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Teaching Religion Unit

Call for Proposals

Teaching and Catastrophe
In keeping with the 2022 Presidential Theme of “Religion and Catastrophe,” the Teaching Religion Unit invites paper proposals for a session on teaching and catastrophe. Possible intersections of these topics might include:

  • Teaching through catastrophe: The COVID-19 pandemic caused many educators to shift their pedagogy in ways great and small. What new techniques proved effective and what will you continue moving forward? What new advice or “lessons learned” might we hold onto as educators teaching religion?
  • Classroom catastrophes: We invite proposals that describe and analyze a particular situation in which something went horribly wrong in the classroom. This session is being imagined as a possible “tactics” session in which each presenter offers a brief presentation followed by robust conversation with the audience.

What I Wish My Professor Knew
This roundtable session will foreground the voices and perspectives of students studying religion today–and what they wish their professors knew. This session may include co-presentations with undergraduate and graduate students along with their professors or mentors. We are especially interested in a diversity of student perspectives: those who are first generation, LGBTQ+, who have learning accommodations, who come from different racial, socioeconomic, and other backgrounds, and more. We imagine that most student participants will be local to the Denver area and our unit will put in a request for reduced/waived conference fees for students participating in this session.

Publishing on Teaching
In a pre-arranged panel, representatives from journals focused on the scholarship of teaching and/or the study of religions participants will discuss their publications’ foci and relationship to scholarship on teaching and learning in Religious Studies and Theological Studies. Panelists and participants are invited to read “Sketching the Contours of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion” (Teaching Theology and Religion 2013) by Patricia O’Connell Killen and Eugene Gallagher as a shared foundation for the conversation.

Disrupting the Canon (Co-sponsored with the Teaching Religion Unit, The Religion, Film, and Visual Culture Unit)
The Religion, Film, and Visual Culture Unit and Teaching Religion Unit invite proposals that explore canonical citational practices and their intentional disruption in our syllabi, our classrooms, and our research. We encourage proposals that draw on visual culture (such as film, photography, and gaming) and that use a global, international or transnational frame. Do we have a responsibility to rupture the canon? Is that imperative more pronounced now, given the multiple catastrophes and crises by which we’re surrounded? To recognize and / or reject morally flawed authors? To disrupt inequality within the academy by employing what Andrew Eidinger (2019) calls “conscientious citational practices” and to model for our students the patience and persistence such a shift takes? How have you worked to create more inclusive classroom spaces through your citational practices; how has it impacted your students?

Engaging a Fragmented Public Sphere: Teaching the Utility and Limitation of Religion in Public Discourse
(Co-sponsored with the Transformative Scholarship and Pedagogy Unit)

While political polarization in the public sphere is not a new phenomenon, the proliferation of alternative facts and ad hominem attacks has often left scholars of religion unsure how to productively navigate conflict in public discourse. Religion can speak to many of the issues that are at the center of public debate, but what value does it have in the public sphere in this current environment? Moreover, what are innovative approaches deployed in theological and religious studies classrooms that effectively prompt students to think through these challenges while considering the utility and limitations of religion in public debate? We invite proposals that identify or illustrate effective pedagogical approaches that effectively engage theological and religious studies students in conversations about the relevance of religion (and theology) in the public sphere.

Working and Teaching Outside the Academy: A Roundtable on Death, Dying, and Beyond Landscapes (Co-sponsored by The Death, Dying, and Beyond Unit, Applied Religious Studies Committee, and the Teaching Religion Unit) will bring together individuals who are educationally trained in religion, comparative religious studies, theology, etc. who are working, teaching, or consulting in fields outside the academy in the death, dying, and beyond landscapes. These fields could include death technology, funeral services, grief and bereavement counseling, media (e.g. podcasts), hospice and hospital work, policy and nonprofits. This moderated, roundtable discussion will generally explore and value careers beyond the academy but more particularly the ways in which education, skills and pedagogical training in religion have uniquely prepared folks for careers in fields associated with death, dying, and bereavement outside the academy.

Open Call
We invite proposals for individual papers and panel sessions that join innovative teaching practice with the scholarship of teaching and learning. Preference will be given to presentation formats that model engaged, interactive, and experiential pedagogy.

Statement of Purpose


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection