Religion, Sport, and Play Print

Call for Proposals

This Group invites papers that consider the interstices of religion, sport, and morality. Papers may address questions such as: Why is sport so often the site for discussions of values, character, and ethical behavior? Are athletes or sports professionals who engage in doping, gambling, or certain sexual behaviors held to a particularly high standard of conduct? How do religious concepts such as “sin” or “corruption” influence our approach to or attitudes about public perceptions of athletic misconduct? What are the cultural or social ramifications of focusing on sport as a site of morality/immorality? How is moral conduct in sport or play assessed differently across the lifespan (e.g. childhood games, university life, amateur athletics, and professional sports)? We welcome papers that explore ways that critics of sport employ moral language to critique and dismiss sport — characterizing it as violent, bourgeois, or exploitive — as well as proposals that address other related questions. We encourage papers that use historical or contemporary cases, a range of disciplinary perspectives, and draw from diverse religious traditions. We will also consider papers session or roundtable proposals and papers on other topics related to religion, sport, and play.


This Group provides an opportunity for scholars to engage in the emerging research at the intersection of religion and sport, games, and play. We are interested in examining these topics across broad geographical areas, religious traditions, and historical eras. We encourage critical reflection regarding relationships of religious institutions to sport, play, and games; theological and spiritual experiences of participants and spectators invested in these activities; and the cross-cultural applicability of the received categories themselves.

Anonymity of Review Process

Proposer names are anonymous to Chairs and Steering Committee members during review, but visible to Chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection.


Rebecca Alpert
Temple University
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Eric Bain-Selbo
Western Kentucky University
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Method of Submission