This Unit seeks to explore the intercultural, interconfessional, and interreligious dynamics of Christianity as a world religion, bringing into conversation scholars in the disciplines of history, mission studies, ecumenical studies, theology, sociology of religion, anthropology of religion, and religious studies.
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World Christianity Unit
Call for Proposals
In discussing his presidential address, La Labor de Nuestras Manos, for the 2023 American Academy of Religion conference to be held in San Antonio Texas, Amir Hussain states, “I also want to talk about the actual work that we do as scholars of religion, which often isn’t the production of scholarly monographs that are sometimes only read by a handful of people, but work that affects thousands.” In our call for papers, the World Christianity Unit desires to consider La Labor de Nuestras Manos as it connects to both to the public understanding of religion and the lived realities of people across the globe, and from the perspectives of a multiplicity of academic disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, history, and theology. One area of exploration is the idea of a boundaryless Christianity. As we begin to exist in a post–COVID-19 world, how has the use of technology reshaped how individuals and communities engage with and practice religion? What has been gained or lost in moving beyond place-based and geographical tied religious expressions? What are best practices for fostering a boundaryless faith and how does this bolster and equip practitioners for the realities they encounter in a world dealing with wars, natural disasters, inflation, and a continued effect of a global pandemic?
Second, building on the president’s engagement with Islam, the World Christianity Unit seeks to also explore the connection between Islam and World Christianity. On this topic, as well as that of boundaryless Christianity, much work has already been done within our field, including with respect to the ways in which mission and migration have complexified Christian communities around the world. Given the reality that several nation states and communities must grapple with the reality of a Christian and Muslim majority, Christian Majority/Muslim minority, or Christian minority/Muslim majority, what is the role of religious practitioners, peace makers and interreligious dialogue in these contexts? What are some of the innovative interreligious partnerships that are being fostered and how do they facilitate the flourishing of beliefs, people, and communities?
Third, typical engagement between Christianity and crime has been framed with a moralistic/punitive lens, with attention given to how a person or community engages in “right behavior” or “pays for their crimes.” As a unit we want to interrogate the moralistic/punitive lens—recognizing that it has historical, colonial, racial, economic and religious underpinnings that give rise to various systems and structures that can result in the presence of these “deviant behaviors.” How is this seen in the US and globally? What are the restorative frameworks that can be employed with regard to Christianity and Crime and its impact of practitioners? One example to consider might be the impact of Desmond Tutu’s role in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and its relationship to the ongoing struggles for justice for indigenous people in Canada and Norway.
Fourth, a potential co-sponsorship with the Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit titled, Navigating Language: (In)visibility and Power amongst Latinxs: In his usage of the Spanish Language for his presidential theme, La Labor de Nuestras Manos, Hussain highlights not only the significance of language, but also the power and privilege it holds. In the field of World Christianity, there is an important continuing conversation regarding the need for scholarship to be published in more than one language. As a unit, in thinking of a potential co-sponsorship with the Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Unit, we seek to consider the additional areas the field of World Christianity needs to be decolonized. How is this process already being done at the grassroots level, and what can we as scholars of religion learn from these dialectic processes?
Statement of Purpose
Janice McLean-Farrell, New Brunswick Theological Seminary1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Briana Wong, Phillips Theological Seminary1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
Steering Committee Members
Tala AlRaheb, Emory University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Alexander Chow, University of Edinburgh1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Darren Duerksen, Fresno Pacific University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Wanjiru Gitau, Palm Beach Atlantic University1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
David Kirkpatrick, James Madison University1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
Grace Vargas, Southern Methodist University1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024