Home Annual Meeting Call for Papers Groups Religions, Medicines, and Healing
January 2011

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Call for Proposals

This Group invites papers on topics related to the intersection of religious traditions, rituals, philosophies, and healing. In particular, we invite papers addressing the following topics:

  • Healing and mental health care
  • Religion and healing among immigrant communities of the Pacific Rim
  • The co-opting, appropriating, or integration of Pacific Rim and Asian traditions by American practitioners
  • The role of religious traditions within health care reform and policy making


The study of religions, medicines, and healing is a growing field within religious studies that draws on the disciplines and scholarship of history, anthropology (particularly medical anthropology), phenomenology, psychology, sociology, ethnic studies, ritual studies, gender studies, theology, political and economic theory, public health, bioscientific epidemiology, history of science, comparative religion, and other interdisciplinary approaches, to interpret meanings assigned to illness, affliction, and suffering; healing, health, and wellbeing; healing systems and traditions, their interactions, and the factors that influence them; and related topics and issues. As a broad area of inquiry, this field incorporates diverse theoretical orientations and methodological strategies in order to develop theories and methods specific to the study of illness, health, healing, and associated social relations from religious studies perspectives. Although religious texts serve as important resources in this endeavor, so do the many approaches to the study of lived religion, religious embodiment and material culture, and popular expressions of religiosity. Finally, like its sister field of medical anthropology, the field of religions, medicines, and healing encourages examination of how affliction and healing affect social bodies through fractured identities, political divides, structural violence, and colonialism. We support the work of graduate students, religion scholars, scholar-activists, and scholars in allied fields. We promote collaboration with other interdisciplinary Program Units and those focused on particular traditions and/or regions.

Anonymity of Review Process

Proposer names are visible to Chairs but anonymous to Steering Committee Members.


Lance D. Laird
Boston University
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Stephanie Y. Mitchem
University of South Carolina
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Method of Submission


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