Cultural History of the Study of Religion Print

Call for Proposals

This Group seeks papers that historically examine the formation and transformation of "religion" (together with other related categories) as a discursive apparatus operative in social, cultural, and political practice and in relation to the study of religion. We aim to represent diverse geographical areas and historical moments. This year, we particularly welcome proposals addressing these themes: 

  • The interplay and tensions between empiricism and theory (or between data and genealogy) in the study of religion, particularly as that interplay becomes manifest in specific social and scholarly contexts
  • The consequences of the ways "religion" takes shape in relation to conceptions of multiculturalism, pluralism, neoliberalism, and the "global"
  • John Lardas Modern’s new book, Secularism in Antebellum America (University of Chicago Press, 2011)

We hope to use our sessions to develop a new model for conference conversation. Toward that end, we ask that participants write shorter papers, which we will circulate mid-October in order to focus our discussion of the topic at the Annual Meeting in a more collaborative and interactive way. We welcome further suggestions for new conversational models (please e-mail the co-Chairs with your ideas).


This Group is devoted to the historical inquiry into the social and cultural contexts of the study of religion and the constructions of “religion” as an object of scholarly inquiry.

Anonymity of Review Process

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


Ann M. Burlein
Hofstra University
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Randall Styers
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Method of Submission