Kent State University1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
Esther Chan, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Amidu Elabo, Princeton Theological Seminary1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Warren S. Goldstein, Center for Critical Research on Religion1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Gustavo Morello, Boston College1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Simranjit Steel, University of Memphis1/1/2024 - 12/31/2029