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Transformative Scholarship and Pedagogy Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

"Teaching Against The State"

Over half of all U.S. states have enacted legislation banning the teaching of critical race theory, LGBTQ content, or boycott, divestment, & sanctions (BDS) discussions in higher education. This panel invites creative and critical reflections on how religion educators can teach against the state under such politically hostile circumstances. Are educators ethically obligated to defy state and institutional prohibitions, even when it threatens their personal security? What innovative tactics might allow religion scholars to continue pushing transformative education when colleges, universities, and theological institutions are intent on minimizing legal liability? How might research in the study of religion support these efforts to teach against the state?


"Teaching Nonviolence" Co-sponsored with the Teaching Religion Unit

In line with the Presidential theme of “Violence, Nonviolence, and the Margin,” this panel invites papers that reflect on “what does nonviolent teaching look like?” We invite critical engagement around teaching non-violence as well as pedagogy that models nonviolence, especially in relation to the margin.


"Cultivating Democratic Practices in and around the Classroom" Co-Sponsored with the Pragmatism and Empiricism in American Religious Thought Unit

A common defense of the humanities is that it prepares students for democratic citizenship by teaching skills like critical thinking, self-reflection, open-mindedness, and civil discourse. Relative to these core tenets, at a time where both democracy and higher education appear to be under attack, we invite papers that highlight the practical work educators can do in the classroom to cultivate critical thinking and democratic habits in our students.

Informed by thought leaders such as Dewey, Freire, hooks and others, we invite papers that address how we might enact spaces in our classrooms that help mitigate the challenges posed to both our democracy and our educational institutions.

We welcome papers that frame the classroom as a training ground for democracy and address how educators can equip students to navigate a diversity of thought, integrate new and challenging ideas, and understand themselves to be engaged in a lifelong process of learning. We encourage presentations that “show” rather than “tell” by engaging the audience in demonstrations or participatory activities. Additionally, we are open to critiques and reassessments of the idea of the classroom as a training ground for democracy.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit seeks to provide a forum for exploring transformative scholarship and pedagogy across religious traditions and scholarly disciplines, challenging the traditional boundaries between scholarship and activism while experimenting with alternative approaches to teaching and the production of knowledge.


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