January 29 2020

2015 Mid-Atlantic Region Call for Papers

Map of the AAR Mid-Atlantic Region

2015 Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting

Loyola University Maryland
Columbia Graduate Campus
Columbia, MD
March 5–6, 2015

Call for Papers

Submission Deadline: December 8, 2014

Conference Theme: Building Bridges: Exploring Avenues of Connection in an Age of Religious Pluralism

We encourage you to submit proposals for the 2015 AAR Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting on March 5–6, 2015, to be held jointly with the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Society of Biblical Literature (MAR-SBL). Our conference theme this year is “Building Bridges: Exploring Avenues of Connection in an Age of Religious Pluralism.” The theme invites us to explore how we create authentic connection in the midst of radical diversity, not only among religious traditions, but among worldviews, cultures, and disciplines. The program includes a dynamic plenary from Dr. John Thatamanil, associate professor of theology and world religions at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Dr. Thatamanil’s current research explores the following queries: If “religion” is a relatively recent invention of the modern West, then is the category applicable to non-Western cultures and traditions? Can we really divide the world up into a set of distinct and discrete world religions? Does it still make sense to ask if the world’s “religions” are paths up the same mountain or paths up different mountains? How should theology of religious pluralism (TRP) be reconfigured in light of these new questions and challenges?

The conference will be hosted by Loyola University Maryland at the University’s Graduate Center in Columbia, Maryland. The Graduate Center is conveniently located just off of I-95 between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Conference attendees can register for ground transportation between campus and the Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport or the Baltimore Penn Station (for Amtrak and MARC trains). Our meetings will be held in state of the art classrooms, each of which is equipped with AV presentation stations, enabling all presenters to utilize presentation modes of their choice. Conference registration fees include all meals: lunch, dinner, and a reception on Thursday; breakfast on Friday; and coffee/snack breaks both days. Additional information about Loyola’s Graduate Center in Columbia may be found at http://www.loyola.edu/department/columbia/~/link.aspx?_id=C38C130D3FA5476C9BECF49890571CB9&_z=z.

For the most up-to-date conference information, please consult our website at https://www.aarweb.org/membership/mid-atlantic-region

Mid-Atlantic Regional Awards

As has become our custom, MAR-AAR will award the Kate Connolly-Weinert Prize of $200 to the most innovative proposal for a group session (or panel) dealing with peace issues or women's studies; the deadline for submission is December 8, 2014. You must indicate in your proposal submission if you’d like to be considered for this award. To help foster graduate student participation, the Executive Committee of the MAR-AAR will again award the Robert F. Streetman Prize of $200 for the best student paper presented by an AAR regional member. Those interested in the Streetman Prize should submit their entire paper by February 9, 2015, and clearly indicate they are submitting the paper for prize consideration.


Online registration will be available in January. You will be notified by e-mail when our online registration is live. Please utilize the online website for registration, as it saves paper and helps the region fulfill our national AAR mandate to promote environmentally sustainable gatherings.

Registration Fees

Before February 6:


Conference registration, meals, snacks, and reception



Ground transportation between BWI or Baltimore Penn Station and Campus (both directions)



Conference registration, meals, snacks, and reception



Ground transportation between BWI or Baltimore Penn Station and Campus (both directions)


Between February 6 and March 1:


Conference registration, meals, snacks, and reception



Ground transportation between BWI or Baltimore Penn Station and Campus (both directions)



Conference registration, meals, snacks, and reception



Ground transportation between BWI or Baltimore Penn Station and Campus (both directions)


After March 1st/on-site, registration: $150. No ground transportation available.


There are numerous hotels in Columbia, Maryland. MAR-AAR has contracted for reduced rates at the following hotels. Reservations should be made directly with the hotels:


As part of the American Academy of Religion’s commitment to host environmentally sustainable meetings, we are asking participants to consider bringing reusable beverage containers and name badge holders from previous conferences in order to cut down on waste at the conference. 

Proposal Submission

Please review the various sections accepting proposals below. Submit your 500-word proposal and 150-word abstract by e-mail attachment to all chairs/contacts identified in the section to which you’re submitting. Members may only submit one proposal to a section, and a total of two proposals. If you have questions about which section to submit to or need additional information about submitting a proposal please contact April Vega at avega@marymount.edu. The proposal submission deadline is December 8, 2014.

Section Calls

Christian History and Theology

This section invites proposals relating to this year’s regional conference theme, which explores how to create authentic connection in the midst of radical diversity. The Call for Papers invites many different applications in the study of Christian history and theology. Proposals may address the conference theme in a variety of ways, including but not limited to the following questions:

  • How might the teaching and learning of Christian history and theology become an occasion for building bridges and fostering a genuine connection between radically different individuals and groups? What theologians, scholars of religion, or dialogues (past or contemporary) offer resources for these questions?
  • How is comparative theology (in its methods, practices, dialogues, or specific examples) working to build bridges between different groups? How is it changing inherited meanings of "religion" and "theology" in the academy? In interreligious dialogue?
  • Has discourse about the history of Christianity inhibited genuine connection in an age of radical diversity, by employing the concept of discrete and distinct religions? What are some historical examples of genuine connections being made across diverse groups?
  • In what ways could the academic study of Christian history and theology embrace a more genuine connection with radically diverse religious traditions, worldviews, cultures, and academic disciplines?

We welcome a variety of approaches—including focused historical study, critical textual analysis, and constructive theology. Interdisciplinary projects drawing on anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, or other fields are encouraged. Paper proposals on other topics relating to Christian history and theology are also encouraged.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Shannon McAlister – smcalister@fordham.edu
Jennifer Wade – wadejf@bc.edu
Faye Bodley-Dangelo – fsb760@mail.harvard.edu

Contemporary Theology

This section invites proposals for scholars reflecting on systematic or moral theology in the contemporary context, loosely defined as the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. This year's theme, "Building Bridges: Exploring Avenues of Connection in an Age of Religious Pluralism," presents a number of interesting questions particularly germane to our section. Especially welcome are any papers with an emphasis on bridge building in regard to theologies of religion, interreligious dialogue, ecumenism, intracommunity ethnographic/ecclesiological discourse, or other cross-disciplinary conversations. Explicitly focusing on the conference theme will without question bolster one's candidacy in the submission process, but any outstanding pieces subsumed under the Section's general aegis are always considered for acceptance. 

Submit proposals to:

Michael Canaris – MichaelMCanaris@gmail.com

Asian Religions

This section invites proposals on religious pluralism from the Asian religious perspective. Pluralism is a paradox in today’s world. While pluralism can be a public virtue in highly multicultural, multiracial, and multireligious societies, it can be a threat to people’s and the institution’s desire for orthodoxy, authenticity, veracity, and solidarity. We are interested in presentations that address, through Asian religious perspectives, a variety of issues and questions concerning this paradoxical nature of pluralism, and that bring moral and spiritual insights into our age of religious pluralism. Proposal ideas that extend beyond these themes will also be welcomed if under the general focus of this section.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Hyun Choo – bhyunchoo@gmail.com
Song-Chong Lee – lee@findlay.edu
Patrick M. Beldio, Ph.D candidate – pbeldio@reunionstudios.com

Global Religion and Pluralism

The Global Religions and Pluralism Section seeks papers that comment on non-Christian approaches to theology and religion that address the conference theme of building bridges and connections of religious pluralism. In particular, the section invites submissions that consider diverse experiences in the lives of practitioners or those influenced by religion, including experiences of race, ethnicity, religion, diversity, and culture. Interdisciplinary research is welcomed.

Submit Proposals to:

Amy Milligan – milligana@etown.edu

Philosophy of Religion

This section invites proposals relating to this year’s regional conference topic of “Building Bridges: Exploring Avenues of Connection in an Age of Religious Pluralism,” especially as the theme relates to the philosophy of religion. Paper proposals on other topics relating to philosophy of religion will also be considered.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Matthew Tennant – matthew.tennant@regents.ox.ac.uk
Kevin Hart – kjh9u@virginia.edu  
Chad Pecknold – pecknold@cua.edu

Psychology of Religion

Religion and Trauma in a Globalized World: From Causes to Coping: The role of religion in confronting human and natural traumas in today’s world is striking. There are religiously driven conflicts around the world and there are many examples of natural disasters—the most recent Ebola—that present a challenge to religious worldviews. Along with these, there are also religious strategies for alleviating and coping with disaster, racism, violence, sexism and other evils.

The psychology of religion section invites proposals for papers that focus on the psychological mechanisms or dynamics that underlie human-caused trauma and especially psychological responses (cognitive, emotional, humanistic) that are conceived and worked out within religious contexts.

Submit Proposals to ALL:

Ariel Glucklich – glucklia@georgetown.edu
Jung Eun Jang – jejang2008@gmail.com

Postcolonialism and Religious Studies

This section offers current scholars the opportunity to present recent work or work in progress in the intersecting fields of postcolonialism and religious studies. All submissions should encompass this year’s conference theme on “Building Bridges: Exploring Avenues of Connection in an Age of Religious Pluralism.” Particularly, this section focuses on confronting the legacy of colonialism and imperialism through building bridges in an effort to decolonize. Papers that address questions related to power, resistance, and dominance as well as focus on the theoretical framework of postcolonial scholars such as Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, and Ashis Nandy are encouraged. This section offers an opportunity to examine binaries that divide, such as the West and the East, in an effort to create an authentic connection across humanity without colonizing.   

Submissions should include the following information:

E-mail Address
150-word Abstract
500-word Proposal

Submit proposals to ALL:

Sabrina MisirHiralall – MisirHiralall.S@gmail.com
Nathan C. Walker – Nathan_walker@mail.harvard.edu

Please feel free to e-mail Sabrina MisirHiralall with any questions regarding the submission process.    

Religion, Conflict, and Peace

All papers addressing the conference theme of “Building Bridges” and religious pluralism and their relationship to our section themes will be considered, but the following topics are encouraged:

  • Pluralism amidst religious conflict;
  • “Building Bridges” as a peacemaking tool and/or theme; and
  • The ethics of “strange bedfellows”: building brides amongst uneasy allies in ethnic and religious conflict.

All submissions are encouraged to consider and pay close attention to issues pertaining to the balance between theory and applied ethics.

Submit proposals to:

Dan Randazzo – dcrandazzo@loyola.edu
Heon Kim – heonkim@po-box.esu.edu

Religion and Ethics

This section invites proposals that respond to the conference theme of “Building Bridges.” Using contemporary world events as a guide to asking morally dubious questions, proposals should explore the relationships described in the Mid-Atlantic regional theme. Various methodologies and sources of analysis are encouraged.    

This section also invites proposals related to ethics and peace building to fill one full session during the 2015 meeting.  

Submit proposals to:

Jennifer Lancaster – jennifertlancaster@gmail.com

Religion and Leadership

The Religion and Leadership Section seeks proposals that address the role of spirituality and religion in decision making and leadership within the broader contexts raised by pluralism in society and the workplace. This year’s conference theme, “Building Bridges: Exploring Avenues of Connection in an Age of Religious Pluralism,” speaks directly to the section’s goal of addressing the complex relationship among religious institutions, spirituality, pluralism, and “the Other.” We seek both individual and panel proposals directed to the conference theme.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Gerald S. Vigna – jerry.vigna@alvernia.edu
Deborah Evans – deborah.evans@alvernia.edu

Religion, Gender, and Sexuality

This section explores the intersection between religion and perspectives on gender and sexuality. Papers on the theme “Gender Justice, Sexuality Justice” are invited, but quality papers on all topics in religion, gender, and sexuality are welcome. We are particularly interested in proposals that are related to one of the following themes:

  • Issues of gender and sexuality in interreligious dialogue;
  • Feminist approaches in comparative theology;
  • Postcolonial and poststructural issues in gender studies;
  • Gender issues and multiple religious identities or religious hybridity; and
  • Sexuality, nonhuman nature, and religion from interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches, including “othering” and eco-theological perspectives, especially focused on “sexual violence” at this time.

We encourage submissions by scholars of all sexual identities (including those who are heterosexually identified), multiple disciplines, religious traditions, and perspectives.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Jea Sophia Oh – sophiajs5@gmail.com
Aimee Upjohn Light – lighta@duq.edu
Kyung-Sun Hong – khong@drew.edu

Religion in America

Religious diversity has been and continues to be one of the defining characteristics of what observers and scholars have called “American religion” since before the nation’s founding in the late eighteenth-century. As countless histories of the United States tell us, North America’s inhabitants came from all over the globe both by choice and by force, including Spanish Catholics, German Moravians, and New England Puritans just to name a few. Despite this diversity, however, scholarly renderings of America’s religious past still tend to locate religious diversity within a largely Christian-centered framework for understanding religious difference and thus religious pluralism. In fact, in a special issue of the journal Religion, scholars of American religion, including Rosemary Hicks and Finbarr Curtis, raised this very issue in regards to how we name and locate our subjects in the name of religious diversity within the study of American religious history. Is our task simply to add undiscovered instances of diversity and pluralism to our narratives of American religious life or do we have to examine the template itself in order to generate new ways of articulating and studying America’s religious pluralism?

This year’s paper call welcomes responses to these queries in addition to those that investigate instances of religious diversity and pluralism more broadly in the nation’s past. What significant events have taken place that foreground cooperation across and within religious communities of difference? How do we define such significance in the study of American religion? Do movements organized in the name of religious pluralism have their own blind spots in regards to who exactly counts as an instance of America’s religious diversity? In addition to more historically oriented studies, we also welcome papers that explore recent theoretical approaches to the study of religion in general and the theology of religious pluralism in particular. As scholar of religion Stephen Prothero has suggested, is God indeed “Not One?” How do we reconcile this reality with traditions that in fact argue for a God that for all intents and purposes is the One let alone One? In light of this year’s conference theme, we also welcome submissions from a variety of scholarly disciplines including religious studies, history, cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, and American studies.

Submit proposals to ALL:

L. Benjamin Rolsky – lrosky@drew.edu
Ben Horgan – bhorgan@loyola.edu

Religion, Media, and Pop Culture

We encourage papers that take seriously the role of popular culture in negotiating the complicated process through which humans express themselves and engage with their world and the persons around them. Given this year’s conference theme, we are particularly interested in papers which engage the concept of the “bridge”: for example, the bridge which popular media engages between theology and lived religious experience; bridges among different types of popular media used to engage/produce theology; bridges among different theologies or religious experiences created through popular media.

Papers may engage any of the following types of popular media:  

  • Internet – virtual worlds, online communities, multi-player games, etc.;
  • Social Media – YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc;
  • Print – blogs, comic books, graphic novels, manga, fiction, memoir, etc.;
  • Cinema and television – auteur theory, drama, sitcom, science fiction, fantasy, etc.;
  • Games and Toys – video, board, role playing, etc.;
  • Music – cover art, lyrics, videos, websites, etc.; and
  • The relationship between any of the above. We will also consider other related areas.

We encourage interdisciplinary work and a thoughtful engagement between theory and interpretation.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Rebecca Cecala – rkc139@psu.edu
James Siburt – james.siburt@alvernia.edu
April Stace Vega – avega@marymount.edu

Scriptural Reasoning

Your proposal to the scriptural reasoning session might address one of the following prompts:

  • How does a practice like scriptural reasoning (have the potential to) address the challenges like those mentioned in the conference theme in our modern religious and secular world?
  • A theological scriptural exegesis that you feel addresses the above reflections. This exegesis might come from the scriptures of any religion.
  • Reflect on the nature of interreligious reading, particularly as it relates to addressing a troubled world. These reflections might come from your having read and responded to the recent volume Interreligious Reading after Vatican II, edited by David Ford and Frances Clemson (Wiley, 2013).
  • Reflect on the legacy of philosophy, particularly pragmatism influenced by religion, as it seeks to addresses the conference theme. Of particular focus might be Peirce, Levinas, Habermas, Gadamer, or Dewey.

The list could go on.

Please feel free to propose a paper that is unrelated to the above prompts, should you wish to do so.

Please submit a proposal of no more than 300 words. For those proposals which are accepted, the final manuscripts must be submitted to Matthew by Friday, February 20, 2015, and should be no more than 2,500 words. In the proposal e-mail, please include your name, title, and institutional affiliation (if applicable), as well as why you felt the SR session would fit for your particular proposal. You may reach out to Matthew at the e-mail address below if you have any other questions or need assistance.

Submit proposals to:

Matthew Vaughan – mvaughan@utsnyc.edu

Theology, Aesthetics, and Art

We welcome proposals for papers broadly related to the field of theological aesthetics or the theme of this year's conference on theology, religion, and lived experience. 

Submit proposals to ALL:

Daniel McClain – dwmcclain@loyola.edu
Brendan Sammon – brandosam@yahoo.com
Matthew Moser – mamoser@loyola.edu


This section offers current undergraduates the opportunity to present recent work or work in progress in the field of religious studies or theology. All submissions should encompass this year’s conference theme on “Building Bridges: Exploring Avenues of Connection in an Age of Religious Pluralism.” Conferences are a crucial part of graduate life in academia. Thus, MAR-AAR urges all undergraduates interested in graduate school or seminary to submit to this section. Undergraduates will have the chance to meet graduate students and seasoned religious studies and theology professors who will offer substantial critique to help undergraduates move forward in academia. Submissions should include the following information:

  • Name
  • Undergraduate Institution
  • Advisor
  • E-mail Address
  • 150-word Abstract
  • 500-word Proposal

E-mail all submissions to Kim Paffenroth (kimpaffenroth@msn.com) and Sabrina MisirHiralall (MisirHiralall.S@gmail.com) by December 8, 2014. Please feel free to e-mail Sabrina MisirHiralall with any questions regarding the submission process.